From Abortion to Conversion: Testimony of a Former Abortion Provider Kathy Sparks

Kathy Sparks

This testimony was originally given at a "Meet the Abortion Providers" workshop sponsored by the Pro-life Action League of Chicago, directed by Joe Scheidler. For more information see http://prolifeaction.org/providers.  Priests for Life offers their video, "Inside the Abortion Industry," containing excerpts of the testimonies of many former providers.   Order the DVD, "Meet the Abortion Providers" at http://prolifeaction.org/store

I'm very excited to be here today. There is a lot that's happened in my life and I just want to take this short amount of time I have today and open up my life to all of you, and, hopefully, all that I've been a part of and all that I'm doing right now will encourage you and somewhat shed a light on the abortion issue.

Let me just begin with a little bit about my past, and I think that's very important. It is important when you hear someone's personal testimony to be able to understand them better, and that is if you know where they've come from, where they've been, and what made them the way they were.

I want to begin by letting you know that even as a very young person, when I was 16 and 17, I used to volunteer at a hospital. I had a strong desire to be a nurse when I grew up, and I got married and during that time I went to Southern Illinois University (SIU) at Edwardsville, and I was studying to become a nurse. During that period of time I met Mike, and therefore divorced my first husband, and Mike and I got married. As far as my religious background, I was Catholic; always had been Catholic. I went to Catholic school and then had taken religious instruction all my life--so I had a definite background. But there was no personal relationship with Jesus Christ at all. I had kind of a misunderstanding about religion. I used to feel that as long as I went to church every Sunday and went to Confession every three months that that was good enough to get me into heaven. In the meantime on Saturday nights and all through the week I was pretty much living in the fast lane.

I was talking earlier to Nita (who will be speaking later) and we were just sharing for a moment how evil we really were. And from the type of person that I was to seeing what the Lord has done through me now, is really incredible. Unlike Dr. Brewer's statement about how it hurts at first, and as they progress in sin it becomes easier and easier, I was kind of wicked to begin with, so it was easy right away.

While I was going to SIU and shortly after Mike and I were married I became pregnant with our first child. Interesting enough, when I went to the doctor (I had had only one period after we were married, and got pregnant, so it was very unexpected, very unplanned), he did the pelvic exam and I had suspected because I was very sick. The first thing he said to me was, "Don't worry about this Mrs. Sparks, we can take care of this." He said, "I happen to have time at this Reproductive Health Clinic and I do abortions there in the evening." He said, "So there's no problem, you can go ahead and have an abortion, then you can have children when you and your husband are ready." It is incredible that I was in such shock at that time as I was very pro-choice, but I didn't think about it. I'm very thankful now because we have a wonderful 10-year-old daughter and I'm very thankful that I did not listen to that seed that he had planted in my heart. It was almost like, well, I'm married, so that couldn't justify it. With the baby on the way we couldn't financially afford for me to continue my education, so I left college with the thought that I would return to it later.

When I worked at the hospital, I worked on the OB floor. I had to experience all the different areas of the hospital before they allowed me to choose where I wanted to volunteer. It was incredible because I used to love to watch babies being born and I knew that was the type of nurse I wanted to be. I wanted to work on the OB floor and help deliver those babies.

Right after the birth of Shannon, I knew that I needed to go back to work. We were in very bad financial shape and one of the people who lived in the apartment downstairs worked at the abortion clinic on the other side. At this particular abortion clinic there are two sides: the OB/GYN side where women go in to have babies, and on the other side they abort them. Let me tell you, it is very contradictory. She told me that there was an opening for a medical assistant on the abortion side of the clinic down at Hope and suggested I go down and apply for the job. I thought about it and talked to Mike about it, and when I asked her how much money they paid, she told me it was excellent. I thought this was great; I'd be in the medical field; I didn't necessary have to have my degree.

So I went down and had a very intense interview. Let me tell you, as all of the former abortionists will tell you, that they really want to make sure that you are pro-choice before they hire you, and I really was. I did not have to convince them; it was obvious. They did put me through a second interview, however; they wanted to make doubly sure that they were hiring someone who was pro-choice.

They primarily hired me to assist the doctor during the abortion procedure, but now I can see how God's hand was upon me, even then, because I was allowed to view every single area of that abortion clinic. In the beginning, they trained me to answer the telephones and to make appointments.

You are going to see, as we all share our testimonies, that every abortion clinic is unique in the fact that they are all different, even though they do the same thing. In this particular abortion clinic, when the girl set up her appointment, if the girl sounded even the least bit anxious to make the appointment for that day, they did not want her to have an opportunity to change her mind or to have someone talk her out of it, or the possibility of her going to another abortion clinic.

As you will see as I tell you about this clinic, I believe the love of money was the root of evil that happened at this particular abortion clinic (this is only my opinion).

We did between 40 and 60 a day at this one clinic; they were very busy and they did abortions approximately four days per week. We would just stay there late and work sometimes two hours overtime to get those extra girls in. Sometimes they were more than content to wait until the next day, or perhaps the next week; other times they had to have it done then, and, indeed, they would get their abortion that day.

So, I answered phones and set up trays in the morning. We would put the instruments in a big sterilizer and set them all up; about ten at a time; then we'd set more up.

