I never thought I would get such a huge blessing on Halloween...but I did. We found out on October 31st that all four parts of the Texas prolife omnibus bill will go into effect as planned. Here are the components: 1. Any physician committing abortion must have privileges at a hospital within a 30 mile radius of where they practice. Began November 1, 2013. 2. The RU-486 abortion procedure (medical abortion) must be provided by FDA guidelines. Began November 1, 2013 3. Abortions after 20 weeks gestation are no longer legal. Began October 29, 2013. 4. Any facility providing abortions must be licensed as an Ambulatory Surgical Center. Begins September 1, 2014. All of these regulations just make sense. If a physician is not able to get hospital privileges, then I probably don't want him performing surgery on me. It's really that simple. I've never had surgery where my physician would not be able to treat me if complications arose. But that is exactly what women are subjected to when they have an abortion. They usually don't even know the name of the doctor that committed the abortion. And if, by chance, they do, he won't be the one to care for her if she ends up at the hospital anyway. Now that is what you call poor patient care. The RU-486 changes will include more visits to the actual physician who will give you the abortion medication. What a lofty idea!! To be able to meet and speak with the physician who will be giving you medication that could potentially kill you...and will, most definitely, kill your unborn child. Wow. What a concept. I will only say one thing about the 20 week ban. If you can't decide whether or not you want to have an abortion in FIVE months...then you need counseling, not an abortion. And don't give me some ridiculous line like, "But what if the baby is diagnosed with Down's Syndrome or some other syndrome that deems them imperfect?" Um, those "imperfect" children have the same value as anyone else. They don't deserve death. The last part of the bill is really the most detrimental to the abortion industry. This is the portion that will close down all but 6 abortion clinics in the state. It's not set to go into effect until next year. All I can say that is that September 1, 2014 is going to be a HUGE day of celebration. This section of the bill will be the part that most significantly reduces the number of abortions performed in Texas. Requiring a facility that performs surgery to be licensed as an Ambulatory Surgical Center is not a crazy idea. It's actually a very logical and practical idea...and increases the safety standards for women. There are MANY abortion facilities in Texas that would not be able to accommodate emergency personnel if they were called. They would not be able to fit a gurney into the hallways or rooms. They may not even be able to fit through the front door. This is a safety issue. This portion of the bill will rectify that. There are CURRENT abortion clinics that have window AC units in the rooms where abortions are committed. This is supposed to be a sterile environment. That will no longer be allowed under these new regulations. Facilities will have to have hospital grade HVAC systems to ensure sterility. Other things include requiring life saving equipment, elevators that can be used during emergencies (you know, so they can safely transport patients), increased reporting to the state, and additional medical staff. Aren't all of these shocking??!! No, of course they aren't. This should be standard procedure for anyone providing surgical services. Thankfully, this will now be the standard for abortion facilities across the state. Will these regulations cost the abortion industry money? Of course they will. But since it is a billion dollar industry, that shouldn't be a problem. And of COURSE these facilities would want to meet these higher standards because certainly their first priority is the safety of their patients, right? Wrong. The abortion industry has been kicking and screaming like my toddler for the past few months. But on Halloween, they officially lost. Now, that doesn't mean their tantrum is over. It does mean, though, that their little fits of rage will fall on deaf ears. In the end, we won...babies won...mothers won...families won. Can I call this a victory? Well, in the last three months, we have seen 7 Planned Parenthood facilities close...Burleson, Corsicana, Bryan (abortion providing), Lufkin, Huntsville, Midland (abortion providing) and San Angelo (abortion providing). As of November 1st, we have seen an additional 16 abortion facilities cease to commit abortions. From 42 clinics to 19 in three months...yep, I'll call that win.
I had brought two roses, one read and one white. I placed one on the fence for my own child whose life was taken by abortion inside that facility. I placed the other in memory of the thousands of lives that had been taken by my hands, my words, my lies. One single flower didn’t seem like enough. But it was all I had to offer. How do you memorialize so many children?
I was suddenly overwhelmed. I fell to my knees, weeping for these women and children. Hundreds of people were beginning to gather to pay tribute. I could hear them taking pictures of me as I cried. I closed my eyes. This moment was not about me. None of the work that I do is ever about me. I was trying to tune out the noise of clicking cameras in the background. This was my time to mourn…to really feel that loss.
