Another Day at Hope

In the middle of the muddle of just another busy day, I got this urgent text on my phone:

“Folks, I don’t usually send out group texts but this is urgent- we need immediate prayer for a client. She was raped and is, for all intents and purposes, absolutely determined to get an abortion. She needs to find funding and went to planned parenthood- apparently, the state will fund abortions but she needs a doctor to sign off on the application form. Planned parenthood referred her to us thinking we have a doctor on site.

I explained to her we are not able to sign the form for her, however, after much persuasion, was able to convince her to come for an ultrasound. She’s coming at noon today. Pls, pls pray that she will show and that the Spirit will give her counselor the words to comfort her and change her mind. To say this girl is desperate is an understatement. She is almost at the end of her first trimester. Thank u for praying, feel free to pass this request along…”

That message was from Elaine Russo the Administrator of Hope Pregnancy Center on North Broad Street in Philadelphia. She along with our paid and volunteer staff provide help and hope for women in desperate and despondent states dozens of times weekly. When a group call comes out like this, and it is not infrequent, I can only think about the literally millions of women who have no one thinking about, let alone praying for them in their time of need.

With the millions of unborn babies who are being slaughtered every year in the name of health rights, personal choice and reproductive freedom, I am puzzled as to how such nice words came to describe such an awful practice.

If a person intentionally or unintentionally kills a pregnant woman and the baby dies, that person can be held for double homicide. However, if the woman decides to abort the baby, it is her choice. If a woman dies in labor, the doctor can be charged with negligent practice, or even criminal liability in some cases. However if that woman dies as a result of an abortion, it is just a complication. If a woman decides she wants only blue eyed, bubbly, bouncing boy babies, the almond eyed girl with the cleft lip will end up on the medical waste heap.

This is all about choice, or is it? When those who advocate choice for women who are intellectually, emotionally or financially challenged, is it because they so deeply empathize with them? Where does being liberal stop and being libelous begin?

Hope Pregnancy Center is a place where those who never dreamed of being pregnant are offered the freedom to choose for life. They are not coerced, nor cornered. They are caressed and cared for in a manner in which whatever decision they make, we will stand with them because they need to know ultimately that God loves them. We hope that they will feel that love so much that they will choose life over death. To do so acknowledges that the life they carry is just as important as the life they live. To affirm the life in the womb is to affirm oneself as important to God. That is Hope.

The following is the latter part of that story:

Dear All,

I just wanted to send a quick update on the prayer request I texted this morning. The client ultimately did not show for her appointment. We tried everything we could (myself and our staff counselor talked with her extensively on the phone throughout the morning). As far as I know, she has an appointment scheduled for 3/20 and is just besides herself because she only has a few days to gather the funds she needs. I will try calling her again on Monday, please keep praying in the meantime. I can only imagine the stress she is under, having been traumatized by rape and now dealing with taking the life of her child. (even though a rape victim thinks an abortion would erase the product of the trauma, an abortion often re-traumatize her in a deeper way than she can anticipate and makes the wounds only that much harder to heal…)

It has been a bittersweet day. My heart has been heavy all morning, especially when it was clear that the client was not going to show. However, I just came back from visiting another HOPE client who just had a baby a few days ago at her house and brought her diapers etc and a hot casserole. She was originally going to have an abortion but God turned her around at HOPE. Holding her little 6 day old son in my arms, it was just wondrous to behold him and I was just filled with gratitude for his life. God is sovereign and above all, good– so very good. I’m completely humbled to be able to get a glimpse of His goodness through His work at HOPE.

I invite you to join us at our annual banquet April 25th