Four Words that I Regret
“I support your decision.”
Many years ago, I said that to my pregnant girlfriend.
She had just returned from a clinic where she had taken a pregnancy test.
The test came back positive.
When the nurse at the clinic told my girlfriend that the test was positive, my girlfriend began to cry. So the nurse gave her a pamphlet with information about how to get an abortion.
My girlfriend showed me the pamphlet. She cried. I didn’t know what to say.
But the truth is I was relieved to see that pamphlet. And then I said those four words, “I support your decision.”
A week later, an abortionist took the life of our child.
Later in this article, I want to share with you how those four words, “I support your decision,” would come back to haunt me decades after saying them.
Why Do They Choose Abortion?
But first I would like to ask you a question.
Why do you think my girlfriend decided to have an abortion?
Of course, since you don’t know any details about what her unique situation was, you probably have no idea why.
While it’s true that each woman who chooses to get an abortion deals with that decision in her own way, statistics show that for all the abortions performed in the United States every day (about 3,000), the reasons women give for choosing abortion are not that unique.
As a matter of fact, did you know that research shows that for 98% of all abortions, the reasons women give for choosing to abort their babies fall into one of five major categories?
That’s it. Just five.
So if you know what those five reasons are, and you have a little background information about a woman’s particular situation, you can make a pretty good guess why she chose to abort her child.
Do you know the five reasons?
If so, great! But what I have found in my experience is that even many passionately pro-life people cannot name all five of these reasons.
Why does this matter?
It matters because if you don’t know the reason why a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy is thinking about getting an abortion, then how can you know what to do to effectively counter that reason so that you have a better chance of persuading her to choose life?
You can’t. So you have to know a woman’s reason why.
So I want to share with you what research says those five reasons are, but before I do that just a quick sidebar.
I am not writing this article as an ivory tower exercise using some information I found on the internet that fits well with what I want to believe about this issue.
In addition to having personal experience with abortion as a post-abortive father, I also work full-time in a front-lines pro-life organization (more on that later), so I get to see every day what women facing unexpected pregnancies actually say when they search for information about how they can get an abortion.
So the top five reasons I am about to show you are consistent with what I actually see happening in the real world in my every day work.
OK. With that sidebar out of the way, I will now tell you that there is published research available on the internet that presents these five reasons in detail.
And what’s interesting about this research, and gives it great credibility, is that it comes from a very pro-abortion organization, the Guttmacher Institute, which describes itself as “…a leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and globally.”
As we pro-lifers know well, the last part of the sentence is nothing but a fancy way of saying “committed to supporting abortion.”
Here is a summary of their research.
Between December 2003 and March 2004, the Guttmacher Institute surveyed approximately 2,000 women who had obtained abortions. 1,209 of those women completed the survey.
If you are interested in studying the details, the results of that survey are summarized very nicely by a gentleman named Robert Johnston on his website at http://www.johnstonsarchive.net
From that summary, here are the top 5 reasons why women said they aborted their children.
Reason #1 Too Young/Immature. Not ready for responsibility (32% of total)
Reason #2 Economic (30% of total)
Reason #3 To avoid adjusting life (16% of total)
Reason #4 Poor relationship with father (12% of total)
Reason #5 Enough Children already (8% of total)
So those five reasons accounted for 98%. The remaining 2% of the reasons included rape, incest, physical health of mother, and fetal health.
As I said, based on my daily work near the front-lines of this battle, I believe these reasons are an accurate reflection of reality.
But There’s More to the Story
However, there is a very key aspect missing in this research that we pro-lifers must better understand if we want to know how to more effectively respond to women who are actively seeking an abortion.
Do you know what that missing aspect is?
It’s the emotional component of each woman’s decision making.
What do I mean by that?
If you have a sales and marketing background like I do, there is a well-known expression about consumer behavior that says, “People buy on emotion, and justify with logic.”
In other words, after a consumer purchases something, she can tell you the reasons why she made that purchase, but if you go back to the exact moment of her decision to buy something, the main factor influencing her decision is emotion, not logic.