Then I was trained to do all sorts of fun medical things, like take blood pressure. I just really loved it; I really liked it; I liked my job. I got to wear a white uniform. All the desires in my heart to be a nurse were being somewhat fulfilled, as evil as it was. I did not see how evil abortion was. It did not bother me at all. When I saw my first abortion procedure, I didn't see it any differently than dissecting a frog in biology. I had blinders upon my eyes, as I believe many people involved in the abortion industry do. I believe that many of them, giving them the benefit of the doubt, didn't really see the evil that they were partaking in.

In my opinion, the most important part of this particular abortion clinic was the counseling. I was able to sit in with one particular worker who had eight years of college; she was so very good. She could sit down with these girls during counseling and she could cry with them at the drop of a pin. She would immediately start drawing them out, asking them all kinds of good questions. She would find out what their pressure point was. What was driving them to want to abort that child, and whatever that pressure point was, she would magnify it. If it was the fact that her parents were going to "kill" her, and she didn't know how she was going to be able to tell her parents; then the counselor would proceed by telling her, you don't have to do this; that's why abortion is here; we want to help you; this is the answer to your problems.

Oftentimes, if it was money, she would tell them how much baby items cost. You know, it does cost $3,000 to have a baby now, and, you know, baby shoes are $28; sleepers are $15. You know, that's what's wonderful about abortion; we can take care of this problem and you don't have to worry about it until you are financially prepared to have a child. So that's what the counselors would do.

The counseling at this particular abortion clinic was so effective that 99 out of every 100 women would go ahead and abort. So that's very effective counseling; a very important part of that abortion clinic.

After they were counseled, they were put back in the waiting area to wait for their turn to go and have the procedure.

I do want to interject here about sidewalk counseling because some people have talked about that. Dr. Hill said that he did not see picketers; we did have picketers. But back then, and this was ten years ago, we didn't have very nice picketers. So I would like to share a little bit about what I believe might be a good and effective way to picket, because I believe picketing is very, very important; it's essential; very important. The type of picketers we had did things like egg the cars and put garbage on the doorstep, and threw broken bottles in the parking lot. The people who worked inside the abortion clinic, as well as the women who were waiting to have the abortion, they all think they're "nuts;" they think they're "loony" because of this criminal damage they're doing. A few times they would take a car key and scrape up the sides of the car; this was before they had security guards to protect the parking lot and all of our vehicles.

So I would suggest that is not a good form of picketing. It's not very effective. At that time, abortion had only been legalized for approximately four or five years. It was relatively new and I think the Pro-Life Movement was just getting on its feet, and we didn't hear a whole lot about the Pro-Lifers, other than the fact that they all thought that we were murderers. I'm just telling you how I felt about Pro-Life people back then.

After a while, I would sit in during the recovery room phase before I learned how to assist the doctor in the procedure room. The recovery room is an incredible place at this particular clinic. I don't know how it is now, but back then they would do so many abortions. They had recliners, like most abortion clinics do, and some girls, if they were far along in their pregnancy, would be on a stretcher. But oftentimes, there were so many girls and not enough recliners that they would be sitting on the floor. After this medical procedure, here they are sitting on the floor with a blanket around them. They would be given a couple of cookies and perhaps a soda, and as soon as they were even somewhat ready, they were out the door because they had more patients to get through. It was really sad.

During that whole time, I didn't think a thing about it. It didn't bother me at all that they were sitting on the floor. We would keep moving out of the recliners and move more in, and just keep going.

I worked in the clean-up room, in my opinion the worst part of the clinic because it was so messy. You had to wear rubber gloves and it was like washing dishes. That's where the babies were brought back. At the time I worked there, they only did first trimester abortions; they didn't have facilities to do second trimester. But, oftentimes, second trimester abortions were performed and these babies we would not put in the little jar with the label to send off to the pathology lab. We would put them down a flushing toilet. They had a toilet that was mounted to the wall, and it was a continually flushing toilet; it didn't have a lid or a handle. That's where we would put these babies. They knew that they couldn't turn them in or they were going to be found out that they were doing abortions which were too late term. This is what I participated in while I worked there.

The ones that were small enough, which would be 12-13 weeks or less, we would put in a jar, label them, and put them in a big box to go off to the pathology lab. I want to share this with you that this is the type of person that I was. As far as moral convictions, I might have had them way earlier in my life, maybe at 17 or 18. But here I was, 21 years old, and very much into the world. I did drugs, I drank; I was just a very, very bad sinner. When the babies would be put in the jars, we would hold them up and kind of twirl them around and look at the little arm and little leg float up, and we'd put them back in the box. As sick as that sounds, that's the way it was, and that's the way it is at a lot of places right now.

I think that there are two sets of people in these abortion clinics. We have the ones who have been there for a long time, since the first day, and they're more like Dr. Brewer in the fact that they've just become hardened. After a while it doesn't bother them at all. Then we have the other set who don't stay there very long, and that was me. They stay for three or four months, and they can't take it any more and they have to get away. That was basically the two types of people that I came in contact with during my short stay at that abortion clinic.

