Saturday, May 4th, 2019 Focus on the Family invited New York City to take a look inside the womb. An estimated 20,000 people gathered to support this event and watch an amazing 4D live ultrasound in Time Square.
Save the Storks partnered with the Unplanned movie and joined in support of Focus on the Family. Together, we hope to unify the movement as we, each in our own way, seek to save and celebrate life.
Focus on the Family has championed life and family since 1977. The opposition to their work has been ruthless. Jumbotron owners refused to feature the live ultrasound on their boards in Time Square, but that didn’t stop Focus on the Family. Instead, they brought their own screens and set up a number of viewing locations in Time Square so thousands of people could see the beauty of an unborn life.
The excitement could be felt in the crowd as hundreds of people congregated in front of the main stage, located right where the ball drops to announce the New Year. A few people held signs saying, “End abortion now!” “Protect life” and “I will be their voice.” Police huddled in discussion and a Stork employee asked if everything is ok. The Police informed us of a congregation of abortion supporters who planned to protest as soon as the event began. No one was shocked at this, we all expected opposition when something this big in the pro life movement happens.
Sure enough, a crowd gathered across the street, under Hard Rock Cafe, with drums, horns and angry signs. They tried to make as much noise as they possibly could, but their gathering paled in comparison to the pro-lifers on the other side of the street.
The contrast between the two sides of 7th and Broadway left no room for gray. Those chanting in celebration of death attracted the police like a magnet. The majority of the law enforcement faced the angry chanters and encircled the Alive in New York space for mutual protection. Those on the pro-life side ignored those across the street as Francesca Battistelli led worship. The abortion supporters shouted that “abortion is health care” and “forced motherhood is slavery,” while the the pro-life crowd called out, “Jesus is Lord!” Together they sang “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine” with Martin Luther King Jr.’s nice, Alveda King.
As people shuffled toward the front to get a better view, Storks’ spokeswoman Victoria Robinson interviewed those willing to share why they came for this event. One mother and daughter flew all the way from California just to show their support. “I have never been to New York City” said the mother, “But I figured this was the perfect reason to come.” Her daughter smiles and adds, “I just couldn’t imagine a better person to be here with than my mom.”
Three different men told us their stories about how they changed their minds from pro-choice to pro-life. 21 year-old Dillen said, “I thought pro-choice made sense, of course a woman should have the right to choose. But it was amazing how I completely ignored how important all human life is and how even the potential for human life is important.”
Sporting a 40 Days for Life jacket, Jerry adds, “Abortion is an an emotional issue, it’s not easy. Women need to know that there are people willing to help them not only during their pregnancy but even afterward. I used to be pro-choice. But as I got to know my God and saw the scientific evidence I changed my stance and am pro-life. I wish the people who are protesting across the street would go see Unplanned. If they saw it, I think they would think differently.”
Michael was originally from Jamaica. His teenage son stood next to him as he told us his story. “I can’t speak to the pain of a woman, but I know the role of being the one who demanded an abortion. Before I knew Christ, I forced my girlfriend to have an abortion.” His lip quivered and a tear formed in his eye before he continued, “When I realized it was actually a life, when I realized what I had done, it crushed me. You realize that it was a life and you are responsible for ending it. It’s easy to make that bad decision but the pain never goes away. (Men and Women) need to take the time to weigh all the options before making the decision about their pregnancy. Simply rushing into having an abortion leads to carrying a heavy load of regret. God’s forgiveness soothes but the sin that you commit is never forgotten. At least I can talk to my son about why he shouldn’t do what I did.”
The pain of abortion is real. Though some want to ignore reality and say that a baby is nothing, those who once believed that lie still carry the scars and weight of their choice. The redemption in each of the stories we heard reflects an even more powerful reality – Jesus restores, forgives, and heals. The scars still show as tears fall from the eyes of those who remember their past. But by God’s grace, there is a joy and peace in their faces now that they know the forgiveness and love of Christ.
As the event continued, three abortion survivors shared their incredible stories. Their moms attempted to abort them, but each one stands as a testimony that they were not simply a “blob of tissue.” Their lives matter. They each were adopted as infants and now have homes, families, friends, dreams, goals, and a love for life that lit Times Square.
Next, Ashley Bratcher, who plays Abby Johnson in the movie Unplanned, shared her own story. She had no idea that her mom nearly aborted her. In fact, her mom was in the room being examined by a pregnant nurse when her mom decided to walk away from the abortion clinic and choose life for Ashley.
Ashley then called Abby Johnson to the stage who announced that the live ultrasound we witnessed was actually her own baby! She shared her vision for making abortion unthinkable in our lifetime. Her ministry, Until There Were None, helps abortion clinic workers find other employment. The compassion they have to help those inside the industry again points to the fact that pro-life people desire the lives of others to thrive. Abby Johnson strives to come alongside abortion clinic workers and offer them a way out.
Together we are meeting the needs of people who think abortion is the only option. Abby helps those who feel like there are no alternative jobs. Focus on the Family, Human Coalition and other organizations like them have emergency hotlines to talk with women who find themselves in an unexpected pregnancy and feel at a loss for what to do next. Save the Storks empowers Pregnancy Centers to take the power of ultrasound directly to where women are who feel like abortion is their only option. We want to make abortion unthinkable. We can do this by providing resources to the perceived needs people thinking about abortion face. Together we are revolutionizing the meaning of what it means to be pro-life.
Let’s continue spreading hope, love, and compassion by taking action to serve moms and babies in our country. We stand for life! Alive in New York was an incredible event and we hope that it sparks continuing interest to have conversation on what it means to be pro-life.