After about 15 minutes, I stood up and composed myself. It was now time to thank everyone who had sacrificed so much to see this moment happen. This was their dream. So many had sacrificed so much. I was blessed to be such a small part of it.
And so this is my prayer. That all of you who sacrifice so much would experience this joy. You stand and pray, with faith that the abortion clinics with close. They WILL close. And you will be there to witness it…to see your dreams come to fruition.
We all have the opportunity to be a part of something that truly saves lives…40 Days for Life. If you have never participated, I encourage you to make the committment. No one loves praying outside an abortion clinic. It is a sad place. But even though it is uncomfortable, we MUST go. We must be there to bring Christ out to these places of desperation and hopelessness. And you will never go alone…God will be there with you.
You may wonder if your presence outside an abortion clinic makes a difference. Well, let me tell you what Planned Parenthood announced at the last national conference I attended. They said this, “Our no-show rate goes up to 75% when people are outside our clinics praying.” You see, when you come to pray, you are saving lives even if you don’t know it. Women see you and instead of pulling in the parking lot, they drive right by. When you are on the sidewalk, women see you as an outward sign of their inward conscience. Your presence shows them that the decision they are making is morally objectionable. Doesn’t it feel good to know that you CAN save a baby from abortion? But you have to show up. You have to be present.
I am in this movement today because of ordinary people who took on an extraordinary task. My former abortion clinic is closed because of their sacrifice. Babies are alive because of them. Women are no longer being hurt by abortion in their community. You can do this. You can save a life. To find a location near you, visit www.40DaysForLife.com.
Cookie season is coming up. What do we say to these cute little girls who will ask us to buy their cookies? Well, maybe we shouldn’t SAY anything. Maybe it would be better to just have something in hand that you could give to their moms. Well, here is that piece of paper that you can hand out! You will be doing these girls and their families a favor by educating them about the link between the Girl Scouts and our largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.
CLICK HERE —> Girl Scouts PP link
There have been several schools of thought on how to handle abortion clinic workers.
Attempts to bribe abortion clinic workers out of the abortion industry with promises of thousands of dollars in reward money generally sends one message to clinic workers: we want to use you for what you know, and we really don’t care about your well-being, your healing process, your relationship with Christ, or your family.
This is NOT what the pro-life movement should be about. This is certainly not what And Then There Were None (ATTWN) is about. I started this ministry not to “get stories,” but to help people find healing and renew/begin their relationship with Christ.
ATTWN has had 80 abortion clinic workers leave the industry and come through our ministry since last June. We did this not with bribery, not with intimidation, nor with intention to use those who come to us. We help them pay their bills while they job hunt, get them on healing retreats, and provide them with legal aid only if they want it. ATTWN offers a safe, confidential way out for abortion clinic workers when they’re ready to leave. That is why we are successful.
I founded the ministry specifically to change minds and convert hearts. You cannot bribe an abortion clinic worker or pay them off to what is right—that comes from a true conversion. Former clinic workers with converted hearts can be a huge asset to the pro-life movement, but that doesn’t mean we coerce or push them to share their stories or all the dirty little secrets of their former clinic.
If a former abortion clinic worker wants to go public, it needs to be on their own time, on their own healing journey, if (and only if) they truly desire to speak out… not because big chunks of money are dangled in front of them. We will continue to be here for abortion clinic workers as long as they need healing. Conversion is our only goal.
I just stood there…and cried. I closed my eyes. I could feel their breath on my neck. They were yelling inches from my ear. “Whose choice? My choice.” I had forgotten what this darkness felt like. I opened my eyes and saw a familiar face. It was one of my former friends from Planned Parenthood. I smiled and waved when I saw her. It was as if I had forgotten that we were no longer friends…not because of who I am, but because of what I now defend. She mouthed something profane at me…very slowly so I would be sure to catch what she said. Now I remembered. We were not on the same side. Our eight year long friendship was gone…no matter how much I had wished it wasn’t.
I was standing in the largest rotunda in Texas State Capitol. There were about five of us prolifers…thousands of people surrounded us…people who supported abortion…people I used to be. There were many other prolifers there, but they were in the gallery, in legislative offices, and in lines to get into the gallery. I had to be in the middle. I had to feel that heaviness. Sometimes I forget what it feels like. I need to be reminded from time to time…it reminds me why I fight so hard and what we are truly up against.