Then, of course, I worked the procedure room where we assisted the doctors. We handed them their instruments, took the blood pressure, made sure that the girl was okay. They did have two registered nurses on staff there that would administer a drug called Sublimaze, which was kind of like a relaxing drug. This drug was given to the girls who were farther along, 12, 13, 14 and farther to help her become relaxed. But, oftentimes, it didn't really help. A lot of times people think that these girls are put to sleep. I've never seen an abortion where the girl was put to sleep. I do know that they do take place, of course, but not at this particular abortion clinic.

So here I am, going in day-in and day-out, and things are getting very bad in my life. The Lord is allowing a lot of things to happen. My father passed away, and that was incredibly hard for me because he was an alcoholic and I was the only one of my brother and sister who really cared about him. I felt terribly lonely and sad about his death. My marriage to Mike was coming to an end quickly. All we did was fight the entire time I was pregnant. We had horrible, horrible fights; throwing clock radios across the room and it was just incredible. We were going to get a divorce; we had already seen the attorneys and we had our appointment to get a divorce. Here I was with a six-week-old daughter and didn't know what I was going to do. I lived in the town of Granite City, (IL). I don't know how many of you are familiar with that area, but I had made a sworn statement that I would never even drive into the city. Isn't that amazing? It is my home and I love it now. But I used to think that it was a factory-oriented town and I was just such a snot I really was. I just didn't even want to go down there, much less live there. But a job put me down there when I worked at a little Photo-Mat booth, and that's how I met Mike.

Anyway, all the sin that I had been participating in was killing me inside. And there I was, going into the abortion clinic every day, not realizing what it was doing to my soul. I wasn't at all aware of what was happening to me, that had any part to do with why I was becoming the way I was becoming. So I became desperate, very desperate. I repeated a story my best girlfriend had told me in confidence and that was the last straw that broke the camel's back. She told me she hated me and never wanted to talk to me again. Boy, that was hard.

Do you get the big picture? Here I am, assisting the doctor doing abortions every day; my husband is going to get a divorce; I have a six-week-old baby; I live in Granite City; my father passed away and my mother hated me. What else could have gone wrong? It was pretty intense.

One particular night I went over to visit my mom and that was when she told me she didn't want to have anything to do with me. She didn't like Mike; she didn't approve of the fact that I'd had an affair with him; it was horrible, just horrible. I was driving home, and it was pouring down rain which added to my depression, and I considered at that moment driving my car off the bridge there into the Mississippi River. But then I remembered I had Shannon, our six-week-old daughter in the back of the car, and I thought, no, why should she suffer or die for me? So when I got home I decided what I was going to do. I was going to kill myself with my husband's off-duty revolver. He's a policeman in Granite City, a detective. So, I took his off-duty revolver and put myself in this recliner, and I put the gun to my head and I cocked it. I was hysterical. I was actually having a breakdown and didn't realize what was happening. I was just crying and crying.

As God is my witness today, I tried to pull the trigger, and I could not do it. I tried to pull the trigger and I could not do it. I thought, man, I can't even kill myself. That's what I thought. It was almost as if there was a lock on the gun, and I believe there was. God had a call for me, a purpose for my life. I eventually put the gun down. I was crying and weeping, and went over to the telephone and I called Mike's mom, who at that time I used to think was a "Jesus freak" because she had no less than fifteen pictures of Jesus Christ all over her house, on her dashboard, on her bumper, hanging from the rearview mirror. I thought she was a little fanatical.

Five years later, I said, mom, why do you have so many pictures of Jesus around your house? She said, honey, everywhere I look, I want to be reminded of what my Lord and Savior has done for me. That's just how much she loves Him. I love her so much.

But that night, over the telephone, she said, put the gun down, pick up the baby and come over here. So I did. I got in the car and I proceeded to go over there, just a few blocks away. I want to tell you that on that short trip a car ran me off the road, up and over the curb into the front yard of a house. Talk about Satan trying to keep me from what was about to happen.

When I got there, we sat down and Mike's sister was there and she took the baby inside. It was July 28th. Most people remember their second birthday. That was my born-again day. We sat on the porch and she told me about Jesus Christ, who He was, and how He lives and dwells within her. I just listened because I had never listened before. All the things I might have known, I never listened to. So that night, I held hands with her for the first time, and we prayed together, and I committed my life to Jesus Christ. I repented. I asked Him to forgive me and made that commitment.

Well, an incredible thing happened. Some people see stars; some people have dreams. I had immediate joy. The depression that I had experienced just an hour previously was immediately gone. I was as happy as I am right now, just deliriously happy, almost drunk-happy, but with no alcohol. She sent me home and I was whistling a little tune. Then Mike came home. We had the appointment the very next day to get this divorce. He and I both had very bad mouths, but that's one thing God set me free of right away. I never said another bad word, it was incredible, He just removed it. Some things we have to work out, but that particular thing He took right away from me. Mike came in and he was upset and was being ugly. I looked at him and I didn't even think about this, not for one second, and I said, Mike, I'm not going to get the divorce tomorrow. He had kind of wanted me to get the divorce because he had left his other wife and they had two kids and he didn't want to be the bad guy again. So I said, if you want the divorce, Mike, you'll have to take care of this yourself, but I am going to contest it; I don't want to get the divorce. Boy, did that make him mad! He left, slammed the door, a picture fell off the wall, and I walked right down the hall and went to sleep, right to sleep. I wasn't even upset.

