National Pro-Life Religious Council, Inc. 109 2nd St. NE,
Washington, DC 20013
By Dennis Di Mauro, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
I am becoming more and more convinced that in order to win the minds of
others on the abortion issue, we must share with them the gospel of Jesus
Christ. The reason I believe this, is because I invariably find that people of
faith seem to most fully understand the value of every human being. Only through
a relationship with Jesus Christ, can one fully understand His love for each and
every one of us, including the tiniest unborn babies.
Have you ever met someone new at a pro-life event? Sure you have! We all meet
people who are committed to saving the unborn at pro-life rallies, at the local
Life Chain, or at the NRLC convention.
And I bet I know one of the first questions you asked that new friend. You
probably asked, "What church do you attend?" That is because when we meet a
pro-lifer, we naturally assume that he or she is religious. As pro-lifers, our
faith has everything to do with our beliefs about the sanctity of life. And
thank God for that!
So this begs the question of whether the average secular American can ever
really be consistently pro-life. It is possible, if one examines all the facts,
to come up with a rational humanistic decision based solely on the scientific
evidence, and to decide after weighing all the facts that one should hold to the
preciousness of human life from the moment of conception. That person might also
choose to protect that life in all instances that it might be threatened. But
experience has shown us that that almost never happens.
The average American is easy to convince when a face is placed on the
abortion question. This was shown during the partial-birth abortion debate when
a large majority of Americans cringed at the idea of a little baby having its
brains sucked out in the third trimester. Only the most hard-hearted individual
had no sympathy for putting a defenseless child through such an ordeal.
But the stem cell debate has really shown a spotlight on the views of John
and Jane Q. Public. John and Jane don't really understand what all the fuss is
about. These embryos are so small, they say, and after all, killing a few tiny
embryos could cure so many of the living from such terrible and painful
diseases. What's wrong in using these embryos for such a noble purpose?
Why don't John and Jane Q. Public get it? Maybe it's because no one has ever
told John and Jane about Jesus, and about how precious they are in God's eyes.
Maybe no one them has told them about how God loves them and knit them together
in their mother's womb (Psalm 139:13). And maybe no one has told them that God
has a specific plan for them, and a mission for their lives (Jeremiah 1:5). And
finally, maybe no one has told them that that little embryo is a human being
that God has given the spark of life and through which he will spread His
kingdom of love.
But when we take it upon ourselves to reach out to our brothers and sisters
and share the real Jesus with them, the Jesus of the Bible, we really get to the
root of the matter and provide them with some essential facts needed to
understand the sanctity of every human life. So I want to urge everyone who
wants to share the pro-life message to spend at least as much time sharing the
Gospel of Jesus Christ to those that don't know Him as well. These two messages
really do go hand in hand. In fact, the gospel really completes that intricate
painting of Life which to John and Jane Q. Public looks only half completed.
Once God shines His light, their eyes are opened to the truth of his creation of
a human being from the moment of conception. Without Jesus, that tiny pre-born
baby is just one more helpless Who in Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who,
screaming for his life without anyone able to hear his voice.
NPRC Statement on Human Cloning By Advanced
Washington, DC. November 26 - The National Pro-Life Religious Council,
representing constituent groups within Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, old
line Protestant and Orthodox churches, denounces in the strongest possible terms
the cloning and destruction of human embryos recently announced by Advanced Cell
Technology of Worcester, Massachusetts. We unite our voices, clergy and laity,
to urge Dr. Michael West and his company immediately to cease and desist their
activities in this regard. We also appeal to all similar companies and research
groups to suspend any human cloning activity .... With the Church through the
ages, we believe that God is the creator of human beings, who are indeed created
in God's image. Therefore, no human agency is qualified to play God by
manufacturing human beings and/or by deciding who is of value and who is not. In
the mean time, we also ask that churches, religious organizations and pro-life
advocacy groups urge their constituents to immediately contact their US Senators
and US Representatives to express support for the Weldon-Stupak bill (H. R.
