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Bridging the Great Divide

A rope stretched across a canyon is held at the edge of one cliff by a strongman, pulling it with all his might, while another strongman stands at the edge of the other cliff pulling with equal force. As this great tug-of-war continues, a third man carefully balances himself atop the rope, inching his way across the great divide. If either competitor wins, the tightrope walker will fall. But if both men continue to pull with equal force, the tightrope walker can bridge the divide if he keeps his balance. Such is the precarious nature of our battle for the lives of unborn children.

This paper is Tim and Terri Palmquist's contribution to Crusade For Life's American Holocaust Resolution Project, which features papers from 30 pro-life leaders seeking to develop a unified pro-life strategy for the nation.

At each end of the divide, conflicting extremes fight for our attention. On one side, "Justice"; on the other, "Mercy." "Truth" vs. "Love." "Baby" or "Mother." We are all tempted to choose sides, but the victory is won only if we can maintain both extremes at the same time.

Both mother and baby have an adversary, a trickster who switches sides trying to pit one against the other, knowing that if either side loses, he can steal the victory from everybody. As Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (NKJV).

Throughout the history of the pro-life movement, some groups have focused on saving babies while others have focused on saving women. Each side wants both mother and baby to be saved, of course; but some think that it seems right to reach the baby through the mother while others think it seems right to reach the mother through the baby. "There is a way that seems right to a man," according to the proverb, "but its end is the way of death."[1]

If we know that both mother and baby are created in God's image, and that God has lovingly ordained a plan for each of their lives, then we have no right to choose to focus on one or the other. If we do so, we are proclaiming an unbalanced, false "gospel," not the Gospel of Life, and our efforts are doomed to fail.

In 1988, as we traveled to another community to participate in life-saving activities outside a killing center, we came across a new radio talk show. The host, an unknown guy with the unusual name "Rush Limbaugh," was talking about abortion, so he got our attention. "Abortion wont end until peoples hearts change," he said. That was the first time we heard this mantra which has continued to pick up steam until even President George W. Bush began repeating it.

A true change of heart requires what the Bible calls "repentance." We cannot promote true repentance until we have allowed God to change our own hearts; if we attempt to do so, we're like the man trying to remove a speck from his friend's eye while he has a plank in his own eye.[2] But sadly, the pro-life movement's "changing hearts" mantra has often been repeated in a way which ignores the fact that we ourselves may have hard, cold hearts.

When we feel like throwing up our hands in despair, thinking that victory seems so far off, we need to let God change our hearts. When we decide to take matters into our own hands, believing that God's way is too slow, we need to let God change our hearts.

If we allow God to change our hearts, we will have enough faith to prepare now for victory, even though we may not see it coming. The tightrope walker must keep his eye on the goal, or he will lose his balance. In the movie "Facing the Giants," a man tells a parable about two farmers who desperately needed rain: "both of them prayed for rain, but only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?" he asked.

Walking away, he said "God will send the rain when He is ready. You need to prepare your field to receive it."

So how do we prepare our fields for the victory that God will send in His time? Ultimately, the place God has ordained to win His victories and display His wisdom is the Church.[3] But most of us realize that, for the most part, the Church is not ready to take its God-ordained place in this battle, and that we as advocates for the lives of women and children need to remove the plank from our eyes before we are ready to try to remove the speck from the Churchs eye.

We can begin to examine our hearts by honestly evaluating our response to abortion in our own local community. If we know when and where innocent people are being killed within our own sphere of influence, God holds us accountable for their innocent blood.[4] Following Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as yourself" requires us to take responsibility for the little children who die in our neighborhood. A "pro-life" ministry that intentionally distances itself from the controversial ministry of reaching out to women entering abortion businesses has denied its own core principles. There are--and should be--many callings and vocations within the pro-life movement, but efforts which do not acknowledge the public areas outside killing centers as the front lines of the battle to save mothers and children from abortion unmask their own lack of internalization of their own rhetoric. While there may be valid reasons to debate various tactics used on the front lines, all true pro-lifers should be able to find some way to cooperate with some frontline ministry effort (and most pro-lifers should understand the need to at least participate in prayer outside an abortion center). If we claim to understand that innocent children, created in God's image, are being brutally murdered in our own neighborhoods, but we refuse to support efforts to save the children, and refuse to even say a prayer at their place of death, we reveal how cold and calloused our hearts have become, and we shouldn't be surprised if people notice the fact that we don't seem to follow our own principles.

To try to save our preborn neighbors, pregnancy help centers should try to establish locations adjacent to abortion facilities if possible. When we established our LifeHouse pregnancy help center adjacent to Bakersfield's only abortion chamber in 1998, such a "controversial" move was opposed by other local pro-life groups. Nevertheless, from the first day we opened until today we continue to see the effectiveness of this strategy, as this key location gives us the opportunity to reach women who normally would not consider going to a pregnancy help center.

Everyone involved in pro-life ministry should examine their hearts to see if their own ministry efforts focus on both pregnant mothers and their children. If we focus primarily on the children, protesting against abortion without seeking opportunities to extend a loving hand to needy pregnant women, our words ring hollow. God often uses anti-abortion protestors to help rescue women and children from abortion, but the resources these protestors have available are usually extremely limited. So we are often content just to see a woman leave a killing center without aborting her child, knowing that the act of just saving her child from abortion is a priceless gift, and hoping that God will send her the assistance she needs to make it though the pregnancy. But without ongoing assistance, some of these women will later return to abort their babies. Once we have shared the pain of a woman who had changed her mind about abortion but later gave in to temptation, we should recognize that unless we make the effort to develop structures to provide continuing support to these women, we have allowed the devil to harden our own hearts.

If a non-frontline ministry is willing to help a pregnant woman whose child was saved from abortion, someone must connect them with the woman. The ministries on the front lines have the best opportunity to access these women and children whose lives have been saved. If every pro-life effort included providing tangible help to at least one needy woman and child, more people would begin to see through the empty arguments of critics who try to malign pro-life organizations as "anti-choice" or even "anti-woman."

Connecting with frontline pro-life outreaches (and the women they reach) would enable other groups to stay in touch with the reality of the abortion battle. What are the real issues driving women to give in to the temptation of abortion today? What new tactics are being used to try to deceive women into aborting their babies? Which ministry approaches resonate with abortion-minded women? The answers to these and other key questions require a frontline perspective, but may open doors to victories in every battle from the schoolroom to the Supreme Court.

So, many pro-lifers may need to allow God to change their hearts by using them to help more pregnant women. But other pro-lifers focus too much on women and not enough on babies. When we focus on addressing womens needs while intentionally hiding the truth of abortion from their eyes, our actions reveal the shallowness of our true beliefs. Abortion is a brutal, bloody act, and we do women no favors if we seek to shield them from this ugly reality. In our image-based culture, the necessity of using graphic images to display the violence of abortion cannot be ignored. We use abortion videos and photographs both in our pregnancy help center and in our ministries outside abortion chambers. These images are not the only ministry tool we use, but over the decades countless women have returned to thank us after their babies were born, telling us repeatedly that they changed their minds because of seeing the abortion pictures.

Many mainstream pro-life groups, however, often shy away from displaying the brutality of abortion. Sometimes fetal development images will be used, but some avoid anything which depicts life in the womb, choosing instead to rely upon slick literature displaying only photographs of women (as a conscious reflection of their "woman-centered" approach) or infants who have already been born. To justify their position, such organizations cite the importance of "marketing concerns" such as protecting their "reputation" and "image" while avoiding "negative perception."[5] But even then they dont deny the fact that graphic abortion photographs may "make the practical difference between a client's decision to abort and her decision to carry to term."[6] When we are willing to sacrifice the life of an innocent child to save our reputation, we have become what we say we oppose, and we need to allow God to soften our hearts.

Many pregnancy centers promote ultrasound as a more "positive" alternative to abortion videos. We have found ultrasound to be a very valuable tool; it is usually effective in helping women choose not to abort their babies. But we have seen God use abortion videos to break through the hearts of women who were determined to abort their babies even after viewing an ultrasound.