So with that in mind, in the research revealing the top 5 reasons why women aborted their children, women were using logical reasons after their abortions to tell us why they made that choice.
But as a marketer, what I want to know is what are the emotions that influenced them to choose to get an abortion in the first place?
What we pro-lifers need to key in on is not the after the fact logic, but the before the fact emotions. The reason why is because if we can effectively address those emotions, then we can help women move to a different emotional state that will make them more likely to choose life instead of abortion.
So what are those emotions?
I can say from my own personal experience many years ago when my girlfriend chose abortion, and also from the day-to-day work, that for the vast majority of these women there is one primary, very powerful, emotion that strongly influences them to choose to get an abortion.
That emotion is FEAR.
These women are scared. Pregnancy is a very big deal, and they know it.
So I decided to revisit those top five reasons presented in the summary of the Guttmacher survey, and look at them from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on the logical reasons for choosing abortion, which the women gave after they had abortions, I went back before they had abortions and incorporated the emotion of FEAR. Remember: buy on emotion, justify with logic.
Here’s what I came up with.
Reason #1 I’m afraid that I am too young or immature (to have this baby).
Reason #2 I’m afraid that I don’t have enough money (to have this baby).
Reason #3 I’m afraid that it will ruin my plans for my life (if I have this baby).
Reason #4 I’m afraid that I will not have the support of the child’s father (if I have this baby).
Reason #5 I’m afraid that I can’t handle having more children than I already have (if I have this baby).
Emotions are the Key
It is very useful to understand the emotions that motivate women to choose abortion.
If you know that fear is the primary emotion that motivates a woman to choose abortion, then you know that lessening her fear is the number one thing you need to focus on to help her change her mind about getting an abortion.
Of course, abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood are very aware that fear is the emotion that motivates women to get an abortion.
Here’s how they PREY on a woman’s fear.
They offer her a very simple solution. They say to her, “Let us help you by putting an end to the source of your fear, your pregnancy.” Of course, they don’t say it so directly, but it is implied in all of their marketing.
Simply put, abortion clinics treat a woman’s pregnancy like it is a disease that needs to be cured in order to return the woman to a state of “emotional” health.
In offering this so-called “cure” the abortion clinics appeal to a very powerful emotion in order to “sell” abortion to the woman. It goes something along these lines: “Remember what it was like before you got pregnant? We can quickly get you back to that state so that you won’t have to be afraid any longer.”
In other words, they sell the woman the emotional appeal that an abortion can “rewind the clock” so to speak and get her back to the state she was in before the pregnancy.
Of course, we pro-lifers know that the problem with this is that abortion doesn’t “rewind the clock” for the innocent human being growing in the woman’s womb. Abortion stops the clock for that child.
Abortion clinics know this as well, and that’s why they go to great lengths to avoid talking with the woman about the humanity of the baby growing in her womb. They don’t want anything to interfere with keeping the woman focused on feeling the happy emotions of what it will be like to return to the state of not being pregnant.
So this is what we pro-lifers are up against in the battle for the hearts and minds of abortion-minded women.
And in that battle we are at a great disadvantage. One, because the emotional appeal to the woman of getting back to a state of not being pregnant is very powerful. And two, because abortion is legal. For many young women, the fact that abortion is legal gives them an additional dose of emotional support because in their minds society at large says it’s OK to get an abortion.
What Pro-Lifers Can Do to Help
So we pro-lifers are in a tough spot.
Even so, winning just one battle for a woman’s heart and mind, saving just one human life that would otherwise have been lost to abortion, makes the battle worth the effort. That’s because every human being is created in the image and likeness of God.
So how can we effectively counter abortion clinics?
Is there is an antidote that is proven to win some of these battles against the abortion clinics?
Yes there is.
That antidote is called a Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC).
Unlike abortion clinics that PREY on a woman’s fear, Pregnancy Resource Centers PRAY against a woman’s fear.
PRCs embrace the humanity of BOTH the woman AND the child.
