Follow Save the 1

Monday, January 15, 2018

My Mom Wanted Me to Live; I Want The Same For Her, by Travon Clifton


This is an urgent prayer request, published with permission from Travon Clifton, and as you read it, you will see that what Travon has to say is quite profound.  I hope it will move you to prayer, as it did me. 
-- Rebecca Kiessling

I'm reaching out to inform some and update others on my mother's health. For the last 8 months, my mom has been battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and it has taken a toll on her little frame.  Only last week, we bid a fond farewell to my maternal grandmother Isabel Williams (78) and that caused further trauma to my mother's emotions.  Some of you may recall that my grandma was an unwed teenage mother, giving birth to my mom at age 15.  This had a huge effect on my mom's decision to choose life for me at age 19 when she conceived me during an awful rape. 

My mom asked me to preach my grandmother's eulogy, and at first I declined her request.  However, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to say yes.  It was in that moment of obedience, I could really see the magnitude of her decision and my grandmother's influence as I looked into my mother's face, telling the story once again.  I could also see the endurance, perseverance, and her joy of seeing me share the love of Jesus and her mother's legacy.  This was the first time many in my own family heard me tell it (and more) outside of the Compassion Project commercials and the Life Uninvited documentary produced by Right to Life of Michigan and aired on state-wide television.

Because my mother so courageously stood with me from the womb and chose life for me, I am compelled to do the same for her as I advocate with the doctors and intercede by faith on her behalf. What I know is that I cannot bear this load alone, which is why I'm coming to you asking that you join me in prayer for my mother's complete healing.

Since I know her eternal home is secure in Jesus Christ, I can afford to be so bold in my faith and ask the Lord for this miracle.  I want to see my mother rise from her death bed and go forth in ministry, telling her side of the story so that other mothers won't feel the need to carry the shame of being raped and loving the child who they didn't ask to be conceived.  

My mom wanted me to live.  I want the same for her.

Will you pray with me for the healing of my mother Victoria Forté and share with other prayer warriors? Thank you in advance for your commitment.

You can follow updates here: https://m.facebook.com/TravonPClifton/
BIO:  Travon Clifton is a daughter, a wife, and a mother of two.  She's also an international pro-life speaker and blogger with Save The 1.  Her interview, Conceived In Rape, will be re-airing with Dr. James Dobson on Family Talk Tues - Th, Jan. 16-18th.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Rapist Was Culpable But My Birthdaughter Was Innocent, by Jerusha Klayman-Kingery


I grew up in a Christian home. My relationship with my father was rather difficult and ultimately,  unloving. I thought I could fill the void with the things of this world, seeking acceptance, attention, and affection from men, drinking and partying.

For years this was my cover-up, yet I was still empty. It wasn’t until the age of 17, when I had an encounter with Jesus Christ and surrendered my life to the Lord. I was a virgin and at this time I made a vow to God that I would remain a virgin until marriage and in addition I would turn away from my past life of drinking, partying, and seeking affection from men.

At the age of 19 I was working as a waitress at IHOP. Oftentimes, I had to work late shifts and take the bus home after midnight. One night, walking home from the bus stop, I met a man who seemed nice enough.

We began texting for a few weeks, then he asked me if we could hang out at my apartment.  I wasn't attracted to him.  I didn't want to be with him, but I never wanted to hurt people's feelings and I was so naive back then, thinking that he just wanted to hang out and be friends.  For years, I struggled with the shame that I had let this man into my home without truly knowing him.  Since then, I've learned how to forgive myself and how to be more cautious in my associations and decision-making.

He was in a chair in my family room and pulled out a gun and set it on the table right next to him at arm's length.  I was sure it was loaded. In that moment, I was terrified.  I froze.

For years, I struggled with questions I'd ask myself: "Why didn’t I grab the gun?"  But then I think, I had never handled a gun, or even knew how to take the safety off.  What if he grabbed it back and shot me?

In the moment, I had all these thoughts of how to get away -- me screaming in my head, “Run! Run!”  But in the physical, the fear that had taken over my body, seemed to take any muscular strength with it.  I heard stories of women being raped before and I had always said what I would have done.  And then, that all changed. I never predicted that I would ever be in this situation.  I felt like it would never end.  I felt like a little girl with all power stripped away.  Time stood still, noises faded out.

When he left, I ran and locked the door.  I slid to the floor, sat in complete shock, my heart aching, and tears endlessly flowing.  I was a virgin planning to save myself for marriage.  My whole world was shattered.

The only person I reached out to was my best friend.  I called about 30 minutes after the rape and just sobbed and sobbed, telling her something bad had just happened. I couldn't even explain it right away.