2505) that will ban human cloning and the destruction of human embryos.
It Must Be OK - It's Legal; But Will God Forgive
By Georgette Forney & Dana Henry
National Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL)
a woman, a girl, make the decision to abort her baby?
Georgette: As I drove down Interstate 96 on my way to work in late
September I remember thinking to myself,
It must be okay, after all it's legal, but why do I feel so uneasy about
this? I was 16 years old at the time and I didn't know God, so I prayed to
my grandfather who had died six months earlier, "Please help me, I can't have
this baby, no one will want to marry me, I can't take care of it, everyone will
know I'm not a good girl. Please forgive me."
Dana: "I was a Christian, a volunteer youth leader, and my father was
Senior warden on the vestry at our evangelical, pro-life, Episcopal Church. Good
girls from our church did not get drunk at college, have sex and get pregnant. I
did not have the courage to come home with the news of my pregnancy and risk
disappointing my family and my church. I was so ashamed and disgusted with
myself. I developed tunnel vision. I just needed to solve my "problem", and
abortion was my quick-fix solution. The consequences of looking bad, of
admitting to my sin were too much to deal with -- it was so much easier to just
make it all go away. I told the father of my unborn child that I had decided to
have an abortion, and he agreed to split the cost with me. I used my Christmas
money. He never tried to talk me out of the abortion, it was his child too.
What thought process does she go through to conclude that having an abortion
is the best solution to her problem; an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy? If the
girl is young, it is especially difficult because she is used to thinking only
of short term future concerns, the role of motherhood seems foreign and ill
fitting. For some, the choice to abort isn't really a choice but a way to
deal with the threat of what she'll lose if she has her baby. Parents threaten
eviction, boyfriends threaten to leave, both threaten withdrawal of love, so she
must choose between people she loves or a child that she perceives threatens
those relationships. If she is older, a baby threatens her college plans, career
opportunities or financial security.
The decision to have an abortion focuses on the woman, but the father of the
baby can positively or negatively influence the decision. Many women want the
father of the baby to be a knight in shining armor and save her (and the child)
from going to the clinic. But an attitude and unspoken message of
back off, this is my decision will short circuit the dream. The
cultural message men get says they can't tell a woman what to do with her body;
so they often remain silent. The decision is made, now what?
Georgette: Going into the clinic that morning my heart was numb. I
refused to let myself think about what I was doing. During the examination I was
informed that I was further along than I thought, and I had better do it today,
before it was too late. They offered me a pill to relax me, but said, if I took
it I couldn't change my mind. When my turn came to go into the room I remember
wanting to turn and run, but it was too late. I had taken the medicine. I laid
on the table with my feet in the stir-ups and the doctor came in. I don't
remember him but I remember the loud sound of the machine. It sounded like a big
vacuum, which is what it is. When they shut the machine off, the nurse walked by
me holding a container, I asked her if that was my baby? She said don't worry,
Tears streamed out of my eyes as I fell into a dreamy sleep. I could hear
noises in the room but I couldn't move. I laid there along time, and it was dark
when I came to, and they told me to dress and go home. I left and went to my
sister's house for the weekend. I remember laying in bed that night feeling
lost, alone and empty.
Dana: The father of my baby drove me to the clinic. He sat in the
waiting room for 3 hours all alone. The people at the clinic were very nice. I
gave them all false information about myself because I was terrified that they
would somehow tell my parents about this choice I was making. The counselor at
the clinic, sensing my shame and fear, said to me, "Are you sure that you want
to go through with this?" God had given me a way out, but I didn't take it. I
began to weep as the doctor inserted the needle into my cervix, and the nurse
next to me held my hand. I sat up during the abortion and told the doctor to
stop I had changed my mind. He told me that he was halfway through -- it was too
late. I had killed my baby. It was horrible and painful. As I left through the
back door of the clinic, they handed me packs of birth control pills -- it was
When the Supreme Court took pity on Jane Roe and said she had a right to
decide whether or not she wanted to be pregnant, do you think any of them
thought about the procedure to end a pregnancy? This comment by Frederica
Mathewes-Green captures society's solution of abortion: We advise her, Go
have this operation and you'll fit right in. What a choice we made for her.