The staff at the PRCs take very seriously a woman’s fears about her unexpected pregnancy. But they know the undeniable reality that there are two lives to take care of, BOTH the mother’s and the unborn baby’s.
So a PRC’s approach is to calm down a woman’s fear by committing to helping her with any issues that are causing her fear. Abortion clinics say that a woman’s pregnancy, her unborn child, is the source of her fear. PRCs know that a new human being is always a blessing, a gift from God, and the source of a woman’s fears are actually uncertainties surrounding her conditions (self-confidence, money, plans, trust).
When PRCs have the opportunity to work with a woman to allay those fears, many times a woman will change her mind about getting an abortion, and choose life.
To prove this is the case, let me share with you some real life stories of women changing their minds about getting an abortion after visiting PRCs. (Names have been changed in these stories for privacy purposes.)
Save Story #1 – Bridget
Bridget was 17 years old when she discovered that she was pregnant. Her mother did not handle the news well. Bridget’s mother Googled information about how to get an abortion for her daughter, and clicked on an ad that connected her to a PRC in Ohio. She made an appointment for her daughter to come in the next day. Bridget’s older sister and friend took her to the appointment. During the appointment, Bridget shared with the PRC staff that she did not know how far along she was in her pregnancy, and that her mom and sister were pressuring her to get an abortion. Bridget said she was conflicted because of her Christian beliefs. After Bridget heard her baby’s heartbeat during the ultrasound, she was filled with joy. She wanted her sister and friend to see the baby on the screen, and they were both taken aback. Her sister said “I’ve never seen anything like that before.” Bridget left the clinic choosing to parent her baby! Praise God for connecting her to a life-affirming center that supported her through many obstacles.
Comment: Bridget’s mom and sister did not believe Bridget was old enough to handle being a mother. Bridget’s conscience was bothered by the thought of abortion, and when she saw the reality of her child on the ultrasound screen, love for her baby flowed into her heart.
Save Story #2 – Kimberly
Kimberly found out that she was pregnant two weeks before moving out of state. Kimberly, her boyfriend, her brother, and her best friend were living in an RV. Kimberly and her boyfriend were somewhat excited about the pregnancy, they thought they would not be able to afford raising a child. They were already having trouble making ends meet while living in an RV. So Kimberly began to think that abortion was her only option. She searched online for information and clicked on an ad that connected her to a PRC in Florida. Kimberly and her boyfriend agreed to come in for an appointment. The staff at the clinic offered counsel and resources to Kimberly and her boyfriend. The couple was open to receiving help, and decided to continue with the pregnancy!
Comment: 30% of women who get abortions say that the reason they chose to abort their children was because of fears about money. This is a tragedy because PRCs can get donations from generous supporters to help women in need.
Save Story #3 – Sandra
Sandra was 17 when she learned that she was pregnant. Sandra was about to graduate from high school, and had plans to attend college in the fall. She was worried that having a child would ruin her plans for the future. She felt that she had no other choice than to abort her baby. Sandra searched online for information about getting an abortion and contacted a PRC in Louisiana. Sandra came in for an appointment the following day, fully expecting she was going to get an abortion. During the appointment, Sandra was counseled through her options and had an ultrasound. When she heard her baby’s heartbeat, she told the nurse that she had always thought about having a family, but that she did not know it would be this soon. Sandra knew she could not go through with an abortion after seeing her baby on the ultrasound. She brought her boyfriend to her follow-up appointment, and he thanked the staff for helping to save the life of his baby. He said that Sandra probably would not have told him about the pregnancy if she had not come in to the PRC.
Comment: A baby doesn’t ruin future plans, it just changes them. Compassionate counseling by PRC staff can help women see that there are ways they can have a child, and still fulfill their dreams.
Save Story #4 – Gabriella
Gabriella faced an unexpected pregnancy. When she told her boyfriend about the pregnancy, he was upset and pressured her to get an abortion. He searched online for information about getting an abortion for Gabriella. He clicked on an ad that connected him to a PRC in Texas. Gabriella’s boyfriend made an appointment for them to come in a few days later. During the appointment, Gabriella was more receptive than her boyfriend to hear the counselors talk about options for her pregnancy other than abortion. Gabriella came back to the PRC with her sister the next day because she wanted to talk more with the counselors. When she came back in the following day, Gabriella told the staff that she had decided to choose life for her child!
