After the Abortion article posts

LifeDate Spring/Summer 2019

Date: February 28, 2019

Category: After the Abortion

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From the Executive Director
10 Blessings of Large Families by Pastor Michael Salemink

Lutherans For Life – Bethesda Lutheran Communities
Wonderfully Made – Bethesda Lutheran Communities – Lutherans For Life
The Dream and Story of Parenting by Mona Fuerstenau

Abortion/Post Abortion/Alternatives
The Real Hippocratic Oath by Donna J. Harrison, M.D.

Family Living
Proliferate by Pastor Michael Salemink
Caregiving = Burden-Bearing by Marie K. MacPherson
Looking for the Good by Diane E. Schroeder
God’s Children by Lynette Auch

Lutherans For Life Resources

Life Thoughts in the Church Year

World News

Spotlight on Lutherans For Life
New York State’s Abortion Law by Pastor Michael Salemink
Together Beat Our Hearts
A Better Way by Pastor Scott Licht
Lutherans For Life at the 2019 March for Life
Scenes from the 2019 March for Life
LAMBs – Lutherans Assembling Mercy Blankets
2019 LFL Regional Conferences

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New York State’s Abortion Law

By Michael W. Salemink

Date: January 25, 2019

Category: After the Abortion

Today we grieve with the citizens and residents of New York. On Tuesday, January 22nd, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act into law.

The state has tolerated abortion up to 24-weeks gestation since before Roe v. Wade. This new policy decriminalizes killing a child even up until birth if the little one has a condition a doctor thinks will cause death soon after being born. It calls it OK to abort a baby throughout pregnancy if the doctor believes carrying to term threatens the mother’s life or health. Other jurisdictions have stretched such “mother’s health” provisions to include simply her comfort or preference. (Caesarean section surgeries at 24 weeks or later are quicker and safer for both mother and child than any abortion. Premature infants as young as 22 weeks regularly survive without complications, and thousands of mothers undergo successful C-sections every day.) The regulation deletes a previous law that required medical care for any child born alive after a failed abortion—and it invites facility staff who are not doctors to carry out abortions.

New York’s senate applauded. The governor directed turning the spire of One World Trade Center pink to “celebrate.” Our country’s fourth-most populated state already has an abortion rate almost twice (23.1 per 1,000 women) the national average (11.8 per 1,000). In the largest U.S. city, New York City, 78% of abortions involve black Americans, and more black babies are aborted than born there. Where our nation’s most treasured landmark announces “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” the leaders and laws have abandoned women and children. The human community ought to protect and support them, especially because bringing forth the great gifts of life and future leaves them vulnerable. Instead, a sex-obsessed culture has sentenced them to desertion and death.

Nevertheless, our courage does not wane. Our compassion only swells. The Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims that our Almighty Maker creates, redeems, and calls every member of the human race to be His precious treasure forever. This Heavenly Father gives our whole species its sanctity and significance, and no one’s age, appearance, experience, ability, or history can improve or impair it. We celebrate our Savior’s crucifixion to forgive sins and His resurrection to defeat death. And we commit ourselves to receive especially the least of these as special privileges.

Dear neighbors of New York, we see you. However afraid or alone you feel, the people of Lutherans For Life hear your cries and pleas. No matter how ashamed you are, the Christian Church that is the Lord’s own body loves you. You don’t have to surrender to the devil’s deception that death be used as a solution to difficulties.

We are going to continue to marshal all the resources within our reach to preserve and embrace you from the womb until the tomb. We vow to come alongside you, carry your crosses, share your sorrows, suffer and labor together. We offer our individual and united voices to advocate for your well-being—not only immediately, but eternally. We open our hearts, our hands, and our homes to share life abundantly with you the way our Lord does. We pledge never to cease or weaken in assuring and enacting for you the joy and hope and purpose that Jesus Christ imparts to each human life. And even should all the laws of this land or any other decree human beings as objects to be used and disposed, He has guaranteed that the faith and fellowship that His truth and love set in motion among us will render them entirely obsolete.

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Word of Hope – The Founding of a Ministry

By Diane E. Schroeder

Date: December 13, 2018

Category: After the Abortion

Photo: (l-r) Lynette Auch, president of LFL; Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb, former executive director of LFL; Rev. Edward Fehskens III, fomer executive director of LFL; Grace Kern, former director of Word of Hope and the 2018 Dominus Vitae Award recipient; Diane E. Schroeder, former president of LFL; Rev. Michael W. Salemink, executive director of LFL

In 1991, Lutherans For Life had a vision—to reach Lutheran women suffering with grief and guilt from a prior abortion. Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS) was new then. Crisis pregnancy centers were finding that pregnant women who came to them were already feeling remorse over a previous abortion. Many pastors knew how to handle miscarriage and stillbirth but didn’t know how to relate to abortion loss. Members of the Roman Catholic Church had started Project Rachel, but a Lutheran theological perspective was needed that would reach post-abortive Lutherans with the biblical theology of law and Gospel, of sin and grace.

So, Healing Hearts (later named Word of Hope) was started in 1991. Initial funding was needed for the ministry—and it came from an unusual source. At that time, there was an active protest underway in Illinois concerning Lutheran General Hospital’s policy which allowed for abortion. Many Christians protested their policy and, as part of that, leaflets and brochures were distributed to the homes surrounding the hospital. The village of Rolling Meadows maintained that the distribution of these materials was illegal and threatened to arrest those involved. A lawyer involved with LFL in the protest, Carl Schroeder (my husband), spoke to the village attorney, inquiring if he had ever heard of freedom of speech. Carl then began distributing material himself and was arrested. After the village withdrew the charges, he filed a federal civil rights case against the village and collected over $90,000 in a settlement. Healing Hearts was funded for many years with his portion of that settlement.

Until her retirement in 2018, Grace Kern had been the only executive director of Word of Hope, serving without pay for all those years and often contributing her own funds for expenses. Her goal was always to show compassion and not condemnation, recognizing that Jesus died for all sin, even the sin of abortion. In her work prior to Word of Hope, she was involved with a crisis pregnancy center and saw many Christian women who had already chosen abortion for a past pregnancy and now were pregnant again. Word of Hope seemed the right place to reach out to give them a place where they could share their pain.

Over the years, Grace spoke to about 25,000 women, ranging in age from 13-93. She spoke to a young woman whose pastor had told her to get an abortion, which, according to Grace, was one of the worst situations she counseled. Post-abortive women and men came from everywhere: churches, high schools, colleges, the military, shelters, court services, jails, prisons, health departments, hospitals, YWCA, youth officers, and more. Calls came in from all over the world. Grace’s commitment to the women and their families involved taking calls in the middle of the night, visiting mental hospitals, going out late at night to visit with a woman because of a suicide attempt, and taking people into her home, among many others. She worked with the LCMS military chaplains who were dealing with the issue of PAS with female recruits. She also trained deaconesses from Concordia – Chicago to spread the Word of Hope message all across the nation through their various assignments.

Countless babies were saved. Babies were placed for adoption—too many to count.

Kathy, her first client, had an abortion at five months and called Grace when she found she was pregnant again. Her “baby” is now 33 years old, and Kathy is a colonel in the army. Kathy found Word of Hope through an advertisement in an LCMS newspaper.

Frank, who suffered from severe depression following an abortion decision 27 years before, found one of Word of Hope’s brochures in a Lutheran church. Through his work with Grace, he came to know Jesus and accepted forgiveness for the abortion.

Another young man, Daniel, as a result of his girlfriend’s abortion, drank too much in a bar and was involved in an auto accident that killed the daughter of a pastor. He served 10 years in prison and corresponded with Grace during that time. Upon his release, Grace arranged for Daniel to have a job with her husband’s business. He now works for the government and is married with two children. (Word of Hope was truly a family affair in the Kern household.)

Grace feels blessed to have been able to serve the Lord in this incredible For Life battle. To guide so many and to share God’s forgiveness have been great joys in her life. Working alongside so many fine Christians in Lutherans For Life that strengthen each other has been wonderful. Once, while enjoying a Mother’s Day lunch at a local Chicago restaurant, two separate women, each with their child, came up to her and thanked her for talking to them in their time of need, introducing their children who  had been saved from abortion because of those conversations.

