Making an Impact for Life in Europe

The pro-life movement in America has more cause for optimism than in the past. We have good reason to believe that the Supreme Court is only one justice away from correcting Roe vs Wade, which unleashed abortion-on-demand throughout pregnancy. Opinion polls show a majority of Americans oppose most abortions. Modern technology, like 4D ultrasound and intrauterine surgery, has opened the window to the womb wider than ever. More and more Americans are peering into this window with astonishment at what they see.

 

The most important reason the abortion industry is on the defensive in our nation is because of our effective grass roots, pro-life movement. It’s made up of tens of thousands of mostly volunteers tirelessly working to protect society’s most vulnerable citizens.

A significant and growing element of our grass roots effectiveness are the mothers and fathers of aborted babies who speak out against abortion. These grieving parents provide eloquent and persuasive testimonies that abortion not only kills an innocent baby, it also leaves emotional and physical devastation in its wake.

These are some of the major reasons Roe vs Wade is living on borrowed time. If this pro-life momentum continues, states may once again be allowed to protect unborn babies and their parents from abortion — a crucial step toward our ultimate goal of a human life amendment.

Sadly, in Europe, abortion is more ingrained and accepted in society. Each time I visit, I am struck by the pro-abortion mentality and secularization of this part of the world. Last month I traveled to The Netherlands and Germany where I spoke on the effect of abortion on the fathers of unborn children. I participated in a summit of pro-life leaders involved with the issue of post-abortion stress.

The timing of the summit was designed to coincide with the efforts of Holland’s parliament to re-evaluate their abortion laws. Pro-life leaders in The Netherlands felt expert input and testimony would help further their goals of protecting this nation’s unborn children. It was also our desire to more fully organize efforts there to minister to post-abortive fathers and mothers.

On its surface, Holland appears to be a genteel society with courteous citizens and meticulously maintained gardens. But underneath this facade, lie legal drug use and prostitution, as well as an emphasis on liberal sexual practices. Euthanasia is now legally practiced on handicapped infants, and abortion is used as a method of birth control.

We met in Hilversum, a short train ride from Amsterdam. It was a wonderful opportunity to exchange information and encourage one another in our efforts to provide hope and healing to men and women after abortion.

This trip was particularly rewarding. But in order to fully appreciate the outcome, let me take you back to Brussels, Belgium two years before. I had been attending meetings at the European Union and decided to enjoy a break in the warm spring sun. I was having lunch with a few other pro-life leaders on the steps leading to one of the office buildings located in the heart of Brussels. There I met a Dutch couple, Michael and Jennifer van der Mast. Since they spoke fluent English, we struck up a conversation. Michael confided that his son had just announced he had gotten his girlfriend pregnant. I was the first person he shared this with. Both Michael and Jennifer still seemed to be in a state of shock. My first response was to positively stress the joy of becoming grandparents.

In all of the family turmoil, Michael had not yet made that mental connection. Further, whether or not his son’s girlfriend would choose abortion was an unknown. Europe is a hostile environment for a baby conceived unexpectedly.

When I speak to audiences about the reaction of men to abortion, I talk about the God-given instinct of men to protect their offspring. This protective instinct also extends to the baby’s grandfather. When Michael realized that the life of his grandchild was at stake, his interest in the outcome of the pregnancy increased. That sunny day on the steps of the European Union building we talked about the ways to persuade Michael’s son and his girlfriend to give their baby life. It would require due diligence and much prayer.

Fast forward to Hilversum just weeks ago. Once again I met Michael and Jennifer — this time at the pro-life summit. Michael was wearing a big grin when he saw me and was holding a precious item in his hand. It was a picture of his granddaughter on her first birthday!

During our visit two years before, Michael didn’’t really know who I was or what I did. He later learned by doing a search on me on the Internet, and was quite surprised to find out more about the effect of abortion on men, and how close his son had come to tragedy.

Now Michael was at the summit in an official capacity. He is leading a budding effort to counsel post-abortive fathers in The Netherlands. Considering how many men in his country are affected, Michael’s efforts are sorely needed. It was exciting to see such life-affirming progress made in this man’s life since we last met. We are now close friends.

After a successful meeting in Holland, I traveled to Bonn, Germany, with a couple of American colleagues to present information on post-abortion stress in men and women. We spoke to a group of key German pro-life leaders who had assembled from all over the country to learn more about the effects of abortion on the babies’ parents.

I have spoken to many audiences in various parts of the world regarding abortion’s devastating impact on fathers. In most cases, men come forward who have personally experienced abortion and know first-hand about the emotional toll. Regardless of culture differences, these men face the same psychological problems and symptoms.

In order to help these hurting fathers at home, the pro-life movement must first be aware of the emotional devastation many men feel after an abortion decision. Second, we must equip pro-lifers everywhere with the knowledge and tools to bring forgotten fathers hope and healing.

Life Issues Institute has developed a new tool for the pro-life movement and concerned individuals who want to help the millions of fathers who daily struggle with a past abortion. This situation is more urgent than many realize. Obviously, all men aren’’t sensitive to the loss of a child through abortion. However, millions have been dramatically affected. We have seen serious behavioral problems in post-abortive men. They range from extreme behavior such as suicide and murder, to unresolved grief and shame. Most every post-abortive father will act out in anger and frustration after abortion. This is a problem that requires our immediate concern and efforts to remedy. For more information on how to begin the process, please check out Can You Hear Their Pain?

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