I was at the Capitol every day. Most of the time there wasn’t much to do. But it was important just to be there…in our blue shirts…with our peaceful and prayerful attitude. The abortion supporters were profane. They were vulgar. They had succumbed to evil and they didn’t even know it. We had to be there. Because when we showed up, Christ showed up.
June 25 – I came to the Capitol with my 5 day old son. I had written “abortion is mean” on the side of his infant carrier. As I strolled him through the building, I was amazed at the comments from the abortion supporters. “He is so adorable,” they would say. One woman said, “What a precious gift.” Maybe it was hormones, or maybe it was the sheer irony, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I started to respond. “Yes, he is beautiful. And just 5 days ago, it would have been legal to kill him by abortion. That’s what you are here to support.” I got no response from anyone. Just blank stares. I walked into the gallery during the Wendy Davis show. By that, I mean her failed filibuster. I listened to her read story after story, lie after lie. It was hard not to stand up and yell out the truth. But yet, I listened and was truly amazed. Here was this woman who clearly knew nothing about Planned Parenthood’s reality. She had bought every line they had thrown at her. It was pathetic to think that this hired performer, paid for by the abortion industry, was willing to sacrifice so much. No breaks, no going to the bathroom (hence her catheter), no food, no water, nothing. And for what? To ensure that women have easy access to kill their children. I could do nothing but pray for her. A vote was taken that night…but it was two minutes too late. The disrespectful crowd in the gallery had delayed the vote just long enough. So, we waited for Rick Perry to make a call.
June 26 – Perry did make the call. He announced that there would be a 2nd special session. We weren’t surprised, as we really have the best dang governor in the country. We worked to rally even more troops for our side. We knew we were going to win. We knew we had the votes. But we had to win the argument, too. Talking points were being written and distributed to prolife groups. Facebook groups were created in order to keep everyone on the same page. People were excited. They knew we were, once again, walking into a spiritual battle. But this time, we had more troops…and we were armed with prayer.
July 1 – The 2nd special session began. Prolifers showed up in droves. There were hardly any abortion supporters at the Capitol that day…but we knew they were coming.
Over the next few days, the bill made its way to the final vote…through the House Committee, through the Senate Committee, through the Senate floor, through the House floor. It was finished. The votes had been tallied. Texas had now passed the most restrictive prolife legislation in the country. But it wasn’t without opposition. The abortion supporters had come. They had come with their vulgar signs. They had come with their profane language. They had come with their disrespectful attitude. And yes, they came with their used tampons and jars of feces. It was a spectacle. They handcuffed themselves to railings. They threw tampons in the air. They took their bras off and waived them around. They yelled. They screamed. They cursed at our children. They were full of anger and hate. But underneath it all, they were full of pain.
I have felt a lot of things since leaving the abortion industry. I have felt sadness, lots of guilt, remorse, and pain. But honestly, I have never felt embarrassment until those days at the Texas Capitol. And while I don’t THINK I would have thrown a used tampon on a legislator, I would have laughed when someone else did it. I would have thought it was brilliant. And that’s the bottom line…their mind is no longer their own. Once evil breaks in, your thoughts, your words, and your behavior is not controlled by you. I look back at my time with Planned Parenthood and can’t even believe some of the things that came out of my mouth. It’s like I was a different person…and, in a way, I was. That must be our prayer…that these misguided individuals would one day become new creations in Christ. That’s what I pray for my former friend who I saw at the Capitol. That’s what I pray for all clinic workers. It’s what I pray for women who have chosen abortion. It’s what I pray for those people who stood around me in the rotunda…those who were screaming in my ears and staring at me with such evil disdain. I pray because I know it works.
Those days at the Texas Capitol, I had never been more proud to be prolife. We showed up and we made a difference. We put up a fight…a holy fight…a fight for Christ and His Truth. We were united for one cause. We were compassionate. We were slow to anger. We were kind. We were merciful. We were prayerful. We were exactly what Christ intended us to be. And now we are being rewarded. Abortion clinics are already closing. Yes, we will win.
I recently saw an article that showed Wendy Davis on the front cover. The headline read, “Game On.” Hmm. With all of these clinic closures, I’m thinking it’s more like “Game Over.”
