Post-Spiritual Abuse Change of Perspective: Buffer Zones and Abortion Clinics

 Post-Spiritual Abuse Change of Perspective:  Buffer Zones and Abortion Clinics

Don’t call yourself pro-life if you value only certain lives. 

Author Unknown

 

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.

(Washington Post)

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:

This 77-Year-Old Grandma Got the Supreme Court to Uphold Pro-Life Free Speech http://t.co/Y5k9Y4znXD pic.twitter.com/LNxyFooluK

***

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47 comments on “Post-Spiritual Abuse Change of Perspective: Buffer Zones and Abortion Clinics

  1. THANK YOU for this. While my socially conservative views are similar to those of Republicans, I refuse to align myself with that party (or any political party, really) because of the hypocritical ways they tend to address abortion (not all, but too many with access to a microphone). I call myself pro-life, meaning I support accessible health care and food stamps. I’d rather adopt a child in need of a home than be pregnant. It really pisses me off that people automatically assume the opposite about me when I say I don’t approve of abortion; there’s so many more layers to it that need to be addressed.

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  2. Carmen,
    Thank you for posting that link. I had a conversation with a dad who lost his precious baby due to similar circumstances.

    Can you imagine being that mother and hearing people like O’Neal and Tony Miano yelling, stuff like this?

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  3. When I was eighteen, my fiance got me pregnant. I came from an abusive home, and my father had left my stepmother a year earlier and was living in a friend’s spare room. I had been repeatedly warned growing up, “Don’t turn up pregnant, you won’t have a family to come back to.” My mother was dead. When we begged to live with relatives instead of our stepmother when my father left, we were told we were too much of a bother for anyone to want us.

    Worse, the father told me he would suicide if I tried to have the baby, because he would be forced to marry me, drop out of college and enlist in the military because of his ROTC scholarship.

    I believed I was murdering my child. I also was to frightened too run away entirely, and short of hitchhiking, had no idea how to get anywhere, or what to do when I got there. I gave in, had the abortion, and fell into a self-destructive cycle that included alcohol and suicide attempts. I deserved hell because of my choices, and Hebrews suggested that all hope of redemption was gone for me.

    I couldn’t help but MISS Jesus. So much. I finally went back to church, publicly repented, and the abortion and its aftermath is part of my testimony. I have made peace with the question of my own salvation. If I will not go to heaven, I will spend my life serving anyhow, and do my best to prevent others from following me. I rejoice in God and His goodness and mercy. I certainly can’t complain if I am damned. If, like some believe, someone completely unreclaimable would not have been able to return, and I will still get there, I will throw every crown I have earned at His feet and praise His wonderful mercy.

    I hate abortion personally, and believe that Christians should work personally to try to prevent it through loving counsel and honest discussion and education with everyone they can. I don’t know if making illegal is merciful. Women who are serial abortionists usually suffer from severe sexual abuse or exploitation, and rich women will still have access to procedures to end their unwanted pregnancies even if it is illegal. It will only be poor women who will be affected by the law, and though it would save lives, there will be women desperate enough for coathangers and other DIY, etc., things, causing increased rates of sterility and death. It is a harder question than it seems. If it were illegal when I was pregnant, it would have saved MY baby – the boyfriend wouldn’t have had it as an option. Maybe it is better. I just worry about poor women enduring possible dangerous situations, or men who choose to beat a child out of a woman because they can’t legally have the pregnancy ended. (One of my attempts at self-destruction was marrying a man who broke my face, so my thoughts about how bad a man can be who doesn’t want a baby can get a little dark)

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  4. Beth,

    I hear you. When I was in the fundy world of black/white thinking, I did not consider that there were special circumstances that you just can’t put on one side or another. Some are faced with some very difficult choices that we will never be faced with.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ic2manywords,

    I wish I could hug you. I also want to have a good cry after what I just read. Your story articulates that things are not just as simple as an “unplanned pregnancy.” I’m so glad you shared here. Your very sad experience gives us a glimpse into situations that some of us will never know. You have taught me. Thank you.

