Abortion… Abort73.com… and Making Radical Choices
As promised, though a few days late, this is the basic transcript from which I spoke at both Calvary Bible Church and the Sacramento Teens for Life "Redeeming the Abortion Generation" Outreach. My actual messages veered slightly from the text, but the essence should be the same...Intro Video Tonight, I want to talk to you a little bit about abortion, a little bit about Abort73 and a little bit about making radical choices, rooted in love for God and a love for people and a desire to be completely satisfied in all that God is for you in Christ, even if it costs you your life, because it might cost you your life, someday.In America today, there are few causes that you could take up that will earn you more contempt than being a public critic of abortion. Eight years ago, I graduated from Washington State University. While I was there, I was involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Crusade for Christ, so I had a lot of opportunities to go out and share the gospel with other students. For all the times I did that over the years, I was never cussed out, never flipped off, never yelled at, never spit on, and never threatened with death or violence. A year after I graduated, I went back to my old campus as part of the Genocide Awareness Project, which is a traveling photo-mural exhibit that compares abortion to other crimes against humanity. My reception with that project was a very different one. Since 1999, I've been to about 40 major universities across the country, as a part of that project to be a witness against abortion, and in the course of that experience, I've been cussed at, flipped off, spit at, and threatened, and that's just from the professors. Telling someone that the only way to be reconciled to God is by placing your faith in Jesus is one thing, people are tragically nonchalant about this most crucial of all realities, but if you tell them that a mother doesn't have the right to terminate the life of her unborn fetus, her child, those are fighting words. You better watch your back. On November 16, two months ago, this email came in through the Abort73 website:
How [expletive] dare any of you low life stuck ups look down on anybody, bunch of low life dogs, how dare you have a website like this. I've had an abortion and the last thing I need after having been through such a tragic and depressing time is to have you scum of the earth dog rats look down on me. I was not looking for a [expletive] in the head website to bring me down.. and if I had my way I would blow all you [expletive] up and KILL you all, just for being the people YOU are... don't [expletive] judge anyone, just cause you think it's not right... keep your [expletive] mouth shut and lose this website, because someone might take things a bit further than I will...............????????????
That comes from a 17-year-old girl.Every time I read a message like that, it's like a blow to the chest, because, truly, I am not someone who enjoys confrontation. It gives me no pleasure to elicit feelings of hatred among those who disagree with me. So I read something like that and I feel it, and then I go back through the website, and I ask myself, did I say this too harshly, was I too flippant with this point, was I calloused in the way I presented this? There have been times when I've had to say, yes, I need to reword that, but, honestly, I have gone to great pains to be as loving and as even-handed as possible, but some people still hate me for it, at least in the abstract, which brings me back to the question of why. Why do this? Why invite so much misery and anger? Would God have me do something else?Turn with me to Ephesians 5.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. -- Ephesians 5:1-11
This chapter opens with an urging to walk in love, just as Christ walked, and then it moves into the subject of sexual immorality and says, no one who is sexually immoral has any inheritance in God's kingdom, and then, verse 11, "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead even expose them." There it is. There are two parts to Christian virtue, one is passive, "take no part", the other is active, "instead even expose". It isn't enough to just not do deeds of darkness, we're also called to expose them, and that gets messy. Keep reading, verses 12 and 13.
For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible.
