Anne Reed spoke at the kick-off rally for Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment, which will be on the ballot in November of 2011 and will define personhood in Mississippi from the moment of conception. It is passes, it very well could set up a challenge to Roe v. Wade. Here are Anne’s remarks at this event.
My name is Anne Reed. I am a woman who knows the affects of abortion because I chose to end the life of my precious little child 23 years ago. After a long journey, the Lord has given me the amazing privilege of knowing Him and the awesome responsibility of serving Him by counseling post-abortive women.
Post abortive women struggle with receiving God’s forgiveness. We find ourselves buried in so much shame and darkness, it feels like it is utterly impossible to get out. I love a term that is used in the Bible study supplement we use. It describes this dark shadow of abortion as “screaming silence.” The sin cries out to us from the depths! We relate to Cain in his encounter with Almighty God after having killed his brother. The Lord asked him, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground.”
Not only have we lost our precious children by “choice,” but we have this God given need to grieve the loss of our children that pulls and pulls and pulls, that does not relent until satisfied. The years usually pile up on top of each other with the pain stuffed into oblivion. This can only be done with lies. Those lies are held up by drivenness to perform, excessive control, anger, promiscuity, drugs and alcohol, depression, anything that would keep us from facing the truth. The problem with lies is that they eventually come to the surface and must be reckoned with, and that oblivion has to be entered into at some point.
I spent 18 years trying to justify the sin I committed. Peace never came with self-justification. Peace can never come from forgiving oneself. Legalizing abortion has not made it right or good. “Saying” something is right and good can never make it so! Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
I was one who fought to justify my actions through performance. This inner toil resulted in an increased hardness of heart. What I didn’t know is that no amount of work, no perfection of performance would ever justify my actions. We are justified only by grace through faith in the work and perfect performance of Christ on our behalf. If we were all completely honest, I don’t think we ever really believed it to be right; not the women who followed through with it or the guilty bi-standers. I can say this from my own experience, and I believe that I can say it on behalf of others as well, as Romans chapter 2 explains that even absent from the law, the requirements of the law are written on our hearts.
In Parkgate Pregnancy Center in Tupelo, we have a garden that is beautifully strewn with the Word of Truth and a multitude of stones lining a stream that follows the path. At the end of the garden, there is a small area where women have taken those stones, written the names of their aborted children and placed them there together with others, usually in the presence of other women who lovingly share in their grief. I have one there myself. As I look out across the garden and see so many stones lining the stream, I know that every one of those stones could be named. I know that there are many women who could come to know the love, forgiveness and unfathomable freedom of Christ. I have to tell you that I absolutely love post-abortive women! When she comes into the true healing and forgiveness of Christ, she is an example of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and her hair, who has not stopped kissing His feet and has poured perfume on them. Her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.
Why does the subject of abortion stir up such a raging sea of controversy? It is personal to so many because forty-three percent of women in our nation have taken this terrible, destructive path that rips both her child and her heart out of her. And right under the surface of this sea is a great multitude of others involved. Fathers, husbands, boyfriends, brothers, mothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends have willingly taken part. I’ve experienced this and watched other women struggle with forgiving those closest who they just wish would have fought for them and their child with everything they had. They wanted them to communicate their value. They wanted to be rescued!! Women often need to work through forgiving those who participated both directly and indirectly through silence, apathy, coercion, prideful fear of man—placing more importance on appearances than on life itself. When women seek healing, reputable relatives beg the women who have had abortions not to mention their names as having taken part in the decision as well as the actual act. Legislators: Women want to know, “Why did you say this was ok? Why did you let me do this?” Abortion providers, the church, the list goes on and on. Abortion is a grave injustice! We all know that someone must pay when an injustice is committed. God Himself is often included on the list of those to blame. Ironically, He is the very one who has passionately followed through with receiving the penalty upon Himself!
The affects of abortion are far reaching and intrinsically woven into lives and relationships. It is not only the women themselves who are trapped in shame, but all participants. The extent of this disparagement is epidemic, like a cancer, violently eating away at our hearts and how we relate to each other. There is much repentance needed! There is much healing needed.
When Lazarus had died, Jesus called it “falling asleep,” although everyone else around Him saw only death, they smelled death—it was over! Jesus wept when He saw their unbelief. But when Almighty God in flesh spoke the Word, “Lazarus, Come Forth,” he did just that. I cannot possibly express how grateful I am that He spoke the Words, “Anne, Come forth” to me. When I got up and went forth, I was just like this beloved one of the Christ. My hands and feet were bound with burial wrappings and my face was wrapped in a cloth of shame. Jesus took me, a person long dead, He raised me up and instructed fellow believers to unbind me and let me go. This is my heart’s desire for the multitudes of men and women in our midst hiding in the overpowering shadow of shame. Many of these men and women are sitting beside us in church. Perhaps Christ has said to them, “come forth,” but they are still standing there in burial wrappings waiting for those around them to unbind them and let them go.”
When abortion is illegal, do not think that there will be no need for crisis pregnancy centers, for the whole array of service and education offered through the compassionate volunteers and staff who serve within and as an extension of that framework. Do not think that the local church should not be actively pursuing and reaching for these lost sheep. Still, we will have women who find themselves pregnant with nowhere to turn. Still we will have promiscuity and national leaders sending the message that it’s ok. Still we have broken homes in a culture that gives little value to the God given framework of a protective father, loving mother and obedient children. We have a culture that places very little value on the lives of our children, and not just the so-called successful ones, but children because they are a gift from God. Every one is created in His image, having a beautiful and significant purpose that was set forth before the foundation of this earth, regardless of what culture we are born into, what our mental or physical capacity is, or the circumstances that brought about our very existence.
I pray that we will no longer be a people who fit this description in Ezekial 20:26. He has let us pollute ourselves with the very gifts He has given us and allowed us to give our firstborn children as offerings to our gods—so that He might devastate us and remind us that He alone is the Lord.
I pray that He will have mercy on us and grant us victory, for His name’s sake!
Thank you for hearing me out. I will close with the words from 2 Chronicles 7:14.
If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.