Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…. Jer. 1:5
Erin Mersino, Senior Legal and Policy Counsel at the Great Lakes Justice Center, delivered the following speech at Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
We are life. We are a movement. We are the needed change in this world.
Look around you at this group of people today united to preserve God’s greatest gift: LIFE. Feel our passion, know our love. But keep in mind, we represent just a fraction of those fighting to save lives, to save souls, to give second chances. Today, 40 Days for Life launches 40 days of love and action in 23 countries, 50 states, 636 cities. We are participating in the largest worldwide 40 Days for Life campaign ever. We are not alone. The mom who needs our help is not alone. And the baby whose life is on the line is NOT alone.
Today we stand in front of Planned Parenthood, where thousands upon thousands of abortions have been performed. Where pre-born sons and daughters are mangled, killed, ripped into pieces, and thrown away like garbage. And women who enter those doors for help are manipulated and used for profit.
We gather near a university that teaches young girls that abortion is a good choice, and that the only way a woman reaches liberation is by possessing the control and choice to end the life of her pre-born son or daughter.
Planned Parenthood advertises that abortion is safe and legal. Is abortion safe? Ask 24-year-old mother, Cree Erwin, who obtained an abortion at a Planned Parenthood in Michigan on June 30th of this year. On July 4th, she was found by her mother after hemorrhaging to death due to complications from the abortion. Was this woman celebrating her liberation and independence on July 4th?
Is abortion legal? One day it won’t be.
As an attorney, I can confidently share with you that legal doesn’t always mean right. What the United States Supreme Court rules on a particular legal issue fails to control that issue’s morality. Remember when the US Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott that black Americans only amounted to 3/5th of a person? Remember when the US Supreme Court in Buck v. Bell ruled in favor of involuntary sterilization of women who weren’t smart or capable enough for their standards because, as Justice Holmes wrote,“Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
The US Supreme Court throughout time fails and fails again when it tries to define the parameters to life and liberty and who is worthy of life and liberty.
Humans are not property, humans are not mere imbeciles, humans are not ripe for extermination because of a right to “privacy” never mentioned in the Constitution. All humans, including our pre-born sons and daughters, are 5/5th of a person deserving of life and liberty.
The legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade epitomizes the dehumanization of the divinely created person and showcases the extreme brutality allowed under the veil of the law. And one day, the truth of what abortion is- what is performed behind the closed doors of that Planned Parenthood- will be recognized. The justice humanity requires will return. The holocaust of abortion will end.
The reality of abortion, once thoughtfully contemplated and fully realized, ignites the human conscience and enflames works of generosity and unselfishness. You see, every person born after Roe v. Wade in 1973, is only here because our mom choose life for us. For some our moms wanted us, for some our moms didn’t, for some our moms came close to ending our lives. The only reason we are here, is because God’s grace will it so. Our moms were heroes, we need to be heroes, we need to inspire others to be heroes. So, what are we going to do with our gift of life? Will we accept that our country allows abortion and funds it? Will we accept that so-called feminists encourage abortion?
The reality of abortion bears little relation to the wrongheaded propaganda repeated to young girls, such as “Your body, your choice.” When the being inside you has a completely unique genetic make-up and individualized DNA, a separate heart, brain, arms, legs, hands, fingers, toes, a separate soul- we are no longer talking about solely your body. We are talking about your calling for greatness as a woman.
Alexander Tsiaras, a Nobel Prize Winner and Professor of Medicine at Yale University, analyzed and made visual what is otherwise invisible to us, the development of human life from conception to birth. This scientist states time and time again that certain aspects of human development cannot be explained through science. To quote Dr. Tsiaras, where these gaps exist: “it is divinity.”
Dr. Tsiaras’ visualization shows that a baby only 42 days old in the womb is recognizable as a baby. Science also teaches us that a baby’s heart starts beating at three weeks into development. A baby moves independently in the womb at seven weeks. A baby experiences pain during the second trimester and is sentient while in the womb.
But medical providers ignore the humanity of our pre-born sons and daughters. And abortion providers massacre this humanity.
