When the mighty angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with a prophetic announcement that she would give birth to a baby named Jesus, fearful thoughts surely flooded her young soul. Under Jewish law, single women who turned up pregnant were stoned to death in the public square. At best, she would be an outcast, divorced and unmarriable before she ever even wedded Joseph.
If anyone can relate to the fears of women who face unexpected pregnancies, it's Mary. Every day, 3,322 women give in to that fear and choose to have an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute—and a disturbing 64 percent of them are Protestants and Catholics. Mary chose to obey the law of God—understanding all too well that abortion is a violation of the Sixth Commandment: "Thou shall not kill." She loved not her life even unto death and bore a Son who gave eternal life to dying souls.
But what if Mary wasn't pro-life? What if she chose, instead, to give in to the fear, the social stigma, the financial pressures or one of the many other reasons women choose to have abortions? What if she had decided not to respond to Gabriel's declaration with, "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be unto me according to your Word" (Luke 1:28)? Mary had a choice—and she chose life. She chose to give birth to the Son of God who would take away the sin of the world.
Fast-forward 2,000 years and many frightened, pregnant women are facing the same choice today. They can listen to the spirit of abortion whispering in their ear about the convenience of murder, the cost of raising a child, the struggles of being a single mother, the call to lay down their own dreams to nurture the dreams of another—or they can listen to that still, small voice urging them to choose life.
JOIN JENNIFER ON FACEBOOK FOR SPIRITUAL COMMENTARY AND ENCOURAGEMENT. CLICK HERE.
"It happened in biblical times," says Laura Allred, director of the Back to Life Movement. "That spirit of abortion—now legalized in many nations across the earth—was alive and well then. If Mary hadn't yielded to the Spirit of God and pressed into the strength of the Lord, ... can you imagine? What a brave, brave woman it took! I'm thankful that Mary chose life and gave us the Savior of the world."
As millions celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, many pro-life advocates are asking these profound questions: What if Jesus had never been born? What if Mary hadn't been pro-life? What if the manger had been empty?
Changing One Heart at a Time
Mary had a heart after God's will, but many women who have abortions don't know Jesus. Changing a culture of death that sees over 1 million abortions in America, then, means more than changing laws—it means changing hearts with Holy Spirit strategies that demonstrate the selfless love of God in a selfish world. That's the goal of a growing nationwide movement known as "Empty Manger."
Hundreds of people will gather again this Christmas around empty mangers outside abortion clinics and sing Christmas carols that aim to stir hope and joy in places of misery and despair. Countless lives have been saved as mothers—touched by songs such as "Silent Night"—have reconsidered the choice to abort their babies.
"It puts Christmas into the proper perspective," says Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, which held the first Empty Manger event in 2003 in Chicago. "It shows you in a very powerful way how desperately the world needs Christ. It puts you in touch with what the world was like before Christ came and radically redirected human history, establishing the church and putting down the worship of demons that had been so prevalent."
Holy Spirit-inspired pro-life strategies are not returning void. Indeed, they are accomplishing what God intends them to do one life at a time.
The Personhood USA movement contends to drive personhood rights for all humans, and March for Life recently saw 300,000 protest abortion at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Back to Life Movement enlisted 39 young women to walk nearly 250 miles from Houston to Dallas, and then there's Bound4LIFE, a grass-roots prayer mobilization movement focused on the ending of abortion. The number of adoptions has increased, while spiritual awakening has brought about a reformation of government and society. Hearts and minds are changing even as the culture wars rage.
Call it a massive shift in public opinion about abortion. "Over the last two years, there has been a wave of the most pro-life legislation we've ever seen combined with some of the most revealing evidence exposing the abortion industry," says Matt Lockett, executive director of Bound4Life.
Since the 2010 elections, some 260 pro-life laws have been passed across the country, according to Americans United for Life. Already, a dozen states have passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act—prohibiting abortions of unborn children who can feel pain. The National Right to Life Committee reports substantial medical evidence that demonstrates unborn children are capable of experiencing pain by 20 weeks after fertilization.
This death-defying legislation comes amid the release of a series of undercover videos revealing what attorneys for The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) describe in court documents as Planned Parenthood's alleged "practice of buying and selling fetal issue." In the wake of the scandal that brought disgusting abortion practices to light, Planned Parenthood's "favorability" has dropped from 55 percent in 2012 to 44 percent now while its "unfavorability" has increased from 22 percent to 39 percent, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom.
"Abraham Lincoln said if you can change public opinion that you can change government," Lockett says. "What we are seeing in conjunction with public opinion changing is more and more legislation. We are seeing it at the state level and amazing attempts at the federal level. States have been pulling funding for Planned Parenthood."
Spotlight on Planned Parenthood
The Planned Parenthood controversy erupted when a series of undercover videos revealed the abortion giant allegedly receives money from medical research companies in exchange for "donating" body parts of the babies it aborts.
Posing as the head of a company eager to purchase fetal body parts and tissue, David Daleiden, executive director of CMP, and others caught Planned Parenthood officials on video describing how they obtained tissue from aborted fetuses for researchers.
In court documents, attorneys for Daleiden explained the investigation revealed evidence of the "selling of fetal tissue for profit ... , the collection of intact fetuses born with beating hearts for research purposes and the procurement of fetal tissue for research without patient's knowledge and consent."
Planned Parenthood contends the videos falsely portray its participation in tissue donation programs for medical research. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards says the organization does not sell the tissues and only accepted reimbursement for handling it. In the face of public outcry, she announced that a handful of health centers involved in fetal tissue research would no longer accept reimbursement. But few are buying her story, including pro-life politicians.
The CMP videos prompted demands by members of Congress to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, threatening a government shutdown in September. In October, the House of Representatives voted to create a select panel within the Energy and Commerce Committee to investigate abortion practices and how fetal tissues are handled and obtained, along with the costs.
"This is about getting answers to questions about how we treat and protect life in this country," says pro-life Rep. Marsha Blackburn, vice chair of the committee. "This is a discussion that this country must have; we cannot shy away from what is an unsettling topic. The allegations raised in these disturbing and abhorrent videos have led us to ask: What have we come to in this country?"
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!
- Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details