How many people does it take to save an unborn life?

From Justin Taylor:

Visit www.heartbeatinternational.org and you will see Lisa.  She represents one example of the community of Christians it takes some times to save even one mother and baby from abortion.  I met Lisa through the Core Center, our of Heartbeat affiliate in Sunbury, OH.  Listening to Lisa, I counted about 23 people who played a direct and significant role, in rescuing Lisa from despair, saving her baby from certain death, and being the answer to prayer for a young couple praying for the opportunity to adopt.  They include:

Four (4) from the pregnancy help center.

1-the phone consultant, trained to reassure Lisa that coming for pregnancy help, rather than turning to an abortionist to save her, is the right thing to do.

2- the pregnancy consultant that greeted Lisa, provided her a pregnancy test and did a case assessment (and in her case, the needs were extraordinary and immediate).

3- the nurse/sonographer who performed the ultrasound scan.  This enabled Lisa to see that the choice before her was not, “should I have a baby or not?” She could see that she had a baby.  The true choice before her was to nurture or kill the baby she had.

4- the Director, Melissa, who because of the immense and immediate needs Lisa had, including no place to stay that night, needed to get involved and make some calls.
Three (3) from a local church.

1- the pastor, who received the call from the Director, and swung his church into action; and

2- the gentleman who came forward, that the pastor knew and trusted, who offered her a safe room to stay in that night and over the following days.

3- the man in his church who owned some property, including an empty apartment, and offered it to her for free.

Twelve (12), the number of people from this church and probably others, who came forward over the next several weekends to repair, replace, paint, carpet, clean, and furnish this apartment for Lisa.  I may be underestimating this number.

Two (2) from Catholic Charities.

1- the amazing adoption counselor assigned to Lisa’s case, who with care and professionalism, assisted Lisa as she considered adoption, befriended her throughout the pregnancy and through the emotional ups and downs, led her through the process of reviewing, interviewing and selecting parents for her baby, and secured the legal work for it to be done right and fair to all.

2- the lawyer handling it all.

Two (2), the adopting parents.  A precious young, married Christian couple, who had been seeking a child for a number of years.  I saw them with Lisa, holding the baby, and sharing together the very gift of life and bonded by the powerful and special love that is inherent in adoption.

That makes 23 people directly involved in Lisa’s story.  Because I don’t know the number, I did not count those sisters who helped Lisa learn to pray and to trust in Christ, as she testified that night.  So there are more.

Lisa’s picture and story is on our home page of the new website found at www.heartbeatinternational.org.

Valuing Life

[This is from Rev. Phil Holsinger, President/CEO of the Blue Ridge Women’s Center in Roanoke, VA.  If you are not an active supporter of your local Women’s Center, I would encourage to learn more about what you can do to support those on the front lines of the fight for life – ALL life.]

In a recent discussion with one of our staff members, I was reminded that we do more than just save babies here at Blue Ridge Women’s Center. Of course seeing a child given the opportunity to live a life that may have otherwise been abruptly ended by abortion is extremely valuable and worthwhile. But it is the woman who walks through the door that we direct our ministry toward. Her life is every bit as valuable and important as the one growing within her. That’s part of the reason we changed the name of this ministry a few years back. We are now known as Blue Ridge Women’s Center because we care deeply about women and their babies. We compassionately bring the truth of God’s love to every woman who calls, texts, e-mails or walks into this office. We do this because we know that God cares deeply about each of them as well.

It may come as a surprise to you, but somewhere between 25% and 30% of our clients have a negative pregnancy test result. Yet we direct a significant amount of our time and resources toward ministering to those women. If all we cared about was the baby, these clients would be quickly dismissed. Why do we spend the time, resources and energy? It’s simple, really—her life is precious and valuable. She is God’s creation and He desires the best for her. And in the vast majority of instances she is engaged in a lifestyle that will lead to significant problems emotionally, physically and spiritually in the future. She has made and is making decisions that will have bad outcomes.

This same philosophy of ministry applies to the women with positive tests who intend to continue their pregnancies, those with no intention to abort. We care about them, their lives today as well as the future. They too are precious in God’s sight and He cares deeply for them. It is a privilege for us to partner with God as He draws them closer to His truth and light. Like the women with negative tests, most of these clients have chosen lifestyles that have tragedy and heartbreak written all over them.

