Kim* is sitting in an overstuffed pink chair, her dark hair falling over her
shoulders covering her beautiful young face. She looks up, her brown eyes
filled with fear and utters those familiar words, I think Im pregnant. Barely
old enough to drive a car, this teen is now facing the biggest dilemma of her
life. Kims 23-year-old boyfriend waits outside smoking a cigarette while she
fills out the paperwork. If the test turns out positive, Jack said he would pay
for an abortion.
Bobbie, a client coordinator at an Atlanta area pregnancy care center, leads
Kim into a quiet, cozy room where together they will wait for the results of
her pregnancy test. The pregnancy test only takes about five minutes, but a
normal visit lasts about 45. Bobbie takes the time to ask Kim about herself and
her boyfriend and to discuss her options if the test turns out positive.
Knowing that Kim is scared and confused, Bobbie offers comfort, a listening ear
and the love of Christ. Volunteers like Bobbie have found that this initial
interview is a good time to find out about the womans spiritual condition. If
she is not a Christian, volunteers can begin to lay the groundwork for
discussions about Christs love and forgiveness and a Father who restores our
PHOTOS BY GIBBS FRAZEUR
Sheree offers a friendly
voice, understanding words and practical assistance to women in crisis who call
the pregnancy care center where she volunteers one day a
This is just one of many scenarios that Bobbie and hundreds of other
pregnancy care center volunteers deal with on a daily basis. The women who
minister to women in these crisis situations want to make a difference in the
life of the mother and essentially save the life of the baby. These volunteers
are true champions for life.
When a woman calls our hotline my first priority is to get her to the
center, especially if she seems focused on abortion, says Bobbie. If I can get
them in our door, I know they have a chance.
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday was on January 20, 2002. Your church can
help to save lives by becoming a champion for life. Start the process now by
completing the online form at www.namb.net/alternatives.
Bobbie has a full-time career but volunteers at the clinic one night a week.
When I first came to work here, all I wanted to do was save babies, she admits.
Now I realize that our ministry is really to the women. If we save the moms,
well save the babies. When a woman is in a crisis situation she needs to know
there is Someone who loves her uncon-ditionally and desires a fulfilling
relationship with her. The best way to save the life of a baby is to make sure
that the mother has a relationship with God. This attitude is echoed in
pregnancy care centers across the nation.
Why we need champions for
lifeThe number of abortions is decreasing slightly year by year,
but there are still far too many.
Research reveals that 49 percent of pregnancies among American women are
unplanned. Unfortunately, half end in abortion.
Two-thirds of all abortions are among women who have never been married.
The three major reasons women give for choosing abortion:
75 percent say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other
67 percent say they cant afford a child.
50 percent say they dont want to be a single parent or bring a child into a
Southern Baptist pregnancy care centers have a ministry to women who
experience unwant-ed pregnancies. For more information about how you or your
church can become a champion for life, visit www.erlc.org or www.namb.net/alternatives.
Close to 2,000 centers across the U.S. provide pregnancy care to almost one
million women every year. Most of these provide free pregnancy testing,
maternity clothes, baby clothes, blankets, diapers, toys and other baby items,
parenting skills classes, post abortion recovery, andmost importanta friend to
talk to. When a woman visits a Christian pregnancy care center, she not only
receives support for her and her baby, she is also introduced to a Friend who
cares for her and will never leave her.
On missionmessage: Women
who decide to keep their babies but dont have the support of the father or
family have physical as well as spiritual needs. We as on mission
Christians can open doors to share Christ by providing baby itemsclothes,
diapers, formula to moms who are in need of help. By helping them celebrate the
miracle of birth, we can also introduce them to the miracle of Gods grace.
Hope Pregnancy Center in Kalispell, Montana, has been open for two years.
The center was started with three volunteers sharing a cell phone and a room at
East Haven Baptist Church. They now have a beautiful home that God provided for
them and 30 regular volunteers. Every month the center ministers to 20 to 30
women in crisis. Some come in for a pregnancy test, some need maternity clothes
and some come in for baby items.
Hope is the only center in northwest Montana. It started as a ministry of
East Haven Baptist Church, but it has grown into a community care facility.
They have volunteers who answer the phone and talk to clients, those who
inventory donations, some who lead post abortion Bible studies and others who
actually give pregnancy tests and talk with clients about their options.
Leona Knutson volunteers one day a week and is in charge of baby-sitting for
mothers who are taking classes and meeting for Bible study. She also volunteers
on the crisis phone line. My objective is to keep a woman on the phone for as
long as possible and to set up an appointment as soon as possible. Its very
important to visit with a woman in crisis to build her confidence in us.
Curiously I watched as an 80-year-old woman took a seat in the back of the
room. Several women were gathered this particular evening for a volunteer
training session I was conducting at a pregnancy care center in California. I
have to admit I was a little surprised that she had decided to join our group.
She sat through the entire training, although she seemed distracted at times. I
usually give the volunteers an opportunity to share why they are called to this
As several ladies related their own experiences with abortion, I noticed
that our older visitor seemed a little uneasy. She finally stood and through
tears told us the secret she had been carrying with her for 59 years. Ive never
told anyone, not even my husband, but I have to get this off my chest. She then
explained how a doctor had helped her as a young woman to abort her baby
illegally. Ive never been able to tell anyone in all these years.
She cried like it had happened yesterday. Everyone rushed to hug and comfort
her. Finally she could begin to know the love and forgiveness that Jesus
bringseven to abortion.
By Lura Sheppard, specialist for Ministries with Women in Crisis at the
North American Mission Board.
