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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Abortion Deception

Pregnancy care centers continue to battle lies — and save lives

By Christina Quick
Jan. 24, 2010

When Sydna Masse had an abortion in 1981 at the age of 19, the abortionist told her the procedure merely involved discarding a tumorlike mass of flesh — an unfeeling byproduct of conception.

"At seven weeks, my child had fingers and toes and everything he needed to be recognizable as a human being," says Masse, who now heads a Christian organization in Englewood, Fla., for postabortive women. "But I didn't know that. I truly felt it was a blob of tissue."

In today's world, where expectant parents can purchase 3-D ultrasound images and neonatal technology helps severely premature infants develop into healthy toddlers, life opponents are backing away from the old argument that the unborn have nothing in common with the rest of humanity. Instead, they vigorously contend for "women's rights" — rights they claim trump those of the unborn.

"Today, anyone who sees an ultrasound knows that it is a child," says Cindi Boston, chief executive officer of the Pregnancy Care Center in Springfield, Mo., and board chairman of Alliance for Life, a coalition of Missouri pregnancy centers. "Those who lobby for abortion have changed their tactics. Now it's about women's rights, women's health care, a woman's right to choose. They don't want to debate whether it is a baby because the ultrasound shows it is a baby. They want to talk about the woman and her wants and desires."

Boston says one thing that hasn't changed over the years is the abortion industry's reliance on misinformation to stay in business.

"Since abortion legalization, they continue to give distorted facts, falsified data and mislead our entire country," says Boston, who attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield. "Women who obtain legalized abortion often do so because they have not been given complete information."

Following a lawsuit by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, an Oklahoma district court last year overturned a law that would require women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and hear a doctor describe the unborn child’s appearance. The state has appealed the decision to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Another law facing legal challenges in Oklahoma calls on abortion clinics to use anonymous questionnaires to aid the Health Department in compiling demographic data on women who have abortions. Findings could help facilitate the development of targeted programs to reduce abortions. The law also would require abortionists to inform women of the medical complications that can arise as the result of an abortion.

Opponents of the laws claim such mandates place an unnecessary burden on women during a difficult time. However, life advocates question how women can be expected to make informed decisions in the absence of facts.

Masse, who counsels women who have had abortions, says most are shell-shocked by the physical and emotional toll of what they were told would be an easy procedure.

"No one ever said to me, 'This is what you're going to go through, these are the risks,' " says Masse, president and founder of Ramah International and author of the book Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion. "No one told me I might end up with psychological trauma. I didn't ask a lot of questions. But I believe in my heart if I had seen an ultrasound screen, I would not have had an abortion."

Sixteen states have laws related to abortion ultrasounds, some requiring they be performed and others requiring abortion facilities to tell women where they can get a free ultrasound. Similar proposals were debated last year by lawmakers in a dozen states: Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

Boston says groups that profit from abortions lobby hard to defeat such laws because they know viewing an ultrasound is a powerful deterrent for women considering abortion.

"The truth women see in an ultrasound brings a beautiful view of the window to the womb," Boston says. "It allows them to examine truth before they make a decision. There's a natural maternal instinct that God plants in the hearts of women. As much as they may want to deny it, the God-given maternal instinct is still there."

Many pregnancy centers across the country, including the one Boston heads, offer free ultrasounds.

"By reaching one woman at a time, we're making a difference and moving people toward the idea that life is sacred," Boston says.

According to a Pew Forum poll released in October, support for abortion in the United States is slipping. In the survey, 47 percent of respondents said abortion should be legal in all or almost all cases — a drop of seven percentage points from 2008. During the same period, the number of people who said abortion should be illegal in all or almost all cases rose from 41 to 45 percent.

"What we see now is that abortion supporters and opponents are basically evenly divided," says Gregory A. Smith, a senior Pew researcher. "We haven't really seen that in the past. We also see the change across multiple groups — college-educated and those with less education, those who attend religious services and those who do not. All have shifted."

A Gallup Values and Beliefs survey last May revealed a similar trend. In that poll, 51 percent called themselves "pro-life," while only 42 percent identified with the label "pro-choice.‚"

"This is the first time in nine years of Gallup Values surveys that significantly more men and women are pro-life than pro-choice,"the report said.

As public support for abortion wanes, life opponents promote abortion methods that are touted as easier and less invasive. Since the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the drug mifepristone in 2000, the so-called abortion pill has been prescribed widely. Also known as RU-486, its use now accounts for more than 20 percent of abortions in the United States.

However, the notion that there is a quick and painless alternative to surgical abortion is simply another lie, according to Sheila Harper, founder of SaveOne, an abortion recovery ministry based in Nashville, Tenn.

"The reality is, all it does is keep the doctors' hands clean," Harper says. "We're hearing horrendous stories from girls going through incredible pain and having these babies at home. It's the most traumatic, awful way imaginable to have an abortion. They're seeing their babies coming out, and they're having to flush them down the toilet."

Harper, who had an abortion at the age of 19, says the only way to confront the deception of abortion in all its forms is by sharing Christ's love and compassion.

"I absolutely believe Jesus loves those of us who have had abortions," Harper says. "Jesus would be telling the truth in love, and that is what we're doing. Abortion is a horrible sin that carries horrible consequences, but it does not put you outside of God's grace. God's grace covers even this sin. That's the message of Christ."

Since founding SaveOne in 2000, Harper has helped establish chapters of the ministry in 130 churches in nine countries.

"Churches sometimes avoid this issue because they feel they can't bring politics into the church," says Harper, whose husband, Jack Harper, pastors CrossRoads Church, an AG congregation in Antioch, Tenn. "But this is not political. It's something we have a mandate to stand against. The church has the only solution. Anything outside of Christ is just a bandage."

CHRISTINA QUICK is a freelance writer and former Pentecostal Evangel staff writer. She lives in Springfield, Mo., and attends Central Assembly of God.

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