That which is shameful and hidden must be made visible by the light of God's truth. 82% of all abortions in the U.S. are performed on single women, which means that 82%, at least, of all abortions come on the heels of sexual sin. But how about abortion itself, is abortion, outside the context of the sexual sin which often precedes it, a deed of darkness? Or, is it, as the world would have us believe, a morally-neutral preference? Abort73 has a couple hundred pages of evidence and explanation which seeks to convince those who visit it that abortion is indeed an evil act, but for all the medical testimony and prenatal facts and philosophical reasoning, nothing will make you feel the weight of abortion more than seeing what it actually does.Does anyone here know who Emmett Till was?In 1955, Emmett Till was 14-years-old. He lived in Chicago with his mother, but that summer he went on a trip to Money, MS, where his family was from, to visit his uncle and cousin. One day during his visit, just a couple days before he was scheduled to go home, he bragged to his cousin and friends that, in Chicago, he had a white girlfriend. They said, ya, right, if that's true, why don't you walk into that store and talk to a white woman. So Emmett did. He walked right into the general store, bought some bubble gum and said something like, "hey, baby" to a white woman as he walked out. An old man sitting on the porch said, son, you better get out of here because they're going to kill you. So they left. That night or the night after, there's some uncertainty on that point, two men, the store owner and the husband of the woman Emmett talked to, came to where Emmett was staying, dragged his uncle out of bed, and kidnapped Emmett. After that they beat him, shot him in the head, tied a big metal cotton-gin fan to his neck with barbed wire, and pushed his body into the Tallahatchie river. Three days later, Emmett washed ashore, his body so decomposed that he could only be identified by the ring on his finger. Emmett's uncle, Mose Wright, testified against the murderers in court as an eye witness, but they were acquitted by an all white jury. When the coroner sent Emmett's body back to Chicago, it looked so bad that he sealed the coffin. Emmett's mother, however, insisted that the coffin be opened and she then held an open-casket funeral. When Emmett's mom was questioned as to why she would hold an open-casket memorial and why she would allow pictures of hermutilated son to be shown across the country she replied, "I want the whole world to see what they did to my boy." Jet magazine, the nation's leading black publication published a photograph of Emmett's body and the watching world was enraged.Robin Kelley, chair of the history department at New York University, reflects on the events this way:
Mamie Till Bradley's decision to have an open-casket funeral was incredibly courageous and, in fact, it was the thing that was -- even more than his murder -- an emotional catalyst for many people who were drawn to this incident, largely because she made the decision to allow the world to see what these white supremacists did to her son, and it became an international event, and that image of his face was marked on just about every single black person, of that generation, let alone people in Europe and Africa and Asia who saw the same images. I know for me personally, when I first saw those images, years later, it was shocking to me. It was one of those unforgettable images that I think that every generation, years afterwards, will never forget.
Three months after Emmett's murder, the Montgomery bus boycott began, and photographs continued to play a large role in documenting the injustices visited upon African-Americans. When injustice is seen, it always becomes more real.
Abortion supporters, almost without exception, claim that it is hateful and manipulative to show pictures of aborted children. Do they say this because they have a genuine concern for society's emotional welfare, or because they fear that if more people actually knew what abortion does, their multi-million dollar business would be compromised?
Raise your hand if you've seen the Abort73 abortion video before, either at a presentation or on the website. OK, for those of you who haven't seen it, it is not pleasant, but if you can stomach it, I hope you'll watch it. For the reasons I've just shared, you will never grasp the severity of the evil of abortion until you actually see it. For those who aren't ready to watch, all you need to do is close your eyes. The video will open with some text and after about a minute you'll see the phrase "This is Abortion" on the screen. For those who aren't going to watch, that's your signal to close your eyes. The entire video is only four minutes long and then we'll talk about what we've seen.
This Sunday is the 33rd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade which is the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states through all 9 months of pregnancy. Since that decision has been handed down, more than 40 million unborn children have lost their lives to "safe, legal" abortion. Almost 4,000 abortions happen everyday in America and roughly one out of every four abortions happens in California.
In 1998, I was living in Nashville, TN, abortion was barely on my radar, and I saw a video similar to the one we just watched. That experience coupled with a biblical explanation of why Christians have a responsibility to do something about abortion altered the course of my life dramatically. Soon after, I left my job at the Nashville Business Journal and moved back to Southern California to begin full-time pro-life work with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, or just CBR. I started working for them because, as a Christian, I suddenly felt compelled to intervene for my unborn neighbors who were being killed en masse with very little attention and very little protection. Just like the priest and the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan, I may have been pro-life, but I was passing by on the other side of the road when it came to abortion. It wasn't my problem, it wasn't my responsibility, but Christ condemns the priest and levite in Luke 10, not because they didn't feel the right things about injustice, but because they didn't do anything about it. Add to that Proverbs 24:11 which says, Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter, and I was convinced. Since that time, five things in particular have stood out to me.
Number one: The evidence against abortion, across the board, no matter what your race or religion, is overwhelming. I had no idea coming into this work that this was the case. I assumed that my distaste for abortion was primarily rooted in the fact that I was a Christian and could see God's work even in unformed children. Little did I know that the medical community has long-known and is almost universally agreed that human life begins at conception.
Number two: The average student has given almost no serious thought to the topic of abortion and knows almost nothing about it.
Number three: When the facts about abortion are presented truthfully, thoroughly, and humbly, minds change, particularly young people who are more objective and less entrenched in a self-saturated, humanist ideology. Since almost everyone in the world is agreed that it is wrong to kill a baby, all we need to do is demonstrate that abortion kills a baby. We're not trying to argue someone into a new morality, we're just trying to bring them to a more consistent application of their existing morality which already knows that killing babies is wrong.
