“How could I have walked into that place and allowed them to take my child?” the caller asked. “I had no clue an abortion would feel like this afterwards!”
Few understand the potential emotional, spiritual, psychological or physical impact when choosing abortion. I was no different when I walked into an abortion clinic as a teenager in an unexpected pregnancy. Abortion was sold to me as a way to “erase” the evidence of my lost virginity. Sounds easy, right? Wrong!
When I discovered that pregnancy centers existed in 1991 to help provide individuals with another choice besides abortion, I was overjoyed. It was quickly obvious to my heart that had I walked into a pregnancy center for a pregnancy test, the child I aborted would likely still be alive. Over the years, it has been my extreme honor to help these unique non-profits in any way possible!
While a pregnancy center did not exist in my community when I was first pregnant, a local center offered abortion recovery services to help me discover God’s amazing healing eleven years later. Then I began my full-time work – from managing Focus on the Family’s ministry to pregnancy centers to founding and operating Ramah International.
America’s pregnancy centers have thankfully made a dramatic difference in the abortion issue. These primarily faith-based non-profit pregnancy centers offer 3-4 levels of complimentary services to their communities:
- Prevention – Abstinence education and support,
- Intervention – Medical quality pregnancy testing combined with abortion education (outlining procedures and their risks), parenting programs as well as material and emotional support for those facing an unexpected pregnancy,
- Reconciliation – Assisting post-abortive individuals in discovering God’s peace at an emotional and spiritual level,
- Medical – Offering ultrasounds, limited pre-natal services as well as STI/STD testing.
In Ramah International’s first ministry year back in 1997, the Alan Guttmacher Institute published a report entitled, Facts in Brief: Induced Abortion, which outlined, “At current rates 43% of all American women will experience abortion at least once before 45 years of age.”
Astounded by that broad statistic, God began to place the vision for Ramah International on my heart. The world clearly needed a focused support system for training, promoting and managing abortion reconciliation ministries within pregnancy centers and church settings.
Using the 43% American post-abortion rate, Ramah International began focused training of pregnancy centers in outlining the emotional and spiritual impact of abortion to their ministry contacts. Our goal was to make abortion an unthinkable option due to the potential for regret, grief and pain. It began by asking a simple question – if nearly half of all American women have experienced abortion, why is it that you rarely hear anyone talking publicly about this choice?
The overall silence of post-abortive people spoke volumes to those considering abortion. As expected, many discarded abortion after receiving more practical and unbiased information from their pregnancy center. With the physical and emotional support through their pregnancies, pregnancy center clients had a much better choice than abortion.
As the years passed, the Alan Guttmacher Institute revamped their post-abortion statistics down from 43% to 33%. They also outlined that as many as 44% will chose to abort multiple times. Because post-abortive people are nearly impossible to survey, it is difficult to outline trends in how abortion impacts the heart. That does not mean that this silent agony has not influenced our nation deeply.
This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new report stating that the abortion rate in 2013 was half the rate recorded in 1980. The last time the CDC recorded a lower rate was in 1971, which was two years before the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion was passed.
Think about that statistic. The number and rate of abortions tallied by federal authorities have fallen to their lowest level in decades. The abortion rate for 2013 was half the rate recorded in 1980. The CDC tallied 664,435 abortions in 2013, discovering that the abortion rate was down 20 percent from 2004.
This CDC report verifies that abortion is a concept that 20% of America’s younger generation are choosing to avoid than just 12 years ago. Many are openly embracing secondary virginity or simply choosing to remain sexually pure until marriage.
Abortion advocates may claim this lowering abortion rate as the result of their contraceptive services. But teenagers haven’t changed much over the years when it comes to using birth control. While other factors are involved, the lowering rate has been impacted by pregnancy centers being used by God to change our nation’s understanding of abortion’s impact one life at a time.
You may never know when you may need the services of your local pregnancy center. I encourage you to discover your local pregnancy center today to learn the many ways they are making a difference in your community. Please thank them for their service in reducing the abortion rate in our nation.