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  6. If the state should protect people against hearing unwelcome speech because some abuse it, then there won’t be free speech, so it’s obviously the right ruling. It might be good for the gospel if some idiots could be forbidden to mention the name of Jesus in public. It would have been good if the Pharisees could have been prevented from going over land and see to make one proselyte and turn him into twice the child of hell as themselves. But the blunt instrument of state coercion is no more helpful here than if it’s used to supposedly promote the gospel.

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  7. If you personally oppose abortion, don’t have one. But no one has the right to tell another person what to do with her body. And those ‘pregnancy counseling centers’? You mean the ones that lie to young women about the effectiveness of birth control or do you mean the ones that ‘delay’ the doctor visit until it’s too late to have an abortion?

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  8. Well, you know Julie Anne that I have a HUGE problem with ANY man dictating to a woman in any capacity. In my opinion, no womb = no opinion. I figure if you don’t agree with abortion, DON’T HAVE ONE. I am, always have been, and always will be PRO CHOICE. I meet many young women and hear of all sorts of scenarios; I will fight for them to always have that choice. too.
    Thankfully, in Canada there are no anti-abortion provinces – various politicians have tried to open up that debate and have always been soundly trounced in their efforts.

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  9. Julie Anne, Romans 8:28 promises that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. My testimony and counsel have since prevented abortions. I have a passion for teaching teens apologetics so they learn that faith can be defensible (unless it is the really off the wall super literal kind, or has unorthodox components). The choice and all of its fall-out has created a woman who can look many frightened, hurting people in the eye and say, “I have been there, let me help you,” and they know it is real, sincere, and not judging. Nearly 30 years after that day, I can see how God took my worst and used it to serve Him.

    Hebrews’ warning to those who know the spiritual gift and turn away always makes me pause, but like I said, I have made peace with that. I will serve Him anyhow.

    Thank you for wanting to hug me. It is a kinder reaction than I got from my youth pastor a few months after the fact. When I talked about how much I was struggling with committing such a terrible sin knowing that it was wrong, I was told I was committing idolatry by making my sin bigger than God.

    I started following this blog because I have been in some congregations that are downright frightening in a few years’ hindsight. They preached dominionism, political activism, and “righteous judgment,” all while being filled with gossip, back-biting and the typical flaws. I finally left churches like that after several incidents in one church were more than I could stand. God provided a miracle – a church that loved me… and marveled that I was so forgiving. They kept my hope alive, and I became a more liberal Christian. To me it is about love first. If we will truly change the world, it will be with love, not legislation.

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  10. The problem with the “Don’t like abortion, don’t have one” argument is it dismisses the whole purpose of the pro-life side: we are opposed to abortion because we believe that fetus is a valid human life. Obviously there are complicated circumstances surrounding every abortion, and I would vouch that true pro-lifers would be sympathetic to the needs of the unborn child AND the mother. Sadly not all pro-lifers do this, and many call themselves “pro-life” as a means to enact policies that make life hell for women.

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  11. I agree with you in theory, Carmen, but it does take two people to make a baby. Ideally, two people should be making the decision on what is best for mother and child. The father should have the right to an opinion even if it’s not his right to force the mother to do what he wants.

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  12. The Supreme Court can’t rule on points of constitutional law on the basis of anyone’s feelings. They have to rule according to what the constitution actually says and this time they clearly got it right. They didn’t form law here, they affirmed the First ammendment. The State legislature in question attempted to dial down the Rights guaranteed in the first ammendment, that’s where the creation or attempted creation of law occurred.

    Dispite what some would like to believe, you don’t have a constitutional right to be comfortable as you stroll into a clinic to snuff out the life of a baby. Regardless of the subject matter or where you are in public you don’t have a constitutional Right to go about your business without someone saying something you find offensive, yelling something unpleasant at you, or video taping/ photographing you. If you are in public, they can film or photograph you WITHOUT your consent.