Number four: The internet offers an unprecedented opportunity for the non-mainstream, counter-cultural, minority voice to actually reach a huge number of people with a message that simply isn't being communicated on TV, on the radio, in newspapers or in magazines. I was amazed that even though the website I built for CBR was primarily focused on telling people about who are what we do, even though it had very few actual arguments against abortion, the number of teenagers who responded to that site to tell us that their mind had been changed about abortion was significant.
Number five: There are passionate and concerned, pro-life students scattered across the country who want to do something about abortion, but don't have a clear outlet.
These five factors, plus one more, led me to the creation of Abort73.com. It aims to comprehensively present all the major facts and arguments relating to abortion in a compelling and engaging online environment so that minds will change, while giving pro-life students a host of resources to deploy in their community and on their campus to help them point their peers to Abort73.com. You can add to that, and this is the sixth factor, a desire to anchor the whole thing into a solid biblical, evangelistic foundation.
For all intents and purposes, Abort73 debuted in November 2004. It had been up as a place-holder since January 2004, but November was when most of the foundational content become complete. That month, we had 185 unique visitors. Wow. The next month, December 2004, we had 1,196 unique visitors. During the month of November 2005, a year after Abort73 arrived on the scene, 163,471 unique visitors entered the site, and here is a sampling of the feedback Abort73 has received:
The information you have provided on your site is what just made me change my mind about getting an abortion. I see how mean and wrong it is... I still can't stop crying now. Thank you, you all saved my baby's life. And I am eternally grateful.
I just wanted to take the time to tell you how moved I was by what I just read. Honestly, I never sat down and thought about this situation and in my English class I was assigned a paper on the argument of abortion. After looking over this website I am just speechless. There are so many teens that don't know any of this stuff and it should be in their studies in high school... I cant wait to turn in my paper now. You guys did an awesome job putting this together. I hope this will change many peoples mind.
I just wanted to say THANK YOU to whomever it is that wrote The Bible and Unborn Life. I have been battling for two weeks about getting an abortion. I prayed to God for an answer, and found this website tonight. You have helped me understand God's view on unborn babies, and I have decided against an abortion.
I used to think that if you don't want [a baby] and the guy doesn't want it, get rid of it, but now that I watched your video I am totally against [abortion].
I've always been pro-choice...why would a 12 year old girl who's been raped be forced to keep a child that she will despise for the rest of her life? I sympathized with people who had abortions because I felt it was necessary in some cases. Your website and your video has completely changed my mind.
I'm a 23 year old mother of one and soon to be a mother of two... I have had TWO abortions and I have yet to overcome them emotionally... [Coming to Abort73.com] is the first time I have challenged the suggestion of abortion, the first time (regrettably) I have actually taken time to think about it before making a decision...This is ALL happening for a reason. Everything will fall into place... I am having this baby and no clinic is going to stop me.
I am a 24 year old parent of a 6 year old. I have had 5 abortions in the past and I am 3 months pregnant now. Since I have found out about the pregnancy I have been happy, but recently that feeling has changed. After viewing the footage I saw on your site I feel like I can't kill one of my children again because it is exactly what you guys say it is, its murder.
I would like to thank you for all your valuable information. I have chosen to keep my baby [despite] the circumstances that I am facing... I thought abortion would be the right choice, but I was wrong. Thank you for helping me change my mind, and hopefully someone's life.
[I have] friends who were going to have an abortion. I learned they had one in the past. As I didn't know much about it, I did a google search. After seeing photos and reading stories I became 100% pro-life. I printed some pictures and stories and asked my friends to look through it. Their baby will be born in August! They said it was the pictures that did it. Thank you.
I was not even wanting to go to this web site and I saw the video that you have come on when you first came to the page. I want to thank you for letting me see about abortion. I have had two or three friends that have had an abortion... I always thought that was for them and that might be the best thing for them at their age. Today, I see a whole different side of the problem and I know that if I bring a child in this world that I am going to think about this video before I ever have an abortion. I think you should send this around to all the schools and let every kid watch it.
"I think you should send this around to all the schools and let every kid watch it." Wouldn't it be great if every high school health class in America had an accurate education program regarding abortion? Wouldn't it be great if these health classes (which do use graphic images to teach about smoking and drunk driving and sexually transmitted diseases) used graphic images to show students what abortion actually does to unborn children? As it stands, however, there is a huge vacuum when it comes to an accurate abortion education in most high schools. This, then, raises the question, how can we bring the truth about abortion into American high schools? Well, that's where you come in, but before I go further, I have one more video clip to play.