In addition to the women who intend to abort, are vulnerable to abortion, intend to carry, or have a negative test result, there are those who chose to abort a child in the past. This group of women and men hold a special place in my heart because they walk a path that I walked as well. The consequences of their decision are having a significant impact on their lives whether they realize it or not. But with God’s forgiveness, healing and restoration they can live in the peace He provides. Why? Because He cares deeply for them; they are also precious in His sight.

I have been in the Roanoke area for over 18 months now, and I assume there are people and organizations in our community that may care as deeply about women as we do, but I am convinced that none of them care more deeply than we do. And you are a part of that collective we. Without your support, encouragement and prayers we wouldn’t have the impact on the lives that have marked our 25 years of ministry.

Please keep us in your prayers daily, especially during these times of economic uncertainty. Now, more than at any time in my recollection, more women’s lives and the lives of their children hang in the balance. Our client visits are up and so are the number of women who are abortion-intended and abortion-vulnerable.

Additionally, please pray about your financial support of this ministry. The summer months are the slowest time of the year for us, and your gift now will help us make it through these late summer months. (Click here to make a gift online today.)

We are also planning for our 25th Anniversary Fundraising Banquet coming up October 15th at the Hotel Roanoke. We need more Table Hosts than we have in the past, and so we are asking all of our friends to find out how they can host a table as well as join us in this celebration. (Click here to find out the details.) I hope to see you there.

God’s Blessings,
Rev. Phil Holsinger (Coach), President/CEO

“We Will Care for Any Newborn!”

METRO ATLANTA, Ga. — Last weekend an Atlanta pastor made a promise that stunned his congregation and most of the people who heard it.

In a speech that discussed abortion, the President, and the sanctity of life, the most provocative statement from Pastor Vic Pentz of Peachtree Presbyterian Church came towards sermon’s end:

“I make a promise to you now and I don’t want you to keep this a secret,” the pastor pronounced, “the Peachtree Presbyterian Church will care for any newborn baby you bring to this church.

“We will be the family to find a home for that child, and there’s no limit on this. You can tell your friends, you can tell your family, you can tell the whole world …”

Reflected Pentz a week later, “I seem to have touched a nerve by saying that to the congregation.”

It’s a speech he repeated this past Sunday, and it can be found on the church’s web site under the sermon title, “Ethics of Life”.

Pentz says the church will partner with Bethany Christian Services, which promotes itself as “the nation’s largest adoption agency” and will handle the “how” of making this happen.

But Pentz didn’t mention any of this in his sermon, saying he preferred it to stand out as a “stark, dramatic statement” amidst an already-controversial speech to his congregation.

11Alive’s Matt Pearl spoke with Peggy Baird, the director of adoption services for the non-profit Families First service agency. Baird watched Pentz’ sermon and said that, while she admired the sentiment, he didn’t delve into the legal and psychological complications that go into giving up a child for adoption.

“You can’t do all of that in one sermon,” Baird said, “but I think if he’s going to pursue this with his congregation, he’s got to do ongoing education.”

Pentz says he’s planning to do just that, bringing in a speaker from Bethany Christian Services to talk to the congregation this August.

HT: Challies

Pro-Life Pastor Chooses Jail

…over a plea bargain and finds an unexpected ministry outlet.

For 19 days in March and April, Walter Hoye was locked in a cell with 29 other prisoners at the Santa Rita jail near Oakland, Calif. There were times when he wished he could have stayed longer.

When the metal door first clanged shut behind him on March 20, Hoye, 52, decided the space was really more of a cage than a cell. A metal grid penning in prisoners. Fifteen bunks lining two walls. Two toilets and a urinal for all 30 men, and a shower that inmates had gradually transformed into a pornographic shrine.

As Hoye made his way to an empty bunk, a few prisoners, mostly black and Latino, dogged his path. “You smuggle in any drugs, man?” one of them asked.

“No,” Hoye said quietly.

Then the veteran inmates left him alone, he told me, except for “one of the brothers who was kind enough to help me make up my bed.”

A few minutes later, another man walked over to Hoye’s bunk and jabbed his finger at a newspaper he was holding. “This you?” he said, eyeing Hoye skeptically.

Hoye peered at the Oakland Tribune headline: “Anti-abortion pastor chooses jail.”

“Yeah, that’s me,” he said.

In the next moment, the inmate was striding up and down the length of the cell, announcing, “Hey, he don’t have to be here! He turned down probation! He doing straight time for what he believed in!”