Grace still receives calls and knows that she will continue to serve because she sees God working in incredible ways. At the October 2018 Lutherans For Life National Conference, Grace received the Dominus Vitae Award, which is presented by LFL to an individual for one or more specific achievements or for long-term, dedicated, life-affirming work. Throughout her time of service with Word of Hope, Grace has always demonstrated her love of people and true compassion for those who are hurting. She is truly deserving of this reward. Well done, thou good and faithful servant!

Word of Hope

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LifeDate Winter 2018

Date: December 13, 2018

Category: After the Abortion

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From the Executive Director
Entering our Fortieth Year … by Pastor Michael Salemink

Abortion/Post Abortion/Alternatives
Word of Hope – The Founding of a Ministry by Diane E. Schroeder
Abortion: Do We Speak Life or Whisper Death? by Tawnia Hoehne

Family Living
From Age to Age the Same by Mona Fuerstenau
When Death Comes Before Birth by Pastor Michael Salemink
The First Ultrasound – St. Luke 1:39-45 by Rev. Michael J. Schmidt

Worldview and Culture
Sin Unchecked – Has Freedom Gone Too Far? by Virginia Flo

Lutherans For Life Resources

Life Thoughts in the Church Year

World News

Spotlight on Lutherans For Life
Share the Life Message All through the Year! / Word of Hope
The Fragrance of Christ by Lynette Auch
2018 LFL National Conference – From Age to Age the Same/Conference Quotes/Photo Album
2019 March for Life
This Life Sunday, Consider an Offering for LFL by John Hawkins
John Hawkins Retires

From John Hawkins, “After considerable prayer and thought, I have decided to apply for retirement … I am honored and humbled at the opportunity the Lord gave me to serve both the ministry and the greater cause of Gospel-centered life affirmation. It was also a blessing and pleasure to work with a dedicated staff and literally hundreds of volunteers who went out of their way to help me … To God be the Glory!” LFL Executive Director Rev. Michael W. Salemink said, “We are going to miss your stories, your humor, your humility, and your industriousness. We have greatly benefitted from [your] experience and efforts … We look forward to transitioning with you into the future, and may God make the coming years the best of your life.”

2019 Lutherans For Life Regional Conferences

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Grace Kern: 2018 Dominus Vitae Award Recipient

Date: October 17, 2018

Category: After the Abortion

Photo: (l-r) Lynette Auch, President of Lutherans For Life; Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb, former Executive Director of Lutherans For Life; Rev. Edward Fehskens III, fomer Executive Director of Lutherans For Life; Grace Kern, former director of Word of Hope and the 2018 Dominus Vitae Award recipient; Diane E. Schroeder, former President of National Lutherans For Life; Rev. Michael W. Salemink, Executive Director of Lutherans For Life

The Dominus Vitae Award is presented by Lutherans For Life to an individual for one or more specific achievements or for long-term, dedicated, life-affirming work. This year’s recipient at the 2018 Lutherans For Life National Conference was Grace Kern, former director of Word of Hope.

Word of Hope (or Healing Hearts) started in 1991 with Grace as the executive director. She served without pay, often contributing her own funds for expenses. The vision for Word of Hope was to bring a Lutheran Law/Gospel perspective to post-abortion syndrome (PAS) ministry and to reach post-abortive women and men struggling with an abortion decision.

Grace’s goal was always to show compassion and not condemnation, recognizing that Jesus died for all sin—even the sin of abortion. In her work prior to Word of Hope, Grace was involved with a crisis pregnancy center, seeing many Christian women who came in who had already chosen abortion and now were pregnant again. Word of Hope seemed the right place to reach out to give them a place where they could share their pain.

Grace believes that she has spoken to about 25,000 women and men over the years, ranging in age from 13-93. They came from everywhere: churches, high schools, colleges, military, shelters, court services, jails, prisons, health departments, hospitals, YWCA, youth officers, and more. Grace took calls in the middle of the night, visited mental hospitals, went out late at night to visit with a woman because of a suicide attempt, and took people into her home. The calls came in from all over the world. She worked with the LCMS Chaplains who were dealing with the issue of PAS with female recruits. She trained deaconess candidates from Concordia, Chicago, to spread the message of Word of Hope across the nation through their various assignments and to assist women and men in their calls to various congregations.

Countless babies were saved. Many babies were placed for adoption—too many to count.

Kathy, her first client, had an abortion at five months and called Grace when she was pregnant again. That “baby” is now 33 years old, and Kathy is a colonel in the army. (Kathy found Word or Hope through an advertisement in an LCMS publication.)