I woke up the next day. Guess where Mike went the next day? He went over to his mother's house. He didn't know I'd been there the night before. He proceeds to tell his mother what a horrible person I am and how he just can't stand me and how he has to get this divorce. She listened, and finally told him that I had been there the night before. He thought, great! She said, Kathy gave her life to the Lord last night, Mike. He said, right, mom, not Kathy! She said, Mike, it's true. I prayed with her on this very porch. She told him that she had something for him, and she went inside and got a copy of the King James Bible that she had bought for him seven years previously (that he had never read, of course), and gave it to him. He took the Bible and left, and came home. He obviously didn't go to the attorney that day.

For three weeks, all he did was read the Bible. Every time I looked at him he was reading the Bible. I must tell you one thing about my husband, a very Godly man now, but he has a wonderful desire to read. He loves reading and retains everything he reads. He took the Bible with him in the squad car, he came home, and he'd read again. He wasn't talking to me; he didn't like me too much, but he was reading all the time. I didn't care; I was happy, folding my laundry and taking care of the baby, I was so happy and I didn't know why.

Three weeks later he came to me and said, Kathy, last night I gave my life to the Lord in the squad car. I just started crying. He said, you know, Kathy, I don't love you and I know that you don't love me. He had his red Bible. He said, but I believe that Jesus Christ can give us a love for one another, and so it was really exciting. He said, you know, it says here in the Bible that we're new creatures in Christ, so it looks like I better take you out on a date. Okay with me, so we got a babysitter and went out for dinner, and he kind of held my hand. It was so exciting. We courted in the Lord, it was really exciting what the Lord did for us in our marriage.

Here I am, going into the abortion clinic every day. When Mike was very, very young his family were Mormons. Mike's mom had gotten saved and gotten out of it, and his dad not yet, but not really practicing. We talked about religion and talked about what we were going to be. He said, Kathy, I'm not going to be Catholic. He went to the Catholic church with me a couple of times, but he said, I'm not going to be Catholic. I said, well, I'm not going to be Mormon. So we didn't go to church. That was kind of bad because, after three months, I'm still going to the abortion clinic.

After three months, Mike is still reading the Bible, and he came to me, and said, "Kathy, guess what I read?" He said, "I want to tell you that God says that we are lukewarm. And he would rather spit us out of his very mouth." What? I made him show it to me and I read it. It convicted to me. We had still been kind of partying on the weekends and didn't know any different. We still had our worldly friends. That night, Mike and I prayed together for the first time. We held hands and prayed together and said, Lord, this is it, we're going for it. Everything that is within us, we're going to serve you, no matter what it takes, no matter what the cost is. We went through our entire apartment and tore up every single piece of literature that was not Godly. Cosmopolitan Magazine, I had stock in that company, let me tell you. All of our worldly albums; we broke every single album up and took them took them to the dumpster. When we went outside to barbecue, we looked over an open field and we saw two double rainbows from the beginning to the end. We even have a picture of it on our little instamatic. Mike said, Kathy, I read about it. It was a covenant that God made with Noah. He said, God's making a covenant with us this day. Boy, were we excited!

The next day I went into the abortion clinic. It was so completely different than the very day before. It was freezing cold. I could not get warm. I was chilled all the way down to my bones. I just couldn't get warm. I had a sweater on, and it was incredible because no one else seemed to notice. There was a smell, a stench in the air that I couldn't get away from. I kept breathing it and breathing it and it was making me nauseous. One of the first abortions done that day was on a woman who was 23 weeks pregnant. This woman should have had a saline or a laminaria abortion, or even a hysterectomy. Anything would have been better than to try to do a D&C on a woman who was that far along. You have to realize that in this particular abortion clinic, what would be done was she would be examined one side; a pelvic exam by one doctor; then she'd come over and go through all the blood work and sign a release paper, etc. Then, by the time it was time for her abortion, she would be examined a second time. So we're talking about two different doctors doing a pelvic exam who knew this lady was farther than certainly 12 weeks along. She lay on the table. She was a regular-built person, and she had a belly. And I thought, no way! That couldn't be the baby! So the doctor did the pelvic and sat down on his chair and mouths up to me, "very big." I'm thinking, very big, what are you going to do this for? I was trembling and getting a little bit nervous. But he began the procedure. He started to dilate her with the dilating rods and the water broke. He began to do a procedure that normally would take five to eight minutes, and we were in there for an hour. This woman was in so much pain, she was coming off the table. Every medical assistant and nurse was in that room. The nurse had to give her three doses of Sublimaze to try to calm her down. She was screaming; the nurse was yelling at her because everybody else was getting quite upset in the waiting area, as you can imagine, from this woman who was screaming. The doctor was trying to do the abortion, and the baby's bones were far too developed to rip them up with this curette, and so he had to try to pull the baby out with forceps, which he brought out three or four major pieces. Then he scraped and suctioned and scraped and suctioned. There this little baby boy was laying on the tray. I took the baby and I took him to the clean-up room, and I set him down, and I began weeping, uncontrollably sobbing for what I had been a part of because God showed me that was a baby, they were all babies, and I had been a part of murdering probably nearly 1,000 babies, and I cried and cried. His little face was perfectly formed, just like the sign you saw, perfectly formed; little eyes were closed, little ears and everything was perfect about this little boy.