She climbs onto a clinic table and endures a violation deeper than rape; the
nurse's hand is wet with her tears then is grateful to pay for it. Grateful to
be adapted to the social machine that rejected her when pregnant. And the
machine grinds on, rejecting her pregnant sisters.
But will God forgive me?
Georgette: When I woke up the next morning I decided to pretend the
day before hadn't happened; it was just a bad dream and I refused to let myself
think about what I had done. I stayed that way for 19 years except when I became
a Christian 6 years later, I asked God to forgive me for my sins. But I knew in
my heart I had committed the one sin that is unforgivable, I killed my own
child. So my relationship with God was limited because I knew I was
unforgivable. I continued living day to day in denial except I would feel guilt
when I heard the word abortion and on Sanctity of Life Sunday.
Dana: After the abortion I went back to my dorm and I was convinced
that I was going to bleed to death. I deserved it. Nobody, knew what was going
on; I was all alone. I sat in the stairwell of my dorm, just weeping and weeping
- that was the only time I grieved. After that, I pretended I was fine while
inside I carried my pain. No one knew my secret. I was able to sit through
Sanctity of Life Sunday at church and agree that all women who had abortions
were murderers of the worst kind. I asked God to forgive me for my abortion
every day - I wasn't able to receive his forgiveness, I kept waiting for him to
punish me. I knew I would never be able to forgive myself.
Women were made to nurture life. Once she is pregnant, she is a mother
whether she acknowledges it or not, and the decision to end that life inside her
will always (if she is honest with herself) cause her to question the moral and
spiritual implications of her decision. The good news is that the answer is yes,
God does forgive! But, accepting that forgiveness is the hard part. Only when
women are encouraged to mourn and grieve the loss of their child can we begin to
accept forgiveness and forgive ourselves. We had surgery, but we've never begun
the healing process until we finally let the truth of our abortion set us free.
Now, God has forgiven us! We have mourned our children, we've named them, we
have forgiven ourselves and we have learned the power of grace and mercy.
Everyday Dana and I regret our decisions to abort Sarah and Elizabeth, but we
are grateful for the promise of seeing them in heaven.
Dana and I decided to share our stories to put a face on the reality of
abortion. We want everyone to know that even though abortion is legal, and God
does forgive, it's not OK.
A book review by Fr. Frank Pavone
In her book to be released in 2002, my friend Dr. Theresa Burke writes,
"There is no social norm for dealing with an abortion. There are no
Hallmark cards for friends who have had an abortion, declaring either sympathy
or congratulations. We don't send flowers. We don't have any ceremonies, either
joyous or mournful. We have no social customs or rules of etiquette governing
acknowledgment of an abortion. Instead, we all try to ignore it."
The book, "Forbidden Grief," with which Dr. David Reardon also
collaborated, demonstrates that grief after abortion is neither expected nor
permitted in our society. Drawing from their vast experience of post-abortion
counseling, the authors illustrate some of the ways that this "disenfranchised
grief" eats away at the personality, and results in harmful and bizarre
As a graduate student, Theresa Burke led a weekly support group for women
with eating disorders. The meeting exploded out of control one night when,
unexpectedly, the topic of abortion arose. Six of the eight participants had had
abortions. This led Theresa to begin exploring the connections. One woman
explained, "I am never hungry when I binge…I eat because I am full. Full of
anger, hurt, sadness, and loneliness. I throw up because that is the way I empty
myself of those feelings."
Every thought and emotion we have is connected to other thoughts, emotions,
and memories. Connections to the negative memories associated with abortion are
often overlooked, even by professional therapists.