The following weeks were hardly bearable, but I did my best to carry on without any attention being brought on me.  All I wanted was to move on, and act like that was all a terrible nightmare.  On the outside I smiled, laughed, and acted normal, on the inside I was dealing with hidden pain.  I was angry.  I was hurting.  I blamed myself.  I blamed God.  I no longer saw value in my life.  I was utterly broken.  I didn’t tell a single soul.  I didn’t want anyone to know.  I had a constant mental battle, causing me to lose sleep, and although I tried everything to set my mind on other things, my thoughts seemed to never let me rest.

I began to get sick, and grew sicker by each day.  I thought it was just stress or that I had come down with something.  Though, after six weeks of this unrelenting sickness, I finally went to a doctor.  She asked what my symptoms were and then immediately asked if it was possible that I was pregnant.  I was in such denial, that I told her that I was a virgin.  When the test came out positive, I finally broke my silence and told the doctor about the rape.

The world suddenly got very silent.  Walking out of the office was the slowest I’ve ever walked.  I saw so many pregnant women around me, but it seemed too far-fetched to have happened to me.

Countless tears accompanied the many emotions running through my heart.  I looked down at my stomach and I put my hand across my abdomen.  There was a six-week old baby in there somewhere.

Soon after, I told my mom.  She was heartbroken for me, but never left my side.

Over the next few months, my attitude and heart began to change.  I started to trust God and believe there was a purpose to this whole circumstance.  Prior to all of this, my walk with Christ was very surface-level.  Amazingly, during this time in my life is where my relationship with Christ grew to a deeper level than I had never known.

This baby actually gave me hope -- a reason to live and march forward.  There was life within me, but the reality was, this baby gave me life.

I had actually always had a stance of believing abortion was morally wrong, but it wasn’t necessarily a strong stance.  I had a few people very close to me telling me that they would “understand” if I chose to abort, and they even offered to help to obtain an abortion.

Yes, I was in a vulnerable place, but despite my feelings, my heart stood strong on the conviction: How can it be justified to take this baby’s life because of the tragic act done by a man who knew what he was doing?  The rapist was culpable.  This baby was innocent.

I would oftentimes hold my growing stomach and think, “I can’t feel you, see you and I don't even know if you are a boy or girl at this point, but I feel compelled to protect you.  It's my duty and my duty alone, no matter what.”

Whether a baby is conceived consensually or through incest or rape, it’s an innocent life.  Through my journey I came to the conclusion that a life is a life no matter what stage.

I chose open adoption for my daughter after much prayer and thought.  I wanted a stable home for her
and a dedicated father.  This was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but I put her needs before my desire.  I placed her with a beautiful family, and we have since grown into one huge family for our daughter.  I gave birth to my sweet girl, and when I laid eyes on her, all I could think was how beautiful she was.  I never thought she was a mistake or tragedy.  I was able to give my daughter physical life, while God used her to bring me into a true and deep relationship with Christ where I could fully rely upon and trust Him, no matter what comes my way.

Today, I am married to an incredible man who adores my first daughter, while we are raising two daughters and one son together.  I speak internationally to schools, churches and other interested groups about adoption, pro-life issues, self-esteem and related topics.  I facilitate an online birth mother support group, fight for the 1% of babies targeted for abortion due to rape or incest, and I embrace the women who lack support and are scared just like I was.

The lives of those babies who are recklessly justified to be ended, deserve a chance.  And so does the woman who thinks there is no hope.  Grasp her hand, walk through this rough journey with her, and believe in her ability to overcome the rape, while nurturing life.

"You (Satan) intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."  -- Genesis 50:20

BIO: Jerusha Klayman-Kingery is wife, mother of three, and birth mother to one. She's also a part-
time missionary, singer-songwriter, pro-life activist and pro-life speaker and blogger for Save The 1.  As President and Founder of As His Miracle Grows, she and her husband speak to youth and do missions.   Follow her on her Facebook page:  Jerusha Klayman-Kingery Pro-Life Speaker

I Was Conceived In Rape And My Life Is Not An Exception, by Heather Ann


“Your life should be an exception, you shouldn’t be born.”

Sounds harsh, right?

Can you imagine going up to another human being and telling them they don’t have the right to live? It’s unthinkable some people actually deem it acceptable to look into the eyes of another human being created in the image of God, and proclaim they shouldn’t have been born.

If you’re pro-life, you are probably nodding your head in agreement.

But what about protecting babies conceived in rape? Shouldn’t we advocate just as fiercely to protect their lives as well?

You see, I’m one of those babies who was conceived in rape. And only by the grace of God, I survived to tell my story.

My birth mother decided not to have an abortion, but she also chose not to keep me. In fact, when she brought me into this world, the hospital barely let her hold me, for fear she’d get attached.

I wasn’t even given a name.

So there I was, a nameless baby conceived in the most horrific of circumstances, without a home.
Heather Ann as a child. 

Thankfully, she placed me up for adoption, and at two months old I was adopted by two loving parents. Since it was a closed adoption, I was told I would never be able to meet my birth mother. But through volunteers we were able to put together the pieces, and when I was 19 years old, I met her.

She wasn’t surprised I found her. She mentioned if I was anything like her, she knew I’d find her one day. Looking back, I now see it was God’s hand who orchestrated the entire thing.

As I talked with her, she began to fill in the gaps. More importantly, she answered the question I’ve wondered my whole life, -- “Why was I not wanted, why was I given up?”

But nothing could have prepared me for her answer.

When my birth mother was 19 years old, she was drugged and raped.

As I heard her tell the story, it felt as though I were choking on glass, I felt dazed, and my heart rate increased as I listened to how I was brought into this world.

I was the daughter of a rapist.

She went on to mention how she was young, and knew she couldn’t care for me. She wanted me to have the best home possible with two parents, so she placed me up for adoption to give me a chance to thrive and succeed in life, which I have.

I am thankful she did, but the inherent shame I felt concerning how I was conceived deepened, and stayed with me for many years.

At the time, I wasn’t yet saved, sure I knew Jesus, but I didn’t really know Him. Using the gap as a stronghold, the enemy exploited my pain and shame to torment me.

But 10 years later, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and my life forever changed. The Lord picked up the shattered pieces of my past, and made beauty from ashes.

I understand now, my birth mother placed me up for adoption because she loved me, and wanted the best, not because I was an unwanted baby. And today I know, I am a daughter of the King, and my identity is in Christ.

I’m thankful God spared my life, and now I want to do my part to advocate for other babies who don’t yet have a voice to fight for themselves.

Heather Ann at the 2017 March For Life in Washington D.C.


But you see, if it were up to most politicians, I wouldn’t be born. I would be deemed an exception, and sentenced to die, simply because of the way I was conceived.

So pro-lifers, I want to leave you with a challenge. Babies are dying, by no fault of their own. Sitting on the sidelines is easy. It’s comfortable. It won’t cause much disruption. But we aren’t called to live comfortable lives. We are called to speak up for the voiceless, the downcast, the orphans.

If not us, who?

Marching for life is a wonderful thing. It’s great to show up and network with pro-lifers across the country.

But it’s not enough.
Pictured from left to right: Yohanka Reyes, mother from rape and Executive Director of Mary's Pregnancy Resource Center, Heather Ann, child from rape and pro-life writer, and Rebecca Kiessling, child from rape and Save The 1 Founder and President.

Once you leave the streets of D.C. or wherever you march for life, I pray you take that same passion you have for protecting babies and channel your energy towards ensuring your elected officials will pass pro-life legislation, without the rape exception.

And to those of you involved in politics, who have the power to do good, do it. Don’t compromise. Don’t sell out. Don’t support legislation that has the rape exception.

Babies conceived in rape are still babies.

It’s time to wake up. We can’t go on killing innocent babies, nor deeming certain lives more valuable than others.

So pro-lifers, if you are really pro-life, be all in. Get off the fence. Stop compromising on life. Be unequivocally pro-life, without compromise, and without exception.

As Matthew 25:40 states “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”

BIO: Heather Ann is the Operations Manager for a non-profit which provides respite care for children with disabilities. In addition, she is a published freelance writer, and has written for various organizations, including Save The 1. Heather is a fierce advocate for unborn babies, and believes every baby has the right to be born, regardless of how they were conceived. You can follow her here.
Monday, January 8, 2018

Everyone in One Voice Told My Parents to Abort, by Stephen Johnson

My name is Stephen Johnson.  I was born in India, but raised up in Kuwait which is in the Middle East.  I’m married to a beautiful bride named Rinku Stephen.  We both serve the Lord around the world where ever the Lord leads us.  I want to share my testimony of how the Lord performed a miracle in my life and made me into the person I am today.
   
I got the privilege to be born into a Christian family.  I’m fifth generation Christian.  I have two siblings -- both older than me.  My sister is the oldest and is a doctor who settled in Canada, while my older brother is a pilot and an engineer who has settled in Australia.  I completed my Audio Engineering degree.

My mom used to take birth control pills . . . , and after awhile, she had a movement in her abdomen.  It continued to occur as the months passed.  She went to three doctors and they said nothing was happening of concern.  Later, she saw a different doctor and he said that my mom was pregnant.  A few months later, she went to another doctor and he said that my mom was pregnant -- with me.

That is when my parents came to know of my existence, and the doctors did not have very pleasant news to tell my parents. They said that the position of the baby was upside down and was in an abnormal stage.  After hearing this news, my parents did not know how to process this.  They were shattered.  

They shared the report the doctors had told them to their family, church, and relatives, but my parents did not get a good response from them either.  Everyone in one voice told them to abort the baby because they already had one girl child and a boy, so they said, "Why do you want the third child?"  So my parents were not sure what to do next and were in a terrific stage of making a major decision in their lives. 

One day ,while my parents were in the room, they said that God came into their room and told them “Do not kill the child because I’m going to send him to the nations to proclaim the good news.” They both heard the voice of God and that day they made the decision that whatever happens or whoever talks negative about this matter, they are not going to be concerned about it, and they dedicated me for ministry even before I was born.

Months passed by.  They kept hearing this terrible news.  Whenever my parents would go to see the doctors, they would say that the baby was abnormal, and "even if he comes out, he would not have legs or arms," or that "the baby will have missing parts in his body" and also that he will be blind. Whatever the doctors could say to try to get them to abort, they said to my parents.  Of course, they were upset with the news, but they knew that their God was able to do some miracle, so they believed and trusted God.

Finally, my mom gave birth to me, and I was born perfectly healthy, as a normal baby.  Whatever the doctors said I would be, God turned it completely opposite and blessed my life.  I had perfect vision, I had both my legs and my arms.  I was a normal baby boy at birth.

However, as months passed by, my parents noticed that I was quiet and that I was not interacting
much with anyone, even with my parents.  They tried to communicate with me, but I was not able to answer them.  Many months passed by and years too, and finally they figured out that I was born mute.  I could not even speak one word.  I could not call my parents daddy and mommy.  When they came to know about this news, they were really broken-hearted.

Now when everybody came to know about this matter, they started to mock my parents again, saying: “You should have killed the baby.  Now you suffer watching him not speak.” These were the words spoken to my parents, and again my parents were reminded of the voice of the Lord and they trusted that.  So they started fasting and praying for me.

One night, there was a mega-crusade happening in Kuwait, and my parents left all the kids home and went to the crusade.  Before the meeting ended, the pastor asked the crowd if there was anyone who wanted to heal.  Then he said to raise up the hands and declare by faith the healing power of the Lord. So by faith, my parents raised their hands and prayed for me.  In that meeting, many got healed and delivered.  My parents were so happy because they thought I was healed.  They came back home with a happy face, but soon after they started talking to me their faces were saddened because I was still the same.  God did not heal me that day.  They knelt down, prayed together and confessed.
   
The very next day, after they came back from work, they started to hear a voice that they had never heard before, so they checked on my siblings first, but they were just playing with their toys.  Then my parents were searching for me and what I was doing  -- I was hiding behind a door and was singing a Christian song!!  That’s when they knew that God had touched my mouth and healed me. God healed me when I was four and a half years old.  From then till now, He never allowed me to stumble.  I have been talking nonstop. 

God could have healed me when I was born, but he did not because He wanted my parents to have faith and obedience in Him so they could see with their own eyes that when they put their whole trust in Him, He will take care of everything.

BIO:  Stephen Johnson is a husband, sharing the gospel globally, and a pro-life blogger for Save The 1. Stephen and his wife Rinku are missionaires to Africa and North India.  Stephen can be contacted or followed on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.



Sunday, January 7, 2018

What Advice Should Clergy Give To a Woman Pregnant By Rape? by Rebecca Kiessling

Clergy need to get this one right!  Save The 1 has published two recent stories in which the pregnant rape victims' clergy not only advised them that's it's acceptable to abort, but actually encouraged them to do so.  One rape victim went through with the abortion, and the other did not.  In other words, a pastor was responsible for the death of an innocent unborn child.

Nicole W. Cooley, in her story, A Tale of Two Mothers Who Were Pregnant By Rape,  writes: "Unfortunately, the only specific advice came from my pastor.  She told me, 'Let me put your heart at ease.  In the eyes of the church, any decision, prayerfully considered, is okay.  In your case, I think you should have an abortion.  You need to be able to move past this.  You should have an abortion.'

"She went on to tell me about her two daughters who had also faced unplanned pregnancies.  One had chosen adoption, the other abortion, and both were equally good decisions, she said.  She dismissively added, 'There's a couple in the church who want to adopt, but, no, you shouldn't talk to them.  You need to have an abortion.' I remember my heart telling me, 'Isn't there something in Psalms about this?'"

Nicole deeply regretted her abortion, and suffered for many years as a result. She says a key component to her healing was her godly husband telling her, "I love you, but what you did was wrong."  Women need to hear the truth.

In her testimonial, From Victimhood to Motherhood, I Chose Joy, Paula K. Peyton explains, the morning after the rape, "I spoke to my priest who was very supportive of me as a rape victim.  But she actually took me to Walgreens to buy Plan B, which I never took because it wasn't something I was comfortable with.  I don't take birth control because I'm not comfortable with it.  I already knew Plan B  could have the effect of preventing implantation if an embryo was already created.  I was worried about STDs, and of course, I was concerned about pregnancy since I knew the timing and that I could be ovulating.  I'd had discussions with friends in the past about Plan B and we had talked about not knowing if you would have lost a baby or not, and I had already concluded that it would be horrible not knowing."  When she found out she was pregnant, this same priest also advised her to abort.  But Paula says, "the Lord had taken one of the worst things in my life -- something so dark and damaging -- and He had created life."

With Save the 1, we now have a network of nearly 550 who became pregnant by rape, as well as those conceived in rape, and I've repeatedly heard other stories like this, where the pregnant rape victim sought counsel from her clergy, and the priest or pastor advised her to abort, telling her that God will forgive her -- and it wasn't just female clergy.  But the issue is not whether God forgives our sins -- the critical question for clergy is this:  Is it a sin to abort when the pregnancy is the result of rape?  Yes, it is!  Theologians, ministry leaders and pastors need to be clear on this.  Abortion intentionally ends the life of an innocent living human being.  Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 clearly command:  “You shall not murder.”  Killing an innocent unborn child after rape through the premeditated act of abortion fits the definition of murder:  “You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.”  — James 5:6  Punish rapists, not babies.

Pastors and priests should know better -- as with any other sin, there is accountability for the shedding of innocent blood.  Genesis 9:5,6 warns:  “And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.  Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.”  Just do a Bible search of “innocent blood,” and you’ll see a plethora of Scripture verses -- how relevant innocence is, and how God detests the shedding of innocent blood.  Here are the most common questions asked when it comes to theology of abortion in cases of rape, and clergy must get these answers right:
1.  Is abortion murder?
Yes.  This is critical to know the answer to this question when being asked for biblical advice on whether to abort.  While it's not helpful to condemn post-abortive friends by saying, "You're a murderer," many of our post-abortive rape victims from Save The 1 have used this kind of language toward themselves, and several sexual abuse survivors moms who contemplated abortion use that language in describing what they almost did to their child, or what others urged them to do.  Certainly someone who has been asked for a biblical perspective should be able to answer this question accurately.  


Abortion always involves bloodshed -- babies do not just magically disappear.  No woman takes a pill and the baby just vanishes into thin air.  And the unborn baby is always innocent.   

Consider Exodus 21:22-25, which is the first place in the Bible where the law of “an eye for an eye” is declared.  This passage demonstrates the seriousness with which God takes the injury to a pregnant woman or her unborn child:   “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.  But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,  burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”  I've seen liberal theologians actually argue that the verse only pertains to harm to the woman, but this standard necessarily includes harm to the unborn child, or the verse would not be talking about a pregnant woman!  The injury or death to the unborn child is what’s critical here.

In Amos 1:13, God says that for Ammon’s sins, He “will not relent.  Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead.”  So it’s clear that God expressly counts the ripping open of pregnant women as a sin.  That’s exactly what abortion is.  Again, the fact that the women are pregnant is relevant — not because of her autonomy, but because of the harm to her unborn child.
Abortion involves the killing of one's own children and is just another form of child-sacrifice.  Making the rape exception to your pro-life views is modern-day child sacrifice.  Look at Psalm 106:37-38:  “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods.  They shed innocent blood,  the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,  and the land was desecrated by their blood.”  The child conceived out of rape is still the rape survivor mother’s own son or daughter -- innocent blood.
I shudder when I read Jeremiah 20:17, “For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever.”  Abortion turns a mother’s womb into a grave.
2.  But what about in cases of rape?
The Bible is clear that only the rapist is to be punished for the rape:  “But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die.”  — Deuteronomy 22:25
However, it’s estimated that, in the United States, only 1% of rapists are ever convicted for the crime of rape.  According to the U.S. Supreme Court cases of Coker v Georgia and Kennedy v Louisiana, rapists and even child molesters don’t deserve the death penalty — that it’s “cruel and unusual punishment.”  So how could the innocent child conceived out of that rape deserve the death penalty?
Proverbs 17:15 warns:  “Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the Lord detests them both.”  And Proverbs 18:5 tell us:  “It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice,” which is what the Supreme Court has done, along with every law passed banning or regulating abortion with a rape exception included.  Clergy do the same when they encourage the innocent child to be killed, which also happens to destroy the evidence of the rape, protecting the perpetrator!
1 Kings 8:32 and 2 Chronicles 6:23 both say:  “Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty by bringing down on their heads what they have done, and vindicating the innocent by treating them in accordance with their innocence.”  The rapist is guilty, while the child is innocent, yet there are some clergy and other Christians who are prepared to allow the innocent child to be put to death, but not the rapist!
In Deuteronomy 24:16  and 2 Kings 14: 6b, God makes it very clear: “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.”  As a child conceived in rape, God's word affirms that I did not deserve the death penalty for the crime of my biological father.  I'm appalled that any pastor or priest would suggest otherwise.
In Ezekiel chapter 18, it’s further explained:   “But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things. . . .  He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin. . . . “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live.  The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.”  — verses 14, 17 b, 18a, 19-20
There is ample scripture regarding God’s concern for the fatherless, and no one is more at risk to end up fatherless than the child conceived in rape.  “Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”  Jeremiah 22:3  Clergy are "doing wrong" when they give the okay for the innocent child to be aborted.
3.  Isn’t this “the rapist’s baby” or “demon seed?”
No!  Every child is created by God, in His image, for a purpose.  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” — Genesis 1:27  And Job 31:15 explains:    “Did not he who made me in the womb make them?   Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?”
Psalm 139:13-16 is true for every child, regardless of the circumstances of his or her conception:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be."

God is the author of life and we are not to question what He has divinely created.  Isaiah 45: 9-12:
“Does the clay say to the potter,
‘What are you making?’
Does your work say,
‘He has no hands?’
Woe to him who says to his father,
‘What have you begotten?’
or to his mother,
‘What have you brought to birth?'”
“This is what the Lord says —
the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
do you question me about my children,
or give me orders about the work of my hands?
It is I who made the earth
and created mankind upon it.”
Like any other child, I was created by God, in His image, for a purpose -- and that purpose was not to be aborted!  I actually had a Christian woman once suggest to me that God might create some children for the purpose of being aborted.  I have to wonder where she got this theology.  It is the responsibility of clergy to be teaching that none of us are to question to the work of God's hands, and that's exactly what's happening when you contemplate abortion, or when you give the green light to abort.

In Matthew 18, Jesus speaks at length about the little children, and says the following in the parable of the lost sheep:  “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” — verses 10:14 


Jesus was specifically talking about the little ones who are despised who are at risk of perishing, and he makes it clear that God is not willing that any of them should die!  In today's society, are not these despised little ones children conceived in rape?  There is no other people group today that are as systematically targeted and despised as the child conceived in rape.  But God isn’t about making exceptions.  These children are His priority!

4.  So does that mean that God intends rape?
No!  God gave people free will because love requires free will.  He wants us to be obedient out of love.  Tragically, against the law of God, some use that free will to harm others, as when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery.  But what they intended for evil, God used it for good.  See Genesis 50: 19-21. It’s a theme we see throughout Scripture, including the death and resurrection of our Savior.  In Isaiah 63:3, we see that for those who are grieving, He will “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”  It’s what God does, and what He’s famous for!  Bringing good out of evil is one of His trademarks. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  — Romans 8:28

God is not pro-rape, just as valuing my own life does not make me pro-rape.  Mothers can love their children conceived in rape without being pro-rape.  Being Christians does not make us pro-crucifixion, and neither is God.  Sorry if the question seems absurd to some of you, but please keep in mind that these are actual questions I get asked.
5.  If a woman has committed the sin of abortion, is it unforgivable?
No!  Jesus died on the cross once for all, for every sin.  See Romans 6:10, 1 Peter 3:18, and Hebrews 9:28.  “If we confess our sins, his is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9  “Repent then and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”  — Acts 3:19  

I've been stunned over the years by how many women have come up to me after they heard me speak, confessed their abortions to me, then asked, "Do you forgive me?"  I tell them "I don't feel it's my place that you would need my forgiveness."  It's not my place to condemn them.  Then I inquire as to whether they've asked God to forgive them, and the answer is always in the affirmative.  I further ask, "Do you believe God forgives you?," and they tend to answer with shrugs, "Yeah. Yeah, I guess He forgives me."  

When I ask the next question, "Have you forgiven yourself?," these women often have a more difficult time of it.  I tell them what someone once told me when I was struggling to forgive myself for something painful I'd done:  "When you fail to forgive yourself, it's like saying that what God did by sending His son to die on the Cross for you isn't good enough for you -- that it was in vain, and that what you have to say it is more important than what God has to say."  Forgiving yourself is what it really means to say that God's grace is sufficient -- what He did is good enough for me.

But even when they understand this truth and are able to repent, to receive God's forgiveness and to forgive themselves, they still have asked me if I forgive them.  And I know why they ask me.  Because I am someone who was conceived in rape and nearly aborted by my birthmother, they see me as a surrogate for their children, and they think that if I can forgive them, then maybe -- just maybe, their children will forgive them.  What they are really asking is, "Will my baby forgive me?"  This is another theological question clergy better be prepared to answer when asked by a post-abortive mother.  What I offer these women is, "All I know is that there will be no more tears in Heaven," and to the extent they need to hear it from me, my answer is "Yes, I forgive you."

