Never had I heard anyone else talk about the same gruesome image that profoundly changed my life about 14 years ago.
- Anne Reed
Theoretically speaking, Mississippi State Senator Chad McMahan (R) has always been pro-life. But one day a constituent invited him to the sidewalk of the only abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi, about 12 blocks from the capitol.
“There were people there on both sides of the issue,” McMahan told The Stand. “I saw some photos of aborted babies in five-gallon buckets. It broke me. It changed who I was because I could clearly see that it was a child.”
McMahan asked to tour the abortion clinic and was refused. On the way back to the capitol, he was overcome with emotion. When he got home that night, he searched online for images and videos of live abortions.
“It's amazing what you can find on YouTube,” he said. “And [the videos] were extremely graphic. I was broken as a person.”
“So, the Lord began to work with me about different things,” McMahan continued. “In Isaiah and in Psalms, the Bible said that the Lord knit us together. Well, He was not only speaking to the people of His day when that was written in Isaiah. He was speaking to people in this century who would understand DNA. The Lord literally put us together. Our purpose here on this planet was not by chance. It did not surprise the Lord that our mothers became pregnant with us. We were planned. He loves us. He knows us. He says in Psalms, I knew you in the womb. I knew you. Vast human potential and innocent children have a right to be born. They have a right to life. We like to think of ourselves as liberty minded people but the Bill of Rights don't matter if you don't have a right to life.”
As the Senator told me about his experience at the abortion clinic, I was struck with a glaring coincidence. Buckets of aborted babies. Never had I heard anyone else talk about the same gruesome image that profoundly changed my life about 14 years ago.
Unlike McMahan, I wasn’t pro-life. I didn’t have a position, because, in terms of abortion, I didn’t want to talk about it, and I didn’t want to think about it. The word “abortion” or any reference to the practice, whether vague or direct, made me cringe inside. And there was good reason. I had an abortion when I was 17 years old. And I had been running from it for my entire adult life.
But one Saturday afternoon, I reluctantly stopped to watch a television program on abortion. Suddenly, an image of a bucket of aborted babies filled the screen. My eyes narrowed in on tiny perfectly formed hands.
Ephesians 5:13-14 best describes the explosion of light I experienced in that moment:
“But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.’”
God had already begun to soften my heart with His Word and His love in the months before I saw that image, but it wasn’t until that moment that I truly grasped my unworthiness and the extravagance of His grace. Truth set me free. And it set me on the path of wholeheartedly following this Jesus who died for me and loved me when I was a terrible, unrepentant sinner – who now raised me up out of the dark pit of guilt and shame.
It may seem strange to some, but I didn’t even ask for forgiveness. I just received it. In the face of the horrific truth, the marvelous light of God’s grace poured over me and filled me. It was a miracle.
For Senator McMahan, the brokenness he experienced after seeing that same disturbing image led him onto a path of awakening to his responsibility as a legislator.
He and other lawmakers are working together to write legislation that will recognize the humanity of babies in the womb. McMahan believes strongly in the rights of states to self-govern and believes the U.S. Supreme Court simply did not have the power to inflict abortion on the states with the 1973 Roe v Wade decision.
“We need to do something to help everyday regular people understand what's taking place in their state,” he said. “I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve. And I believe the Lord is with me. In John, it says pray for the strength to stand before the son of man – to stand before Jesus. And when I give an account to Him for my life – and I have many sins to answer for – when He says, ‘Son, my child, what did you do when I made you Senator to end abortion?’ I want to tell him, ‘Master, I did everything I could to stop the foolishness, to stop the madness.’”
Research reveals graphic images significantly impact views about abortion: http://www.afajournal.org/past-issues/2016/november/photos-of-abortion-victims-impact-attitudes/
Mississippi State Senator Chad McMahan holding a model of a 12 week old unborn child.