First of all, thank you so much to every single person who responded to yesterday’s post. Whether you agreed with me or not, it takes time and effort to speak your mind, and I am always grateful to hear from you.
That being said, I think the main thing that I feel compelled to respond to is this (not a direct quote at all, but a paraphrase of several questions I got):
“This is great and all, Abbie. But what are you going to DO about it? What can any of us really DO to make a difference?”
After all, writing that post cost me nothing more than several hours of thinking, researching, praying, and writing. I spend more time that on a room reveal. So, there’s really not much bite to my bark if I stop there.
Proverbs 24:11-12 says: “11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. 12 If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?”
Because even though, yes, just like we talked about before, life and death are in the power of tongue—meaning that words are very powerful things—and dragging dark things into the light with our words is a step in the right direction, that verse does NOT say, “Talk the ear off of those being led away to death; theorize eloquently at those staggering toward the slaughter.”
The talking and writing part is most important in the first part of verse 12 (“but we knew nothing about this”). People need to know. And once they do?
They (I) need to act.
Which is why I called our local crisis pregnancy center this morning and literally said this: “I want to volunteer. Other than that, I don’t even know what I’m asking for.”
That’s how clueless I am, even with a lifelong conviction about the sanctity of human life.
The lady on the other end of the line laughed and said, “Well, can you come in Thursday morning between 8 and 1?”
And I’ll be honest, y’all. My first reaction was, “Shoot. That’s my writing time.”
But then I remembered that I had already written enough. It was time for action.
So, I said, “Yes. I can do that.”
It’s not much. But it’s something. It’s a step. And on Thursday I’ll find out the next step after that. Because if I’m learning one thing in this life it’s this: that when David described God’s word as a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path, there’s a reason he didn’t say, “floodlight” or even, “high-powered flashlight.” Sometimes, God only illumines the next few feet of our life’s path, even though we wish we could see from here clear into eternity.
Which brings me to the nitty-gritties.
What can we do to help the victims of abortion (both the babies and the mothers)?
1) Volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers. If you have a genuine desire to help and a belief in the sacredness of human life, they won’t turn you away, even if you pick up the phone and sound totally lost. (I just proved that).
2) Mentor young women (and men!). When I taught part-time Spanish, I used to have the girls that had taken my Spanish 3 class the year before out to my house on Fridays (because there was no Spanish 4, but they wanted to keep learning). We ate yummy food and spoke Spanish and played with my (then only 1) baby. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was a way for me to pour a little of my limited life experience into those young girls’ lives. I’ve wanted to do something like it again ever since then, but with moves and house-building and lots of new babies, it got shoved to the back burner. I am praying about finding a group of young women I can pour into again.
Of course, you don’t have to have people in your home. You can go to your local boys and girls club or find out about after school programs or get involved at your church’s youth group.
If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with abortion, let me assure you that when half of all pregnancies in America are unplanned and 4 out of 10 of those end in abortion, that means there are a whole lot of young women out there making bad decisions and in desperate need of someone who can show them Jesus.
Knowing someone loves them and is there to listen to and pray for them—someone who won’t abandon them, even in the face of an unplanned pregnancy, can go a loooooong way towards helping a scared young woman understand that she has a choice to let her baby live. And wise counsel and friendship can go a long way towards helping her make the good decisions that will keep her from getting pregnant out of wedlock in the first place.
3) Reach out to single mothers. 85% of all abortions are performed on single women, many of whom live alone and 61% of whom already have one or more children to care for. 69% are economically disadvantaged (code for: have trouble keeping food on the table and shoes on their children’s feet). In the same way young women need to know that they have somewhere to turn for guidance, these single mamas need to know that, if they find themselves pregnant again (or even if they don’t), they have somewhere to turn to for financial and emotional support.
A friend from church hosts something called Single Momma Mondays where she invites single mothers (and their children) into her home and provides them a safe haven for friendship and a warm meal. Sure, that’s only one day a week, but what if you coordinated with your friends to each take a day of the week, and you had Single Momma Monday-Thursday? Even knowing that one meal a day is taken care of can be a huge lightening of the incredible burden these women carry. (The way that my friend does it is to ask her girlfriends to contribute a dish on a particular Monday date so that the entirety of preparing a meal for 10 hungry mamas and their kids doesn’t fall on her; it’s a great way to share the load! I love being able to make a dish and drop it off, knowing that that small gesture is ministering to multiple women).
4) Adopt or foster a child. Yes, adoption is expensive and complicated. And no, not everyone can do it. But will you at least pray about it? I will.
Also, fostering is another great option. Heck, even getting certified to foster so that you can be a relief family for others who foster is a great way to support those hardworking families so they don’t burn out. Because it’s one thing to say that adoption is always an option and quite another to actually take a child in.
5) Get involved with ministries like Cities4life. It’s very different than what you might think of as your typical “abortion protester.” It’s about love and incredible courage, all mashed up into one incredible act of Jesus.