It's important to offer grace and mercy, but please, please, don't let your good advice be a day late.  Many clergy are experts at giving advice on forgiveness -- as they should be, but fail miserably in giving sound, biblical advice on life-ending sin.  Murder is a sin, abortion is included in murder, which involves the shedding of innocent blood.  Only the rapist is to be punished for his crime.  A child is not to be punished for the sins of his or her father.  Every child, including children conceived in rape, is made by God, in the image of God, for His purposes.  God does not intend rape, He makes beautiful things come out of evil, and God is able to forgive those who have committed the sin of abortion.
It is clearly against the law of God to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest, and I’m thankful to be alive.  I'm thankful to those who defended my life and protected me when my birth mother was vulnerable and sought to abort me.  The church is often the first place where a pregnant woman will seek counsel.  Clergy and the body of Christ should be the first to come to the defense of the innocent child.
BIO: Rebecca Kiessling is an international pro-life speaker, attorney, wife, mother of 5,
founder and President of Save The 1, co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception, and author of the Heritage House ’76 pamphlet “Conceived in Rape:  A Story of Hope.”  Visit her website at www.rebeccakiessling.com
Friday, January 5, 2018

A Tale of Two Mothers Who Were Pregnant By Rape, by Nicole W. Cooley

Just touch one, Lord. . . .  My repeated prayer ever since I first told my story almost twenty years ago has been the same -- for the Lord to somehow use my saga of shame and regret to help someone else.  He's always answered.  The first time I shared my testimony publicly, a woman came up to me afterwards and said, "Thank you for sharing.  My mother forced me to have an abortion when I was sixteen.  I have always felt it was wrong.  You're the first person to validate what I've always known."  But, my favorite answer to that simple prayer lies in the story I'm about to tell.

First, let me tell you my own journey.  I grew up in a Christian home.  As a teenager, I remember my father telling me, "Abortion is wrong.  I'm pro-life except in cases of rape or to save the life of the mother.  As with most of my father's opinions, I took his and made it my own.

A short time later, my biology teacher told the class to write a birth plan for an unplanned pregnancy, and I refused:  "If I never get pregnant, there won't be an unplanned pregnancy.  Abstinence works 100% of the time."  I never contemplated at age 15 that just a few years later, my "plan" would be tested -- and I'd learn the hard way that this "plan" fell way short of preparing me for reality. . . .

I met him on an airplane while traveling home for Christmas.  He offered to get down my overhead luggage for me, and then refused to give me my suitcase.  As I followed him off the plane, still asking for my suitcase, he said, "I'd like to carry it a while longer, if that's okay.  Would you like to get something to drink?"  Surprisingly, I decided I liked him, and agreed to give him my phone number. 

When he called a couple of weeks later, I invited him to church instead of going for a drink.  He counter-invited me to attend his church.  Thrilled he was also a "Christian," I readily agreed.  When I told him, "I'm waiting for marriage for intimacy, so if sex is what you're after, we should end this now," he assured me, "You're preaching to the choir."  He lied.

I'm convinced now that he was in the later stages of a significant pornography addiction.  I can't rationally explain his behavior any other way.  You see, a pornography addiction left unchecked, will always lead to acting out what you read about, and look at.  Over time, your conscience is seared, and just like a cocaine addict, you'll do anything to get your "fix."  For him, I would be his fix -- whether I agreed or not.

When his initial attempts to lure me into bed were futile, he turned to the date rape drug.  

One night I had a horrible dream.  In my dream, I was back on my old college campus -- only now, I was in the later stages of pregnancy.  Late at night, I went from dorm to dorm, looking for a place to sleep.  Desperately tired, everyone turned me away.  Finally, my former boyfriend let me in, but told me I'd have to use the top bunk.  With difficulty, I climbed up, and subsequently fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning, I woke up and told my "boyfriend" about my dream.  His eyes were as big as saucers.  At that point, I still didn't know.  But then I went to the bathroom and something unusual fell out of my body.  Plus I had a growing awareness of soreness, and I knew something was wrong.  I ran out, and yelled, "I need to go to the emergency room!"  He convinced me nothing had happened, but two weeks later, I learned the truth. 

Denial has a sedative effect.  People who have never been there like to say, "I'd never allow myself to be abused like that!"  When you have the starring role in your own horrible TV reality show, it just doesn't seem possible.  In fact, your mind helps you to believe it's not really happening in order to preserve your sanity.  I couldn't believe my boyfriend -- the man my heart had set on marrying -- would rape me.  So, I believed him instead . . . , until two weeks later when two positive pregnancy tests forced me into a reality I wasn't prepared to face.

In the days and weeks after realizing I'd been raped, I walked around in a daze.  My dayplanner for work usually had very little "white space" due to all of my notes.  The near-blank pages after the rape reflected my distracted and zombie-like mental state.  I merely went through the motions of life.  

At the same time, the world's standards demanded I make a life or death decision for another human being.  I just couldn't.  So, I leaned on those I trusted most -- my family, my best friend, and my church.

I tell people now that if you have the honor of being asked for your opinion in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, be prepared to give a real answer.  Telling someone in crisis, "Whatever you want to do, I'll support you" is of no real help at all.  She's asking for definitive advice.  She needs to hear, "I know this feels horrible and you can't see how you're going to get through this, but you will.  I'll walk with you every step. You are going to make it.  You're strong.  You can do this.  I know nine months seems like forever, but it's really not.  Don't make a decision today that you will regret for the rest of your life.  Choose life.  It's the best choice for both of you."