Sometimes the image produced on an ultrasound screen does not adequately reflect the babys true development; this may be due to inadequate ultrasound equipment or a pregnancy which is still in the very early stages. Even the best ultrasound pictures do not display true full-color images of babies. However, the abortion videos we use (such as "Harder Truth" and "Choice Blues")[7], display images of babies even at early stages of pregnancy in true color, including photographs of the childrens faces. Establishing "eye contact" with a victim of abortion on a video can be effective in touching a woman's heart in a way that ultrasound could never accomplish.[8] But these videos do not focus only on the babies; they also displayvery graphicallythe violence which abortion inflicts on a womans body. Many women change their minds about abortion by watching the video excerpt which focuses on the woman's body, before any aborted babies have even appeared on the screen.

Those in pro-life organizations who oppose the use of graphic abortion photographs and videos suggest that such resources should be prohibited because they are intended to shock or excite women rather than to educate them.[9] However, we use such videos in an educational setting, as part of an explanation of both the abortion procedure and fetal development. The fact that abortion is shocking should not keep us from showing the truth.

Las Vegas' busiest abortion business has boasted for years that protestors couldnt reach them because of their location on a private street.[10] But in 2005, First Choice Pregnancy Services opened on that same street, offering life-affirming help and ultrasounds. First Choice sees more women in a typical day than most pregnancy help centers see in a week. Graphic abortion photographs and videos are a key component of First Choices ministry approach, according to Pam Caylor, Client Services Director. Their counselors even dare to invite women with negative pregnancy tests to view abortion videos, often with life-saving results for the womens later pregnancies. In less than three years, thousands of babies have already been saved, as a result of the combination of First Choices strategic location and bold dually-focused ministry approach. First Choice is now considered Las Vegas' "premier pregnancy service center" as it continues to gain respect both within the Las Vegas community and across the nation.

Some "pro-life" pregnancy centers try to hide their agenda from women seeking abortion, believing that we will only be able to reach abortion-minded women if they think we consider abortion to be a legitimate option. But when such a deceptive stance serves to give some vulnerable women the impression that abortion is a legitimate option, the blood of their babies is on our "pro-life" hands; we have unwittingly become abortion accomplices. In our LifeHouse pregnancy center, we make no effort to hide the fact that we oppose abortion. So how do we reach so many abortion-minded women? By focusing on her needs and fears, and by appealing to her conscience: helping her to remember the convictions she had about abortion before she became pregnant. After all, "No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg."[11] What she needs is someone to open the trap. We're not doing anybody any favors if we try to hide the fact that we don't want her to "gnaw off her leg." Of course, many women in their desperation will ignore our counsel no matter what, but some vulnerable women need to be led by the hand and shown the right way to go; if we are not bold enough to do so, her boyfriend or the abortion staff will do so, her baby will die, and the mother will suffer a lifetime of post-abortion regret. Once again, the key to rescuing these mothers and babies is for usthe pro-lifersto change our hearts.

With so many women in our nation suffering post-abortion trauma, some pro-life ministries refrain from using gory abortion photographs to avoid causing further pain to these hurting women. Many post-abortion women get involved with pro-life ministries in an effort to deal with their pain, but often these women are still struggling with their abortions.

When First Choice received a new abortion video, a volunteer who had experienced multiple abortions became extremely upset watching it. The next day, Pam Caylor called the volunteer, concerned about her condition. "That video," the post-abortion woman exclaimed, "set me free! All of this timefor over 20 yearsI wanted to know what happened. Even though its hard and it hurt, now I know what happened. They went into the secret place and took my baby! How can you put a price on that?" We have had similar experiences showing abortion videos to post-abortion women. Of course, no one should be forced to view such a video against their will, but those who intend to counsel post-abortion women need to have this key tool at their disposal, and if a post-abortion womans pain is still so raw that she cannot stand to watch an abortion video, she is not yet ready to counsel other women dealing with abortion-related issues.[12]

If we try to put a bandage on gangrene, we're not helping the problem. Sometimes a doctor must dig deep, causing excruciating pain, in order to promote healing. Sensitive individuals who try to spare post-abortion women from pain in order to hide the truth are contributing to the crippling of the pro-life movement. Without a doubt, post-abortion healing is necessary, but some "pro-life" post-abortion efforts are so woman-focused that they encourage women to have a "victim" mentality instead of leading them to full repentance by helping them to come to terms with their own culpability in the death of their own child.

