How to Support Life

With the controversy over stem cell research in the search for many diseases cures, and the ongoing debate of Pro-Abortion vs. Pro-Life arguments, I think it is important to understand how we can show Support for Life.  While some media outlets prefer to focus on the extreme ends of the pro-life argument, there are real, tangible ways we can be pro-life without killing, maiming, or destroying…

Right?

How to Support Life

You can support your local pro-life pregnancy center.  There are hundreds and thousands of pro-life centers across the country who offer a variety of resources to women and families with unplanned pregnancy.  Can I just say this:  DO YOUR RESEARCH.  There are pregnancy centers that are pro-life and there are pregnancy centers that refer for abortion.  Find out what organizations are in your area and what kind of work they do.

Support can come in multiple ways:

  • Financial.  This should be obvious and should also be your first choice (in my opinion as the resource manager of a non-profit pregnancy center).  It is EXPENSIVE to offer free services to women and families, and without financial donations we would not exist.
  • Material.  Many pregnancy centers take donations of items like baby furniture, clothing, and even supplies like diapers, wipes, and formula.  You can meet the material needs of many women and families in need by donating to your local pregnancy center.
  • Physical.  Maybe you have a few extra hours a week or every two weeks or once a month, where you could volunteer at your local pregnancy center.  For example, at our centers, we often need a variety of volunteers who will work with clients or answer phones & schedule appointments or clean the place up or do laundry & fold clothes.   We can find something for almost anyone to do at any given time.
  • Spiritual.  Oh how we covet the prayers of believers!  We see a wide range of clients with an even greater range of needs.  We know we cannot meet every need, and ultimately, we really want to engage with our clients and help them establish a relationship with Jesus.  But it often takes effort and time and energy – and the prayers of supporters is so necessary to operate in a way that is both meeting the needs of our community but also bringing glory to Christ!

You can connect with your local pro-life group.  Now I am NOT EVER going to recommend you join a group that stands outside a clinic, berating women, calling names or threats, or spewing bile onto those that Jesus came to save.  I won’t do it.  Until you have walked in those shoes, you cannot imagine the torture that women face when considering and choosing abortion, no matter how devastating that choice is.  However, the pro-life movement needs support because EDUCATION is life.  The more a woman knows about her body, about her growing baby, and about the options available to her to both bring a child into the world and raise and nurture it (or choose someone else to raise and nurture her baby) – the better choice she can make for herself and her baby.  Having NO options (or believing she has no options) can make her feel like she is backed into a corner, and that is a scary place to be.

Support your local pro-life church.  The battle that churches face today is growing – especially since those who call themselves “church” but don’t follow Christ, do everything to bring harm to His name.  No church is perfect, because the church is made of imperfect people.  However, the body of Christ has purpose, and we must stay committed to serving His Cause.

If you attend a church that doesn’t seem to have many options for pro-life outreach, pray and considering speaking with your pastor about becoming an advocate for pro-life within your church.  Connect your church to your local pro-life agencies and build relationships in your community that allow your church to provide greater impact.  Many times a women’s group or a missions group will lead this charge, and it is such a welcome blessing to our pregnancy center when that happens!

Lastly, remember that compassion goes a long way.  While there will always be those who abuse systems and hoard handouts, there are so many more who just need a little help and encouragement to get their feet under them.  It is this opportunity that allows us to share Christ with these all of women and families who face a challenging life, often with little hope.  It is the ultimate goal of being pro-life, isn’t it?

Here are a few links to pro-life organizations which might point you to agencies in your area:

Heartbeat International

National Right to Life

I am familiar with these two organizations and feel comfortable directing you to them.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below.

 

 

 

Stem Cell Research

I am not a doctor.  I am not a scientific researcher.  But I am going to tackle this because it is important.  I am going to try to (very simply) break down stem cell research in a way so that you might understand a little better what it is and what it means in medical research.  I also want to differentiate between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.

