I was so blessed this weekend to attend the Wisconsin Right to Life Convention in Stevens Point. It was certainly one of my favorite speaking experiences thus far for many reasons. First off, the convention was fantastic and focused on issues on the forefront of the pro-life movement: the use of social media and technology in the pro-life movement and politics, euthanasia and assisted suicide, the eugenic legacy of Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, and the importance of voting in the 2010 elections. The speakers included Alex Schadenberg, from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition; Angela Franks, author of Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy; and Karen Cross, Political Director of the National Right to Life Committee. Mike Spielman, from Abort73.com (great ministry, website and pro-life materials on their site by the way: http:/www.abort73.com), was also present, and led the group in prayer.
Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life, Barbara Lyons, and Chapter Director, Doreen Shirek, along with Joleigh Little, Director of Wisconsin Teens for Life and former NRLC staff member, and many others helped to make the day truly special for both the young people present and the adults. If you don’t yet follow the work that Wisconsin Right to Life does, including amazing pro-life camps for young people, please check out their website at: http://www.wrtl.org. You can even subscribe to their updates. Make no bones about it, Wisconsin Right to Life is a true leader in the pro-life movement–don’t miss out on keeping up with what they’re doing!
Secondly, I was richly blessed with meeting s0 many amazing people there in Wisconsin. With the assistance of social media technology, I was already Facebook friends with a number of great people from Wisconsin, too numerous to count, but including Joleigh Little. Since this weekend, I’ve been doubly blessed with now becoming Facebook friends with many more wonderful people, young and old, who had the opportunity to listen as I shared my message of hope and healing at the banquet following the convention. Although I greatly appreciate my opportunity to share God’s message with the world, having the opportunity to meet other people and hear their own personal stories about how abortion has touched their lives is another great gift I receive each time I speak some where.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I will mention it again…I never cease to be amazed by the number of men who are in attendance when I speak, and by the courage of these men in meeting with me afterwards to share their own deeply personal, deeply painful life stories with me. There were three men, in particular, who left an indelible print on me Saturday night. The first man to come speak with me after my speech was, in the words of his own teenage daughter, responsible for having her and her friends from church come to hear me speak. “It was his idea,” she said pointing to him. We had a wonderful time taking pictures of this amazing pro-life father, his daughter and her friends, and he was absolutely beaming after hearing me share my message with the audience. God bless him and his daughter…may he serve as an example and support to his daughter in all of the years to come.
The second man who came to speak with me shared that he has 10 children, which I greatly admire. In our discussion, this wonderful man shared that although he has 10 children and he is pro-life, hearing me speak gave him a new perspective on abortion and on his family that he hadn’t had before. His gratitude and his love for his family was evident, and I am so grateful that he was able to be positively impacted by our time together.
The third man who truly touched my heart Saturday night did so in a BIG way. He was teary-eyed as he approached me and we shook hands briefly before I embraced him. He shared his difficult story of having a child aborted in the past, and although he has been fortunate enough not to keep this secret and his shame hidden from everyone (he has told his wife), he is still in pain, he still grieves the loss of his children and regrets his role in their life ending.
He was, understandably, affected by my testimony about my own biological father passing away, carrying the secrecy, shame and guilt of me being aborted, along with him. He was, understandably, affected by message that as a result of over 50 million children’s lives being ended by abortion, that hundreds of millions of women, men, family members and communities now suffer as a result. He understood my painful reality that if I had not survived that abortion attempt, my own daughter, Olivia, would never have lived. More importantly, he heard from me that men are hurt by abortion, too, and that he had the right to grieve for his lost children, that he had the right to heal from the effects of abortion. He is so courageous for not only sharing his story with me, but for also feeling the need to make amends with the woman who he fathered a child with, whom he supported in having the abortion. I will pray that this courageous, caring man finds the hope and healing that he so desperately needs and he deserves.
As I state on my website, “One decision, one single moment, can have such a detrimental impact on so many people, living and dead, born and yet to be conceived.” Abortion doesn’t just hurt women and children, as these men can attest to. Abortion hurts men, it hurts families, it hurts communities. And as my soon to be 2-year-old daughter, Olivia, gives testament to, abortion ends the lives of not just those that are already conceived, but those that would never then be conceived in the future.
Over two years now after the passing of my biological father, I still grieve the loss of his death, and the chance of ever having a chance to get to know him or learn about his role in my mother aborting me, but I know this was the Lord’s plan. For in my father’s death, has come great healing for other men. My father’s parting gift to this world was to pass along to me the message of his life, and his pain, to share it with others, in the hopes that they could learn from it and not suffer in the ways that my father obviously must have, carrying the secret of my mother’s abortion, and even my survival, to his own grave.
Bless you, my dear father in Heaven—we WILL meet again someday. Bless you to the amazing men, young and old alike, who shared in my time in Wisconsin this weekend. May the Lord continue to bring everyone who is touched by abortion in this world, including men, the healing, love, and hope that they need and deserve.