David Bereit, a founder of 40 Days for Life and author, describes in one of his books a life-changing moment of clarity after touring a closed down abortion clinic in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The building was a former church, the church moved, and the building was subsequently leased to an abortion provider. From church to abortion clinic. Through the heroic work of people just like you, the abortion clinic closed and was transformed into a crisis pregnancy center. David Bereit walked through the abortion clinic prior to its transformation. David walked into to a beautifully decorated waiting room with soft couches, walked down a narrow staircase where only the women obtaining abortions were allowed to go- without their support person. David saw the stark difference between the waiting room and the abortion room. The abortion room was dirty and cold, the ceiling panels stained by water and mildew. David saw the worn spot in the linoleum floor where the abortionist’s feet stood during the thousands of abortions that took place there.
David Bereit writes about the spiritual battle in which we must engage. He writes about the spiritual transformation of this abortion clinic when the community gathered to bless the building, a first step in its transformation into a crisis pregnancy center. Immediately after the last Pastor said his final “Amen” to end the blessing, everyone present heard a rush of wind go through the building and heard the pound of the steel door at the back of the clinic open with such force that it slammed against the brick wall of the building. He heard the account of a woman asking about the removal of a statute from the building roof. The woman was sure there used to be a demonic looking statute of a muscular man on the roof. There was never such a statute.
This experience inspired David Bereit to, so accurately, define abortion as “the struggle between good and evil, between light and dark, between heaven and hell.”
Indeed, scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago have filmed the moment of conception. When the sperm fertilizes the egg, there is a bright flash of light. When the sperm enters the egg it causes a surge of calcium triggering the release of zinc from the egg. As the zinc shoots out and binds to small molecules, the fertilized egg emits a fluorescence. Literally, human life begins in a flash of bright light.
Remember, the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 3? “God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” And remember, John Chapter 1, Verse 5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
What light you’ve brought to the darkness of Ann Arbor, Michigan. You’ve made an enormous impact. Since 40 Days for Life has hit Ann Arbor, Michigan, abortions have declined from 1100 abortions in Washtenaw County each year to 900 abortions. That’s 200 lives you’ve saved through your work, your love, and your prayer. These are amazing, tangible results. But if you could save just one life, wouldn’t it all be worth it? One day this Planned Parenthood will cease to exist, and the lives you save will shine into eternity.
As you know, Prayer is one of the most powerful tools in our work to end the scourge of abortion. So, I would like to end today’s speech by praying together. Now, this is a long prayer- but the list of the names of those taken by abortion is long, approximately 2 billion people worldwide long, on a planet with a current population of about 7 billion. So, here it goes:
To the mom facing an unplanned pregnancy, whether you are 15 or 45, or any age, in any circumstance, may you recognize your tremendous worth. May you realize that God made you perfectly in His image, and gave you free will as an opportunity to exercise your love for Him. May you realize that your body feels different right now because you are serving a purpose greater than yourself. Your body is embarking upon God’s greatest miracle here on earth. May you know that you are strong enough, even if you think you’re not. Love and strength defeat fear and doubt. Nothing is ever too scary, too hopeless, or too dismal for God. You have a purpose. You are His purpose. And so is your baby. May you surrender to His strength and Love as you fulfill your calling for your life.
May you realize the humanity of the baby inside your womb. Your baby is ALIVE. Choosing abortion snuffs out the life of your baby. May you realize that your baby’s heart is beating. Choosing abortion stops the beating of your baby’s heart. May you realize that at this point, your baby likely has beautifully formed hands and fingers of his own. Choosing abortion paralyzes these hands forever; stops your baby from ever wrapping his tiny hand around your index finger, or the finger of an adoptive parent, who so desperately desires to adopt a baby. Choosing abortion, forbids your baby from grabbing a toy for the first time, reaching up onto his tip-toes to press a key on a piano for the first time, from clumsily holding a crayon and writing his name for the first time, from holding an engagement ring and carefully sliding it onto his fiancée’s adoring finger.
May you realize your baby is REAL. Every bit as real and deserving of love as you are, and you are so deserving of love. May you realize that you started in the exact same way as the life in your womb. Your baby is no more a “blob of cells” than a human outside the womb. Your baby is human and, just like you, just needs an environment and nourishment to continue to live and grow. Your baby is unique- from the moment of conception. There will never be another human exactly like the baby you carry in your womb. Let your baby stay alive.
May you realize your baby HAS A FUTURE- abortion is the thief of that future.
Your baby will grow up to enjoy music, to laugh and tell jokes, to run on the pool deck when he should be walking, to look up at the sky on a sunny day and smile at the white cottony clouds floating in a vibrant blue sky. Your child will grow up and get into trouble, and try to find ways to get out of that trouble…that will get him into even deeper trouble. He will discover how to overcome obstacles. And doing so will make him a stronger, wiser, and more understanding person. He will learn that only by heading straight into adversity and hardship will he triumph. That nothing worth doing is ever easy. He will learn that he can change someone’s day with his smile. He will change someone’s life with his friendship. He will lift someone up with his kindness. He might just make this world a better place, just by living. No matter if he is healthy or diagnosed with an ailment or likely challenges- No challenge is ever too great for God. May you realize that the life of your baby is good. No matter the what. No matter the why.
Abortion is the enemy of good- just as dark is the enemy to light, just as death is the enemy to life. Please open your eyes. Please open your heart. Please be open to the truth. Please realize that letting life continue is a far greater reward than freedom from pregnancy for the next coming months. Please realize that letting your child be born is a far greater blessing than keeping your pregnancy a secret, or not taking time off work or school, avoiding the bodily changes that pregnancy brings, or because the father’s acts are cowardly, cruel, or even beyond cruel. God knows your concerns. Let Him take your hand. Let Him shower you in strength. Giving into these worldly concerns will never bring you happiness. In this world, there are things called freedoms that are not freedoms at all and that no one should bear. The choice to end another’s life is not a freedom. Keeping a secret or hiding the truth does not give you dignity. It ultimately forces you to lie to the world and live behind a façade. Making a decision that punishes your baby for who the father is or for the conditions of the baby’s conception will not give you true freedom. Please realize that you deserve better.
May you know that even if you consider your pregnancy unwanted or unintended- it has ALWAYS been intended and wanted by God. You are not alone.
May you realize that pregnancy is temporary. Careers continue, school classes continue or are offered again, a skinnier body returns, your life will resume. Ending the life of another, however, is permanent. Your baby is not a problem requiring a solution. Your baby is life. Life is good. Life is of immeasurable worth. No life is ever too insignificant to matter. No life is too inconvenient to continue. No life is unworthy of love, kindness, and unselfishness.
To the abortionist and all who work in the abortion industry, may God’s grace bless you abundantly all the days of your life. May God soften your hearts, may you realize the truth of your actions, and may you be called to serve Him to help others learn and understand that abortion kills human life.
To the mother without her baby today because she had an abortion, or to the father who was involved in the abortion. May God renew you through the glory of sincere and full repentance. We ask our Heavenly Father to infuse your grief with hope, your sorrow with comfort, and your regret with intemperate mercy.
Dear Lord, May we support Your children who are considering abortion or who are affected by abortion in our work in the next 40 Days and for every 40 days after that. May we share with them God’s love and unfathomable mercy and generosity. May they know You exist because of who we are and by the tremendous love in our acts.
May we shine a light on Your truth to help protect life, the greatest of Your miracles. May we serve you in our work and in our speech. May we be blessed to utter Your words and complete Your deeds to help our brothers and sisters at critical moments in their lives so that their free will focuses on trust, love, and service to You. For only by Your will, Heavenly Father, are we life. For only by Your grace, are we a movement to end abortion, which kills Your pre-born sons and daughters and takes from and torments those who choose it. For only by Your doing, are we the needed change in this world.
Dear Lord, who will serve you in this work? We will.
Who will be Your messenger? We will.
Who will save our brother and sister from death? We will.
Who will save the mother and father from agony and regret? We will.
Who will end abortion? We will.
Now, let’s go.