Comment: Women will sometimes choose abortion because they don’t believe the father of the child will be there to support them. Staff at the PRC can offer assurance to women that they can parent their children, or create an adoption plan.
Save Story #5 – Julia
Julia was married with three children. She faced an unexpected pregnancy with her husband. Julia felt overwhelmed at the thought of raising a fourth child, so without telling her husband, she looked online for information about getting an abortion. Julia clicked on an ad that connected her to a PRC in California. On the phone, she shared with the counselor that she wanted to get an abortion without her husband knowing. Julia came in for an appointment. The PRC staff spoke with Julia about the fetal development of her baby. She also learned more about different abortion procedures, and effects of abortion. As Julia was about to leave the center, she said she was more confident about parenting her child. She shared that she decided to keep her baby, and face the fears she was having.
Comment: Raising children is not easy. When a woman already feels like she is at the end of her rope taking care of many children, an unexpected pregnancy can cause great fear. The staff at PRCs can settle down these fears, and help give a woman confidence that she can parent her child.
As you can see in these five stories, God’s love is at work through the compassionate care of staff at the PRCs. In the daily battle against abortion clinics, PRCs are truly the pro-life field hospitals.
Options for Helping a PRC
So if we want to help more women facing unexpected pregnancies choose life instead of abortion, we have to help the PRCs.
How can we do that?
First and foremost, please pray for the staff at the thousands of PRCs across our country. I work very closely with many PRCs and I can tell you that they are constantly under spiritual attack because abortion is Satan’s crown jewel. If you work full-time on the front lines of this battle, there will be a cross to bear, so we must pray constantly for staff working at our PRCs.
But I also want to suggest that each and every one of us in the pro-life movement needs to do more to help PRCs.
There are many pro-lifers who are not giving any of their Time, Talent, and Treasure to support these field hospitals on the front lines of the daily battle against Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics.
On the other hand, the enemy makes sure his forces are well supplied.
For example, are you aware that Planned Parenthood receives almost $1 Million in private donations every single day?
So much press coverage is given to the amount of government funds flowing to Planned Parenthood that it gets lost on many pro-lifers that the abortion giant also receives over $300 Million every year in charitable donations from approximately 800,000 pro-abort supporters.
Are we pro-lifers answering that commitment in support of our PRCs?
Considering what’s at stake, I think we should not only be answering it but far surpassing it!
So my challenge to you is to prayerfully consider how you can do more with your Time, Talent, and Treasure in support of PRCs.
God will call each of us to do something different in those three areas, but I want to share with you what I’m doing so that you will know that I practice what I preach.
The story of what I am doing now actually begins back with my personal experience with abortion many years ago, the story I began this article with.
So let me return to that story.
After my girlfriend had an abortion, I went for many years, decades in fact, without giving it another thought.
Then in 2004, for a host of reasons that would take too long to explain here, I became a Christian.
My Christian faith eventually brought me in contact with the pro-life movement, and I began going to the annual March for Life in Washington D.C.
As time went on and I learned more about Church teaching on life issues, I started to think about my abortion experience from many years earlier, and my heart was troubled. I felt guilt, but I wasn’t sure exactly what the source of that guilt was.
Finally, it started to bother me so much that I decided to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat for post-abortive healing.
That retreat was a life-changing three days for me.
At the retreat, for first time I had the opportunity in a group setting to tell the entire story of my experience.
When it was my turn to share with the group, I didn’t have anything in mind when I began talking, I just started and let the Holy Spirit guide me.
As I spoke, many things came out that had been buried down deep within me, but there was one particular thing that came out that I want to emphasize here.
At the time I went to the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, my wife and I had been raising three children for about 20 years. I was proud of the role I had played as provider and protector of my family. So when I got to the part of my story where I had said to my girlfriend “I support your decision,” it hit me for the first time that so many years earlier I had utterly failed to protect my child, and protect his mother.
