Saturday, 25 September 2021

How Pro-Life Ministry Goes Well Beyond “Only Caring About the Baby”

I’ve been tiptoeing through the Twitter universe lately, looking for new voices to which I’d like to listen and catching up on insights from people I already follow.

In the process, I’ve run across plenty of critical, judgmental, and downright condemning remarks about pro-life people. These generalized, sweeping statements are usually put out there with little or no evidence to support them. 

One of the most common accusations against pro-lifers is that we allegedly only care about the baby in an unplanned pregnancy—that we don’t care about the woman, and therefore have no right to come alongside her during her decision-making process.

This assertion is such a far stretch from the truth it hardly merits the time and energy required for a response. 

Anyone who has bothered to pay even a scant bit of attention to the work we do in pregnancy centers around the world—not to mention what other pro-life organizations do as well—can easily see two things:

  1. Our services are provided in an atmosphere of real care and compassion, not only for the baby, but for the distressed woman (and her partner, if he is present).
  2. Helping a person or family through a particular type of crisis is a legitimate and necessary ministry. 

I won’t go into a lengthy argument here as I’d be preaching to the choir, but I want to encourage and admonish those who put their heart and soul into the life-affirming mission: Don’t listen to the detractors.

They drain your valuable time and energy. They distract you from your mission.

Instead of listening to those voices, listen to the stories of your clients. Listen to your own story. Watch and witness how God has used you, not only to rescue endangered pre-born children, but to minister to individuals in all kinds of unexpected ways.

When I look back on ten years at my local pregnancy help center, I am amazed at how many lives have crossed my path. 

This ministry is surely not only about the babies.

I think of the young man whose girlfriend told him she was going to have an abortion, and how desperate he was to rescue his child. 

Our last conversation took place on the phone. I had to tell him, regretfully, that the law was not on his side—yet in his anguish, I was able to offer some comfort. 

He didn’t know his name was in the Bible. He didn’t know God’s perspective of him. He found out a little about his own identity and God’s love that day on the phone. 

It brought him a measure of peace. I think he’ll always remember that.

(Sometimes it’s the dads who need help. We’re here for them, too.)

Then there was the older woman who came into the clinic, stooped and dragging with exhaustion. She had seen our sign for years, and had finally worked up the courage to come in.

She needed to talk about her abortion that took place forty years prior.

The woman seemed to be in shock. Her story came tumbling out.

“I denied my children of a sibling. I denied my siblings of a niece or nephew…I know I have some work to do.”

She was one of numerous women who entered our doors (or attended our weekend retreats) for the purpose of finding peace and healing after abortion. 

(Post-abortion recovery is a significant way in which pro-life people demonstrate compassion to women who’ve been traumatized by what they were told is merely a choice.)

Another face comes to mind... After her appointment, one young woman stood hugging me for what seemed like two or three minutes before she reluctantly pulled away and walked slowly out the door. She had come to us for comfort and help after a miscarriage. 

She found what she needed.

(Pregnancy loss is another area where we have the opportunity to offer care and comfort.)

Life skills classes are a huge help to clients who need help with financial issues, relational problems, and basic parenting skills. 

At our clinic, which is located on the border of Idaho and Washington, courts from both states regularly send clients our way to complete the parenting classes required for them to gain back their children.

(Life Skills classes offered at pregnancy centers give ongoing, practical help to parents in the community, including those who decide to carry their babies to term as a result of their initial visits to the center.)

Then, of course, there is story after story of the blessing which comes with a life decision. 

The young woman who is sure her parents will kill her if she is indeed pregnant…yet the story ends with happy grandparents, a relieved teenager, and a bright new face in the world.

Or the girl whose mother threatened to cut off her college fund if she got pregnant…but in the end, Grandma adores her granddaughter and sends her daughter to college after all (where she makes good grades while raising her little girl). 

Or the couple who was trying to break out of addictions and a partying lifestyle, who initially thought they should have an abortion. Instead, they kept the baby, got married, and both came to faith in Christ.

Ask the multitude of women who have received services at pregnancy help centers about their experience, and you’ll find that positive ratings are the norm by an overwhelming majority.

So, while it’s true that we care about the vulnerable unborn among us, it’s also true that we care about their mothers.

But we don’t stop there.

Tweet This: "It’s true that we care about the vulnerable unborn among us, it’s also true that we care about their mothers. But we don’t stop there."

We also care about fathers. We care about women and men who suffer from post-abortion trauma. We care about those who suffer pregnancy loss. 

We care about struggling couples in our community, including those who choose life for their children due to our support services.

I’m proud and grateful to be called pro-life.  

Let’s keep our hand to the plow. Our mission is vital—in multiple ways.

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Susanne Maynes

Susanne Maynes is an author, speaker, and biblical counselor who served at a pregnancy help center for ten years. She blogs about church & culture and spiritual growth at SusanneMaynes.comHer educational devotional, Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn, uplifts and strengthens the pregnancy help community. Susanne is currently pursuing a Master of Theological Studies degree at Regent University.


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