HISTORIC ABORTION CENTER CLOSURE ANNOUNCED Bryan/College Station, Texas -- The most significant abortion center closure -- in the 40 years of legalized abortion since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision -- was made public today when Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Inc. announced that it was shutting down its abortion facility in Bryan/College Station, Texas after fifteen tumultuous years in business. In 2003, on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, ABC's Nightline spotlighted pro-life efforts in Bryan/College Station and said the community was "shaping the abortion debate" in America. Since that time, the local Planned Parenthood abortion facility gained worldwide notoriety as: * Site of the first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign in 2004, an effort that has since grown into a worldwide pro-life mobilization of 575,000 volunteers in 501 cities around the globe; saving 7,536 babies from abortion, closing 37 abortion centers, and helping 83 workers to quit their jobs in the abortion industry * Place where former abortion center director and Planned Parenthood employee of the year Abby Johnson experienced a conversion, quit her job, and became an outspoken pro-life advocate, going on to found And Then There Were None, a new ministry which has since helped 60 other workers to leave the abortion industry over the last year * Home of the Coalition for Life, the grassroots organization which Planned Parenthood credited for making the community "the most anti-choice place in the nation" in which Planned Parenthood experienced its "most consistent and active" opposition in the nation David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life, said: "This is epic news fifteen years in the making! Thousands of dedicated community members have faithfully prayed and held peaceful vigils outside this abortion center, offered hope and alternatives to turn away prospective Planned Parenthood customers, and educated the community about the harm of Planned Parenthood. These efforts, combined with the decisive action of the Texas legislature, have finally brought about this closure that is an answer to prayer." Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life campaign director, said: "As the birthplace of 40 Days for Life and the place where Abby Johnson resigned after eight years working for America's largest abortion chain, this is a huge victory for the entire pro life movement! Peaceful and prayerful local opposition to abortion is ending abortion from the grassroots up." Bobby Reynoso, executive director of the Coalition for Life, said: "I was surprised when Abby Johnson walked through our doors back in 2009, but today I am not. Victories like these should be expected when a community of faith stands up against the greatest injustice of the day. How little was my faith then, but today I'm reminded once again of how great a God we serve." Abby Johnson, former Bryan/College Station Planned Parenthood abortion center director and founder of And Then There Were None, said: "This is what grace truly looks like. Knowing that the former abortion clinic I once ran is now closing is the biggest personal victory of my life. From running that facility, to then advocating for its closure, and now celebrating that dream ... it shows that my life has indeed come full circle. I am honored to have worked with so many who helped with my conversion and the closure of this facility. We will continue to fight until every abortion clinic in this country has shut its doors." ### This news was also accompanied by announcements of closures of two other Texas Planned Parenthood centers -- in Huntsville and Lufkin -- both of which were sites of 40 Days for Life campaigns.
Thoughts From An Abortion Survivor On The Gosnell Case
“Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder and given a life sentence for the murder of three babies who were born alive in his clinic along with involuntary manslaughter for the overdose of a woman undergoing a late term abortion.”
These words keep ringing in my ears. Many have linked his practice to the “aftermath of Tiller.” Tiller was a late term abortionist in Kansas who changed abortion in our country. He made abortion, specifically late term abortions, gruesome yet easily obtainable, somewhat affordable and not nearly as frowned upon in our country today!
For those who are not familiar with my story, I am a late term abortion survivor. My 13 year old birth mother had an abortion while she was pregnant with my twin and I in the 5th month of her pregnancy. The abortion was successful for my twin but not for me. When my birth mother returned to the abortion clinic still pregnant, the clinic she had originally been to referred her to a “late term abortion clinic in Kansas.”
Since the abortion was performed in 1988, we can assume that the abortion clinic she went to to obtain her 2nd abortion was Tiller’s late term clinic.
After examining my birth mother’s condition, the abortionist was unable to do the 2nd abortion because the risks were fatal.
Had my birth mother been pregnant these days, she surely would have found someone similar to Gosnell, who mimicked Tillers practices, to “finish the job.” Surely I wouldn’t be here and neither would my beautiful 3 month old daughter and possibly even my birth mother.