So the recovery nurse was wondering what was taking me so long and she walked in and looked at me. She left, didn't say a word, shut the door, and went and got the director of the abortion clinic. This woman walked in, shut the door behind her, put her hands on my shoulders and grabbed me. She began to rebuke me; pull yourself together; you're a professional. She shook me. I was a limp rag and crying and crying, this baby was 23 weeks. The doctor himself had told me how far along she was. She said, when did you get your medical degree? She took the baby boy over the toilet and put him down the toilet. I was crying and crying. Finally, when she was finished, I told her I couldn't work procedure anymore, that I'd stay in cleanup. She said, fine. We worked it out and the other girls went in to work procedure for the rest of the day.

That night I went home and I told Mike about the entire experience. I said, Mike, I don't know what to do. We had thousands of dollars worth of debt. We had all the debts from his first marriage, a new baby, so much financial debt. And at the time we were such new believers in Christ that we didn't know that He was our God who would provide every need according to His riches and glory. We didn't know that yet. Apparently, Mike must have skimmed over that in the Bible, we didn't know that yet. He said, let's just pray about it. Okay, Mike, let's pray. He went to work that night and I lit two candles at the side of my bed and sat down and prayed a very childlike prayer: Lord, if you want me out, just speak to me, and if I know it's going to be okay, I'll leave, Lord. I will leave. Just tell me.

I went to sleep that night, got up, and went to the abortion clinic the next morning and experienced the same smell, the same cold chills. I worked the cleanup room and at 10:00 in the morning, the director, the same lady who rebuked me the very day before, walked in and closed the door behind her. Only this time, she's very bothered. She's very troubled. "Kathy, I had a dream last night and it was so real that I don't know if I dreamed it or if you told me this, or what." I'm kind of looking at her and said, "What did you dream?" She said, "I dreamed that you walked into my office and you told me that you had to quit this place because of your religion!" I had not told a single person that I had made a commitment to the Lord. You know how you have to grow in that before you tell anybody, and I just didn't tell anybody yet. So I knew that God had given her a dream to come in and tell me to get out. So I told her, "You did have a dream; I did not tell you that, but I am going to quit. I do have to leave, and it is because of my religion. What you're doing here is wrong and I must leave." She left then. She thought I had lost my marbles the day before and now I was crying.

It's amazing how Satan works, because if you don't think he's real, he sure is. She walked in later on that day and offered me $2.50 an hour more to stay and work tubal ligations. She said, "Certainly birth control isn't against your religion." I said, "Well birth control might not be against my religion, but this place is. I've got to leave. So I quit."

I quite the abortion clinic and it was incredible. I went through a series of changes, as we all do when we come to know the Lord in a personal way, no matter how old we are. First, I really had to receive what Jesus Christ had done for me when He died on Calvary for me; that He died that every sin that I had committed could be cleansed and forgiven. It took me six months before I could really accept His forgiveness and I repented before Him for every abortion. I repented for every other single sin that I could think of that I had committed. I received the fact that I was a new creature. That old person was dead.

So we plugged ourselves into a church, an Assembly of God church because we knew some people who seemed pretty normal there. We went to their church and got water baptized, and we plugged ourselves into the choir and every single time we could learn anything, do anything for the Lord, we were there.

As the years went by, we didn't do anything with the challenge of the abortion issue. I wasn't ready yet. I wasn't old enough in Christ to begin professing what happened. I know that now. I know that God is wise and His timing is perfect. Anyway, five years into the Lord, Mike and I began to get very involved in intercessory prayer. We read every book we could get hold of, reading all about intercessory prayer. We thought, that's it, and we were praying and praying.

Then we had a burden for the abortion issue. God did a really neat thing because we thought at that time, that's it, we're supposed to pray about abortion. So we're praying about abortion and really believing that God's going to do something. The Lord gave my husband a dream and He showed Mike (this was five years ago), three years before it was to happen, that we would be involved in a Crisis Pregnancy Center. Mike wrote the whole dream out. We just started praying to that means, and then I met a man who operates in the prophetic gift. He said, "You have a desire to evangelize and to share your personal experiences with women." This man was from a different state altogether and didn't even know me. And that very thing I had been praying about, he said, "I want you to know that God is opening the doors right now." I was at the right place at the right time. I shared briefly at a Bible Study in DePere, Missouri that I used to be involved in an abortion clinic, and a girl's sister was the president of Nurses for Life, Illinois Federation of Right-to-Life in Illinois and she asked me if I'd share my testimony.

At that point, I started sharing my testimony, and it was incredible. The Lord just opened the doors and I went through them. I talked to right-to-life groups, high schools, radio interviews, I was on television several times, people were calling me and asking me to share. In the meantime, I still have this burden for the woman, and I felt I had so much to offer the girl who wanted to choose abortion. I felt if only I could share with her.