Leslie Allen works with teens at Hope Pregnancy Center. She and other
volunteers have started a youth outreach program that encourages teens to
abstain from sex before marriage. They call themselves the A-Team. Once a month
they meet at the center for a program that usually includes a speaker,
testimonies from youth, food and games. We started the program not knowing how
it would turn out, but the response has been amazing. Our greatest desire is to
reach kids who are unchurched by providing a safe, warm and friendly
environment. By holding A-Team meetings at the center, volunteers are able to
talk about God and His plan for sex within marriage. They also teach how
remaining sexually pure is a way to honor God.
Abstinence education is starting to be recognized by school officials as an
important part of health education. Many pregnancy care centers are receiving
federal grants to teach abstinence only programs to high school students. The
abstinence only curriculum does not include teaching safe sex. By teaching
students at an early age about abstinence, pregnancy care centers hope to
reduce the need for their services.
On mission message: Teenagers today seek approval
and acceptance from their peers. Many find an artificial form of this by having
sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend. You can help by telling them about Christs
love for them. A moment of passion cannot compare to a lifetime love
relationship with Christ.
At another pregnancy care center several states away Fran and Margaret are
standing in the middle of a warehouse going through boxes of donated baby
clothes. We dont actually get to see the clients who come to the center, says
Fran. Our work is really behind the scenes, but we know that it takes all parts
of the body for our ministry to be successful. Frans background in
merchandising makes her the perfect volunteer for the centers baby store.
Jennie*, 18, lies back and tries to relax as the ultrasound technician
squirts clear, blue gel on Jennies stomach. Thats cold! she gasps. As the
technician presses a handheld transducer onto her slightly bulging abdomen, an
image jumps to life on a small computer screen. For the first time Jennie is
able to see her baby. Do you see that? asks the technician as she points to a
flickering spot on the screen. Thats your babys heartbeat. The technician
continues to point out the babys featureslegs, arms, fingers and the head. Wow!
I cant believe it, cries Jennie, wiping her eyes. Shes so real.
Pregnancy care centers around the country provide free ultrasound for their
clients, especially those who are abortion-minded. Many centers have found that
ultrasound can be the difference between a mother choosing abortion or carrying
the baby to term. A study by Heartbeat International found that 60 to 90
percent of abortion-minded clients decide to keep their babies after seeing
live images of them. Ultrasound helps to bring a realization to the mother that
she is carrying a live human in her womb. That first bond between mother and
child is created.
By Carol Pipes
The women receive coupons for participating in classes that the center
provides. They can use the coupons to buy maternity clothes, baby clothes,
blankets, baby furniture, car seats and other essential items. Fran and
Margaret also make up layettes for all the moms when they give birth to their
babies. The layettes include diapers, baby clothes, a diaper bag, baby care
kits and other items all tied up in a pretty pink or blue package.
Not all the women who come to these centers need help with a pending
pregnancy. For example, theres Karen.
Karen* walks into the center without an appointment. Tears spill as she
talks to the receptionist. Struggling with writing her name and address, she
simply asks if she can speak to someone.
With a great explosion of grief she says, I came here a few months ago when
I was pregnant. The pregnancy test was positive. I knew the right thing to do,
but I was so scared, I aborted anyway. Karen continued with a story that is not
As the anniversary of her abortion approaches, the grief and guilt have
escalated. And now her sister is excited about her own pregnancy.
For Karen the feelings of remorse are overwhelming. I dont know where else
to go. I cant talk to my husband, because I never told him I was pregnant. You
were so supportive when I came here before. You treated me with respect that I
didnt really deserve.
Today many women are finding healing from the damage caused by their choice to
abort a child.
But fathers can also suffer from remorse and pain whether or not they were
willing participants in the decision to choose abortion. Many pregnancy care
centers offer post abortion counseling or Bible studies for men who are
suffering from shame, guilt and grief.
Abortion can affect every part of a mans lifehis relationships with his wife
and other children, his career, his emotions and definitely his relationship
with God. However, men tend to put up a wall of silence when it comes to
For most men keeping silent about any personal or emotional matter is a
simple survival skill. Burying a past abortion in silence keeps men from
healing and moving on. In order for men to find forgiveness and healing, they
have to break the silence and be honest with themselves and with God.
On missionmessage:Pregnancy centers have a great need for godly
men who are willing to spend time with hurting men who need someone to point
them to Christ and His healing hand. This is a great opportunity for on mission
Christian men to stand in the gap and help them meet the One Who will fill
their lives completely.
Statistics show that as many as one in four women who have had an abortion
recognize this pain. The average length of time between an abortion and a woman
seeking emotional and spiritual healing is nine years. Post Abortion Stress
Syndrome may be triggered by many experiencesthe celebration of a wanted
pregnancy, frustration over not being able to conceive, an abortion anniversary
One of the most important ministries of a pregnancy care center is post
abortion recovery. It is very important for a woman to go through the grief
process for total healing. At most centers the recovery process consists of a
group Bible study. Many women decide to name their baby and some will even have
a memorial service for their child.
There are many women who keep this secret locked in the past, and they have
never received full healing or had the burden lifted, says Terri Baxter,
director of the Riverside Pregnancy Center in Denver, Colorado. They are so
worried about what their family might think or what their church might think,
they are paralyzed to let Jesus work in that area of their lives. We want to
share forgiveness and healing with them because we all have experienced God
taking our ashes and making something beautiful out of them.
The most important part of the healing process is realizing that they need
forgiveness from God. Many women feel that they dont deserve forgiveness. When
they finally accept that God forgives all sinseven abortionthat is the first
step to complete recovery. By turning over their lives to Christ they will
receive the miracle of a new life in Him.
*Some names have been changed to provide
Carol Pipes is associate editor of
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC