Jessica was 10 weeks along when she decided to go to the abortion clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
It was no easy decision. A week earlier, she had gone to the clinic but decided against abortion. Upon arriving a second time, she was still conflicted about her choice.
The doctors gave Jessica a pill called Mifepristone, a drug used in abortions, but she spat it out before swallowing, still indecisive.
After “re-counseling” Jessica, clinic staffers locked her in a room. Approximately two hours later, after she had taken the pills and undergone the abortion, they let her go.
Jessica’s story is not rare.
Much of the public is simply unaware of the evils practiced in the abortion industry. Women like Jessica might be indecisive, but they’re being pressured and coerced into abortion.
“They’re going there with great conflict,” confirmed Joe Langfeld, executive director of Human Life Alliance (HLA). “What mother’s instinct is to kill her child? It’s not natural, and they’re looking for somebody to tell them the truth.”
HLA is a Minnesota-based international nonprofit that prints and distributes pro-life materials for educational and outreach purposes. Since its 1990 founding, HLA has reached 231 million people worldwide with its message.
HLA began with the purchase of ad space in Minnesota newspapers, in which they proclaimed, “She’s a Child, Not a ‘Choice.’” HLA’s first publication was titled with the same slogan. It refuted common pro-abortion arguments and called for America to respect all humans, born and unborn.
Soon, the article was being distributed at American colleges as a part of campus newspapers, despite the liberal leanings of many editors.
“They couldn’t reject it based on truth,” said Langfeld. “They had to accept it.”
Spreading the truth
Currently, campus ministry is one of four main areas of outreach for HLA. This area focuses on high school and college campuses, incorporating student volunteers in the work.
One group in Sacramento, California, “Project Truth,” recruits students to help spread the message of Jesus through a pro-life outreach on other school campuses. The group uses HLA materials to train teenagers to have conversations about the sanctity of life. Once a week, teams travel to college campuses and engage with students and professors on the topic of abortion.
“It’s a campus outreach to try to reach every student every year,” Langfeld explained, “because that’s the number one population ... the age group that’s having abortions.”
The second area of focus is the church. HLA works with congregations around the country to teach and train young children in a pro-life message. An age-appropriate comic book is used to teach them the importance of life and how a baby develops in the womb.
The third outreach is partnership with pro-life groups such as pregnancy centers and sidewalk ministries. Because these organizations are on the front lines of this battle, speaking every day with women who are sometimes just steps away from choosing abortion, they must be equipped with the powerful truth these women need to hear. To accomplish this, they distribute many different HLA publications to people in clinics and on streets outside abortion centers.
“We supply them with something really great that they can use in their community, or to train their volunteers,” said Langfeld. “People sometimes say to us, ‘You’re just preaching to the choir!’ But the choir has to have sheet music or it can’t sing.”
Reaching the world
The final area of ministry for HLA emphasizes global outreach, protecting the inherent value of life around the world. Since 1990, HLA has reached 88 nations.
Keith, an HLA volunteer, and a number of friends illustrate HLA’s impact. They traveled to the Dominican Republic equipped with HLA Spanish language publications. They taught the gospel in classes along with a defense of life in the womb. A member of the Dominican Republic parliament approached the group and asked that they come to parliament and deliver their message to government officials.
Dominican leaders praised the HLA team for their work and asked how the government could have a similar positive impact on its citizens.
Keith slid a pro-life Spanish pamphlet across the table and said, “You could read this and change the constitution.”
Before Keith and his group boarded the plane two days later, the government had amended the constitution, making life “inviolable from conception to natural death.” Abortion is now completely illegal in the Dominican Republic.
HLA resources are also impacting communist-controlled China in a big way.
Much like elsewhere in the world, students learn English from a young age. Certain teachers in China use HLA pro-life pamphlets as translation materials to teach new English speakers. The first English words some will ever learn are the life-affirming messages spread by HLA.
Healing the victims
HLA does not focus solely on reaching women who are considering abortion, but also actively reaches out to those who have already chosen abortion. Many of them are searching for help, hope, and healing.
“These women come in, and they’re so wounded when they realize what they did,” Langfeld explained. “They might’ve been in denial when they were seeking their abortion. But once they realize, ‘I killed my daughter’ or ‘I killed my son,’ then they go through the actual mourning of a loss.”
One HLA pamphlet titled This Is NOT Your Only Choice contains a page dedicated to women who have undergone an abortion. This content addresses the extreme effect of abortion and offers encouragement, hope, and a road to recovery.
“We help people get in touch with those who are trained in healing,” said Langfeld.
“Real counseling [has] to happen for both young men and women who have experienced abortion to forgive themselves and find forgiveness in the Lord.”
Through the work of Human Life Alliance, babies are being saved through the spread of information about the horrific industry of abortion. Additionally, those trapped in grief and shame are being restored through the forgiving and healing power of Jesus Christ.
(Editor's Note: This article was first published in the January-February 2021 edition of the AFA Journal and was posted online HERE)