This past week I was studying Romans with my dad as he prepared for a missions trip. One of the verses read “Christ died for the ungodly.” That means me. That means you. And it struck me…that means Tiller AND Gosnell!
I have always wanted to go meet the man or woman who performed my birth mothers abortion, the person that took my twins life. I want to tell that person that they are forgiven…not only by me but by a God who died to save them. I want to show them pictures of my childhood and my daughter…the amazing pieces of my life that would not have happened if abortion had been safe and successful. I want to tell them about my birth mother; a beautiful woman who was robbed of her childhood at 13 because of abortion. I want to tell them of the joys of life, love and happiness that is available for their life too!
I won’t get this chance with Tiller but there are still many doctors modeling Tiller’s abortion practices. These are the doctors I pray for. These are the doctors I will have forgiveness for and these are the doctors that I hope one day have joy, love, a conviction to protect all life, and accept the forgiveness of The Lord.
Please join me in prayer. Instead of praying for them to get what they “deserve”, pray for Kermit Gosnell and others to get what they don’t deserve. After all, we were given the ultimate gift that we don’t deserve; freedom and forgiveness in Christ.
To learn more about Claire’s story or to have her speak, visit www.claireculwell.com.
I am vehemently against the death penalty. Now stay with me…this is not a post about my opinion regarding that. You can disagree or agree with me on that some other time. I did want to share a little bit about why I take the words of prolifers so seriously. I have heard so much vitriol spewed from the mouths of “Christian prolifers” since the Gosnell trial has concluded. I feel like I must address it.
When I was confirmed as a Catholic, I chose Mary Magdalene as my confirmation saint. I felt an immediate connection to her. She had sinned so much…and was forgiven in even greater amounts. She knew she didn’t deserve forgiveness…but she received it anyway. And because of this, she clung to Christ. She knew she was nothing without Him.
I have also done my fair share of sinning. And I have also been forgiven much more than I deserve. I abused and betrayed women in the worst possible way. I convinced them to kill their children. Did I slit the necks of children after they were born? No. But, I was an accomplice to murder. Thousands of times…women I knew, women I didn’t, my friends, even my family. I lied to people. I lied to women when they came to me for accurate information. I was among the worst sinners…those that help to take and destroy life. I am no better than Kermit Gosnell.
I took my own children’s lives…twice. Not because I was coerced. Not because I didn’t know better. But because I thought children would be an inconvenience to my lifestyle. I am responsible for their deaths…no one else.
So when someone talks about Gosnell and says things like, “murderers and people like him don’t deserve to breathe the same air as I do,” or “I hope he burns in hell,” it hurts a little. Because that was me. But I am still here…breathing that same air…and trying to spend my life righting my wrongs. And it’s not just me. I know they hurt others like me, as well. People who have left the abortion industry and will work every day to recover from their sins. People who are still in the industry and think they will be shunned by the pro-life movement…maybe they would reach out to us if they knew we would accept them. I am always terrified that clinic workers will see some of the words from prolifers. I have been told by several former workers that they will NEVER come forward with their stories because they are so scared of how they will be treated by us…by US…the supposed “Christian” movement. Their fears are real AND legitimate.
I know some will say, “but you repented, that is the difference.” But what if I hadn’t…not yet. What if I was still inside the abortion industry? What if I was still an accomplice to murder? What if it took me longer to realize the truth? Do I deserve to die? Are we saying repentance is about our timing? Certainly, it is not about us. It about God and His perfect timing.
Right now, I shouldn’t be in this movement. I should be the COO of the 4th largest revenue generating Planned Parenthood affiliate in the country. I should be overseeing the largest abortion facility in the Western Hemisphere. I should be making 6 times the amount of money that I make in the pro-life movement. But I’m not. Why? Because of forgiveness. Because of mercy. Because of grace. Because of God. And because of REAL pro-lifers. The people I turned to accepted me for me…baggage and all. They knew that I was a broken person, and they loved me anyway. They knew I needed significant healing, and they helped to provide it.
I remember one story in particular which always makes me tear up when I think about it. One of the ladies, Karen, that immediately befriended me after I left Planned Parenthood was asked a question by a reporter. He asked her, “So, what was Abby like before she became pro-life? I mean, how nasty was she?” Karen’s answer was so genuine, and so Christ-like. She simply said, “I don’t remember that person. She is a new creation in Christ. I won’t talk about her past, I only want to talk about her future.” Wow. What grace. What forgiveness. She could have really spilled the beans on me, but she chose not to. Why? Because she truly loved me…and she always had, even while I was working at Planned Parenthood. She always believed the best in me, always believed that my conversion would happen.