6) Pray. Did you just roll your eyes and think, “C’mon, Abbie. You said this was going to be practical!” Bear with me, please. Even though it’s not a physical act that involves leaving your house, prayer is so very powerful and effective. But I’m not talking about the kind of prayer you tag onto your bedtime ritual. I’m talking about the kind of fervent intercession that changes lives. Set aside a specific morning a week to pray for lawmakers to abolish abortion. Then another to prayer for mamas. And yet another for the babies. And finally for yourself so that God will reveal concrete things you can do to help. If you’re thinking, “But, Abbie. I have kids. Responsibilities. A job. I can’t just sit on my couch all morning and pray four times a week.” I totally understand. (5 kids, remember?). You can pray while you wash the dishes and scrub toilets, though. You can pray in the carpool line or while your child does yet another marathon potty-trip in Walmart (shudder). I think that being a mama gives a whole new meaning to that whole praying without ceasing business. We slip it in whenever we can, but the best part is that many of our tasks allow for that kind of spiritual multitasking.
You could also organize a prayer group that specifically focuses on the issue of abortion and all who are involved in it. Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst.” In other words, there is great power in joining together with like-minded/hearted women.
So, what, out of this list, am I going to do? (After all, how can I suggest these things to you if I’m not willing to at least consider them myself?)
Option G)—all of the above. Does that mean we’re adopting a kid tomorrow? No. And maybe not ever. And I haven’t even researched where the nearest Cities4Life ministry opportunity is (I just found out about it from a reader as I was typing this post). But I’m open to all of it. And I’m taking small baby steps like my Thursday crisis center field trip towards uncrossing my ankles and unclenching my fists so that I can actually be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world.
Will you join me? Oh, please say yes. I’d much rather not do this alone.
Not one of us asked to be born …. I think you are a sweet loving woman Abbie … I don’t agree with your stance on abortion, but I arduously defend your right to present your beliefs…
Thanks for taking the risk and writing about this topic!! As the mother of 3, two of whom are adopted (one domestic, one international), I cannot thank my kids’ birthmothers enough for choosing LIFE when there are other options out there. I feel like I could say so much more about this topic….but….for now I’ll leave it at that.
so glad you referenced cities4life. they also have; https://sidewalks4life.com/ which links you directly to the local “murder mill” in your area and subsequent ministry.
Abbie – wow, bless your heart – you are showing what the ‘body of Christ’ has been called to do and despite being a busy mother of 5, you are doing it…you have an amazing heart for the Lord and you inspire me.
I didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday but I did pray. I think any chance we can take to remember to pray for the unborn who are being aborted is well worth the time. I agree with you on the issue. I cannot comprehend as a follower of Christ how one could justify killing an innocent baby?? As I was praying, I was holding my 7 week old daughter and my heart was broken for all of the babies that will never have the chance at life that she has. Truly heartbreaking!
I do wish adoption in the US was a more affordable option. We have some close personal friends who adopted a newborn baby only 8 weeks ago. They went through a Christian adoption agency and found a birth mother who chose them before the baby was born. They said it cost them $50,000 to adopt their sweet baby boy. That’s crazy! They are planning to downsize their home in order to pay for it. They told us the story of the birth mother (20 yo single female) and how truly brave and strong she was. The baby was given to our friends in the delivery room and they were moved to another hospital room for the remainder of their stay. The birth mother asked to see him one last time the next morning. They agreed, and she cried many tears and our friends did too during that final meeting. They talked for several hours with her and she kept saying that she knew this was the best choice for her son. Our friends comforted, reassured, and prayed with her. After just having baby #4, I cannot even imagine giving my brand new baby away moments after delivery. After hearing their testimony and her story, our friends said she was truly a hero. They said her strength and wisdom were far beyond her 20 years. And I have to agree, I cannot even fathom the courage, strength and selflessness it would take to do what she did. I believe doing what she did took far more selflessness than an abortion. She chose what was best for her baby putting her comfort and her feelings aside…….truly an amazing sacrifice!!
Abbie, I commend you for bringing this topic up on your blog even if it might have cost you some readers (I hope not because the light you bring to your little corner of the blogosphere is contagious!). Thank you for taking a stand for your beliefs! I support you 100% and will always be a faithful reader as long as you are writing. I also appreciate your post today for practical ideas of how we can be Jesus’ hands and feet to these women and unborn babies. I will continue to pray and consider some of the options you discussed. I also look forward to hearing how your experience at the Crisis Pregnancy Center goes. Will you let us know?? Many blessings and Hugs to a fellow sister in Christ!!
I hope you will help advocate for providing women easy access to birth control and family planning information. The best way to prevent abortion is to help women understand their options before they get pregnant. I personally disagree with your stance but respect it, and just hope you’ll advocate for family planning and birth control as a means to prevent abortions.
Thank you for researching and posting. I feel like you took a lot of thoughts from my head and wrote them down. I will be sharing this post with my husband and praying about the ways that we can serve these moms and babies.