I was looking into one particular organization, but the only thing about this organization in St. Louis was that they would not allow you to share the Gospel. They felt that part had to be kept out. At that point I said, forget it, because then it would just be a good work, and I don't to do a good work because that's the answer. Jesus Christ is the answer. So then I was on this radio broadcast on a half-hour talk show with a woman who happened to be the president of the board of directors of the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Clayton, Missouri.

To make a long story short, I took the training. I knew it was obvious that God had a calling on my life to be a counselor. He taught me much in two and one-half years at the CPC in St. Louis. We had a burden for the Metro-East area because here we are, having all these women coming in who needed help over to St. Louis that lived in the Metro-East area because of all the speaking I was doing in the Metro-East area.

So we formed a steering committee and for two years we worked very hard in bringing about the Metro-East Crisis Pregnancy Center. One thing I didn't want to do was be the director because I knew what it cost the director over in St. Louis. Everybody thought that I was the logical candidate because I had so much experience and had worked over in St. Louis. But I said, Mike, I'm going to tell you right now, forget it, I'm not going to be the director.

Well, guess what? The Scripture in Isaiah, it says, Our ways are not God's ways, and our thoughts are not God's thoughts. He had other plans for me because a sister in the Lord challenged me, Kathy, you better pray about it. Have you prayed about it? No. As I prayed about it, God opened the door and He showed me that I was to do this at this time, and so I am presently the director of the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Granite City. We're very excited to report, after seeing since last May 250 clients, only six have aborted. So, praise God! He's doing a mighty work. We've had several girls come to know the Lord personally. We care about the girls as well as their babies. We feel if you reach the girl, you reach the baby. We're concerned about her soul as well as her life in general. So we have much to share with these girls. We're very evangelistic. We believe unless God tells you not to, you should share the Gospel, present the Gospel in a timely way with every client that comes in. We feel that the Lord says in the Word: Make the most out of every opportunity.

I encourage the girls who work with us; we have 23 volunteers; I'm the only paid person on staff. I really encourage them with this because whatever we do in the Pro-Life activity, whatever it is--you might be a sidewalk counselor; a physician--whatever you are, it does begin with prayer, even as Joe said, "We need to be in prayer. Because everything else is going to come out of that." Those He calls, He equips, but we need to be prepared in our hearts, in prayer before God. This is so encouraging because people say, 'Kathy, I don't have any training, etc.' All it takes is a willing heart before God, and obedience.

I want to leave you, encouraging you with the Scripture from Acts 4:13: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled, and they realized that they had been with Jesus.

That's what it's all about. If we're with Jesus, it doesn't matter if we're untrained, God will use us. He's looking for vessels, cleansed and purified, and ready to do His work.

Thank you for having me.


Remarks by Joe Scheidler

I just want to assure Kathy that I love short people, too. In fact, if you consider one class that we have all belonged to, we have all been short people at one time or another. Some of us outgrew it, others didn't.

Questions to Kathy Sparks

Q. I know of a woman who was refused by the abortion clinic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin because she was too far along in the baby's development. Is Hector Zavalos now doing late term abortions?

A. No, they have had facilities now to do second trimester at the Hope Clinic in Granite City for a few years, about three or four years. But they do the laminaria type of abortion. We did have a girl come from Chicago. She was in the Army and she had found out that she was pregnant. It took her a while to get a leave. She came back to her home in Chicago; made an appointment to have an abortion; by the time she got there she was 22 weeks pregnant and they said that they were not going to be able to do the abortion on her. At that point they told her to go to Granite City where they do them through the 24th week. So they shipped her down to Granite City and her boyfriend drove her down and dropped her off to have the two-day abortion procedure done, and when they went to insert the laminaria, they said that she was too far along. They said that she was two weeks past the 24; that she actually was 26 weeks pregnant. Anyway, she called us up in desperation because they had sent her to Wichita, Kansas. She told us she didn't know how she could get out there and asked if we knew of any place closer that could do this abortion. Mike and I had plans to go out on that Friday night. At that time, we were seeing clients out of our basement. We did that for quite a while because our facility was brand new and not built yet. She took a taxi from downtown Granite City to our house. I ministered to her for three hours and shared with her. I showed her Eclipse of Reason because I didn't have Matter of Choice yet, which we happen to use at our center. She broke down and wept and wept and wept. She decided at that moment to carry the baby to term, and what was exciting about it was when she called her boyfriend, he didn't want her to abort. He just wanted to support her, so he wept on the phone and they were crying on the phone. We kept her with us for that weekend, which was so exciting for her. She couldn't believe we would take her into our home. We just kept telling her it was Jesus Christ in our home. That we could love her unconditionally and not be afraid of anything. She went home and the next week she left a message on our recorder saying that she and her boyfriend had gotten married. They had dated for four years. The next week she delivered that baby and Mike and I watched them fight for that baby's life. It was born at 2 lbs., 4 oz. They called us up and she wept. She said, pray, I know you'll pray, and we did. And we flew her and the baby in from Chicago to come to our banquet and there the little baby was, just as happy as she could be at five months old yet very small. That's a neat story. So I don't really know what they do as far as later abortions. Now that they do second trimester, they probably might not go over that 24 week.