    Although I’m not a big fan of some of these folks that do these clinic protests/ “rescues” the Constitution clearly must be protected, even when it makes some uncomfortable. Maybe if you are so uncomfortable you shouldn’t be killing a child.

    I’m not sure how these protesters can be judged as “doing something even more evil” when we are talking in the context of the slaughter of infants.

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  13. A few years before my mother died, she drove to the hospital to visit a sick friend. A rumor had spread that the hospital was going to perform an abortion. I don’t believe it was true but in any case, the hospital only did so to save the life of the mother such as with an ectopic pregnancy. Nevertheless, anti-abortion protestors were out in force.

    A man blocked her car and wouldn’t allow her to enter the parking lot. He was chanting slogans and then told her that his group wasn’t allowing any women to come in case one of them was there for an abortion.

    My mother was 78 years old, white haired and furious. A one hundred pound Southern lady she might be, but by the time she got old, she wasn’t taking anything from anyone. She yells, “Keep it in your pants, buddy, now get out of my way before I run you over.” He did.

    I was very proud of her.

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  14. Protesters need to start screaming at men who go for vasectomies, since free speech in the US trumps just about everything.

    Someone is going to get injured or killed with this no buffer law, and it isn’t going to be a male screaming at women going into the clinic..

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  15. Great article. The “prolife” movement should really call itself “pro-birth.”

    “Don’t call yourself pro-life if you value only certain lives. ”

    This is so right on. I often joke that the only place I’m safe from social conservatives is the mother’s womb. Why are pro-gun, pro-death penalty, and pro-war. I can understand being anti-abortion, but yet being neutral on other issues, but the so-called pro-lifers are fervently pro-gun, pro-death penalty, and pro-war.

    They may say that death row inmates are evil while unborn babies are innocent. Not according to Calvinism they are. As to guns, I would rather have been killed than killed an innocent person by mistake with a gun (or even guilty person) when I stand before God. Then the war thing. I don’t know where to begin. Have conservatives have ever met a war they don’t like? Not in my life time.

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  16. I’m not sure how these protesters can be judged as “doing something even more evil” when we are talking in the context of the slaughter of infants.

    I’ll tell you why I say that, Scott, and hopefully it will explain why my panties are in a wad about this. Go ahead and hit play on Miano’s YouTube video above and then put yourself in ic2manywords’s shoes or the mother who is aborting due to incomparability-with-life issues and imagine what that might do to their faith. I believe Miano’s actions/words (and those like him) can cause people to have a crisis of faith (if they were Christians), or if they were not Christians, they may reject Christ entirely based on that kind of behavior.

    I suppose this is where one’s doctrine comes in to play, but it is my belief that a baby who dies will be in heaven. We don’t have that guarantee for someone who rejects Christ. Of course the slaughter of infants is horrific, but I believe that infant will be in heaven. But for the ones who have a crisis of faith or reject Christ on account of the behavior of protestors who shame them and treat them so badly, you better believe I think it is more evil in the long run.

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  17. Why must you constantly refer to your previous pastor. I get that you were abused. It seems that maybe you are holding on to a lot of baggage? Letting go of it could actually give you some more freedom. I can agree with this article a bit, but the incessant referencing of your former abuse and pastor in this and other posts gets tiresome. Is this blog for therapy, helping others or both? As I have looked through your posts this overwhelming sense of negativity flooded in. You don’t really give solutions to problem you just point out problems and tell people to be careful. What would be a great is a blog filled with inspirational stories of how Christ is moving in your marriage and life.

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  18. Thanks for your concern, David. I shared this story because it is relevant to the current Supreme Court buffer zone case.

    If you think this place needs more inspirational stories, feel free to contribute some. The life of the blog is in the comments, not my posts.

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  19. David, Why are you spending so much time here referencing other articles and being so negative. Letting it go would give you more freedom. Why don’t you move on from it? Why not go and tell others somewhere else inspiriational stories of how Christ is moving in your marriage and life? :o)

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  20. I am always for free speech no matter how vile. There might come a day when someone I don’t agree with gets to decide whether my speech is vile or not. I don’t want that day to come!