I am thrilled to see more people thinking about what they can DO, now that they have recognized the problem! <3
I've done all but #4 thus far over the years. Even small amounts of time can make a HUGE impact!
*Note on #1 – Yes, support your local crisis pregnancy center — IF it is a good one.
Please, do your research on that. Do they call abortion what it is, murder/killing/death? Or do they present abortion as a "choice" (potentially valid option?!)? Do they talk about the baby? Do they call abortion a sin? Do they share the Gospel, is it the Biblical Gospel, and do they initiate the Gospel conversation? Or do they avoid the Gospel and the Scriptures?
There are good cpc's out there…and there are bad ones too. <3
**Note on #5 – See also https://sidewalks4life.com/get-equipped/additional-resources/ (Lots of resources there on getting started!)
You're so right – sidewalk counseling does not have to be the "protesting" we often assume it is. Some folks simply come to the location during killing times and pray. I had the privilege to begin ministering outside one of our local abortion "clinics" this past year. I've learned SO much. It's so hard to leave once you get there. <3 This video portrays it well: https://drawnfromthemire.com/2013/05/11/where-do-you-see-yourself/
Also, a potentially controversial documentary about the Church's role in abortion will be available to view for free tomorrow. I haven't seen it, so I can't really vouch for it (yet), though I'm acquainted with the makers and with others who have previewed it. It will certainly provide food for thought: https://babiesaremurderedhere.com
May the Lord move each of us to action as He sees fit! <3
Warm hugs ~ Jenni
I think you’re very brave to put your feelings out there 🙂 I personally disagree with you, but I appreciate what it took to say it.
Please appreciate that you have been fortunate enough to have never been in such a desperate situation where you’d consider terminating a pregnancy. Your beautiful babies were born into a house of love where they were welcomed with open arms, and they were hoped for and dreamed of and planned for… that’s not the situation that everyone is lucky enough to have. It’s a horrible, soul-wrenching decision to make, not a choice that’s made lightly. And while we all understand that we can’t know what someone else’s life is like until we’ve walked in their shoes, this debate is such an extreme example of that. Different experiences and different circumstances all contribute to different choices.
Many (I’m not saying *all* of them) pregnancy crisis centers primarily operate by giving out intentionally misinformed medical information to women. Lying and telling women that they’ll get cancer if they abort is no way to treat a woman in this personal crisis…neither is picketing or harassing patients on the street. Please treat these women with kindness, because you/we/all of us probably can’t imagine what they’re going through. And never lie about medical information. Whatever the end result is, it’s wrong and dishonest, and it’s a scare tactic that is beneath decent people.
I like your idea of reaching out to at-risk teens before this is an issue, that seems like the kindest and most compassionate way to be involved.
I hope this comment came across with the respect that it was intended with. I really am a fan of your blog and have been following for a while now.
you weren’t addressing me, but I hope you won’t be offended by me responding to you anyway.
I appreciate so much your courage and willingness to express your point of view here. I want to point out a few things, and I hope you can *hear* my tone in the way I intend it, because I say all these things in love. <3
First of all, if you saw my last comment you know I agree that not all pregnancy centers are good. I think we should support them, but be informed and cautious about which pregnancy centers we support. I've worked at some medically sound, gospel-centered, full-of-love facilities that changed many lives. I've also had contact with some that should really be shut down (or give their people some real training so they don't make ignorant false statements).
As per being pro-life and understanding where people are coming from: I HAVE been in a desperate situation where the mother would often choose to have her baby killed – twice. I conceived my first child out of wedlock in high school, and I had no support system whatsoever. My mother made me an appointment for an abortion and drove me there, but thankfully (long story short) I didn't go through with it. I married the father, we had another son, and then I separated from him a few years later after physical abuse and after learning that he had fathered 5 other children outside our marriage during that time. A couple weeks after we separated, I missed my period. I was working two jobs, single, and for a time I actually hoped that I would miscarry (because I didn't want to *really* consider taking the baby's life myself, but I didn't know how I'd make it another day with two kids as it was). But, again thankfully, I chose life for him. It was hard. Really, really hard. Life was hard for some time. Yet I cannot think of one thing during or after my pregnancy and delivery that would have *morally justified* my having an abortion.
Difference circumstances and experiences indeed do contribute to difference choices…but they do not make a particular option *right*. Beneficial in some way, maybe. But not morally right.
It sounds as if you believe that abortion is morally justifiable in some situations. Maybe I'm just too close-minded to see them. (I mean that genuinely – please don't hear sarcasm there.) Can you please tell me, from your own personal convictions, "it's ok to kill a baby in the womb when ____________________". In what situation(s) does taking a life become not just beneficial, but *right*?
In the state of Utah adopting a foster child is free! I’m not sure about the costs in Texas, but if one willing to adopt an older child, it can be done.
Adopting from the foster care system in Texas isn’t expensive. The inspections, trainings, and lawyer fees are less than $2,000. (At least they were for us). We are finalizing the adoption of our son next month, and feel so honored and blessed to get to be his parents!