It was true: On Feb. 19, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing sentenced Walter Hoye, a Missionary Baptist minister, to 30 days in jail after Hoye refused a plea deal that included three years’ probation, a small fine, and an order that he stay at least 100 yards away from Family Planning Specialists, an Oakland abortion clinic.

Passionate about the sky-high abortion rate among African-Americans, Hoye began offering men and women assistance at the clinic in 2006. About one in three Oakland residents is black, compared with a statewide African-American population of 6 percent. And though blacks make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for one-third of all abortions performed in the United States. More than three in 10 black women abort their unborn children.

According to the 2006 census, deaths now exceed live births among African-Americans. “We’re no longer replacing ourselves,” Hoye said. “So we’re not using terms like holocaust and genocide just to elicit a response. It’s the truth.”

In response, once a week Hoye stood quietly outside Family Planning Specialists with a sign that said, “Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help.” When people approached the clinic, Hoye would ask their permission to speak with them about abortion alternatives; he also offered them pamphlets describing available help.

In 2007, pro-abortion clinic “escorts” began to show up in groups, surrounding Hoye and impeding his movement. They blocked his sign with sheets of blank cardboard and shouted down his low-key offers of help. When that didn’t scare Hoye off, clinic managers lobbied the Oakland city council and in December 2007, the council instituted a “bubble-zone” ordinance applicable within a 100-foot radius of any Oakland abortion clinic. The law made it a crime to “approach within eight feet of any person seeking to enter” a “reproductive health care facility” in order to offer literature, display a sign, or engage in “oral protest, education, or counseling.”

“This law is horribly unconstitutional,” Hoye said. “It allows abortion clinics to decide which U.S. citizens are allowed to retain their constitutional right to free speech.”

Represented by Life Legal Defense Fund (LLDF), Hoye challenged the ordinance in court. The case is still pending, but in May 2008, Oakland public attorneys acting in cooperation with clinic managers charged Hoye with “unlawful approaches” to women, and “force, threat of force, or physical obstruction.”

What prosecutors did not know was that LLDF attorneys possessed four hours of uncut videotape documenting Hoye’s activities outside the clinic on the dates in question. At trial in January 2009, the tapes impeached the testimony of clinic director Jackie Barbic, who claimed that Hoye repeatedly broke the 8-foot rule and that she and a patient had to put up their hands to fend him off. Instead, the tapes showed Hoye standing still as Barbic approached him; then they showed Hoye walking away. No incident shown on the tape matched Barbic’s testimony, and even clinic escorts testified that Hoye was always cordial and never obstructed anyone’s path or used threats or force.

Inexplicably, the jury still found Hoye guilty. At sentencing, the prosecutor recommended the probation and the clinic stay-away order—or two years in jail. When Hoye refused the stay-away order, Judge Hing appeared “surprised,” Hoye said. “The judge was essentially asking me to stop trying to help men and women outside an abortion clinic, and I just would not voluntarily give up my First Amendment rights.”

In February, Hing levied a sentence of 30 days and Hoye reported to the Santa Rita jail a month later. After the newspaper-reading inmate touted the Tribune article to the other prisoners—many of them inner-city drug dealers whose highest aspiration was to stay out of prison, they clamored to know why a man would choose jail over freedom. From that moment on, Hoye found himself in constant demand.

“I would be holding court with about 30 guys, explaining why I did what I did,” he said. “I explained what an abortion actually does, that it takes an innocent human life. We held prayer vigils, we had Bible studies. I must have counseled and mentored guys all day and all night. It got to the point where we started talking seriously about Christ.”

Most of the men in the cage at first mouthed pro-choice slogans, Hoye said. “But when I forced them to complete the sentence, ‘I believe that a woman has a right to choose to kill an innocent life,’ they couldn’t do it.”

One morning at about 2:30 a.m., a good-looking young man named Terrell approached Hoye’s bunk and asked what actually goes on during an abortion. Using his fingers to simulate a woman’s legs spreading, Hoye showed Terrell how the abortionist inserts a vacuum aspirator and sucks out the developing child.

Terrell, 18, told Hoye he had gotten his girlfriend pregnant and that she had aborted. “She made the decision,” he said. “It was her choice.”

“Yes, I know that, but what did you do?” Hoye replied. “Did you offer to marry her?”

Terrell shook his head. “No, I didn’t.”

“Did you offer to help her raise the child?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Did you tell her that you love her and that you were going to go the distance with her as a man should, even if she decided to give the child up for adoption?”