    I would love to see some counter Christian protestors go up against Miano and protest his version of Jesus Christ.

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  21. JA, I can imagine. It sounds so typical if you get my drift. But it is also amusing in a lacking in logic sort of way.

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  22. I am all about free speech, too – – even if I don’t like the kind of expression represented. I remember when discussing my case with my attorney and she brought up Westboro and how they do have the right to their expression despite how despicable their behavior is. I find the kind of protesting in Miano’s YouTube to be disgusting and I am exercising my right to free speech by posting about it 🙂

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  23. JA, That is a great point. You see, guys like Miano would LOVE to limit YOUR speech in the public square like they do in their authoritarian churches. But then turn around and demand it for their public square free speech.

    It is all about control and elevating themselves.

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  24. Men like Miano seem to believe they are the voice of the Holy Spirit. They seem to forget there is also the voice of one called The Accuser.

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  25. Miano is an ex-cop, sheriff’s office to be exact but a street cop. The vast majority of these folks are total thugs now a days. I know 1/2 dozen folks that I would consider quite normal that have left law enforcement because of the way it is going , and the way the newbies are being trained to deal with citizens. I know a street cop that is third generation cop, she often finds her self praying that her back up doesn’t arrive so she can just deal with the call and move on . Many times some young thug arrives and immediately escalates the matter to a 3-4 hour incident by being heavy handed.

    Miano is just being his thug self, but that doesn’t justify impingement of the First Amendment.

    Claiming that all conservatives are pro-war is like saying all liberals have a EBT card, collect welfare, and are worthless lazy people that sit around all day coveting other people’s wealth. Wealth they aren’t willing to work for and create on their own. That just isn’t true, only about 87% of liberals fall into that category.

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  26. Some of the most passionate (and unfortunately desperate) protesters I know are women who have had an abortion. It seems the guilt they later experience, sometimes years later, propel them to become almost hysterical toward women who consider an abortion. This guilt inducing attitude only shames women considering abortion, instead of reaching them with love and empathy. I am personally pro-life, but have to also admit that I have never had an unplanned pregnancy. This makes it very easy for me to “walk the talk”. BUT—what if my 14 year old daughter got pregnant, or my sister was incested by an uncle, or I was date raped? What we believe in the abstract and what we do when actually faced with a life changing ordeal may not be the same. I think that is where Jesus can intercede and forgive even the worst of choices that we make.

    I applauded those who are able to minister to women in an empathic and supportive manner. However, it seems so many vocal pro-lifers are guilt-ridden women or domineering men, who alienate confused or scared pregnant women. I believe it is important to hold strong to your values, but I’ve learned “never say never” about your own portential actions! I know I have many times had to “eat crow” over things I had sworn I would never do-but did anyway!

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  27. Miano is just being his thug self, but that doesn’t justify impingement of the First Amendment.

    My comment to this must have disappeared. I agree with you, Scott. I love First Amendment, but it doesn’t mean that I like how people behave within their free rights. Thug is a good word to describe the behavior I have issues with.

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  28. Some of the most passionate (and unfortunately desperate) protesters I know are women who have had an abortion. It seems the guilt they later experience, sometimes years later, propel them to become almost hysterical toward women who consider an abortion. This guilt inducing attitude only shames women considering abortion, instead of reaching them with love and empathy.

    Interesting. I know of someone who is a thug protestor who got his then girlfriend pregnant and forced a rushed marriage. He may be acting in guilt, too: “if I had to suck it up and take responsibility for my unborn child, then so should you.”

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  29. Some of the most passionate (and unfortunately desperate) protesters I know are women who have had an abortion. It seems the guilt they later experience, sometimes years later, propel them to become almost hysterical toward women who consider an abortion.

    Projection combined with self-hatred. Happens a lot. That also explains why some of the most virulent anti-gay moralists are repressed homosexuals.

