USA (MNN) — Ever since New York cheered abortion up to the moment of birth, people are becoming aware of just how far the abortion agenda has been pushed. Now, the release of the pro-life movie “Unplanned” is pulling back the curtain.
“Unplanned” tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director whose worldview was shattered after she assisted with an ultrasound-guided abortion.
“She had never been asked to do that. When she did that and when she saw the baby moving away from the abortion instrument, it totally broke her heart and totally changed her. Within days, she had resigned her position and now she is one of the biggest voices in the nation speaking against abortion and against Planned Parenthood,” says Eric Verstraete with Life Matters Worldwide.
“The importance of this movie is it brings to light the lie that is out there, that is being formed by Planned Parenthood, that is just saying, ‘This is not a baby. It’s just a clump of cells.’ The movie is a very telling and very specific example of what abortion is. There are no holds barred.
“We also hope that it can really speak to those of our brothers and sisters who are out there who are pro-choice who can see… the abortion issue for what it is. We’ve heard many comments of folks already who have said they are pro-choice whose minds are being changed.”
Life Matters is hosting free “Unplanned” showings this Saturday, April 13 in West Michigan. They had to cap the tickets at 2,250 and the event is already sold out.
Verstraete says, “If people can’t do the free event, we are still very much encouraging people to go see the movie. It is definitely worth their time and we’re hoping that it sparks some amazing conversation within the Church because we feel the Church needs to be woken up to this specific issue of abortion in our culture.”
It Starts With Us
It may seem like preaching to the choir to say the Church needs to wake up on the issue of abortion. After all, isn’t abortion one of the issues society claims to be sick of hearing about from Christians?
However, according to a survey by LifeWay Research, 43 percent of women who have an abortion in the US attended a church once a month or more at the time.
“That means the Church is losing their own,” says Verstraete.
“I think the reason these churched women are going is because of the shame they have felt from churches.
“Statistics will tell you that if churched women stopped going to have abortions, the abortion industry would lose $ 250 million this next year. I don’t know of another organization that would be able to survive if all of a sudden they lost $ 250 million.”
Love the “Unplanned” Pregnancies
If we want to see the end to abortion in our time, we need to start within our churches.
“We’re asking pastors, ‘How are you and your congregation ready to handle the unplanned pregnancy that is coming to your church?’”
The answer to that question can be summed up in one word: compassion.
Verstraete shares, “I have a pastor friend who stands up and says, ‘Abortions will not happen in our church. If you get pregnant, do not have an abortion. Come to the Church. The Church will help raise this baby.’
“That type of an attitude needs to spread like a brushfire through the church community. The church community needs to rise up and say, ‘How can we support that person emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, socially?’ Do not shun that person outside the church. Make sure they know they are welcomed within the church. We don’t have to condone actions, but we have to love people.”
Don’t Be Afraid To Talk About Abortion
Verstraete emphasizes we also need to separate the abortion conversation from politics and be willing to engage it with moral and intellectual integrity.
“A lot of churches and a lot of pastors I have the privilege of speaking with, when we talk about abortion, they refer to it as a political issue. So I think one thing we need to make sure we understand is this is an issue that has been politicized, but this is not a political issue. This is a moral issue and this is a spiritual issue. This is about the killing of unborn babies.”
Once we depoliticize abortion and don’t make it solely about the left versus the right, we will have the freedom to talk more openly about abortion in our churches.
“Open up the dialogue in the church. Stop having [the topic of] abortion or…sex and sexuality and relationships, stop having those be taboo issues. Open the conversation and ask, ‘What are practical things that we can do? There are going to be unplanned pregnancies that come into the church. How can we love those people?’”
Love the Walking Wounded
Additionally, one in four women who attend a church weekly has had an abortion. Some of these women may have never told another soul. Their grief is silent, hidden, broken.
These post-abortive women need the Church’s extension of God’s love and an invitation to heal.
“With the walking wounded, those who are post-abortive, are we showing them compassion? Are we saying, ‘Let us comfort you like our Lord comforts us’? We already receive comfort from the Lord. How can we then extend that comfort and that compassion?”
And, Verstraete points out, it’s not just women. “There are men too who are silently suffering because they don’t feel they can bring this issue up because it is never talked about.
“Again, we have to make it more commonplace to talk about it, to bring it up, and [ask], ‘How do we love those people? How do we have compassion?’ It’s a huge thing that needs to change in the Church.”
Join the Movement
Of course, this issue can’t stay contained within the walls of our churches.
If we are to turn this pro-life moment into a movement, we need to lovingly and urgently continue the abortion conversation in our circles, on social media, in our courtrooms, on our sidewalks, and in our government offices.
“How do churches get involved directly with the pregnancy centers that are in their area? How can they support them financially? How can they support them with volunteerism? Those are some very specific things that churches can do to get involved.”
Life Matters is continually working to strengthen pregnancy care centers and to help churches start and maintain pro-life ministries. The “Unplanned” movie event this Saturday in West Michigan is just one way they are advancing the conversation and advocating for the pre-born.
“Our hope at Life Matters is that this movie will awaken the Church to the gruesome reality of what abortion is — awaken it so much that it will start a movement within the Church to have their eyes opened; and through that, to actions being able to start,” says Verstraete.
If you’d like to learn more about pregnancy care resources with Life Matters, click here to visit their website!
“We just ask people to pray. We ask people to go and see the movie. If they can’t come to our event on the 13th, go and see the movie. It’s a game changer…. Let’s get the conversation started.”