“No, no, I didn’t,” Terrell said, his eyes filling with tears. “I never knew. No one ever told me what an abortion is. No one ever made it plain.”

When Terrell understood that he had, “perhaps because of his own lack of participation, been complicit in the murder of his own child, it really broke him,” Hoye said.

Before Terrell went back to his own bunk that night, Hoye prayed with him. “I told him God could forgive him, that what he’d done wasn’t an unforgivable sin.”

But the conversation didn’t end then. Terrell continued to visit with Hoye. “He began to understand that men have a responsibility to women, and vowed that, for him, an abortion would never happen again. He came to me a young man in jail for dealing drugs, trying to make some money and live the large life. I began to see him grow up.”

Released from jail on April 7, Hoye rejoined his wife, Lori, in their Oakland home. Today, he is not sorry for his choice. “I’ve been a jail chaplain in jail before, and even had the privilege of being a guest preacher at San Quentin. Being an inmate is completely different. I was actually one of them and it gave me a different kind of credibility. I’m sure my adversary meant my incarceration for evil, but God used it for good.”

HT: Challies

Don’t Keep Abortion in Politics

The streamers have been swept up. The balloons have been popped. The talking heads are still talking. The election season is over.

But what about the issues? Or, more pointedly, what about THE issue, the issue that is perhaps the one most brought up by conservatives during every election campaign? Yes, THAT issue.

Abortion.

For many voters, the issue of abortion was the single issue that drove them to vote one way or the other. There were no doubt other issues that the campaigns used to help sway voters into their camp; but without a doubt, the issue of abortion was perhaps the most polarizing.

And now that the elections are over, will this issue quietly fade into the background as it has seemingly done with past elections? I am saddened (and deeply convicted) that after all the efforts to put abortion in the spotlight in previous elections, it is then rarely seen until the next election season rolls around. When I stop and think about it, I have to ask myself, “Have all I done to help is talk about it in light of politics?” I don’t particularly care for the answer.

Abortion is not a solely a political issue. It’s not something we should get all riled up about only in trying to gain support for a candidate. Don’t get me wrong – much good or hurt can come about because of our political choices. But abortion is a 365-day a year issue. What are we doing to help?

Thankfully, there are indeed men and women who are actively working to fight with love and grace against abortion. These are the men and women of pregnancy centers around the nation who work to counsel those facing the decision of whether or not to have an abortion. Many of these centers lend support in providing necessities such as clothes, food, and diapers to those young women who make the choice not to terminate their pregnancy.

But most of the time, these are paid staff members of pregnancy centers and let’s face it, not everyone can be nor should be working in this capacity full time. Take heart, there is still plenty that can be done to lend hands and feet to your voice. Most, and I would daresay all pregnancy centers rely on contributions to keep the center running. And it’s not only money that is needed. The clothes, food, diapers, etc. that are given out are a result of people donating these items to the center and without these donations, the centers are unable to provide this to young mothers. In the Roanoke area, the Blue Ridge Women’s Center does an excellent work in not only offering assistance to expectant mothers, but doing so in a manner that is honoring and glorifying to God. This is even evidenced in a recent column written by Shanna Flowers of The Roanoke Times. After visiting the center and meeting with the staff, she said, “I developed a new respect for at least a portion of a movement I had thought of as one-dimensional.” I would highly recommend reading the entire article.

The issue of abortion should not be dragged out only in election season. It should be constantly on our minds. But let’s not allow it to simply stay in our minds only to make an appearance during election season. Get it into your hands and feet. And even if the next four years turn worse for the cause of abortion, let’s support those on the front line all the more. Ask your local pregnancy center how you can help.

Obama’s Abortion Extremism

If you read only one essay on social or political issues this year, make it this one. Here’s an excerpt:

“Sen. Barack Obama’s views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.

“What kind of America do we want our beloved nation to be? Barack Obama’s America is one in which being human just isn’t enough to warrant care and protection. It is an America where the unborn may legitimately be killed without legal restriction, even by the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion. It is an America where a baby who survives abortion is not even entitled to comfort care as she dies on a stainless steel table or in a soiled linen bin. It is a nation in which some members of the human family are regarded as inferior and others superior in fundamental dignity and rights. In Obama’s America, public policy would make a mockery of the great constitutional principle of the equal protection of the law. In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: ”that question is above my pay grade.” It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator’s pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy – and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.”