STEM CELL RESEARCH

A stem cell is basically an immature cell – kinda like a baby.  It has potential to become many different things working in many different tissues, which is why medical research has great interest in stem cells.

  • Embryonic cells – typically come from newly fertilized eggs (sometimes discarded and unused after IVF)
  • Adult stem cells – come from developed tissue and can come from infants, children, or adults

Basically a stem cell has no identity, so it can become any kind of developed cell.  The potential to take a stem cell and develop specific structural cells that might be missing or damaged in part of the body is WHY stem cell research is so incredible.

THIS is an article published by the American Medical Association about stem cells and includes a list of where embryonic stem cells are obtained.

Embryonic Stem Cells

The trouble with embryonic stem cells is this:  if life begins at conception and an embryo is destroyed in the process of harvesting stem cells, then this particular method destroys life.  Since the arguments for life rest on when it begins, this causes those who believe the Word of God to have difficulty accepting or condoning embryonic stem cell research.

Please note:  there is a method of embryonic stem cell research which does NOT utilize created embryos, but rather a type of cloning which combines adult tissue with an empty egg cell.  I don’t really understand this process, but since the stem cells are harvested from what they are calling an “embryo” then I think it is problematic.

Because I believe that God creates life at conception, then I cannot support embryonic stem cell research.  Even in the face of terrible disease that might take one or more of my loved ones, I cannot condone the use of disposable embryos for research.

There is a LOT of controversy and (what appears to me to be) misinformation about the use of aborted fetuses for research.  Some articles vehemently disclaim the use of aborted babies and some defiantly defend such use.  For me, it comes down to the fact that an embryo – whether originally intended for implantation into a uterus or electively removed from a uterus – is destroyed in the process of obtaining stem cells.  Either way a baby is destroyed and I don’t want to support this in any way, shape, or form.

Adult Stem Cells

Adult stem cells (also called somatic stem cells) are designed to repair damaged tissue and maintain that repair.  Adult stem cell research is still new – but growing.  Some say there is “little hope” and that adult stem cells are “limited” in research.  Well, I’m willing to go along with those limitations in research, because these cells are harvested from developed human beings.  Those who were allowed to live, of course.

The adult stem cell can renew itself and can differentiate to yield some or all of the major specialized cell types of the tissue or organ.

What is so exciting about adult stem cells is that adult stem cells can be “reprogrammed” and used in a variety of body tissue.  This is illustrated in a great article titled The Case for Adult Stem Cell Research.  (By great – I mean informative – but it is full of medical/technical jargon so be warned.)

I also liked this page for Regenocyte.com .  The more we learn about medical research that does not cause harm or terminate life, the more we can support finding cures for horrible diseases like ALS, Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson’s – and even Diabetes.  We cannot throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater when it comes to these conversations and debates – we need to educate and research instead of just jumping onto one side of the fence.  We should know what we stand for, why we stand for it, and whether our stand against something is based in knowledge as much as in faith in our Creator.

 

Would you Sponsor Me in the Walk for Life?

As you may already know, I work part-time for a non-profit pregnancy center.  In fact, the organization I work for operates 3 pregnancy centers in 3 different counties in Ohio.   Because we are non-profit, the organization receives NO government money.  On occasion, we are able to apply for and receive grants from local businesses – but more than 98% of our funding comes from individuals, businesses, and churches.

This Saturday, we are holding our Walk for Life event in 2 counties.  (Last weekend, we held the first annual 5K Run/Walk in 1 county). Because I am an employee, I will not actually be walking the event, but will help host and operate the event in 1 of our locations.

Would you Sponsor Me in the Walk for Life?

I won’t be actually walking, but I will be attending and helping run the Walk.  We often have members of local churches, local pro-life groups, and other people who are passionate about encouraging women to consider the option of LIFE for an unplanned pregnancy.

