“Pamela” visited my office when she was 16 weeks pregnant.
Her boyfriend, a heavy beer drinker and a member of a motorcycle gang, browbeat her to have an abortion. She was a waitress at a restaurant, barely surviving financially.
Her father was a Baptist preacher and, although very disappointed in her, encouraged her to do the right thing, which was to keep the baby. He promised to support her financially. He encouraged her to break ties with her boyfriend, whom he considered to be unworthy of her affection.
She was too far along to have an abortion at the local clinic and realized that, to obtain a late-term abortion, she would have to go to Atlanta. I met with Pamela every week for about four weeks for counseling and prayer. I also referred her to the local crisis pregnancy center, where she received additional counseling and prayer.
Pamela had grown up believing abortion was murder, and it was evident she wanted an abortion about as much as a bear wanted to put its paw into a steel trap. Yet she desperately wanted to keep her relationship with her boyfriend. She was afraid that if she did not abort the baby she would lose him. I shared with her the very real statistic that most unmarried relationships break up after abortions, terrifying her even more.
Despite the counseling and the praying, Pamela broke my heart one Friday afternoon when she notified me of her decision to travel to Atlanta for an abortion on Saturday morning. Many people prayed for her repeatedly over the weekend.
To my surprise, she called on Monday to say she was still pregnant. With delight, I asked her what happened.“I went to the Atlanta abortion clinic, but when I checked in, I had a fever,” she said. “Upon examination, they found I had a urinary tract infection. They gave me an antibiotic and told me to return in two weeks. While driving back, I prayed and decided to keep my baby.”
She also decided the boyfriend was not worth the life of her unborn child, and she wanted me to deliver the baby. Later, I delivered her newborn baby girl without any complications and had the privilege of caring for her little girl for a couple of years. Then I lost contact with them for a while.
At the same time Pamela was pondering the fate of her pregnancy, I shared her situation with my Wednesday night prayer group at my church (anonymously, of course). You have to understand the 50 to 70 folks gathered at Rock Hill Baptist Church in Inman, S.C., during the 1990s were not your average Wednesday night crowd. Those folks were real prayer warriors. They got on their knees at the altar every Wednesday night and prayed for lost people by name, and they told God they wouldn’t stop until the lost were saved, the sick were healed, and families were restored.
For about six weeks we prayed for my patient. I even told her 50 people at my church were praying for her to make the right decision. The women especially prayed, with “groaning too deep for words,” on behalf of this mom and for her unborn child. Nevertheless, she felt compelled to go to Atlanta for an abortion.
Well, you already know the end of the story. I have no doubt God heard the prayers of those prayer warriors, the prayers of the women at the crisis pregnancy center, my prayers, and her father’s prayers — all on behalf of that precious unborn child. Her bladder infection didn’t occur by accident. It occurred as a direct result of divine intervention brought on by intercessory prayer! We chose to believe, then God intervened, and that little baby survived.
Many years later, when Pamela’s daughter was 19 years old, she brought her to see me for a minor illness. When I walked in the exam room, I saw the daughter dressed in gothic attire. Her hair was jet black, she wore the blackest eyeliner, black lipstick, and black fingernail polish. She looked like she had fallen face-first into a fishing tackle box, as every part of her face was pierced with metal objects, even her tongue. More than this, she had a terrible attitude toward her mother, but she was alive. She was alive!
I could tell the mother was extremely proud of her daughter, who was actually quite an attractive young lady despite her attire and metal accoutrements. I really never was quite sure why she brought her daughter to my office, because an exam revealed minor symptoms that could have been diagnosed and managed at home. I suspect she wanted me to see the product of all my praying and counseling!
There are many men and women alive in South Carolina like Pamela’s daughter who are the beneficiaries of the ministry of a local crisis pregnancy center. In fact, there are 26 CPCs active in cities across South Carolina, all seeking to provide confidential counseling and compassionate care to young women in crisis situations.
Pamela benefited greatly from the counseling and emotional support of the Christian ladies at our local CPC in Spartanburg, as have many others since then. I encourage you to pray for, financially support, and volunteer at your local CPC, which I consider to be a legitimate outreach arm of the local church because of the evangelistic emphasis each of them embraces.
— Robert Jackson is a family practice physician in Spartanburg. He is a past recipient of the E.A. McDowell Award by the Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee of the South Carolina Baptist Convention for his advocacy of crisis pregnancy centers.