That realization devastated me, and here’s why.
At that point in my story I began thinking about my three children that I was raising with my wife, and then I thought, “What if I had said the same thing about each one of them when my wife was pregnant?”
It is an excruciating mental exercise to take one of your children and roll back time to when they were in the womb, and then picture yourself not protecting them from abortion, and then losing them to abortion.
And yet, that is exactly what I had done so long ago. I had failed to protect my child and his mother so many years ago.
I believe that God led me to Rachel’s Vineyard to give me that wake up call, and I needed that cross. Thanks be to God, going to that retreat also put me on the path to healing that continues to this day.
So for the first time, I acknowledged in a group setting what I had done, and I not only asked God for His forgiveness, but I also asked my lost child for his forgiveness.
It was then that I came to understand that I don’t have three children. I have four children. At the retreat, I had the honor of giving my child in Heaven a name. His name is Jesse.
I was so thankful for the grace of that healing experience at the retreat that I prayed to God to use me in the pro-life movement in some way so that I could help young women and men not make the same mistake that I had made so many years ago.
But I didn’t sit still and wait for an answer. Instead, I got busy.
The first thing I did was start a digital magazine called Pro-Life Magazine (You can get a free subscription at this link if you are interested: http://heroicmedia.org/prolifemagazine/).
My idea for the magazine was to interview people and organizations in the pro-life movement that were having real positive impact fighting against the culture of death.
In the course of my research looking for material for new articles for the magazine, I came across an organization called Heroic Media.
My professional background was in marketing and sales, so what intrigued me about Heroic Media was how they were using targeted advertising to reach women facing unexpected pregnancies, and then putting them in contact with local Pregnancy Resource Centers.
So I contacted Heroic Media and set up an interview. They graciously agreed, and that article is published in Issue 01 of the magazine.
So after publishing that article I knew about Heroic Media, and they knew about me.
Not long after that, I started another initiative which was a crowd-funding site that raised money to help women who were thinking about getting an abortion because they were afraid they couldn’t afford to take care of their baby.
The management at Heroic Media heard about this initiative and contacted me to discuss creating a partnership for this crowd-funding project.
In the course of those partnership discussions, I learned that Heroic Media was looking for an executive to run their marketing department.
They asked me if I was interested, and as they say, the rest is history. I joined the Heroic Media management team.
I am very blessed that I get to work full time in the pro-life movement, helping put women facing unexpected pregnancies in contact with compassionate pro-life PRCs.
For a quick overview of the unique way that Heroic Media helps PRCs to save lives from abortion, you can check out this infographic: http://heroicmedia.org/abolishabortion/
So that’s the story of what I am doing to help PRCs.
How Will You Help Rewrite a Woman’s Story?
Now back to you.
As I said earlier, I would like for you to prayerfully consider giving more of yourself to help the PRCs.
Can you give your Time? PRCs need more volunteers to help run their operations.
Can you give your Talent? PRCs are up against a professionally run corporate behemoth called Planned Parenthood. I love PRCs, but from a business operations perspective, most PRCs are completely outclassed by Planned Parenthood in all the fundamental areas of business. Do you have a professional business skill that you could offer a PRC to help change that?
Can you give your Treasure? Americans are a busy bunch, and many passionate pro-lifers have committed their time and talents to other worthy pursuits. If this describes you, then I ask that you prayerfully consider offering some of your treasure to support the work of our field hospitals, the PRCs. Think of it this way, if you can’t offer your own time and talent, your treasure enables a PRC to hire someone else’s time and talent.
As I am sure you are aware, the pro-life movement has a lot of momentum in its favor right now in the fight against the culture of death. Let’s not waste that opportunity.
Even if it’s something that you think a small commitment of your time, treasure, or talent is insignificant in the overall scheme of things, please know that every little commitment adds up.
I thank you for your commitment to help PRCs.
I would love to hear your ideas, or any success stories you would like to share.
You can reach me at [email protected]
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