Here’s a little about what we do:

We offer pregnancy testing and limited ultrasounds (both free of charge), pregnancy education and support, parenting education and support, a boutique for obtaining needed items like diapers, wipes, and formula (again, free of charge), and a clothing closet.  This summer, we will have a post-abortion Bible study.  We offer many opportunities for clients to learn about God and faith in Him, but do not force any of our clients to participate in any faith-based activity if they are opposed.  Instead, we pray for them and with them and for their family.  Many of our families live in poverty.  Some of them don’t.  Some of them come in just long enough to get an item they need, and some have been coming for a year.

In fact, ALL of our services are free of charge.

In exchange for a commitment to pursue education (video-based), our clients are able to learn how to take better care of themselves and their children, and they are able to “shop” in our boutique and get the items they need to help care for their children.

We are able to do this because of donors who support us in one way or another.  We have those who donate money on a monthly basis, and those who donate one time per year.  We have various fundraiser events where local supporters can participate, including the Walk for Life and our Baby Bottle Campaigns.

If you already support a local pregnancy center, that is wonderful and I hope you continue to do so!

If you don’t, would you consider sponsoring me in the Walk for Life?

You can donate in a few different ways:

Online Gift

You can pay by electronic check or credit card online.  (Click the “Make a Difference Give Now” button.  Select “Other” and type in “Walk for Life – Debbie” to designate a sponsorship for me.)

Mailed Gift

You can also mail a check to – Voice of Hope, 1199 Delaware Ave  Ste 110A, Marion, OH  43302  – and designate “Walk for Life – Debbie” in the memo field or in a note.

I am thankful for the opportunity to work for a pro-life organization that offers tangible help to families in need, along with the opportunity to learn about God and His love for them.

As always, you can pray for organizations who support life!

Why I Am a Pro-Life Woman

I am a Pro-Life Woman. That may offend some. But it may also serve as a bridge to others. THAT – an opportunity to bridge a gap – is the reason I want to share my story. My experiences are not really about me. God has been with me through some horribly DARK moments due to my own choices. Choices that were made despite His opportunities to choose otherwise.

I exercised my “right” to an abortion. And it opened up a Pandora’s box of guilt, shame, remorse, flashbacks, and more pain than I ever imagined.
Continue reading

October Baby – A Movie about Adoption and Abortion

October Baby is a movie by Provident Films about a young woman who discovers she is adopted after a collapse at college. Not only adopted, but an abortion survivor – and that prompts her to take a journey through which God moves in amazing ways. I saw the link for this movie via Cindy Rushton on Facebook and I had to share it!!! I shared it ON Facebook – but now I’m sharing it here with you.

Continue reading

Abortion

While this title may draw some new readers, I will warn you – I am a believer (Romans 10:9). I don’t just believe God exists. I believe that an Almighty God created our universe and all living things in 6 days (Genesis 1), that He literally breathed life into the human beings He created in His Own Image (Genesis 1:26-28). That He desires more than anything else to have a walking relationship – hand in hand, heart to heart – with each individual that has ever been or ever will be born (pretty much all of Scripture), but that because of our own sinful nature (Romans 3:23) we have been separated from our Holy God (Romans 6:23). He is not satisfied with that, so He sacrificed His Own Perfect Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16) – born thousands of years ago – to stand in our stead & pay for our sin with His Blood. Because of Christ’s perfect sacrifice and His willingness to cover the sin that would separate us from God, a way back to a walking hand in hand, heart to heart relationship with God was established. It is ONLY by faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8) that one can be restored to this rightful relationship with our Holy God, and it is ONLY by Christ’s power that we are able to have life eternal with Him (John 3:15).


That being said – If you have read my adoption story, you may have noticed or just glanced over the part where I mention having an abortion. I intentionally did not detail my abortion experience there – although it is a big part of my adoption experience – simply because I need to address it separately. While I will not detail my actual abortion here – I will share the events surrounding my abortion, and subsequent experiences.


I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant. It was shocking – it should not have been – but my pride gave me the idea that “that” would never happen to me. In a turbulent relationship with a guy that my parents vehemently disapproved, I selfishly pursued my own desires and found the consequences of my choices rather abruptly.


