As part of our Black Lives Matter to God Series at Full Life Community Church, I decided to address the issue of abortion and how it is impacting the Black community for the first time at our church. I preached a sermon entitled, “Black Lives Matter in the Womb”. You can hear the sermon here.
I’m writing this blog today to share about my journey to understanding the impact of abortion of women, men and families. I started working at a Staff Educator for Austin LifeCare Pregnancy Resource Center (ALC) which is a CareNet affiliated pregnancy center that assists men and women dealing with unplanned pregnancies. ALC has been in existence since 1984 and in 1989 began Austin LifeGuard (ALG) as a preventative program that provides sexual risk avoidance education to middle school and high school students throughout Central Texas.
Part of my training to be a staff educator was to learn more about what pregnancies center provide and one of those services is decision counseling to assist a person in making an informed decision related to their pregnancy. In addition to this service, the center offers free professional counseling, free premarital counseling, free birthing classes and free parenting classes. All the class participants receive vouchers called “Baby Bucks” that can be used to “purchase” items in a boutique called Hannah’s Closet including items like baby clothes, diapers, wipes, formula, strollers, pack and plays and the like. All of this impressed me because I could see how men and women who were dealing with an unplanned pregnancy might benefit from these services. The second service that impacted me was the support groups to assist women in recovering from an abortion, miscarriage or sexual abuse. There are free groups to provide support for men and women who have been through these life altering events.
We were then given the opportunity to view two documentaries, “Blood Money” which speaks of the monetary drive in the abortion industry and “Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America” which speaks of the intentional and strategic impact of abortion on the black community. After watching these documentaries, I was informed about something I’d never really known about. I didn’t know how abortion worked in our country and now I was informed so I had to do something.
To say the least, I was impacted by this information and began to learn more. As I spoke with men and women who had been a part of an abortion decision, I was hearing the impact it had on their lives. Men who wanted their children and were not given a chance to have them and women who made a decision in the moment that they often regretted later. My heart was broken and my passion was fuel.
I immediately began to get involved in discovering what I could do. I became involved in working with our center to refer men and women to the support groups that were being offered to assist them in recovery. I began working with the Texas Alliance for Life by attending the Rally for Life and their annual banquet. Eventually, I joined their Board of Directors and now serve as the Secretary. I met with legislators who would work to create legislation that would make abortion safer for women who were considering the decision and more than anything I wanted to get the word out to other pastors and people in the Black community so I joined the EMBRACE Initiative started by Debbie Juhlke and now I serve as chair.
I am not approaching this issue blindly nor with a limited understanding of what causes people to consider abortion. I am not judging people who have made the choice, I am focused on helping people make a better choice because few people I know who have had an abortion look back at the experience positively and think, “Let’s do that again”. Our church is working to develop plans to offer a ministry to men and women who have had abortions or are considering abortions. I will continued my work in the community and provide leadership and support to other leaders to work on this issue day in and day out.
I want to encourage you to follow the four steps I laid out in my sermon as an application to this blog:
- Get informed – learn the facts
- Get impacted – move from statistics to stories
- Get invested – realize that this issue matters
- Get involved – do something to make a difference
I have seen so many people learn about this issue and use these four steps to do something about it. You can be the next person to speak truth and learn how to help others. My hope is that you have heard my heart and my desire to help and not to hurt, my desire to bring healing and not harm, my desire to bless and not curse.
Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blesses and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
I challenge us all to choose life.