Q. We're in a situation now, with genetic engineering and things like that. I've read a little bit that there is a market for the tissue of aborted children. We have the classic, arrogant example of someone in a final act of desperation going to the hospital, selling a pint of blood and then buying whiskey or drugs, etc. Do we run that same risk? Will there be a time or is there a time now where people will abort a child and have a financial gain, and perhaps rationalize it that they are doing this for the good of someone else.

A. From my own personal knowledge, all I know is what I've read. I believe we are headed down that path. From what I've read and from what I've seen on talk shows and heard different doctors, including Dr. Nathanson and Dr. Willke, that that's definitely where we're headed. If God does not have mercy on us; if we do not repent as a nation and have Him forgive us as a nation and then be healed, that's where we're headed. Once again, we need to pray. As far as the truck that is used to pick up these little babies, it is incredible, because the truck didn't even have a name on it. It just came and picked up this cardboard box, so I have no idea of what they did or where they went.

Q. Carol Everett ran 5 abortion clinics in the Dallas area. One of the characteristics of her clinics was almost post-traumatic stress syndrome among the staff. Constant bickering, fighting, a sense of uneasiness and unhappiness over what they were doing. Did you experience any of that?

A. That's an excellent question. I most definitely did experience that. I do know of particular ones in the clinic, and I would venture to say most of them were on drugs and had very free access to drugs, since the doctors there would freely prescribe the drugs to them. There were several alcoholics who worked there, and they were very destructive people. Even as both doctors were sharing today, you put up a defense mechanism to protect your own heart and that might be by running and that might be by attacking; so that's definitely what we experienced.

Q. What about picketing the homes of abortion clinic employees? What do you think would happen inside the clinic?

A. I think it's excellent because of so many good reports I've heard that they don't want their neighbors to see all this. I think if it's done properly and in love ... Let's remember the Scripture that says: The kindness of God leads men to repentance. So we don't want to come off being ugly and screaming ugly things, but the signs and just being there and praying for them that God would convict them is going to be powerful. I believe that.

Q. How would you have responded if your house had been picketed?

A. Oh, I would have been embarrassed. Of course, we lived in a big set of apartments, so I guess they would have had to have my name on the sign for everybody to know who it was. I think it would have been quite embarrassing.

Q. What is your professional background as a counselor?

A. I'm one of those uneducated, untrained men that, hopefully, if I spend enough time with Jesus, that they'll marvel. I do want to say that I did take several classes at SIU and was never trained to be a counselor except through the training that I took through the Christian Action Council for the Crisis Pregnancy Center, which is 18 hours of excellent training. God has called me and He has equipped me. It's nothing that I have as a natural ability on my own, except for the fact that the Lord does do the work. So that might be encouraging to some of you who are not professionals, but have a desire to get involved in counseling.

Q. I have heard that sidewalk counselors can at times make the girls more apprehensive about having their abortion and this disturbs the clinic staff. What is the best thing to do as a good sidewalk counselor to put a burden on the girl without harming her?

A. Sidewalk counseling is excellent. My husband and I have done it; we've had an injunction placed against us and we couldn't go down there, and Mike, as a policeman, couldn't go within 500 yards of the abortion clinic. It was kind of incredible. The Chief kind of laughed about it. Effective sidewalk counseling would be: 1.) Go and love and have a gentle attitude; they will not be drawn to you if you are screaming at them. If you are telling them that they are murdering their babies, they feel jealous, because you are just concerned about their baby, and the wall immediately goes up. 2.) It is important that you focus your attentions on the girl, such as: we care about you; I want to help you; we can help you; whatever it takes, we'll be there for you. Try to focus on the girl and her needs. Having pictures of the babies is wonderful--let them see the baby. But don't focus your attention on the baby. Focus your attention on her and how you can help her and what you can do for her. Her crisis pregnancy is because she's pregnant, but, let's admit it, as Dr. Brewer said, it's selfishness. So she's got a problem and that's why she wants to have the abortion--to eliminate that problem. So that's incredibly important. 3.)Go in humility; be genuine; be yourself; don't try to be somebody you're not. And they will be able to perceive that and you'll be able to begin to build rapport, even if you're just talking. I have a very good friend whose calling in life is to picket this one Abortion Clinic in St. Louis. Three days a week she's there, rain, snow, bundled up. And it's amazing how many women are turned away because she's there. Many girls will be turned away. Sidewalk counseling is very, very important and I encourage you all to do it.

Q. Since so much money is involved in abortion, do you know of any women at the clinic you worked at who had abortions and were not even pregnant?

A. That's a very good question. There were many times that they would do an abortion on a woman and there would be just maybe a string of what looked to be red. I don't know. I'm not a doctor, but it sure didn't look like the regular six week abortion to me. It did not appear to be a baby whatsoever. When I mentioned that this particular abortion clinic was a big money-making operation, I only remember one of the doctors stating at one particular time that he could do three abortions in ten minutes and make the same amount of money as delivering one woman full term, and he might have to get up in the middle of the night to go deliver this baby. Shortly after that he quit, taking new OB patients and he only killed them then. The fact was he quit bringing them into the world and he only took them out. So that's what makes me believe that this particular abortion clinic was in it for the money. Many girls have died from that abortion clinic. One was Barbara Lee Davis, in Ann Saltenberger's book, an excellent book entitled, What Every Woman has the Right to Know about Legalized Abortion.

