A tiny boy with beautiful, dark curls like his father’s.
Teenage newlyweds, the couple was financially supported by a respected family member, who thought they weren’t ready to start a family.
She pressured the young mother to end the pregnancy. Reluctantly, she agreed. But she tearfully insisted on giving him a proper burial, humble as it might be.
That couple was my grandparents. The curly-headed boy in the shoebox, my uncle.
At least he received some small measure of respect and burial — even if it was in a shoebox.
As we’ve seen over this last few weeks, tiny bodies, just like his, are being drained of life, then torn apart and sold for profit.
That horrific reality was laid bare in the recent videos documenting Planned Parenthood executives casually negotiating prices for body parts and discussing “less crunchy” ways to extract babies from the womb.
Like me, you were probably outraged and sickened by this chilling, evil tragedy that is playing out everyday in clinics across America.
But what can we do besides being outraged? How can we do something that is real and tangible? How can one person make a difference?
The task of righting this wrong is enormous. It seems overwhelming. However, if our efforts save even ONE human life, help one struggling pregnant mom or ease the pain of one woman who is suffering with the aftereffects of abortion, wouldn’t it be well worth it?
Here are seven ways we can turn our Planned Parenthood outrage into action that has impact:
I know that seems like a passive activity, but prayer is the most important and powerful place we can start. It releases the Holy Spirit to work in ways that we can’t. It invites him to work in the hearts and minds of our government representatives, clinic workers and young women. It causes us to rely on Him for the love, wisdom, insight and compassion we need as we interact with others regarding this sensitive, highly charged issue.
#2: Support your local pregnancy center
I have an excellent center in my community called Pregnancy Solutions. They offer free counseling, pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. They also provide young mothers with free diapers, baby clothing, formula and other essentials as they complete the center’s “Earn as You Learn” parenting education program. Post-abortion counseling is also available free of charge to those who are struggling with the emotional impact of abortion.
Many centers like Pregnancy Solutions exist all over the country. But, unlike Planned Parenthood, they don’t receive any federal funding. They are entirely dependent on the donations of the public. They can use your financial support and donation of baby items.
Most are also in need of volunteers to counsel the women who come into the center, scared, confused and in need of compassion. Most centers provide a multi-session training program for counselors. If you are willing to learn, full of grace and passionate about the God-given value of human life — both the baby’s and the mother’s — then you most likely have what it takes to be a center counselor.
#3: Support pro-life organizations
On a national level, Save the Storks is an incredible pro-life group. According to their website, Save the Storks “provides state-of-the-art, innovative mobile medical units to local pregnancy resource centers across the United States.” Their ‘Stork Buses,’ under the direction of the pregnancy resource centers, are equipped with a sonogram machine and volunteers who are able to administer pregnancy tests and offer sidewalk counseling.” For more information and to donate, visit their website.
National Right to Life has been fighting for the cause of the unborn since 1968. They accomplish this through education, legislation and political action. NRL provides research, educational materials, information and leadership training. They also sponsor legislation to advance the pro-life cause and support public officials who defend life. You can visit their website to make a donation.
#4: Organize church-based initiatives
Last spring, our church organized a “Celebrate Life!” Baby Shower to benefit our local crisis pregnancy center. For several weeks, women from the church brought in donations of diapers, strollers, car seats, pacifiers, baby wipes and other necessities.
Then, we invited the director of the center to our “baby shower” where we had cake and punch and she educated us about the services the center offers and how we can support it and get involved. We sent her away with a van-load full of much-needed baby items for the center.
Our church also periodically offers a class called Surrendering the Secret that is specifically designed to provide healing and support for women who have undergone abortions and are still carrying the pain, guilt and scars, perhaps even decades later. At the end of the first class, the leader shared with me, “This was one of the most incredibly healing, powerful things that I have ever been a part of. I was blown away and humbled that I got to participate in what God did in that group of women.”
#5: Speak out with knowledge and grace
When we are passionate about an issue, especially something as important as the value of human life, it is easy to let emotion lead our words. We have to be careful to speak passionately and still speak with grace (that where prayer comes in!).
We also need to be educated regarding the facts about abortion. Abort73.com is a wealth of detailed information about abortion. You can learn more about Planned Parenthood and their statistics by reading their Annual Report, According to their 2013-2013 report, Planned Parenthood performed 327,653 abortions and made just 1,880 adoption referrals.
Does Planned Parenthood provide things like breast screenings, pap smears and other worthwhile services? Yes. But there are organizations that offer these services without funding abortion and selling body parts.
We need to know and support these alternative resources so we can point women to them. The American Cancer Society is a good place to start. They can often direct you to organizations and centers in your area that provide free or low-cost health services for women. Catholic Charities is also a valuable resource. You can also contact your local hospitals and clinics, ask for their community information and find out if and when they provide tests there at low or no charge.
These alternatives are usually not nearly as well funded as Planned Parenthood. However, we can change that by our donations. In addition, if the funding (more than $500 million of your tax dollars each year) are directed to these organizations instead, they would be able to serve a far greater number of women.
#6: Call your congressmen and donate to organizations that support pro-life legislation
I just got off the phone with two of my Senators’ offices, expressing my support for a bill being voted on to defund Planned Parenthood and instead give those funds to organizations and centers that provide services to women without providing abortion. It seems like a small thing, but we have to make our voice heard. It can make a difference.
The American Center for Law & Justice is a fantastic resource regarding the latest pro-life legislation being voted on. They give detailed information about which legislators to call and what to say. They also give accurate information about where various lawmakers stand in regards to pro-life issues. The ACLJ fights for the cause of the unborn daily in the courts. You can donate to them here. The Susan B. Anthony List is also a great pro-life organization and resource.
#7: Be prepared to offer hope for the hurting
Only the Holy Spirit can change hearts. But we have to be prepared and bold enough to share the truth of the hope and grace we all have in Jesus Christ. We need to be willing to help the mother who has decided to keep her baby, as well as the woman who is in pain because of the decision she made to abort hers.
We must be THE CHURCH — the body of Christ that is willing to help the hurting. Our failure to do that in the way the Bible commands us to has led to many of the social ills that we have today. We must be willing to be inconvenienced and get out of our comfort zones. I’m talking to myself as much as anyone who may be reading this blog.
I am deeply convicted of my own failings and challenged to fight for the dignity and value of every human life and to be open to every opportunity God puts before me.
We owe it to the baby in the shoe box and so many others who have lost their lives.
Eyes have been opened. People are listening. Now is the time to act.