The third-year medical resident looked Rob in the eyes. “As I said, I want her to make the best choice for her. Whatever she decides, I’ll support.” In saying this, however, he was dodging the real question related to his girlfriend whom he had come with.
But the Men’s Services Director at Life Network, a pregnancy center in Colorado, didn’t relent: “It’s great to support her. But I want to know how you, in your heart of hearts, feel about her getting an abortion.” Rob was probing for a chink in this medical student’s stoic armor but the father allowed no entry inside his fortress walls, despite the great conversation that had preceded the question.
The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.
Fighting the Fallout
The couple had driven from Texas to Colorado determined to get an abortion but had providentially walked into a Christian pregnancy center instead. Now they were scheduled for a free ultrasound, and Rob was hopeful as the couple had a great conversation with the clinic nurse and clearly saw their baby, alive and active. At the end of his meeting with the young man, Rob reassured him. “No matter if you keep the baby or not, we are here for you.” With that, he handed the young man his business card. As they walked away, the clinic staff prayed.
A week later, Rob’s phone rang, the voice on the other line distraught. It was the baby's father, calling to confess that they had continued on to Fort Collins and terminated the pregnancy. He was starting his career as a psychologist and she had other plans that didn’t include parenting, he explained, trying at first to excuse their decision.
But his castle walls were crumbling, and he couldn’t keep his inner battle at bay. Sadness and shame and a host of other feelings he couldn’t define now dominated his thoughts. Though his girlfriend seemed unfazed, he felt distraught—a discrepancy that led to their break up on the long drive back to Texas. He was utterly undone.
“Would you be willing to work through a book called Fatherhood Aborted (Now titled Reclaiming Fatherhood) with me?” Rob suggested. “I can make a PowerPoint of each of the twelve chapters, and we can just talk through one lesson each week,” he proposed. The young man eagerly accepted, grateful for the offer.
Finding Forgiveness After Abortion
Each week they faithfully met together over the phone, discussing the matters of his heart and soul. In time, he understood his role in the abortion and how he didn’t take a stand as a leader. He also found words that helped define the feelings of brokenness and loss that bound him.
But the Scriptures were setting him free. Numerous faith conversations came about through their discussion of the book, but the chapter on forgiveness opened his eyes to a whole new level of hope.
Though he identified as Catholic, growing up he never clearly heard the gospel. So Rob relayed the Good News in a way that finally made sense. He was a sinner who desperately needed saving in every way. Forgiveness was his simply by putting his faith and trust in Jesus as he surrendered his life to the Lord. “Would you like to make a commitment to Jesus?” Rob invited.
After a resounding “Yes!” Rob led him to Jesus through prayer and gave him a Bible along with a Bible App to help him get started in the Word. But when the two came to the end of the abortion-recovery resource book, the psychologist didn’t want their conversations to end.
“Would you just continue to meet with me?” he requested. “I’d like for you to hold me accountable in my faith.” Rob instantly agreed, and they continued meeting monthly to talk about life and faith. Meanwhile, the young man joined a local church, began reading his Bible regularly, as well as attending a Men’s Bible Study. Over time, he reconnected with his girlfriend, as well.
“It was amazing to watch his transformation through the healing process,” Rob reflected. So when Rob made plans to attend Care Net’s Pro-Life Men’s Summit in Dallas, he reached out to the young man, hoping to grab lunch and get some face-to-face time together. “Instead, he surprised me by registering for the conference, too!” he laughed.
“I really didn’t see that coming. And honestly, I was concerned that he might feel overwhelmed by some of the hard-hitting talks about abortion’s effects,” he confided. “I kept my eye on him the whole conference, trying to assess how he was handling it.” But the doctor was a hard read as he sat silently, soaking in the message and relaying only the occasional cryptic comment like, “Wow, that was heavy stuff.” But was it too much? Rob wondered.
Near the end of the conference, a panel of post-abortive men took the stage and each one told their story. With brutal honesty, they admitted the deceived thinking that led to their decision and the battle they’d fought in dealing with the fallout. But God! Through their journey back to Jesus, they found forgiveness and freedom at the cross.
At the end of the meeting, an altar call was given, inviting anyone from the audience who needed post-abortion healing to come forward for prayer. The young man stayed seated as Rob silently prayed. Slowly, tears breached the dam and a deluge of hurt gushed out in sobs that shook his whole body as he went forward and knelt for prayer. A ready counselor laid hands on his shoulders and prayed to usher in deeper healing and hope.
With another layer of hurt lifted, the doctor left the conference on a spiritual high, hoping to grow his relationship with God and ask his girlfriend to marry him soon. He also asked Rob to please keep in touch. “And I told him I will continue to connect with him as much as possible, but I know I’m limited by my job,” Rob explained.
“The hand-off from the pregnancy center to the church is the hardest kind there is. Because we work so closely with them here at the clinic that they become very attached to us. But we’re not equipped for long-term discipleship like the church is,” he continued. “That’s why a resource like Making Life Disciples is so important for the church,” he urged. “We need faith families who are equipped to reach out with the real love of Jesus to help these men and women grow up in the Lord.”