Continue reading here

HT: James

The Audacity of Death

This is one reason why I will not be voting for Barack Obama.

The Audacity of Death

By Daniel Allott

According to Barack Obama, Gianna Jessen shouldn’t exist.

Miss Jessen is an exquisite example of what anti-abortion advocates call a “survivor.” Well into her third trimester of pregnancy, Gianna’s biological mother was injected with a saline solution intended to induce a chemical abortion at a Los Angeles County abortion center. Eighteen hours later, and precious minutes before the abortionist’s arrival, Gianna emerged. Premature and with severe injuries that resulted in cerebral palsy. But alive.

Had the abortionist been present at her birth, Gianna would have been killed, perhaps by suffocation. As it was, a startled nurse called an ambulance, and Gianna was rushed to a nearby hospital, where, weighing just two pounds, she was placed in an incubator, then, months later, in foster care.

Gianna survived then, and thrives now (see for yourself here), because, as she told me recently with a laugh, “I guess I don’t die easy.” Which is what the abortionist may have thought as he signed his victim’s birth certificate. Gianna’s medical records state that she was “born during saline abortion.”

As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama twice opposed legislation to define as “persons” babies who survive late-term abortions. Babies like Gianna. Obama said in a speech on the Illinois Senate floor that he could not accept that babies wholly emerged from their mother’s wombs are “persons,” and thus deserving of equal protection under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

A federal version on the same legislation passed the Senate unanimously and with the support of all but 15 members of the House of Representatives. Gianna was present when President Bush signed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002.

When I asked Gianna to reflect on Obama’s candidacy, she paused, then said, “I really hope the American people will have their eyes wide open and choose to be discerning….He is extreme, extreme, extreme.”

“Extreme” may not be the impression the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have bought Obama’s autobiography have been left with. In The Audacity of Hope, Obama’s presidential manifesto, he calls abortion “undeniably difficult,” “a very difficult issue,” “never a good thing” and “a wrenching moral issue.”

He laments his party’s “litmus test” for “orthodoxy” on abortion and other issues, and even admits, “I do not presume to know the answer to that question.” That question being the moral status of the fetus, who he nonetheless concedes has “moral weight.”

Those Statements are seriously made but, alas, cannot be taken at all seriously. Obama has compiled a 100 percent lifetime “pro-choice” voting record, including votes against any and all restrictions on late-term abortions and parental involvement in teenagers’ abortions.

To Obama, abortion, or “reproductive justice,” is “one of the most fundamental rights we possess.” And he promises, “the first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,” which would over-turn hundreds of federal and state laws limiting abortion, including the federal ban on partial-birth abortion and bans on public funding of abortion.

Then there’s Obama’s aforementioned opposition to laws that protect babies born-alive during botched abortions. If partial-birth abortion is, as Democratic icon Daniel Patrick Moynihan labeled it, “too close to infanticide,” then what is killing fully-birthed babies?

On the campaign trail, Obama seldom speaks about abortion and its related issues. But his few moments of candor are illuminative. When speaking extemporaneously, Obama will admit things like “I don’t want [my daughters] punished with a baby.” Or he’ll say that voting for legislation allowing Terri Schiavo’s family to take its case from state courts to federal courts in an effort to stop her euthanasia was his “biggest mistake” in the Senate. Biggest mistake?

Worst of all are Obama’s accusations against anti-abortion advocates. He recently compared his relationship with unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers, a member of a group responsible for bombing government buildings, to his friendship with stalwart pro-life doctor and Senator Tom Coburn.

In his campaign book, Obama accuses “most anti-abortion activists” of secretly desiring more partial-birth abortions “because the image the procedure evokes in the mind of the public has helped them win converts to their position.”

All this explains why the National Abortion Rights Action League voted unanimously to endorse Obama over Hillary Clinton, as did abortion activist Frances Kissling, who called Hillary “not radical enough on abortion.”

It’s surprising that 18 to 30 year olds, the most pro-life demographic in a generation, is the same voting bloc from which Barack Obama, the most anti-life presidential candidate ever, draws his most ardent supporters.

What’s not surprising is that Gianna Jessen, who turned 31 last month, plans not to support Obama.

In The Audacity of Hope, Obama denounces abortion absolutism on both ends of the ideological spectrum. That is audacious indeed considering Obama’s record, which epitomizes the very radicalism and extremism he denounces.