A word of warning: without a complete acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and a recognition of his all-sufficient sacrifice on the cross, any such attempts to achieve complete post-abortion healing may be dangerous. A woman who comes to terms with the fact that she participated in the death of her own innocent child will quite properly come to the conclusion that she deserves to die. This is, in fact, the key first step toward repentance.[13] But if nobody is there to help such a distraught woman see that Jesus paid the death penalty for her on the cross and that He now extends to her the offer of forgiveness and new life, such a woman may turn to self-destructive behavior or commit suicide in despair. We witnessed such a tragedy here just a few months ago, as a young mother's anguish over a past abortion, coupled with her guilt over the fact that she almost aborted her three-year-old daughter, led her to jump off of a bridge to her death.

But as reflected in the testimonies of many post-abortion women, viewing abortion pictures often leads women not only to post-abortion healing, but to faith in Christ.[14] Those who wish to shield women from the truth may unknowingly be tools of the devil as he pursues his "steal-kill-destroy" agenda by seeking to steal healing, repentance and forgiveness from aborted women.

A woman who has truly experienced post-abortion healing will discover how God can use such an evil situation and turn it around for good and to His glory. But you cant give God the glory if you keep your mouth shut. When post-abortion women go on secretive healing retreats to share their deep, dark secrets with other post-abortion women, the process cant end there. Until she is out in the open, expressing an understanding of both her sin and Christs sacrifice, the devil will continue to use her secret against her, to her own destruction. If her initial reason for aborting her baby was to hide the pregnancy from somebody, she will always be under fear and bondage until she can honestly face whoever she was trying to hide the pregnancy from. As Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, "Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."[15]

If true post-abortion healing could be promoted in every sector of the pro-life movement, meaning that women have finally been empowered to face the truth, to mourn, to repent and receive forgiveness, and to share their stories, the ramifications would transform first the pro-life movement, then the church, and finally the nation.

And so, seeking to change hearts within the pro-life movement so that all pro-life efforts implement the strategy of maintaining a constant focus on both mother and baby is an important first priority. But unless we can mobilize Gods Church to action, we are doomed to fail.

When churches begin to see pro-life ministries implementing a consistent approach of reaching both mothers and babies, they should be challenged to implement the same strategy. After all, preaching the Gospel of Life (to mothers and babies and everybody else) is primarily the Church's domain, and churches are much better equipped to do so than pro-life organizations.

Churches can help immensely by providing practical help and friendship to pregnant women who were considering abortion. Over the past few years, we have begun to implement a network of church groups called "The Elizabeth League."[16] These groups are established in each church under the authority and approval of the pastor or other church leadership, but the group is led by lay women, so no pastor is burdened with the ongoing responsibility of leading the group. Elizabeth League groups primarily exist to minister to pregnant women we encounter who had intended to abort their babies. Most often, what these women need most is friendship and prayer. Of course, genuine prayer always carries with it the willingness to provide tangible assistance.[17] Usually, the physical needs of a woman are minimal, but if a particular Elizabeth League group is unable to handle a woman's needs within the church, their only obligation is to make us aware of the need so that we can seek further help. As her due date nears, the Elizabeth League group plans a baby shower and other activities to further assist and encourage the women. After the baby is born, the church and the group celebrate this life saved; hopefully, by this time the woman has been brought into fellowship with the church.

Any church which has an Elizabeth League group has witnessedfirst-handthe fact that frontline pro-life ministries are focused on providing real help for both mothers and babies. So as frontline ministries link with churches through efforts like the Elizabeth League, the churches benefit from a practical, positive outreach opportunity, pro-life ministries benefit by freeing up some of their resources to focus on saving other women and children from abortion, and the women and children benefit from experiencing friendship, assistance, and an opportunity for a relationship with Christ and His Church.

But reaching abortion-minded women is not only an outreach opportunity, it is a shepherding responsibility, because sometimes the women being led by the devil into the abortion chamber are already members of the church. Most of the women facing the temptation of abortion in our nation identify themselves with some branch of organized Christianity.[18] We often encounter such women, who assure us God will forgive me on their way into the killing center. As "shepherds" of their congregations, pastors have a responsibility to seek out the lost sheep from their congregation (including both the aborting mother and the baby whose life hangs in the balance).[19] When we have become aware of a woman from a particular congregation who intends to abort her baby, we have tried to involve the woman's pastor. If the pastor takes the time to get involved, usually the baby will be saved. When faced with such a situation in their own church, many pastors will begin to recognize their responsibility (in our experience, pastors of smaller churches are much more likely to respond than pastors of large churches; we're usually lucky to get even a prayer out of the megachurch pastors).

