After the Abortion article posts

LifeDate Fall 2019

Date: August 29, 2019

Category: After the Abortion

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From the Executive Director
Adoption – God’s “WANTED!” Sign by Pastor Michael Salemink

Lutherans For Life – Bethesda Lutheran Communities
God’s Word for Whatever – Bethesda Lutheran Communities – Lutherans For Life by Sandra Brese Rice

Abortion/Post Abortion/Alternatives
Is It Really a Woman’s Choice? by Jean Amundson
Word of Hope
Don’t Forget the Men! by Jean Amundson

Family Living
Adoption: Finding a Family for a Child
Life Quotes on Adoption
The DNA of Adoption by Pastor Michael Salemink
Meant to Be by Lynette Auch

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
Hope-Filled Promises by Michelle Bauman
The First Two Months by Michelle Bauman
Y4Life at FLY and NYG
We Were Busy This Summer! by Pastor Michael Salemink
2020 March for Life/Estate Planning/Real Estate for Life/LFL on Social Media
LAMBs – Lutherans Assembling Mercy Blankets
2019 LFL Regional Conferences

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Word of Hope (LifeDate Fall 2019)

Date: August 29, 2019

Category: After the Abortion

Photo: Chrissie Gillett, with Holleigh Hiller, at the 2019 LWML Convention in Mobile, Alabama.

As a ministry of Lutherans For Life (LFL), Word of Hope is a unique 24/7 national hotline devoted to intervening on behalf of life issues and imparting the value of all human life as divinely created and redeemed by Jesus Christ. Hotline callers are primarily men or women who have suffered for weeks, months, or years after participating in an abortion decision. Many of the hurting people describe overwhelming guilt, depression, anxiety, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, unwanted memories, or other symptoms of post-abortion syndrome. At Word of Hope, we respond to suffering with love, mercy, and confidential support, guiding each person with the Word toward reconciliation with God by the gift of faith in Christ alone.

At the peak of the ministry under founder Grace Kern, MSW, as many as 300 people connected with Word of Hope through the hotline or email each month. Over time, the ministry’s effectiveness was impacted by the need for Grace to singlehandedly operate the hotline, write literature, speak publicly, and procure funding. Grace’s decision to retire meant some tasks needed to be deferred and others postponed as the pursuit for a new director commenced. In April 2017, the search concluded when Deaconess Chrissie Gillet, PsyD, accepted the invitation to join the LFL team as the new Word of Hope Director.

The transition presented an opportunity to reflect on past successes and a vision for the future. Word of Hope aspires to be a national resource that offers supportive referrals and a Christocentric experience, with the hope that all people will be liberated from the overwhelming guilt associated with life-related issues, such as the suffering connected to abortion. To proceed in harmony with the vision, the focus of our efforts must address the need for knowledgeable staff, an online presence, updated technology, proper referral resources, revised publications, and collaboration with other agencies.

Due to the generosity of grants from organizations and donations given by additional dedicated supporters, we accomplished many goals to publicize the hotline. Word of Hope increased staff hours, acquired advanced software technology, revised media, exhibited at several conferences, and developed an informational packet that is being distributed nationally. Our ability to “have mercy on those who doubt [and] save others by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 1:22-23a) is critically dependent on the compassion from people and organizations who also share in the true value of life. We are eager to partner with you—For Life!

www.lutheransforlife.org/about/word-of-hope

word-of-hope.org

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Is It Really a Woman’s Choice?

By Jean Amundson

Date: August 29, 2019

Category: After the Abortion

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5a NIV)

Is abortion really a woman’s choice? Through the media, we hear and read, “My body, my choice.” Are you aware that many women, no matter the age, are unwillingly submitting to abortions? Well-meaning—and sometimes non well-meaning—parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, realtives, and others take the woman to the abortion facility against her will.

Following are a few examples which have been shared with me over the years:

“My father was an elder in our church, and when he learned I was pregnant out of wedlock, he was furious. He, along with my mother, took me to the abortion facility. After so many years, I am still angry with them and God. They aborted their grandchild, and I was deeply hurt.” (Through a post-abortion class, this lady was able to forgive her parents. Her faith in Jesus and God was restored.)

“When I was pregnant with our third child, the doctor told my husband and me that we should abort the child as I would probably have an emotional breakdown. The doctor located an abortionist in another state.” (After approximately 30 years, the woman learned to forgive the doctor and her husband. She is now a strong advocate For Life.)