I grew up in church. I grew up with the Word of God in my heart and in my mouth – and it wasn’t just something my parents forced me to do. I sought the Lord out – I craved to know Him personally and intimately – and for many years I did so. Until it made me the odd girl out. Oh – it didn’t MAKE me the odd girl out. It was that pride thing that fed my attitude – “all the other kids” got to do stuff, go places, date people as they wanted and my parents were just old-fashioned and didn’t want me to have any fun… sigh.


So I let rebellion seep into my heart – I began to avoid quiet time with my Lord and when the wrong guy came along – that was it. Despite repeated warnings about his doubtful character, I pursued this relationship with an unwavering dogged spirit.


And then I discovered I was pregnant. I can remember the slow-motion feel of that day and how shaken I was. I was just a Junior in high school. I was pregnant by a boy that my parents despised and had forbidden me to see. What in the WORLD was I going to do.


I got a message to the boy and we agreed to meet to discuss it. He so casually said we’d just have an abortion.


WHAT? But abortion means killing our baby! That’s what I thought – but did not say.


And so I agreed to make an appointment, have an exam, and set up the time to have the abortion. The whole time – my heart was screaming – YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS – but I chose to ignore my heart (as I’d already been doing for months and years) and the still small voice that said, “you don’t have to do this.”


Using a completely fake name – I went through with it – although at one point I wanted to stop, but had already been administered some medication and was told it was too late. I will tell you that I came to consciousness screaming. I was anesthetized, but still felt the white hot pain of the actual procedure and can pinpoint the moment my child’s life was extinguished.


Groggily being taken back to a “recovery room” – which was a small room lined with cots – I slept for some time. I woke up and another girl was in the room – she was talkative and said she was having her 3rd abortion. I could hear another girl crying and yelling somewhere in the background, too, and the “doctor” telling her to stop yelling or he wouldn’t help her…


The next time I woke up, it was time to go. There was a glass of orange juice, an Oreo cookie, and a Chips Ahoy cookie next to me. The nurse told me I should eat that to help counteract the blood loss. The talkative girl was gone, but another girl was sleeping in a different cot. I got dressed at some point and went to the waiting room expecting to see my boyfriend. He was not there. (This was before cell phones, so I had no way of contacting him.) So I had to sit in the waiting room.


I felt like there must be some kind of mark on me somewhere – a flashing neon sign – telling the world what I’d just done. The shame was IMMEDIATE. The guilt was IMMEDIATE. I saw other girls coming in and out and I wanted to scream at them – DON’T DO THIS. It’s NOT what you think it is! But I could barely hold my head up, let alone speak to anyone about it. Eventually my boyfriend came sauntering in – I say sauntering because he had this swagger and was laughing. I just experienced the most horrific event of my life – and he’s laughing.


At that point, my vision was cleared. It was something like eating that fruit off that darn tree, just like Eve.


CLICK.


My vision was restored and I saw my selfishness for what it was. And I realized the gravity and magnitude of what I had just done. And when I saw my boyfriend laughing, it was as if I could see that old serpent laughing as he crawled away…


I made it home – was supposed to have bedrest for a couple of days – so I “faked” a stomach illness to my family and managed to rest as much as I could. Took most – but not all – of the prescribed antibiotic and pain med given to me as I left the clinic. I stopped taking it after a couple of days – I felt I deserved the pain and if I got an infection, it was my own fault.


So the self-punishment began almost immediately. This is all happening during a time when my mother was experiencing some physical symptoms that could not be explained. Until a week or two after my abortion. She had a brain tumor. (That was probably MY fault, I thought…)


After my mom’s surgery, she came home to a serious recovery – and I discovered I was pregnant again. Did I mention that not only was I sinful, but I was seriously STUPID? (And Yes, you can get pregnant after just one time…)


Then my grandma died. Now that HAD to be my fault – my sin was just destroying everyone around me. Nobody said this to me – nobody preached this to me – only my boyfriend knew about the abortion at this time. This was ME telling myself that my sin was causing all these other terrible things to happen around me.


