This story originally appeared in Religion Today News January 2000. While some of the references are dated, the message is more relevant than ever.
Bill Thomas is an abortion victim, too. Since the day twenty-seven years ago when his girlfriend ended their child's life, his life has been in ruins.
Thomas — not his real name — squandered a promising career, has failed to hold a steady job, and abuses drugs and alcohol, says Sue Liljenberg, then Thomas' eighteen-year-old lover.
Liljenberg, forty-five, said she went through a "healing process" years ago that left her with a rock-solid confidence in God and an enthusiasm about His power to transform lives. She is married to a man who has three sons, and leads Healing Hearts, a nondenominational Christian ministry. The Seattle-based group has helped more than 2,000 post-abortive women since 1988.
Healing Hearts wants to help men, too. Post-abortive women tell Liljenberg stories about their husbands and boyfriends that make her want to weep, she says. They can't understand why their men sometimes are so uncharacteristically angry, depressed, or cold-hearted.
Liljenberg knows that in many instances, the root of the problem is the same one that hounds Bill Thomas, even after all these years. "I saw the devastation that my baby's father has gone through," she told Religion Today. "There is a definitive 'before-the-abortion' and 'after-the-abortion.' He is a changed person, tormented."
She realized the problem was big a few years ago when, during a Moody Radio broadcast, she read a poem written by a man about "his" abortion. "I got tons of emails from men" who reacted personally to the poem, she said. "I just sat and wept. It was so heart-wrenching."
Abortion "has to affect" men, Liljenberg said. "Whenever a man gives up his God-given responsibility to be priest and protector over his home, he has violated everything God ever made him to be. That's where the problem is. He's got to be reconciled to God and cleansed."
Healing Hearts recently adapted a Bible study for use with men, Liljenberg said. A church elder who had been involved in abortion helped write it, and several pastors are reviewing it. Two pilot men's groups say the study has changed their lives, she said. Counseling by men for men also is done by email.
Liljenberg is praying that the Scriptures selected will be as powerful as they have in small-group sessions with women, which have met in churches over the years, she said.
Using God's word is "like handling nitroglycerine," Liljenberg said. "It sounds crazy to people, but we see it every day. Women come to us who have gone to psychologists for fifteen years and are so far in debt they can't see straight. In ten weeks (the duration of the Bible study) they are set free by God.
"God's word is the most powerful thing I have ever dealt with in my life."
Christian men who have been through the experience of abortion are desperately needed to help counsel and encourage others by email.
Liljenberg says, if men are to get the help they need, more Christian men who have been through abortions must step forward to mentor them. Those who are interested can contact Liljenberg at SueL@integrity.com, (360) 897-2711, or P.O. Box 7890, Bonney Lake, WA 98390.
Pro-Life Progress In Texas
Pro-life legislation in Texas has led to the closing of thirty-four abortion clinics in the last four years, reducing the number of abortions by 17 percent. According to pro-life activist Carol Everett, the key has been the push for legislation that would hold abortion clinics to the same standards and restrictions as medical clinics. The Texas Legislature charged the Texas Department of Health with writing "minimal standards" for the abortion clinics. As tighter regulations have been enforced, abortion clinics have closed.
At the same time the number of Women's Resource/Pregnancy Centers, formerly known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers, has increased by 24 percent. Women's Resource/Pregnancy Centers are seeing more women than ever before in Texas. According to Everett, 2 million women are expected to seek help at Women's Resource/Pregnancy Centers nationwide next year.
"Anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of those women will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ," Everett said. "If every Southern Baptist Church had a Center, we could reach even more women. This could be the largest mission field in our nation!"
For information on pro-life legislation strategies, contact Carol Everett at The Heidi Group, P.O Box 202463, Austin, TX 78720-2463 or (512) 255-2088.