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  30. I’m pro-life, but I don’t think it’s productive or compassionate to intimidate, shame, or harass women who are on their way into a medical center. They may not even be going in for an abortion but some other procedure.

    About some of the comments I saw above.

    @ David C:

    I am a social conservative.

    To say that so cons “support war” is a mischaracterization of our views.

    Some nations cannot be appeased via diplomacy, but like playground bullies, only back down when you knock their teeth down their throats.

    I am not opposed to people owning guns, but I’m not “fervent” about my support, I’m rather “meh” about it.

    I’m not a Calvinist.

    Unborn babies are innocent, but serial killers, for example, are on death row presumably for, well, murdering other people and even premeditating it. (If I had my way, rapists, elderly abusers, and animal abusers would also receive the death penalty.)

    David C said,

    Have conservatives have ever met a war they don’t like? Not in my life time.

    You mean like all the Democrats who support Obama’s use of troops in the Middle East the last few years, or the ones who backed Bush in the last Gulf War? Democrats and liberals sometimes support wars too, you know.

    About men and abortion:

    Well, you know Julie Anne that I have a HUGE problem with ANY man dictating to a woman in any capacity. In my opinion, no womb = no opinion.

    I don’t think I have a problem with men having a say-so in a pregnancy if they are the father of the baby.

    Society expects men to pay child support funds if they skip out on the child.

    It seems hypocritical to penalize men for wanting to bail on the baby, or hold them accountable financially in that sense, but the ones who want to be a daddy get no voice in the baby’s fate if they want to be a part of the baby’s life.

    Ann said,

    . BUT—what if my 14 year old daughter got pregnant, or my sister was incested by an uncle, or I was date raped?

    Most pregnancies are ended via abortions in the USA are done in cases of consensual sex, not in cases of rape, to save the life of the mother, or incest.

    From the NY Times, which is not known to be a bastion of social conservatism:
    Rape and Incest: Just 1% of All Abortions
    nmgirl said,

    “If you personally oppose abortion, don’t have one. But no one has the right to tell another person what to do with her body”

    I don’t know if I agree with that.

    People abuse their bodies with narcotics or alcohol. That doesn’t mean there should not be warnings or legal limits on when, how, or if people may consume that stuff.

    Scott said,

    I’m not sure how these protesters can be judged as “doing something even more evil” when we are talking in the context of the slaughter of infants.

    Because how Christians mishandle these situations can cause someone to either reject Christ, or if already a professing believer, to turn their backs on Christ.

    Or, imagine some atheist guy walking down the street who sees these Christians verbally harassing these young women, that would probably give the guy even more impetus to say, “I sure made the right choice rejecting these Jesus guy, his followers sure are big jerks.”

    Scott said,

    Dispite what some would like to believe, you don’t have a constitutional right to be comfortable as you stroll into a clinic to snuff out the life of a baby

    I don’t know about the legality of all this, but – sometimes when women visit clinics that provide abortions, they are there for reasons that have nothing to do with abortion.

    Someone else said above,

    A man blocked her car and wouldn’t allow her to enter the parking lot. He was chanting slogans and then told her that his group wasn’t allowing any women to come in case one of them was there for an abortion.

    I mean, Scott, that is beyond the pale. The ego of that pro-life protester.

    I’m pro-life too, but to harass any and all women from entering a hospital on the assumption that she might be there to get an abortion? That is nuts.

    And although I am pro-life, carrying picket signs is not my cup of tea. I’m not necessarily knocking people who do it, but I don’t see how it’s helpful.

    David C said,

    That also explains why some of the most virulent anti-gay moralists are repressed homosexuals.

    Sometimes, yes, that is true, but not always.

    Are the hostile, very militant homosexual so-called “rights” activists who seek to limit the free speech of people who don’t agree with homosexuality, or intimidate or harass them into silence, who I see online and TV all the time, secretly repressed hetero-sexuals?

