It was called Whatever Happened to the Human Race. Back in 1980, it changed my life. Bethesda Lutheran Brethren Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin showed this five-part film series that brought to light crucial issues of human dignity and what happens to a culture when we don’t value human life. The series consisted of education on abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.

The part educating us on abortion was particularly life-changing for me. I had just had my first child, which is perhaps why the information about abortion was even more distressing for me. How can we live in a world where we intentionally get rid of an unborn child?

The authors of Whatever Happened to the Human Race, Dr. Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, wrote this: “We stand today on the edge of a great abyss. At this crucial moment, choices are being made and thrust on us that will for many years to come affect the way people are treated. We want to try and help tip the scales on the side of those who believe that individuals are unique and special and have great dignity.”

If I believe abortion is wrong—that it is the taking of a life—I need to do more than just say that. I need to compassionately educate and support people considering that choice. I need to be there through a pregnancy and for as long as that parent needs me. I need to provide help and hope. I need to share the love of Jesus with those he puts in my path. I need to help women who have chosen abortion find healing and forgiveness and understanding.

I’ve now been involved in a pregnancy center for nearly 38 years. It has brought incredible opportunities. We continue to serve and make a difference in our community. We provide pregnancy testing, education, long-term support, and mentoring. We provide post-abortion counseling. Our “Earn While You Learn” program teaches about pregnancy, parenting, life skills, and more. Our clients earn points to purchase diapers, baby clothing, car seats, cribs, and much more.

All these years later, much of what the film series predicted has become reality. Our culture has changed. The issue used to be, “Is it a baby?” With current medical technology we can see the baby in the womb. The issue now is about women’s rights.

Pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf writes, in The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture:

In the past, we used to discriminate on the basis of skin color and gender (and still do at times), but now with elective abortion, we discriminate on the basis of size, level of development, location and degree of dependency. We’ve simply swapped one form of bigotry for another.

The abortion debate is an important issue that affects everyone in some way. It has to do with our sexual behavior and the way we treat one another. It has to do with the value of human life. It has to do with our relationships with each other. It has to do with how we treat disabled people, elderly, sick and dying people, and so much more.

I recently learned of two more women asking for post-abortion help from us. They are part of the reason that I continue to show up after all these years. I get to be part of helping women through a healing process and finding forgiveness and joy. I know these women and their stories. I know there is forgiveness and peace in Jesus.

How can you make a difference? Are you able to articulate your beliefs about this issue to your children? Do they know what you believe, and why? Do they know you’ll support and love them no matter what? Have you considered volunteering or financially supporting your local Pregnancy Care Center? Let’s make abortion unthinkable.

Melinda Gardner lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and is a member of Bethesda Lutheran Brethren Church. She is the Executive Director of Apple Pregnancy Care Center.

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