Another client, Frank, suffered from severe depression and found one of Word of Hope’s brochures in a Lutheran church. Through his work with Grace, he came to know Jesus and accepted forgiveness for the abortion decision he participated in 27 years earlier.

Another young man, Daniel, because of his girlfriend’s abortion, drank too much in a bar and was involved in an auto accident that killed the daughter of a pastor. He served 10 years in prison, corresponding with Grace while incarcerated. Grace found Daniel a job with her husband’s business when he was released. He now works for the Social Security Administration and is married with two children.

Grace also spoke to a young woman whose pastor had told her to get an abortion. According to Grace, this was one of the worst situations she has counseled.

Whenever she received a referral, Grace always went out to help. Grace has always demonstrated her love of people and true compassion for those who are hurting. She is truly deserving of this award.

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LifeDate Fall 2018

Date: October 9, 2018

Category: After the Abortion

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From the Executive Director
Ten Blessings of Loving Someone with Special Needs by Pastor Michael Salemink

Abortion/Post Abortion/Alternatives
An Answer to 20 Years of Prayer! by Diane E. Schroeder
There Already Is a Law by Deaconess Tiffany Manor
Does Disability Warrant Abortion or Assisted Suicide? by Pastor Michael Salemink

Family Living
Living with Disability at Church by Mona Fuerstenau
Caring for the Caregiver by Lynette Auch
Families Belong Together! by Pastor Michael Salemink

Lutherans For Life Resources

Life Thoughts in the Church Year

World News

Spotlight on Lutherans For Life
Share the Life Message All through the Year! / Word of Hope
For Life Along the Root River by Virginia J. Flo
Can You Believe This? A Very Shocking Statistic (Part Two) by John Hawkins
2018 LFL National Conference – From Age to Age the Same
Lutherans For Life National Staff Holds Retreat
Living the Dream … Sharing the Love! by Virginia J. Flo
Coming This Fall! 2019 Life Sunday Resources

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LifeDate Summer 2018

Date: May 22, 2018

Category: After the Abortion

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From the Executive Director
10 Reasons Embryo-Destroying Research Is Unnecessary by Rev. Michael W. Salemink

Abortion/Post Abortion/Alternatives
Calling Evil “Good” by Linda D. Bartlett

Bioethics
Voice of Truth by Lynette Auch
Innocuous Inoculations? by Rev. Michael W. Salemink
Bioethics in Luther’s Small Catechism by Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D

Family Living
A Turning Point by Diane E. Schroeder
Marvelous Are Your Works! by Marie K. MacPherson
A Father’s Prayer by Pastor Mark Jeske

Lutherans For Life Resources

Life Thoughts in the Church Year

World News

Spotlight on Lutherans For Life
Share the Life Message All through the Year!
Children of the Heavenly Father – A Visit to India by Rev. Scott Licht
Can You Believe This? A Very Shocking Statistic (Part One) by John Hawkins
2018 LFL National Conference – From Age to Age the Same
Thank You, Life Chapters!
2017 Congregational Auxiliaries – Organizations Donor Honor Roll
A Letter of Thanks to Every Member of Lutherans For Life by Rev. Michael W. Salemink

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LifeDate Spring 2018

Date: February 20, 2018

Category: After the Abortion

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From the Executive Director
The Gospel According to Sex by Rev. Michael W. Salemink

Abortion/Post Abortion/Alternatives
60,069,971 Abortions in America Since Roe v. Wade in 1973 by Steven Ertelt
Overpopulation? by Rev. Michael W. Salemink
“Jesus Loves Me” and Those with Down Syndrome!
Fear and the Conditioning of Society by Duane Matz
Science, Religion, and the HHS Mission Statement by Jonathan Lange

Worldview and Culture
Assault in Our Wounds by James M. Kushiner
Made New by Lynette Auch

Lutherans For Life Resources

Life Thoughts in the Church Year

World News

Spotlight on Lutherans For Life
Owen’s Mission Reaches Fundraising Goal
Aloha, From Y4Life! by Laura Davis
LFL Receives Fund Grant for Word of Hope
Y4Life in Washington, D.C., 2018 by Laura Davis
Lutherans For Life at the 2018 March for Life
The New 2018 Tax Law – A Few Thoughts by John Hawkins
2017 Congregational Donor Honor Roll

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Fear and the Conditioning of Society

By Duane Matz

Date: February 20, 2018

Category: After the Abortion

“Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof” (Genesis 19:8).