“My girlfriend took me to the abortion facility. She said it was for my good.” (This lady also found forgiveness in a post-abortion class. She went on to lead post-abortion classes.)

“Against her will, and without my wife’s or my knowledge/consent, our 16-year-old daughter was taken to an abortion clinic by a high school counselor. She was distraught and quite upset when she came home following the abortion and informed us what had happened. We would never have given our consent. The three of us were totally distraught and have not forgiven the school or the individual who took our daughter to the abortion facility, against her will.” (I am still praying the three of them will learn to forgive the counselor who took their daughter for the abortion.)

There are many stories similar to the ones above which abortion supporters do not want to be shared. From my perspective, the abortion activists who speak out the most often and the loudest are the ones who have deep emotional scars from past abortions. I believe most of these individuals have either never had a relationship with Christ Jesus or “life” has turned them away from Jesus. These individuals were also created in God’s image. It says in John 20:23a (NIV) that, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven …”

As Christian life-affirming individuals, we should be praying for God to send the Holy Spirit upon them so they may feel God’s true forgiveness.

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Don’t Forget the Men!

By Jean Amundson

Date: August 29, 2019

Category: After the Abortion

“Don’t forget the men!” This is a phrase heard frequently from post-abortive men. Currently, state and national abortion laws are changing rapidly. We hear and read, “My body, my choice.” It appears to be all about the women. Women are told, “You will have the right to choose if you will carry or abort your child.”

In frequent instances, the birth father has not been made aware that his wife or girlfriend is pregnant or that a family member of the birth mother, or the birth mother, has chosen to abort the birth father’s child.

In many situations, when the birth father is made aware of the abortion, he is devastated. He wonders why he was not made aware of the pregnancy and why the birth mom decided to abort the pregnancy.

After participating on a panel at a Lutherans For Life conference a few years ago, a man came up to me and said, “Don’t forget the men.” He shared that his girlfriend had an abortion and didn’t tell him about it until quite a while afterward. He was crushed. He inquired if there were post-abortion recovery groups for men. At an LFL Board of Directors’ meeting shortly before this conference, a guest speaker had told us how his life had been affected by abortion. He indicated that he and some other post-abortive men in the St. Louis area had written a curriculum for men whose lives had been impacted by abortion, and they were offering classes for men with similar experiences.We were able to share this information with the man. I have thought about him often over the years and continue to keep him in my prayers.

Another time a man cried in my arms—it was quite emotional. He said several years ago he had a girlfriend who was pregnant with his child, and she decided to have an abortion. She had not told him she was pregnant and planned to terminate the pregnancy. She went to the abortion facility by herself as she thought abortion was a simple, safe procedure. Well, something went wrong, and she needed to be sent immediately to a hospital. She had given this man’s name as the emergency contact, never dreaming he would need to be called. He was shocked when he received the phone call. He did go immediately and took her to the hospital. She survived and shortly afterward the man terminated the relationship. (As a side note, he is now a Lutheran pastor.)

A post-abortive grandfather shared that when his daughter was a teenager, she became pregnant. His wife and daughter chose to abort the baby over his objection. He is still grieving for the loss of the grandchild he never knew. He and his wife came close to divorcing, but their faith has kept them together.

How did Joseph handle Mary’s pregnancy when he first learned she was expecting a baby that was not his child? Matthew 1:19-21(NIV) states: “Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law … he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”

Don’t forget the men! God doesn’t and neither should we!

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LifeDate Summer/June 2019

Date: June 17, 2019

Category: After the Abortion

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Guest Commentary
Leap for Joy by Rev. Troy Tysdal

Abortion/Post Abortion/Alternatives
Ten Life-Affirming Science Facts by Pastor Michael Salemink
Will It Hurt? Pain Perception in the Developing Human by Dr. Sheila Page

End of Life
Pressuring Doctors & Nurses to Support Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia by Virginia Flo

Family Living
Reach Out and Touch Someone by Lynette Auch
Moms Embody Grace by Pastor Michael Salemink

Lutherans For Life Resources

Life Thoughts in the Church Year

Spotlight on Lutherans For Life
Share the Life Message All through the Year! / Word of Hope
Being a Bulldog for Life by Joanna Sherrill
Numbers by Pastor Michael Salemink
2020 March for Life/Estate Planning/Real Estate for Life/LFL on Social Media
LAMBs – Lutherans Assembling Mercy Blankets
2019 LFL Regional Conferences

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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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