Abort73 can't get our abortion video into every school across the country, but with enough networking and the grace of God, we just may be able to advertise for the video and the website on every campus in America. The inspiration for "Shirt a Day" came when I heard that movie marketing experts believe that people need to see a movie advertised at least 8 times before they'll go see it. With that formula, I started thinking, what if even one student on a campus started wearing an Abort73 shirt day after day, week after week? Before long, virtually everyone on campus would, at some point, cross paths with that shirt multiple times. That would be a good thing. But even if you're not ready to wear the shirts that often, I hope you'll still wear them. Some have complained that the shirts don't really communicate anything or state a message. Well, they don't, but that's not their intent. The case against abortion is clear but it takes a little time to communicate, it's more than can be communicated on a shirt. A shirt can say, "Abortion is Murder", but if it can't demonstrate the reality of that fact, it's just an opinion, and no one's mind will change. As such, the single goal of our shirts is to entice those who see them into visiting Abort73.com.
The name Abort73 was chosen because I wanted something short and something that was ambiguous, something that wouldn't give away very much. I wanted people to see Abort73.com and have no idea what kind of website it might be, because most people don't have much interest in abortion and not much desire to learn more about it. As such, I'm trying to pique their curiosity, get them in through the back door, so to speak, and then grab their attention with a provocative intro video and an inviting presentation.
I have almost no advertising budget, but in many ways putting a shirt on campus on a regular basis is even better than billboards or magazine ads. It always reaches the right demographic. That's what it does for us, and for you who wear them, it marks you, in a good way. It sets you apart, and it may just open the door for any number of witnessing opportunities, if you're ready and willing to take them. I'd love to tell you more and show you more of the site, but were just about out of time, so go home today and check it site out for yourself. It is huge and offers, in addition to loads of abortion information, more ways that you can help influence those around you. (22)
Finally, for our last few minutes together, I want to talk about the bigger picture, about what you're going to do with your life beyond high school and how well you're doing at loving people while you're in high school. I very much want you to talk to your friends and classmates and teachers about abortion. I want you to wear Abort73 shirts to school and be an ambassador for the work we're doing, but as you do, think about this. Why do you care about abortion? Is it just a cause? A chance to be right? A chance to make a name for yourself, a chance to show off your debating skills? We all tend towards the path of least resistance, and in life, in ministry, it is much easier to move away from love and move towards the exaltation of self. I've been doing pro-life work as a full-time vocation for more than seven years now, and I can say without a doubt that the natural tendency is to go on auto pilot, to care more about the "success" of the ministry than about Christ... to care more about being the mechanism to end abortion than I do about the children being aborted. It is so easy for me to scheme and strategize about how to put the website in front of more people, all the while caring almost nothing about the women and the children and the men who are impacted by abortion every day. I say that to my shame. I say that as a warning, because it can happen in every aspect of the Christian life. It is so easy to care more about our ministries than we do about God, and the Bible says that if you don't prefer God to everything else in the world, you cannot be His disciple. Opposition to abortion is absolutely meaningless if it does not spring from love for God and love for people. Honestly, it is much easier to love ministry than it is to love God and love people. We must be careful. We must ask ourselves, do I prefer God to everything else in the world, have I ever preferred God to everything else in the world?
Having said that, here's my dream. I dream that some of you in here will start thinking seriously about pursuing a completely unconventional lifestyle that can have no other explanation than, they're a Christian, they take God at His word and they live a radical, crazy life because of it. I would love for someone in here, maybe lots of some-ones to work for Abort73 someday or to work for something better, something more pressing, or more crucial. There are needs all over the country, all over the world, crying out for focused Christian attention and so my plea, my challenge tonight is, which one of those needs are you going to meet? Are you are going to be someone who dreams of a great kingdom venture or just someone who dreams of a nice job and a big house? Will you step beyond the expectation of cheap and comfortable American Christianity to reach out for more, something so radical that the watching world will look at you and say, Why? Why? Why? Why are you doing that? Why are you going to South America when you could live in Burbank? Why are you wasting your education, your degree, to try and save unborn babies that no one cares about? Why are you spending so much time and money on widows and orphans and moving to the bad part of town? Why are you...fill in the blank, but please, think about how you will spend the few years God has given you in this, the richest nation in the history of mankind, to invest in the kingdom. Don't grow up and think to yourself, well, as long as I'm taking care of my wife and kids I can just let the world go to hell. Don't think like that. Instead, understand what God's will for your life is. Let's go back to Ephesians 5.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. -- Ephesians 5:15-21
Most of us live lives which are all too easily explained. We might say that God is our all in all but is that true? King Solomon, had all the wisdom, wealth and wives that any man could ever dream of, but he looks back on his life and says vanity of vanities, all is vanity. So think about what you're pursuing in life, then fall on Christ, and beg that He would give you right affections and kingdom-glorifying opportunities to act on those affections.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.