Unfortunately, the only specific advice came from my pastor.  She told me, "Let me put your heart at ease.  In the eyes of the church, any decision, prayerfully considered, is okay.  In your case, I think you should have an abortion.  You need to be able to move past this.  You should have an abortion."  

She went on to tell me about her two daughters who had also faced unplanned pregnancies.  One had chosen adoption, the other abortion, and both were equally good decisions, she said.  She dismissively added, "There's a couple in the church who want to adopt, but, no, you shouldn't talk to them.  You need to have an abortion."

I remember my heart telling me, "Isn't there something in Psalms about this?"  My heart began to break as the door slowly closed inside.  I felt I didn't have a choice.  I was convinced that nobody would adopt my baby with my having a 50% chance of carrying the gene for neurofibromatosis (a horrible disease my Dad battled most of his adult life.)  I began to steel myself for the abortion.  I felt like a lamb being led to her death inside.  I didn't believe I had a choice.

After the abortion, I learned there is something worse than being raped.  The abortion felt like being raped again -- only worse, because this time, I had consented to the assault.  In both cases, men assaulted me physically.  The second trauma -- the abortion, shut me down emotionally, putting me over the edge.  

It took four years to begin the slow path out of denial and into healing in Christ.  If it hadn't been for the wonderful husband God sent me, I don't know how I would be here today.  He told me from the beginning, "I love you, but what you did was wrong."  That chink in my denial helped me years later, after the birth of our first son, John, to finally see the truth.  It shattered my heart.  But, it needed to break . . . so God could put it back together again.

A "Divine appointment" took place a few years ago when I spoke at my church.  Plans for me to speak had been rescheduled several times over many months until the Sunday in November when I finally shared a ministry update with our church.  I now work with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, sharing abortion victim images primarily on college campuses across Virginia and the Southeast.  That day, I prefaced my talk by saying my words weren't meant to condemn anyone, and not to believe the Enemy if they felt that way.  

As a post-abortive woman myself, I understood that misplaced guilt all too well.  I explained the reasoning behind our work, citing the work of successful historical social reformers like William Wilberforce, Lewis Hine, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..  And, I showed pictures of first trimester abortions -- little babies, with limbs and appendages torn from their tiny bodies.  It's devastating to see for the first time.  And, I had no idea there was a pregnant rape victim in the audience that day. . . .

Morgan told me two months later that she'd been there.  Sitting in the audience, it had been a rare Sunday for her to be in church at all.  She told me, "You were there for me."  

The night she'd been raped, she had snuck out of her home to hang out with friends.  Gang-raped on the way home, she hid her ruined clothes, and told nobody, except a few close friends what had happened.  When she discovered she was pregnant, her high school friends arranged for her to have an abortion the following Saturday.  She had told her parents she had a sporting event in Washington D.C. so they wouldn't be suspicious when she left for the abortion.

But, then, in church, she heard my testimony and saw the pictures -- and she knew she couldn't do it.  

Morgan gained the courage to tell her parents what had happened -- despite feeling ashamed she had snuck out of the house and that she'd planned an abortion.  They rallied around her, and supported her in choosing adoption for her baby instead.  During her pregnancy, I was able to connect her to Save The 1 and she joined their private Facebook for birthmothers from rape, so she wouldn't have to be alone in this.  A family at the church put her in contact with the perfect family for her baby.  Months later she gave birth, and named him "Justice."

The pain from losing my son Matthew is the single greatest regret of my life.  It crushed me.  Abortion forces a mother to turn against her own flesh and blood.  It's self-destructive like no other trauma -- the scars run deep.  Rape is traumatic too, no doubt.  But, compounding the trauma of rape with the second trauma of abortion is contraindicated.  Abortion hurts rape victims; it never helps them.  The best choice for the mother who has conceived in rape is to continue the pregnancy, surrounded by supportive family and friends, or through the support of a pregnancy resource center.

In His Word, God promises that all things will work together for good to those who are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).  For me, Morgan's story is proof of His promise.  My baby died and broke this mother's heart.  But, God used my pain and suffering to propel me into ministry on behalf of the pre-born.  Because I am willing to share my painful testimony of my son's death, baby Justice is alive, and his mother lives without the regret of abortion.  Indeed, when you save the baby conceived in rape or with a fetal abnormality, you actually save two -- mother and child.  We call ourselves "Save The 1," but when you save the 1 child, you save the mother too -- you save them both.


BIO:  Nicole W Cooley is a wife, mother, Project Director for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform - Virginia,  author of Into the Light, and a pro-life speaker and blogger for Save The 1.  Her website is www.NicoleWCooley.com

Visit Save The 1's booth at the March for Life Expo 2018 and meet Nicole in person!