But Tony Marinelli, pastor of Calvary Chapel Cape Cod, found out too late. Laura Hope Smith, 22, died with her baby on the abortion table on September 13, 2007. Pastor Marinelli knew Laura well, reporting that "she was in church the Sunday before she died" and assured the 600 people attending her memorial that she is now in Heaven. "Christ forgave her sin as it was being committed," Pastor Marinelli said. "Our attitude toward sin is the same no matter what sin it is."

Marinelli and his wife were actively involved in the pro-life movement in Massachusetts for many years. "When a friend showed me pictures of abortions, that's probably the one thing that stirred my heart," he recalled. But 15 years ago he left the pro-life ministry to start a church, convinced that "peoples' hearts are too hard. I realized that if they would turn to Christ, they wouldnt have an abortion. I was fighting the wrong battle."

"Our church," Marinelli emphasized, "is primarily dedicated to teaching the Bible almost exclusively. There are many times during the year that we cover the issue of abortion." Although he preaches about abortion, Marinelli said that he does not use abortion pictures or videos (even after the tragic deaths of this mother and child in his church body) explaining "that would probably pose some problems among some families in the church."

The abortion chamber where his church members (Laura and her baby) died is about 10 miles from Marinelli's church. He said that he didn't know of anybody from his church (of about 150 members) who is involved in ministry outside the nearby killing center. But he emphasized that "if I received a call from the sidewalk regarding one of our gals going in for abortion, I would do anything I possibly could to intervene. I would consider it my responsibility as pastor." When a pastor recognizes that his shepherding responsibility extends to abortion chambers, he should see the need to cooperate with existing frontline ministries, or to help establish new frontline ministries if no such appropriate ministries already exist. God calls His shepherds to soften their hearts toward their flocks, or to be removed from leadership.[20]

Stopping abortion in the church would virtually end abortion in the nation, because the abortionists could not survive on a 75% profit reduction. But most pastors, like Marinelli, are uncomfortable with the idea of showing life-saving abortion images in church, believing that they are too offensive. God, however, has often used gory, offensive images to reach His peoples hearts. For example, God commanded His people to observe the Passover by treating one of their lambs like a pet, and then slaughtering it. Adding insult to injury, God told them to smear some of the lamb's blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses, so that they would see these gory sights every time they entered or exited their homes.[21] What if they had been too offended by this ritual and decided not to smear the blood on their doorframes? Apparently God would have killed them for rejecting His gory provision for their sin.[22]

The Passover foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, when the innocent Lamb of God would be tortured and killed, put on display for the world. It is hard to imagine a scene more grotesque, but this is the central image of our identity as Christians. Were it not for the ugliness of the cross, we would die in our sins. But somehow most Christians wince at the idea of using bloody images even if they know that they may save the lives of innocent babies and mothers within their own fellowship. After all, what if there are post-abortion women in the congregation? Wont this hurt them? No, as we have already shown, what will hurt them most is if the church continues to be an accomplice in the devils strategy to cover up the truth.

This is, without a doubt, the most bitter pill to swallow in this strategy. Its one thing for a pro-life organization to show someone an abortion video, but a church? It seems too brutal. But until we bridge this gap, the inconsistency of our self-proclaimed beliefs will doom us to failure.

Churches also need to adjust their teachings to avoid fatal misinterpretations of scripture which cause so many Christian women to fall into the devils abortion trap. Usually such problems can be cleared up by considering one word: "context." For example, Ephesians 2:8-9 is often cited to prove that God saves us by grace, not by works. But when we consider the context, continuing just one more verse to verse 10, we see that good works play a very important role in Gods plan for Christians. So Gods grace is not intended to free us to do evil, but to free us to do good.[23] By God's grace, we can venture across the tightrope, knowing that if we fall, He will catch us.