What was Lot thinking? Obviously, he wasn’t. His thinking had been clouded by fear, and his response was governed by the conditioned response of society. You see, in Lot’s world, hospitality was so important that it would be unthinkable to abandon his guests to this mob!

But what father would turn his virgin daughters over to a mob to be gang raped? This just doesn’t compute with you or me. What Lot did was wrong! The only explanation is fear. Fear can cause us to do things without thinking through the consequences. (We will see this same kind of fear played out with his daughters later on in a cave outside the city of Zoar.)

We may not understand Lot’s misplaced values, but we ought to be able to understand fear. Fear often causes us to react in ungodly ways in accordance with the conditioning of our society. For example, in America, the act of aborting a child has been effectively legal since 1973—and it has become a conditioned response to what can be a fearful situation!

What mother would willingly end the life of her child—a mother who is gripped by fear and has been conditioned by society to believe that it is an acceptable option. That is why we need to support the work of crisis pregnancy centers. The caring people at these centers attempt to remove one element of this deadly equation—the element of fear—as they seek to provide a way out of the situation by seeking to provide whatever help and counsel are necessary to get that young girl or woman to overcome her fears and carry her child to term.

This is why we need to work to overturn the laws that make this act acceptable to many in our society. This is why we need to work to overturn society’s conditioned response to an unplanned pregnancy!

And what about those mothers who acted on their fears and aborted their child? We need to be there for them as well, assuring them of a loving, merciful, forgiving God—reminding them that there is no sin that Jesus did not pay for on the cross!

There is one more conditioned response that needs to be addressed and that is the conditioned response of the church. People in the pews need to be conditioned to the heart of God and His concerns about life. This is not to be done in a manipulative way but rather by simply and consistently preaching the Word of God and what He says about life, trusting the Holy Spirit to do His work!

Prayer: Father, You have not given us a spirit of fear, but rather one of power, love, and a sound mind. Help us in our moments of panic to turn to You and trust You for our deliverance.

Duane Matz served as a lay pastor with the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC) from 1999 to 2009, as well as an announcer on Christian radio station WEMI – The Family in Appleton, Wisconsin, for 25 years. Now retired, he and his wife Joan are members of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Greenville, Wisconsin.

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LFL Receives Fund Grant for Word of Hope

Date: February 20, 2018

Category: After the Abortion

Lutherans For Life (LFL) was recently blessed to receive a $10,000 grant for its Word of Hope post-abortion healing ministry from The Roy D. and Ingaborg G. Randolph Memorial Endowment Fund located in Texas.

Word of Hope is the only national post-abortion crisis line that shares the Gospel from the standpoint of Lutheran doctrine, thereby emphasizing Scripture alone, faith alone, and grace alone. Many local and regional hotlines operated by other groups often share that both faith and works are necessary to receive soul-saving grace.

Professionally staffed since 1991, the current hotline director is deaconess intern Christina (Chrissie) Gillet, PsyD, who is an experienced diaconal counselor and expects to graduate from the deaconess program at Concordia Theological Seminary in 2018. She replaced the longtime volunteer director Grace Kern, MSW, who recently retired. Currently, Chrissie works an average of 10 hours per week.

With the help of the Randolph Fund and other donors, LFL hopes to achieve its vision and goal which are to increase staffing hours and eventually institute a full-time program to better serve all who call in crisis. 

“Hearts broken by the guilt and grief of abortion are receiving Gospel relief and healing through Chrissie and Word of Hope. Lives, marriages, families, and souls are being saved as Word of Hope declares and demonstrates our Lord’s grace and forgiveness,” says LFL Executive Director Rev. Michael Salemink. “We cannot overestimate how the message that God treasures every life—regardless of age, appearance, ability, or history—will positively impact relationships, communities, and nations! And we can’t thank the Randolph Fund enough for their support and partnership in this ministry of miracles,” he added.

Word of Hope’s mission area is the entire United States and can be reached by calling 888.217.8679 or emailing .

John Hawkins

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