As New York lit up One World Trade Center in the wake of their decision to legalize full-term abortion, I received a text message, amidst unbelieving comments all over Facebook (some touting that this surely had to be “fake news”), “Is this true?”
I haven’t posted a blog post in over a year (this site it still under construction). God has me elsewhere and I’m perfectly content with that. I’ve been serving on staff at our local crisis pregnancy center. New York’s decision hit me like a sucker punch and I’ve been evaluating why. It’s not like I’m surprised. It’s not the worst thing I’ve heard this year in the context of abortion – not by a long shot. But I’ve learned that when my heart starts pounding in my chest I need to speak up.
New York’s decision is personal to me. It isn’t political. Not for me. This past year I sat across from over 50 women seeking abortions and many more who were contemplating abortion, though undecided. Many of these women have had previous abortions. I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about abortion it’s devastating legacy.
It’s true that some women come in and express a lack of regret over their choice. But I’ve never yet, not once, seen a woman celebrate her abortion decision nor express happiness over it, despite what the media portrays. I’ve seen countless tears, watched eyes downcast in shame, listened to stories of attempted suicide, addiction issues, broken relationships, and listened to deep-seeded regret expressed – all stemming from an abortion. It’s both my greatest sorrow and my greatest privilege that I can’t say how many women have sat across from me on the couch and whispered, “I’ve never told anyone this before…” Make no mistake, the media are not the keepers of these secrets. I am, alongside the many, many other women and men who serve on the front lines of this war.
You see, I’ve got skin in the game. I’ve left part of myself behind when meeting with these women. I’ve stood witness to the tiny flickering heart on the screen – the heartbeat no one else, aside from me, the sonographer, and the woman lying on the table will every know about. I’ve spent countless hours connecting women with church and community resources to help meet her need so that she really can have a choice. I’ve seen many of those women choose life. And I’ve seen many of them choose abortion. I’ve shed so very many tears. Prayed so very many prayers. Answered so many calls, texts, emails, and Facebook messages from desperate women. I’ve stayed hours past my scheduled time off. I’ve held sobbing women in my arms. I’ve deeply mourned the losses of those little lives. But I’ve also deeply mourned for the women who now have utterly shattered hearts.
I’ve got skin in this game.
You need to know that, because for what I’m going to say next you need to know I’ve paid the price to say it and earned the right to speak out.
Abortion is a war being fought on multiple fronts: Political, cultural, and spiritual. We need forces deployed on every front. We need men and women who will engage in the political arena. We need young people – and all people – engaged on the cultural front. And we need men and women who will not grow weary fighting on their knees.
We need The Church engaged as never before.
We need our churches to put skin in the game.
There are pregnancy centers all over this nation, even all over the world, who are fighting this war every day. And you know what? We’re winning. But the battle is intense, we get tired, and the fight continues unabated for now. I’m surprised at how often people who know me think I spend my time giving out diapers and organizing a baby closet. I do. But the bulk of my time is spent advocating for women in crisis; explaining abortion procedures, risks and side effects; coordinating an ultrasound; connecting her with resources to meet her needs.
If we’re serious about ending abortion it’s going to cost us something personal. It’s not enough to like and share a post on social media. It’s not enough to hold a diaper drive. It’s not enough to call the pregnancy center on a girl’s behalf and see what we can do for her. All of these things are crucially important and I don’t want to cheapen that.
But if the Body of Christ is serious about ending abortion, then we better get serious about sacrificing for the abortion minded woman. How far are we really willing to go? How many of our churches would forego the fellowship hall remodel, the building expansion, the church coffee shops, or hiring that additional staff member in order to provide housing to the 16 year old girl whose parents just kicked her out because she chose life? Or buy a car for the woman whose boyfriend just left and took the car with him because she wouldn’t abort the baby? Or pay the electricity for her for a year? How many churches are willing to talk about abortion from the pulpit? How many are willing to partner with pregnancy centers to provide post-abortion recovery in the form of fellowship, small groups, and Bible studies? How many will cover pregnancy center staff and volunteers with prayer and encouragement?
How many Christians will open their homes to these women, provide transportation, hire them at your businesses and allow them to bring their babies with them to work? How many hours are you willing to volunteer at your local pregnancy center? How many babies are you willing to adopt to save their lives and to prevent that mama from carrying that dark stain on her soul?
At the pregnancy center where I work, I’m humbled by my fellow staff, our unfailingly faithful volunteers, and the incredible churches who partner with us. I’m often blown away by the self-sacrifice I witness. Sometimes when I reach out for help on behalf of a client I think to myself, “This need is too big. No one is going to want to meet this.” And yet, they do.
The fact remains, though, that we need so much more.
If we want to battle abortion it’s going to require putting some skin in the game.