But sometimes the very churches which proclaim God's grace so loudly cause women in their congregations to find it necessary to hide their sin by aborting their children, because they feel that they would experience too much shame from unwed pregnancy. But unwed pregnancy is not a sinit is an example of God bringing something good (an innocent child) out of something bad (illicit sexual activity). A pregnant woman who confesses her sin and repents should be showered with love and compassion, following our Lords example.[24]

Another example of the distorted teachings in today's churches which lead women to abort their children is the concept that "all sin is the same." But in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Christians are warned to flee from sexual sin because it is different from other sins, while we are challenged to honor God with our bodies because we are not our own, but we belong to God. Obviously abortion is different from other sins, because it kills an innocent child created in Gods image.

Our need for a change of heart becomes most evident when we see pro-life groups and churches standing against frontline ministries to protect their own assets. Kenneth Hagin's RMAI (Rhema) organization revoked the ordination of Pastor Mark Holick in 2002 in fear that they might be "potentially sued" because of Holick's participation with ministries outside the abortion chamber of notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller.[25] Across the country, many "pro-life" pregnancy centers have been afraid to cooperate with frontline ministries, establishing strict prohibitions against their volunteers being involved with such "activism" even on their own time. Ironically, the major problem facing these CPCs has been the decreasing numbers of abortion-minded women coming through their doors; they don't seem to realize that cooperating with frontline ministries would help them to reach more abortion-minded women and children. When churches and pro-life organizations choose self-preservation over the lives of innocent children, their sin is greater than women who abort their babies, because they know better.

Clearly many hearts must be changed in the church today before we will be ready to fulfill God's plan for His people. But those of us in the pro-life movement who understand these issues, and who can see through the deception with which the devil is trying to seduce God's people, have a special obligation to follow the example of the prophet Nathan, one by one confronting pastors with the church's sin and encouraging them to turn back to the whole counsel of God. When megachurch Pastor Rick Warren appeared on Family Life Today to defend inviting abortion advocate Barack Obama to speak at his church, Warren twisted statistics to try to equate the abortion holocaust with AIDS. We contacted both Warren and Family Life Today. Family Life Today responded by posting a note on their website,[26] but refused to make a correction on the broadcast. Warren never responded, even when contacted by a nearby pastor in his denomination. But he is accountable before God for the consequences of his actions.

Those pastors who accept their responsibilities toward preborn babies and their mothers within the church should be challenged to also become shepherds of their communities, looking for opportunities to join together with other pro-life pastors to stand publically against the devils schemes which target the pregnant women and children who are their neighbors.

None of us are immune from temptation. As in the case of Laura Hope Smith, even the best churches may face not only babies but women dying from abortions. When we went to Las Vegas in 2003 to try to generate support for new pro-life ministries, we brought along a young lady who was a great help to us in our ministry. Within a few months, this same young lady found herself pregnant from a married man (thankfully, she did not consider abortion). We all need to rely on God's grace to stand against the devils attacks.

The strategy of establishing a dual focus on mothers and babies extends beyond pro-life ministries and churches to every other part of society. For example, if a politician wants to run as a pro-life candidate, he should be challenged to find some way to provide tangible help to a woman who had been considering abortion, and he should also show the truth of the brutality of abortion. A politician with such a dual focus would demonstrate that he really believes what he says and that abortion isn't just some political football to him.

When God uses frontline ministries to save women and their children from abortion, their amazing testimonies are far more interesting that any "reality" television show. We need to help them give glory to God by sharing how God saved them from the abortion holocaust. God can use their testimonies to save even more women and children from abortion, and to give pastors, politicians and media personalities the courage to speak out more forcefully against abortion.

In spite of all of our plans and principles, we must confess that this is God's battle, not ours. We have to leave room for God to work through those who may not seem to fit in with our ideas. God called wicked king Nebuchadnezzar "my servant" because he carried out God's plans.[27] So God may raise up people like Oskar Schindler and William Lloyd Garrison, who would probably be an embarrassment to our churches and who may never be a part of our organizations but nevertheless may be used by God as a key part of stopping the abortion holocaust.

Our job, as we pray for rain, is to prepare the fields. One of the best ways to do so is to start Elizabeth League groups in churches so that if abortion were to end today, the pregnant women would have enough places to go for help. A few years ago, I shared the concept of the Elizabeth League with a bitter abortion advocate. She enthusiastically exclaimed "if every church did this, we wouldn't need abortion anymore!" The world is waiting for those of us who hold the words of life to begin practicing what we preach. But are our hearts ready for victory?