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  31. MissDaisyFlower, I agree most abortions are not done as a result of rape or incest, but I do believe there are many cases of pregnancies of underaged females having sex with their “older” boyfriends. Abortion is their go to option, often through the pressure of these men. This would be considered “rape” if more men were prosecuted. Some pregnant teens are pressured by a parent to abort. The parent doesn’t want to deal with the inconvienience or even stigma of an unwed teenage daughter. A 16 year old girl doesn’t have the financial resources to stand up to their parents and keep the pregnancy. Sex trafficking is a major issue. Pregnancies are terminated so the girls can “get back to work” for their pimps. Young teens (who are notorious for magical thinking), generally do not have the maturity and judgement to use birth control consistently. Then there are weekend partiers, substance abusers and addicts whose judgement is impaired while drunk/high and don’t even remember who their partner was, much less whether protection was used. Of course birth control is not 100%, even when used correctly (and many people do not use it correctly).
    Outside of the US, many countries do not have safeguards in place to protect women from unwanted pregnancies. The average Soviet woman used abortion for birth control (average 6-10 during their life) , because at that time thick condoms were the only birth control available and most men refused to use them. Pregnancy was considered a woman’s problem. In some African countries, HIV- positive men look for virgins under the delusion that sex with a “pure” woman will draw out the disease. What happens when these girls are victimized and pregnant? And of course many pregnancies occur during civil wars around the world, where sex is a weapon against the other side. All of these women are created and loved by God. My point is to say, the other 99% of abortions aren’t that cut and dry. Since antiquity, sex has been used as a weapon to control, shame, abuse, and victimize young girls and women. As I have stated, I am personally pro-life. However, I have never found myself dealing with any of the above issues. I believe every life is precious in the eyes of God. However, I know we all fall short of God’s laws and pray that his mercy covers the broken and sinful areas of our lives, especially the areas we are blind to.

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  32. Why do I have a suspicious email? My comment was to Julie. She is a big girl she can choose to defend herself or not. I can handle the snarkiness. your readers want to bring against me, but again what positive solution do you propose instead of all agreeing that what this guy is doing is horrible.

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  33. Because, David, the positive solution would be for him to QUIT doing horrible things. I don’t see how you missed that. … the rest of us get it.

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  34. I can handle the snarkiness. your readers want to bring against me, but again what positive solution do you propose instead of all agreeing that what this guy is doing is horrible.

    David,

    A big part of what we do here is point out patterns of behavior in church leaders that often lead to spiritual abuse. Having these discussions is good because it helps people to recognize it and sometimes gives them the courage they need to leave their destructive church environment. I have lost track of how many people have contacted me and told me they have left their abusive pastor/church as a result of connecting with people and their stories here. That is not only positive, but can be life changing.

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  35. This was a really timely post. It’s been two years since the culmination of my church abuse experience. I realize God had to get me out of that environment and mindset to really renew my mind and give me a heart of flesh. Much like your experience of sadness at something that at one time seemed right to you, I knew I was a changed creature when I recently met a woman who was transgender. She extended her friendship to me, and at that moment I realized I really, really, loved this person. I wanted to cry. I realized I was free to love, and I didn’t have to employ my stupid and false “righteous standards.” (Or as we liked to say in my old church, love the sinner but hate the sin, which looked a lot like hating the sinner).

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  36. Although I don’t agree with everything posted here, I for ONE wish that a place like this existed when I went through my experience. Being 16-17 years old and going through this sort of thing ALONE is suicide waiting to happen. Two of my classmates did exactly that. These types of “churches” burn people deeply, like searing their souls. Some will never recover. We need to pray everyday for people trapped in these monstrosities that are masquerading as churches. Especially children forced to go to these places by parents or guardians. We also as ” the church” need to say, ENOUGH and not tolerate another Bill Gothard, Chuckie Oneil, Doug Phillips, CJ Mahaney, Jim Jones…….