It was Christ who changed me. It was the merciful and compassionate words of His people. It was no condemnation. It was not prayers that I would burn in hell. It was not those who yelled and called me names. It was the words of people like Karen. Those who prayed that I would, one day, walk out of that clinic. Those who had constant faith…even when that faith was a struggle to have. I am here because of THEM and because of their Christ-like witness.
Don’t we want that for every abortion clinic worker and abortion provider? Don’t we want that for Kermit Gosnell? I smile every time I imagine his conversion. What a heavenly victory that will be! Can it happen? If you say no, then you do not know the God that I do. My God is in the business of miracles. And my God does not want anyone to suffer in hell. He wants ALL of his children to come to him…yes, even those of us “monsters” that are in or have been in the abortion industry.
Hate comes from hell. Mercy comes from Christ. When we have hate in our hearts, our spirits are damaged. Be careful with your words. Not only are you a living witness of Christ and His truth, but you could put your own soul at risk. “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” 1 John 3:15 When we hate, we are no better than those who kill.
I am not the sweetest person. I’m not the one who catches all the flies with honey…sometimes I am all vinegar. What do you expect? You expect the most tender hearted to work in the abortion industry? Maybe we aren’t like all of you. Maybe we aren’t the most kind-hearted. Maybe you don’t understand how we could do what we have done. But those of us that leave…we are fighters. We are willing to take hits for our former sins. We are willing to stand up in places that are uncomfortable. We are willing to be bruised by others because we know that we have to…we know that will be the price we pay…it just hurts more when the bruises come from those who should be rejoicing in our repentance. We are passionate. We don’t waste time beating around the bush…not when it comes to life…especially the lives that we helped take.
Those of us that have worked in the industry all live our lives with a constant burden. One that will not be free from us until we reach heaven. We can’t let our burden slide off of our shoulders…it is what keeps us on fire. It reminds us of why we fight so hard. We have seen death and evil in a way that most haven’t…and we participated. We are forgiven.
So, should I be able to “breathe the same air as you?” That’s not really up to me to decide. But if you say things like that, know that a small piece of our heart is broken, and I have to believe that it grieves Christ. But even if you break our hearts, we forgive you. Even if you bruise us, we forgive you. He who has been forgiven much, loves much. And we love a lot. I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can call Kermit Gosnell a former and REPENTANT abortion provider.
Our friend Pam has a store on Etsy. She has graciously offered to donate 20% of all profits to our ministry And Then There Were None for the months of November and December. She has even made a special ATTWN bracelet! Please check out her store and purchase something if you are able. Remember, Christmas is just around the corner!!
I pulled into the parking garage and felt that feeling. It was familiar. I walked into the front door of the hotel and got my name tag. I stared at the large doors that shielded the entrance to the ballroom. It was familiar, too. I walked to my assigned table and looked around the large room full of votive candles and white table linens. All familiar. I sat down at my table and heard the excited chatter around the room. Hugs are given, reminiscing about their families, talking about work. Yes, that is familiar. The event begins, dinner is served…chicken…unfortunately, that is very familiar. It is my time to give my keynote speech. I stand on the stage and look out at the crowd. This room…I have been here before.
Just four years ago, I sat in this room. I was listening to keynote speeches for the Planned Parenthood Annual Conference. I listened and cheered as we were given strategies to increase our abortion numbers. I cried as I listened to Dr. George Tiller recount story after story of how he has been threatened by “anti-choicers.” I clapped as awards were given. I felt a sense of pride as I watched abortion doctors present their strategies on abortion techniques. I was a part of this. I was a fighter…a fighter for women’s rights. A defender of women.
Now I sit here, in this same room, and listen as women stand and talk about how their lives were ruined by abortion. I look at the faces of babies whose lives were saved because these “anti-choicers” cared about them and wanted the very best for their lives. Their lives…the very thing I was trying to take away. I am still a defender of women. But now, I also defend their children.
I left Planned Parenthood on October 6, 2009. It is an important day for me. It is the day my life changed…the day I became new again.
