The invoice

“The question I had to ask myself, as I stared at that invoice, was the question that got me involved in the pro-life movement.”

As I listened to this pregnancy center worker’s story, my heart dropped as I was asking myself the same question. It wasn’t an easy question to think about. But it was one that gave me a gut check regarding why we are all in the pro-life movement.

January means resolutions and cold weather. Both of those tie in perfectly to a date that breaks our hearts but strengthens our resolve – the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on January 22.

The day that marks legal abortion being imposed by judges is the saddest day on the American calendar. Yet this anniversary brings out the best in people, as hundreds of thousands – courageously led by those who have had abortions — march, pray, and endure the cold to give a voice to the 57 million babies who have lost their lives to abortion in the United States since 1973.

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The week of the Roe anniversary is always my busiest week of the year. Leading up to it, I think about why I first got involved in the pro-life movement, back when I first attended Roe anniversary events in high school.

Abortion will end if we persevere – persevere in prayer, persevere in resolve and persevere in reminding ourselves of the great evil that abortion is. This isn’t always easy, but it is needed. When we encounter setbacks or defeats throughout the year, we cannot forget what and who is at stake. An unexpected encounter reminded me of what we are fighting for and why so many march in the cold this time of year.

I spoke at a pregnancy center dinner and afterwards was visiting with attendees. As it got late, the room emptied out — and one of the center’s staff members came up to introduce herself. She had a sweet and joyful face and told me that she wanted to share her story of how she first got involved in the pro-life movement. As she began to speak, her change in tone suggested it was not a typical path. I quickly learned that was the case.

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She had worked at a very large Planned Parenthood abortion facility near a major city. She justified her job because she did bookkeeping and other business tasks that were separated (she thought) from what went on in the rooms next door where the abortions were done.

She relayed this information to me very comfortably and then said, “But that all changed in an instant one day when I was sitting at my desk.” She then, in a troubled tone, said that she opened and read an invoice. “The invoice was to Planned Parenthood from the local morgue. It was for $350.” As she scanned the invoice to see what it was for, the reality of abortion hit her.

She continued, “The service listed was in bold letters that pierced my heart: CREMATION SERVICE FOR 150 POUNDS OF MEDICAL WASTE.”

My heart sank.

She looked me in the eye and said, “Shawn, the question I had to ask myself as I stared at that invoice was what first got me involved in the pro-life movement. The question that pierced my heart was: How many babies have to be aborted to add up to 150 pounds of ash?”

I didn’t know the answer. And a big part of me didn’t want to know the answer.

She went on to tell me how she resigned from the abortion industry and began working for a local pregnancy center to help women in need and to welcome babies into the world.

I travel a lot and hear a lot of stories from salt-of-the-earth people that are working to end abortion; but that night I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about that question and it tied back to the basic reason we pray, march and persevere — because abortion kills a baby.

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It’s something we all know; and when I first realized it at a Roe anniversary event as a teenager, I was convicted to do something about it. We all know abortion kills a baby — but we can never become numb to it. Occasionally, we are reminded of how gruesome this reality is.

Thank God we are not paralyzed in our conviction – we can do something about it but it takes courage. C.S. Lewis said it best: “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

After 42 years of legalized abortion, we are at that testing point. For many, the Roe v. Wade anniversary is an opportunity like no other during the year to make resolutions to commit (or re-commit) ourselves to the love, joy and courage required to see abortion end in our nation.

It may include being cold or enduring an awkward moment when you invite friends who have never participated before, but the anniversary that causes us to mourn also serves as the joyful rallying point to trust God that one day soon Roe v. Wade will be a dark memory of American history. Let’s take advantage of every Roe anniversary, while working to make it the last one by committing to prayer and action.

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So how did you get involved in pro-life activites? Please leave a reply below and share your story!