The high school I graduated from was a small private Christian School. My class had a whopping 16 kids in it. We were a “non-denominational” school, but that’s just code for 95% Baptist.
Every year we attended a Bible class….
When I was a senior in high school, we took on a workbook that dealt with several hot button issues. To be honest, I am not sure the name or title of the curriculum. Our class was taught by Baptist preacher, Pastor Way. He was great, and I enjoyed his willingness to play devil’s advocate for us. In fact, I have always remembered him as one of the more influential teachers I had. He was big on debate and enjoyed teaching us better ways to argue. There was a pretty wide range of topics including secular music, homosexuality, evolution, Christians in the movies, and so on. The main thing I remember, though, was when we tackled the issue of abortion. Pastor Way was pretty passionate about the subject, and there was a sense of urgency when we went over the material.
For the most part, we just went over the nuts and bolts about abortion. What is abortion? What does the Bible say about abortion? The history of Roe v Wade. But then there was the day we all dreaded. We all knew it was coming. We were going to have to watch a video called “Silent Scream.”
I am sure most of you are familiar with the video. A former abortionist made it in 1984. It graphically depicts a live abortion of a 12-week-old fetus. (You can Google Silent Scream if you want more info). We all knew from the classes before us that this was going to be a rough day. Every year on this day, we would see everyone walking out with tears in their eyes. We had no idea what to expect. To be honest, you can’t prepare a person to see a child lose their life in the womb. You can show graphic signs of aborted babies, you can give scientific definitions, you can go over every little scientific fact there is about abortion, but you cannot prepare a person to watch a life end on screen.
I don’t remember how long the video was. I don’t remember much about the information given before and after we saw the live abortion. The main thing I remember was seeing a child do everything it could to save his own life. It may have lasted less than a minute, but the memory has lasted me a lifetime. The images are with me forever. The babies mouth opening and closing, limbs scrambling, and then nothing. When the video was over, we all sat in silence. It took us all a while to process what we had seen. At the end of it all, for me, I knew I was a pro-life person.
Fast-forward about 13 years. I am married to a woman who is running an abortion clinic. I had reluctantly supported her for about 8 years as she went from volunteer to clinic manager. I was never comfortable with her working there, but over the years I had started to believe some of the same talking points that had sucked her in.
Then, the day came when Abby would see something similar to what I saw in the Silent Scream video. She was asked to come in and assist with an ultrasound guided abortion. Her job was to hold the ultrasound probe on the girl’s belly so the doctor could better see what he was doing. Abby had full view of what was on the screen. When the doctor said “beam me up, Scottie”, the suction was turned on, and the doctor began the procedure. What Abby saw next was the live killing of a 13-week-old baby in real time. Just like the room full of high school seniors I was in, she had no idea how to process the information. She went about the rest of her day as usual, but she couldn’t shake what she had seen.
When she came home, I was in the living room playing with our daughter. We went through our usual pleasantries, how was work, how’s Gracie, blah blah blah. When Abby sat down, there was a different look on her face. She looked at me and said, “Doug, I saw something today, and I am not sure what to think about it.” She then started to explain what she saw in graphic detail. I was instantly taken back to that day we watched the video. As she went through the process, everything started to sound very similar. The crazy thing about it was I knew exactly how she felt.
That was the moment that Abby’s eight plus years at Planned Parenthood started to look blurry and unravel. For me, it was the first moment we could actually connect and discuss something that happened to her at work. It was almost as if God had put me in that room to watch that movie 13 years earlier, just for this moment. I am not saying that if I hadn’t seen Silent Scream that none of this would have happened. What I am saying is that it is amazing to see God’s work over time. Abby and I had a new connection now. I can’t imagine what it was like for her considering that she didn’t just see a movie. She helped schedule the appointment, counsel the girl, and ultimately provide a visual for the doctor. I believe God knew she needed to have an extreme experience in order to start her conversion. I also think He new that me seeing that movie would be a strong connection that would help us get through what was coming.
Abby’s experience reminded me why I was prolife for so long. It reminded me why I constantly defended the protesters and people praying at her clinic. All the arguments and silent car rides had become worth it. All the sudden, we had similar experiences. I had all but silenced that little voice in the back of my head that was the truth about abortion. I did it because I loved my wife. But now, that little voice was about to get steadily louder.
“Praying is something we do in our time, the answers come in God’s time”
Robert Prosky as Father Cavanaugh in Rudy