As each pro-life group seeks to bridge the divide, with each ministry and church maintaining a dual focus of both mother and baby, the single ropes across the abyss can be lashed together with the other groups' ropes to form a highway across the great divide. But ultimately the one who bridges the gap will be Jesus. Abortion will end in the way which gives God the most glory!


About the authors

Tim and Terri Palmquist together lead LifeSavers Ministries, established in Bakersfield, California in 1984 to promote ministries to pregnant women and children. The primary emphasis of LSM has always been reaching out to women entering abortion chambers. Over the years, God inspired the Palmquists to develop the concept of "pregnancy evangelism": communicating God's loving plan for both pregnant women and their children. Tim has served as host of various radio programs, including LSM's Voice For Life program, which God used to help free a group of refugees fleeing China's forced abortion policy who were incarcerated for years by immigration officials. In 1998, LSM opened the LifeHouse, a pregnancy help center adjacent to Bakersfield's only abortion business. In 2003, LSM established the Elizabeth League to support and encourage pregnant women through local churches. The Palmquists have been interviewed on many radio programs, including the Michael Reagan Show and Family News in Focus. Other media outlets from the Los Angeles Times to the 700 Club to Focus on the Familys Citizen magazine have reported on the Palmquists' ministry efforts. Tim is the author of Gods Plan: Transforming the Gates of Hell into the Gates of Heaven. LSM has no paid staff, but the Palmquists receive missionary support from individuals who donate through American Missionary Association. Terri and Tim are the parents of 11 children (8 boys and 3 girls) whose ages range from 21 years to 2 years.


[1] Proverbs 14:12, NKJV.

[2] Luke 6:41-42

[3] Ephesians 3:10

[4] Deuteronomy 21:1-9

[5] Wellington letter, page 4 of http://www.priestsforlife.org/resources/abortionimages/graphcpc.pdf

[6] Wellington letter, page 4 of http://www.priestsforlife.org/resources/abortionimages/graphcpc.pdf

[7] Available from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/audiovideo.html

[8] This is not to suggest that pro-lifers should not use ultrasounds. It is best to have every tool at our disposal, including ultrasounds and abortion videos, because different women will respond to different methods. Of course, in a pregnancy help center setting, women are not shown ultrasounds or abortion videos unless they have first provided informed consent. But with proper counseling, most women will agree to see videos and ultrasounds even if they are abortion-minded.

[9] Care Net Statement of Principle, http://www.care-net.org/membership/principle.pdf

[10] www.birthcontrolcarecenter.com

[11] Frederica Mathewes-Green, http://www.frederica.com/writings/beyond-its-a-baby.html

[12] See "suggested recommendations for CPCs using graphic visuals" on page 21 of http://www.priestsforlife.org/resources/abortionimages/graphcpc.pdf

[13] http://www.wayofthemaster.com/articles/ray2002-08-28.html

[14] See for example the testimony of Lori on pp. 41-42 of Gods Plan: Transforming the Gates of Hell into the Gates of Heaven by Tim Palmquist (for more information go to http://LifeSavers.glorifyJesus.com/books/ )

[15] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elie_Wiesel (under Quotations)

[16] See www.elizabethleague.net

[17] Luke 10:2-3; James 2:16

[18] Alan Guttmacher Institute statistics, cited at www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html

[19] Matthew 18:12

[20] Ezekiel 34:1-24

[21] Exodus 12:1-7

[22] Exodus 12:12-13

[23] A more detailed treatment of this subject, along with the other issues discussed in this chapter, is available in Gods Plan: Transforming the Gates of Hell into the Gates of Heaven by Tim Palmquist (for more information go to http://LifeSavers.glorifyJesus.com/books/ ), especially chapter 1.

[24] For more information, see the pamphlet Unwed pregnancy is not a sin! available at http://lifesavers.glorifyjesus.com/literature/unwed.shtml

[25] Charisma Magazine, February 2003, http://www.charismamag.com/display.php?id=7115&print=yes

[26] See 12/8/2006 broadcast, available in archives at www.familylife.com

[27] Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6; 43:10


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