Forbidden Grief reveals many of the connections. For example, those
who undergo a trauma often re-enact that trauma, in a subconscious effort to
articulate, understand, and master it. One client became obsessed with pregnancy
after her abortion. She explains, "I used to go to the maternity section in
department stores…I usually had a towel stuffed in my pantyhose to make it look
like I was pregnant…but as soon as I'd get in my car I would cry my head off…I'd
rip the towel out of my belly to dry my tears. I'd tell myself, you're not
pregnant…this is just a stupid towel."
Another rode horseback regularly without padded pants, until she bled
profusely, hence re-enacting the abortion. One way or another, we ritualize our
We also sometimes try to trivialize it when we know it's too much to bear.
Dr. Burke describes a dorm party in which the students, many post-abortive,
played "Baby Soccer." The broken heads of dolls were kicked around the room
gleefully, their eyes gouged out with darts, their cheeks burned with cigarette
Other post-abortive individuals increase their risk-taking behavior, hoping
they will get caught or hurt. After all, they know they are guilty, and may seek
an experience to confirm that.
When society trivializes abortion, people suffering from it will, cry out by
their actions, "I'm not OK! I'm in tremendous pain! Can anyone help me?"
We need to tell them we know that pain, and that it makes sense to grieve. Only
then can healing begin.
Belonging to God
By Rev. James Lamb, Executive Director, National Lutherans For Life
Pro-lifers rightly avoid using language that treat pre-born children as
if they are property or commodities. "Reproduction" and "products of conception"
make us think of factories and assembly lines. People talk about who "owns" the
embryos frozen in fertility clinics as if discussing property rights. There are
"price lists" for the selling of fetal body "parts." Embryonic stem cell
research is sparking efforts to "produce" embryos so their stem cells can be
"harvested" and then "sold" for research. All of these dehumanize the pre-born
child and ignore the fact that all life is a gift from God.
As Christian pro-lifers, however, there is a proper use of such language.
Pre-born children "belong" to God because they are the "work" of His hands.
Pre-born children belong to God and are His "property" because He "purchased"
them with a price.
"You are not your own; you were bought at a price." (1 Corinthians
Not our Own: We are not are own. All of us belong to God because we
are the work of His hands. "Your hands made me and formed me," says the Psalmist
(Psalm 119:73). Job tells us where God's workshop is when he declares that it
was God who "made me in the womb" (Job 31:15). Belonging to God as the work of
His hands is not something that happens after we are born. We belong to Him from
the moment of conception, Therefore, it is not for lack of compassion for women
in crisis pregnancies that we oppose abortion. It is because life is a gift and
belongs to God from the moment of conception. That is why in such difficult
situations we do not choose to love one or the other. We choose to love them
Bought with a Price: All of us belong to God because we have been
bought with a price. The word "bought" here is the everyday word used in the
market place. It implies ownership. You buy it; it's yours. Now it may seem
strange that God would have to buy something that already belongs to Him. Sin is
the reason for that. Sin separates us from the one who made us. But God still
loved what He made and paid the penalty for that sin. It cost Him dearly "not
with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and innocent suffering and
The purchase price included a purifying. This is implied when Paul says,
"Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19). When we believe
in Jesus as our Savior and confess our sins, we are pure enough for God Himself
to live in us! "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive
us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Belonging to God is not just a message that moves us to love the pre-born.
Belonging to God also gives us a powerful message of forgiveness and purity that
those who have been crushed by an abortion decision need to hear. Those who have
made this decision feel anything but pure. They may even feel they have
committed a sin that is too big to be forgiven. Nevertheless, they too belong to
God. He made them. He bought them with a price. Confession of their sin will not
only lead to forgiveness but purity! The God who made them and purifies them
lives in them. His presence will strengthen them and support them in the process
of healing and hope.
There is certain language that dehumanizes people and treats them as if they
are but "products" or "commodities" to be produced, bought, or sold. We should
avoid such language. We need not avoid the language of Scripture, however. There
we are told that all human life belongs to God because it is the work of His
hands. There we are told that all human life has been bought with a price and
forgiveness of sins and purity has been purchased for all. Belonging to God is
definitely a pro-life message!