This is where I can look back and see the first symptoms of PAS. They started in the waiting room after my abortion – but recognizing the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms I experienced for many years takes me back to this time where I was constantly reminding myself of what I’d done. And torturing myself.


I had nightmares. I had flashbacks. My periods changed to heavier, more painful periods. I was depressed. I was obsessed with the topic of abortion and wrote a term paper including graphic photos of abortion during my senior year.


And then I was pregnant again. And somehow through that pregnancy – I felt the hand of God reach down and pick me up and hold me. The overwhelming, encompassing grace of my Lord Jesus wrapped me up so tightly I could no longer be depressed. I wasn’t happy that I was pregnant again – I was scared. I knew one thing for sure – I would NEVER have an abortion again. And there was something redemptive about having this opportunity to make a DIFFERENT choice – it almost felt like a second chance to do it RIGHT.


Now – I am not saying that I did not face my consequences, or that I have not suffered emotional loss, pain, damage, etc., in my life because I gave birth to my second baby and gave him up for adoption. I am not saying that my sin held no consequence for me. It did. But the grace of our God goes beyond sin, and I felt Him again. I felt Him reaching for me. Despite what I had done. Despite my own self-loathing – God gave me love and grace and mercy.


That did not erase the resulting emotional trauma I experienced. I have had dark days. I have experienced many symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome(PAS) (anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, depression, mood swings, the list goes on) and I had moments where ending my life seemed the only option. And then the face of a beautiful little blonde boy with a smile like mine would flash before me – and I would think about the son I’d given birth to – who was no longer mine – but who lived because of me – and I would find peace. And God gives endless grace through these times…



I am still recovering. Over 20 years later, I still feel the effects of my abortion. I have had difficulty bonding with my girls. I’ve experienced post-partum depression. I have and have had mood swings, anger, bouts of depression & anxiety – these are all effects that haunt me still. I have also experienced great healing and restoration where my abortion is concerned. But there are scars.


And yet there is this young man who is living because I had an abortion and could not even consider aborting him. (Listen – I’m NO hero and I don’t deserve any applause for this. People have told me I was brave – but I wasn’t. I was desperately avoiding repeating a mistake that I regret.) Because of his life – I found so much grace and mercy, not solely in my relationship with my God – but also at the hands and through the heart of his mother, and that is why my adoption story appeared first. Because despite my struggles, there is so much more grace and love than I ever imagined.


I’m sharing this today because it is important that people step outside the abortion “debate” and see it beyond its “hot topic” nature. It goes beyond “rights” and debates. Real people are involved. Real suffering is involved. And Real Healing is available.


Here’s the clincher: If abortion had not been so readily available to me – I would not have this story to tell. I was not pregnant as the result of incest or rape, but this option was there, and I foolishly took it.



Visit Deanna’s blog for her story.


Visit Carla’s blog for her story.

For more information about PAS, Healing resources, etc., visit:



Ramah International


Operation Outcry


Forgiven & Set Free


Do you want to know the REAL story behind Roe v. Wade? Go here.


For Quick Facts, Abortionists‘ stories, PAS, check the links provided.


UPDATE: 20+ years later, the lingering effects of my abortion are not as easily observed. There are a few issues – which motherhood itself raised to the surface of my emotions – and God is bringing more healing & grace to me. I sought out post-abortion healing & restoration through a church group who offered the study “Forgiven and Set Free” (see links above) and it profoundly affected my life for the better. Giving birth to my 2 daughters restored parts of my soul that were wounded in the destruction of my first child’s life. I am looking for ways to help at a local crisis pregnancy center or to reach other women & men who have suffered from their life choices. Scars remain but healing comes.



I welcome your thoughts, your feedback, your comments. I take editor’s rights to moderate – this story is shared with the SOLE purpose to help others.


Thank you.