For forty years, pro-life advocates have fought to end legal abortion in our country. Right to life groups have been established, over 4,000 pregnancy centers are now up and running, ministries and retreats have taken place for men and women affected by abortion. The pro-life movement is well organized and holds the majority viewpoint of our country.
There have been many victories along the way—stricter abortion regulations like parental consent, waiting periods, and making ultrasound photos available to abortion-minded women have become law in many states. Thousands of women have spoken up about their past abortions, pleading for other women to reconsider making that “choice” to spare the lives of their children and spare themselves a lifetime of regret. Pro-life activists line the sidewalks to reach out to women before their abortion appointments, and pregnancy center staff is ready and waiting to assist women in need. Despite the fact that we have the most radically pro-choice president in history, we have made more strides in the pro-life movement than ever before.
So four decades later, why are we still fighting the same fight?
Answer: because as long as the doors of abortion clinics remain open, they will have business. That’s it.
Abortion workers come from all different walks of life. Different circumstances and choices lead them to a career inside of the industry of pain and deceit, and although their paths are different, they all have one goal: to help women in a crisis situation make the best decision for their lives. Like those in the pro-life movement, they are driven by a compassion for women… it is just misguided compassion.
Recently, the Pro-Life Action League held an event in Chicago to recognize those who had a conversion of heart while working inside the abortion industry. Former abortionists, abortion clinic directors, abortion counselors and clinic employees shared their stories about what initially drew them in, and how they experienced a change of heart and came to the side of life.
Ruth Yorston worked with her mother in the abortion industry. She was raised to believe that abortion was a wonderful and empowering choice for women. Dr. Tony Levatino was an abortion doctor. He performed first and second trimester abortions. He believed that by provided women a safe abortion procedure, he was helping to protect the health of women. Linda Couri was an abortion clinic counselor. After losing her faith in her 20s and after experiencing her own abortion, she wanted to help other women navigate through the difficult decision that she had also been faced with in her past. Sue Thayer was the clinic manager of an abortion referral clinic for 17 years. She thought she was helping to prevent abortions by providing contraception to the masses at her referral clinic. Catherine Adair was an abortion clinic counselor. Growing up in a Catholic, but pro-choice home, she believed that helping women in their time of crisis was the charitable and “right” thing to do. Dr. John Bruchalski began performing abortions simply as an additional service to his gynecology clients. Why send them to an unfamiliar provider when they can go to someone they trust? Dr. Tony Caruso worked in the field of reproductive endocrinology for 15 years. He was well versed in In-vitro Fertilization. He had seen hundreds of couples long for a child and believed he was helping them achieve their dreams of having a baby of their own. And we all know my story of being raised in a Christian home…good parents, church every Sunday, good student. But abortion was still able to creep into my personal life at the age of 20 and then into my professional life at the age of 21. I got involved in Planned Parenthood because I truly thought helping women make their own reproductive choices was the most powerful gift I could give to someone.
None of us were “bad” people. None of us were “evil.” Our fight is not with people…not with flesh and blood. We were misguided. Sinners. But by grace and mercy, we are forgiven. And by a sheer miracle, we are all advocates in the pro-life movement. It is not easy to publicly reveal your ignorance…to admit just how dumb you were for so long. It’s not easy to tell people that you were wrong. But we have all done it. Not because it has been easy, but because it is right. Our paths into the abortion industry are different. But our goals now are the same. We want to end abortion. We want workers to have the same joy and peace that we have been lucky enough to experience. Our goal is lofty, but it is happening right in front of our eyes.
Every abortion worker is reachable… including the abortionists. The Converted Conference proved just that. Herein lies the missing piece of the puzzle—reaching out to these abortion workers instead of ignoring or demeaning them. They are human beings, with friends and family who love them, with homes and children to care for. When we begin to treat them as such, it opens the door to a conversion of heart.
No abortion clinic workers. No abortion clinics. No abortions. It starts with the workers.