Post-Spiritual Abuse Change of Perspective: Buffer Zones and Abortion Clinics
Don’t call yourself pro-life if you value only certain lives.
I find it interesting that my perspective on things have changed after having experienced spiritual abuse. Five years ago, I would have been rejoicing about this news:
The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down protest-free buffer zones around abortion clinics in Massachusetts as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.
I consider myself to be pro-life. I value the life of the unborn child. I would like all human beings, both born and unborn, to have the opportunity to live and thrive.
But what has changed? Why am I not rejoicing with this new Supreme Court ruling now, after having experienced spiritual abuse?
I believe many women might choose to save the life of their unborn child if they have immediate support, both financial and emotional. I also believe that there are those who might be able to encourage and persuade mothers to think it through before making such a huge decision on ending the life of their unborn child.
It seems that is exactly what Eleanor McCullen, 77, was trying to do when she challenged Massachusetts buffer zone law by asserting “they use quiet conversation and offers of help to try to persuade women not to have an abortion.”
Buffer zones are legal “measures designed to afford legal protection of access to abortion. Such legislation often seeks to guard facilities which provide induced abortion against obstruction, vandalism, picketing, and other actions, or to protect patients and employees of such facilities from threats and harassment.” (Source)
But McCullen didn’t want buffer zones because she felt it infringed upon her freedom of expression and communicate with women entering abortion clinics:
Because of the law, they must stay behind painted lines on the sidewalk at a clinic in Boston and away from driveways that lead to other facilities. They say this hinders their chance for persuasive conversation — McCullen said she had persuaded about 80 women not to terminate their pregnancies since the 2007 law passed, far fewer than before.
While I was not thrilled with the new ruling, my former pastor, Chuck O’Neal, seemed to like it. He retweeted the following tweet:
— LifeNews.com (@LifeNewsHQ) June 28, 2014
So, what’s my problem with the ruling?
Now that the law has changed, I am afraid for those women who will attempt to enter abortion clinics. I am afraid for them not only emotionally, but spiritually, not because of their actions, but because of the certain protestors’ actions and behaviors.
Some abortion protestors claim to be saving the lives of the unborn. They scream to women, “I love you and your unborn baby,” but their actions prove otherwise. In fact, I think they may be doing something even more evil. They behave in unruly ways, harassing and yelling at women. Some of these protesters claim to share the Gospel, but are in essence, anti-evangelizing, causing people to look at the Gospel with disgust based on the protestors behavior, not on the truth of the real Gospel message.
Last year, a state employee was driving by an abortion clinic where my former pastor was “rescuing babies.” The state employee found Chuck O’Neal’s interactions with a female patient so troublesome, he pulled over to watch the incident. This later led Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian to issue an informal inquiry into ‘the Lovejoy Surgicenter protesters under Oregon’s laws banning discrimination and requiring “full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation.”’ Note that it was the bad behavior caused the inquiry, not the general protesting which can be done quietly and respectfully.
One way O’Neal intimidates women is by videotaping them without consent:
O’Neal has a video camera aimed at the clinic’s front door—he posts footage from the protests on his church’s website—but he insists he’s not trying to intimidate Lovejoy Surgicenter’s patients or staff. (Source)
Now, some might call me a Jezebel for quoting the CEO and owner of an abortion mill, seemingly to side with her, but hold on just a sec. I was at this man’s church. I know how he works. I know how he intimidates because I saw it with my own eyes. Here is a quote from Portland’s Willamette Week’s news from last year:
But Beaverton Grace Bible Church is louder and more combative than other protest groups, says Allene Klass, CEO and owner of Lovejoy Surgicenter.
“They’re punishing. They’re nasty. They’re mean,” Klass says. “They are trying to intimidate and they are trying to embarrass.” (Source)
I believe Allene Klass is exactly right. It does not appear that the goal of the protestors is to help women at all. In the two years we were at Beaverton Grace Bible Church, I never saw the church help a pregnant mom financially or emotionally. The church participated in the 2-mile Steps for Life walk each year, but that takes a minimal effort to walk and gather support. If I had seen even one mother being helped in practical ways, I would not have written this article.
I believe in freedom of speech, especially having been sued by O’Neal for defamation, but this new Supreme Court ruling bothers me. I’m sure there are abortion protestors who do show the love of Christ and offer not only the Gospel, but real financial and emotional help. That’s great. But it is the other abortion protestors who cause me to be concerned about this ruling.
So, once again, I find that spiritual abuse has changed my perspectives on things. I now see a different side of the buffer zone law that previously never dawned on me. Through my new eyes, I see this:
Spiritual damage can occur under the guise of ministry work labeled as abortion protesting.
Thankfully, there are Christians doing real pro-life ministry work. The pregnancy resource centers which offer counseling, ultrasounds, practical material needs for the expecting mother and new baby. Steps for Life raises money for pregnancy resource centers. Save the Stork is a mobile pregnancy resource center offering ultrasounds/counseling and care in close proximity to abortion clinic. These are just a few ministries that come to mind where both mothers and babies are cared for in meaningful and perhaps life-changing ways.
If we’re going to be pro-life, we must be concerned about the lives of the unborn and the mother.
We cannot use coercive, controlling, manipulative, intimidating behavior to push our pro-life agenda. We must speak the truth in love, not with shouting voices, not by videotaping without consent, not by coercing pregnant moms all the way to the front door of the clinic.
If we truly care about the oppressed and defenseless unborn, we must never financially, emotionally or spiritually abandon a pregnant mother at her greatest time of need in an attempt to “rescue” her unborn child.