Q. Can you enlarge on the tactics to be effective picketers?

A. When we go, we have a lot of information; we are educated as much as we can be so that the Lord can use us. Be prepared in your heart with an attitude of prayer, and go with an attitude of love. That you love these girls. Don't go with an attitude of bitterness and hating the people on the inside of the abortion clinics. It won't get you very far. I believe that God blesses and honors the motives of our hearts. So let's keep our hearts pure before God and remember that God loves the abortionist. God loves the people who assist the abortionist. He died for them as well as us. Let's also remember that he hates the sin but he loves the sinner. So let's do that also. Let's hate abortion, but let's love the abortionist. And let's pray for them. God knows that I am so very thankful for the many people who prayed for me that I can be here and share my testimony with all of you. That He's done the work in my life; it's not done because I'm a neat person and did it on my own. I was a crummy person, and God's done all the work. So have an attitude of love, humility, and go before them in that attitude and God will use you. I want to quickly say that I was in a jail one time. My girlfriend got arrested. She had not stepped one foot on their property. I was so upset; yet I wasn't mad at God. But I said, God, why did you allow this to happen? She was a faithful picketer --every single Wednesday she was there. After we had taken the training together, she asked me to go with her. The last words of my husband: "Don't get arrested!" Okay, Mike, don't worry, Ava has never stepped foot on the property. We are not going to get arrested. And we got there, and what happened? There was a sit-in that day that we did not know about. The director of that abortion clinic came out and pointed right to Ava, and said: "This one. She did it!" There wasn't a word. The policemen had her hands behind her and they dragged her off to the paddy wagon. She is trying to take her keys out of her pocket to give them to me so that I could go. We ended up in the St. Louis City Jail. They processed her and really were going to make it difficult for her so she wouldn't do this again. Little did we know, as I was sitting in the waiting area of this jail and it was smelly and green, and I'm sad because my friend Ava is in jail. This girl came in and sat down. She looked very poor and she smelled a little bit and her hair was dirty. She was sitting there crying. I said, what's wrong? She told me her boyfriend just got arrested again for drugs and so now they said, forget it, he's going to be sent to jail, and I just found out that I was pregnant. She started crying and crying, and said, I'm going to get rid of this kid because I can't do it on my own because I don't have any money and I don't have a medical card, and she rambled on. I listened to her and used all of the techniques I had learned in the training, leaning and listening and asking good questions--all the things I'd learned to do. I just want to tell you that being in the right place at the right time, having your heart open before God, I was able to minister to her, send her over to the St. Louis CPC. She carried her baby to term and ended up very happy. So just be prepared. God will use you.

Q. How were you trained as a counselor inside the abortion clinic to give the girls any alternatives other than abortion? Did you every tell them that there might be dangers and risks?

A. Absolutely not. We never told them there might be dangers or risks. We never, ever said it was a baby, nor would there be any pain involved. We were trained and I did take part in telling every single woman two things they want to know: Is it going to hurt? And, Is it a baby? Every woman asks those two questions. It was incredible. And we were just trained to say, no, just a little blood clot, a little piece of tissue, minor cramping. Well, we all know that the suction machines are 20-some times more powerful than our vacuum machines, and we're talking about a lot of cramping, a lot of pain. Yes, the deception was there. No, no alternatives were ever, ever presented. Why do we think that Planned Parenthood, NOW, NARAL, all these different organizations fought so hard through the courts to keep that out, that they wouldn't have to tell them that there might be dangers, complications, fetal development? Because they don't do it. Obviously, they don't do it and they don't want to do it. Because one thing that we do at the Crisis Pregnancy Center is just that. Present some good information. Educate them on fetal development, dangers, and risk. And that's why only six have aborted out of 215 women. So, information and education is very important. Be prepared in the sidewalk counseling area to be able to give that information. Fetal development. Know what it is. Know what the baby in the womb is doing at eight weeks.

Q. For the sidewalk counselor, how would you recommend reaching the abortionist?

A. In my opinion, when you approach the abortionist, instead of saying, "You're killing babies," approach it in the other attitude. The Lord loves you; He sees what you're doing; there's forgiveness for you; will you just talk to me; reconsider what you're doing; think about what you're doing. I'd love to talk to you; give me an opportunity to talk to you. Just plant a seed. Sometimes we're just seed planters. Then God causes someone else to come along and they water it, and then God causes the growth. So you might just be planting a seed. Jesus Christ died for you, and He loves you, and you can be forgiven. All you have to do is repent. You know, just a good old salvation message might be helpful to them.


Lincoln's Message

We are here for one common bond to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Abortion and slavery are analogous. The same issue: Equals ruling over equals without their consent, depriving the child in the womb, not only of the right to this free liberty, but the right to life itself.

Mr. Lincoln stood for principles. Yet, he was a man who was dogged by disaster, hounded by tragedy and stalked by defeat. But he never gave up. So praise God for our country, and let's keep it strong.

Priests for Life
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