I have noticed many familiar things on this side “of the fence.” I attend pro-life events and see the familiar pro-choice protestors. However, this time, I am inside the building, instead of outside with a homemade sign. I see women going into abortion clinics with the same, familiar burdensome look on their faces. But now, instead of counseling them on why they should have an abortion, I am counseling them from the sidewalk on why abortion is not the best choice for them. So many familiar things, except for one. Unity.
When I worked at Planned Parenthood, I was subscribed to most of the pro-life national group listserves. Every day, emails would flood in about how “this idea was going to be the one to take down the abortion industry.” Then another would come, “No, this is the best idea!” We would all just sit back and laugh. “These pro-lifers will never get it together,” we would say. “They expect to take down our industry when they can’t even all get on the same page!” We would read these emails and feel very secure in our employment. We will never be taken down…we are too big…we are everywhere…we are in their schools, in their churches, in their communities…they can’t stop us. We would giggle with pride. We were united in our common cause. We would keep abortion legal at any cost.
And so it was for 8 years of my life. I loved my co-workers. I loved the cause I stood for. I’ve never known that type of unity. To be a part of something like that was exhilarating. We fought together. We supported each other. We stood together…always.
When I left Planned Parenthood, I was honestly worried about leaving that sense of community behind. Would I ever fit into a group like that again? Surely I would. We are talking about the pro-life movement…the “Christian” movement. Christians love each other! They support each other! We will now work together to support women AND their children. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how wonderful it was going to be. Well, I’m still imagining.
I have to sit back and laugh…when I worked at Planned Parenthood, I received death threats from “pro-lifers.” Now that I am out, I still receive death threats from “pro-lifers.” I’m not sure what they want from me. They didn’t like it when I was in, they don’t like it now that I am out. I watch groups bicker over which legislation is the “best.” I have seen pro-life groups and initiatives be sabotaged by other pro-life groups. If one pro-life person doesn’t agree with another pro-lifer’s opinion, then they have “lost respect for you.” I see an incredible amount of division within the Protestant/Catholic prolife community. The wonderful group, PLAGAL, has never been allowed to have an outward presence at the National March for Life in DC…why? Because they don’t fit into the stereotypical pro-life box? I have been uninvited from pro-life events as a speaker because I am now Catholic. I just saw a pro-life person on Facebook today ridiculing those who call themselves “abortion abolitionists”…simply because he doesn’t believe some of us are worthy of the title. I hear constant condescension because I am “so new” to the movement and obviously don’t know what I am talking about…unless they agree with me…then I know SO MUCH about what we should be doing.
Why all the infighting? Aren’t we all fighting for a common cause? It seems like we aren’t. It seems like we are fighting against each other. And at whose expense? The unborn.
I have always been a love me or hate me kind of gal. I am overly passionate. I was overly passionate about abortion rights…and now, am even more so about the unborn and their mothers. I spent 8 years of my life lying to myself, and more devastating, lying to others. I know I am sometimes hard to handle…my mom would say I’ve been that way since I was born. And while I appreciate the fact that many do not agree with me and others on many issues, does that mean that it is necessary to tear each other down? Why do we do this so often in the pro-life movement?
Please understand that I am not talking about accountability. Accountability is very important. Romans 16:17-18 talks about this. There will be false prophets, those that come to destroy. We must divide from them. There are certainly those in the pro-life movement. There are organizations that seem to have no real desire to end abortion. We must divide from them. There are organizations who promote violence as a means to end abortion. We must divide from them. There are organizations that seek to destroy anyone who doesn’t agree with their ideas. We must divide from them.
All of the pieces of our pro-life puzzle have come together. We have solid legislative efforts to end abortion. We have thousands of pregnancy centers to help women and families who are experiencing a crisis pregnancy. We have peaceful activists out on the sidewalks witnessing to women walking into abortion clinics. We now have an outreach to abortion clinic workers. The pieces are there…can we work together to end this atrocity?
You may not like my approach, and I may not like yours…but I will support you if you are trying to save the unborn through peaceful means. We don’t always have to agree, but we should always pray for each other, we should always build one another up, we should always unite for the unborn.
I look forward to the day when I can look upon the pro-life movement and say joyfully, “Yes, this unity feels familiar.”