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  37. Although I don’t agree with everything posted here, I for ONE wish that a place like this existed when I went through my experience. Being 16-17 years old and going through this sort of thing ALONE is suicide waiting to happen. Two of my classmates did exactly that. These types of “churches” burn people deeply, like searing their souls. Some will never recover. We need to pray everyday for people trapped in these monstrosities that are masquerading as churches. Especially children forced to go to these places by parents or guardians. We also as ” the church” need to say, ENOUGH and not tolerate another Bill Gothard, Chuckie Oneil, Doug Phillips, CJ Mahaney, Jim Jones…….

    Exactly, Scott, you nailed it. This is why I staunchly support Homeschoolers Anonymous because some of those young adults were not only in high-controlling churches, but also high-controlling homes where they may be shunned. Can you imagine losing your church community AND your family? Can you imagine the anguish of going through holidays alone with no family or former friends because you are labeled “apostate?”

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  38. Much like your experience of sadness at something that at one time seemed right to you, I knew I was a changed creature when I recently met a woman who was transgender. She extended her friendship to me, and at that moment I realized I really, really, loved this person. I wanted to cry.

    Wow, this is beautiful. I understand completely what you mean because I had a similar experience. Isn’t it absolutely freeing? To love deeply without all that righteous judging feels so much better.

    What baffles me is they call that kind of righteous judging “love”. Then they go about talking negatively about said person’s sin and look down upon them as if they were a leper. It’s very sick.

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  39. Pingback: Can High-Controlling Pastors Lead Their Members into Depression and Even Suicide? | Spiritual Sounding Board

  40. Thank you for this. I consider myself both pro-life and pro-choice – I don’t believe life begins at conception, and I find it weird that so many people do, but I also respect that other people believe differently, and believe that it is often emotional and financial support that is lacking with results in many abortions – people, because of financial circumstances, because of rape or abuse, or other reasons, feel that they cannot afford to keep their pregnancy.

    And so many protesters don’t seem to care about that – the child’s quality of life, what happens to it after birth, if it will be brought into an abusive home or put immediately into the system – and it’s bullshit about people ‘waiting to adopt’, that’s only true for certain kinds of babies, and many of them will end up in the system for years. Dooming an innocent to any of those fates, how is that love?

    If people were willing to give and be active in caring for children after they are born, it is one thing, but they only want to cut more and more funding from the safety net that may be all these children or their poverty-level families have. It is good to hear of someone being able to have their perspective changed, to see that screaming abuse and harrassing women who are already desperate and hurting and often don’t want to be doing what they are doing, but feel like they have no options, and to have judgement rained on their heads for it just seems cruel.

    In cases of rape especially, I feel that it is a crime of the first magnitude to force a woman to carry a pregnancy that results from that. If she chooses to, that is one thing, but forcing someone to do that – it is horrific. She has already been violated and traumatized, and to then force her to carry a heavy, incredibly physically burdensome reminder of it in her body for nine months…it is unimaginable to me. Pregnancy is physically very risky for some women on top of that – you may be forcing her to risk her life for this thing!

    I am just so horrified by the appalling lack of empathy that is displayed by so many in the ‘pro-life’ movement, who don’t seem to care at all about that life once it has been brought into the world, nor the already existing lives of the women – their unborn fetuses are considered people of more worth than they are. So tragic. 😦

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  41. Kagi, I agree with many of your points. It seems to me that so many fundagelicals are part of that “I’m on a higher moral plain than you are” mentality. What better way to reinforce this than by being ‘pro-life’? I mean, really, who ISN’T pro-life, when it comes right down to it? I suppose I could be considered to be pro-life, in that I’m all for the WOMAN’s life. But these anti-abortion protesters take it to another level. They scream about unborn fetuses and disregard the person who is COMPLETELY responsible for that fetus. They are referred to by some as ‘forced-birthers’ and rightly deserve that title. They need to ask themselves if society would be better off if the ‘forced birthers’ had their way. . .perhaps in an ideal world, that might be the case. Most people recognize we don’t live in a utopia.

    Women must have autonomy over their OWN bodies; choice is the key element here. I’m familiar with a group of Midwives, who say, “Every child a WANTED child” – I think that’s a good slogan. That can only be achieved by women having choices.

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