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Standing for Life in the Black Community

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Standing for Life in the Black Community

Pro-life activist Christina Bennett discusses how she's fighting the number one killer of black Americans – abortion. She also shares her story of how she's alive today because a Christian woman encouraged her mother to flee an abortion clinic.
Original Air Date: February 6, 2020

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Pro-life activist Christina Bennett discusses how she's fighting the number one killer of black Americans – abortion. She also shares her story of how she's alive today because a Christian woman encouraged her mother to flee an abortion clinic.
Original Air Date: February 6, 2020

Episode Transcript

(Sound of heartbeat via ultrasound)

John Fuller: That sound, a pre-born baby’s heartbeat, made a busy New York City, in fact, Times Square, the whole area, fall silent. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, thanks for joining us, I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, what a memory from Alive from New York last year. We showed the live 4D ultrasound of a pre-born baby on those big screens in Times Square.

John: Mm.

Jim: I’ll never forget how everyone, even protesters and people just walking by on the street, looked up at that screen and listened to that little heartbeat. And it was completely an awe-inspiring experience.

John: Mm hmm.

Jim: And I want to announce that we’re going to be doing this again on September 26th. We’re calling it See Life 2020. And the pandemic has certainly complicated our plans, so we’re going to take this all online and go digital, but it’s coming together really well. We’ll have interviews with influential pro-life advocates, special music, and ideas for how you can impact the pro-life sphere in a very positive way. And, of course, as it was last year, our main event will be a 4D ultrasound of a precious, pre-born baby. While doing this event in an online format wasn’t our original plan, we’re trusting that God will work it in a way that spreads the hope and truth about life to even more people, hopefully, around the world.

John: Mm hmm. And you can find out more about See Life 2020 at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Excerpt:  

Mrs. Christina Bennett: What it’s about is recognizing that we are living right now in the midst of a great injustice and that God has called us to do something about it….

End of Excerpt

John: That’s Christina Bennett. And protecting the lives of unborn children is her passion, and you’re gonna hear why in just a moment on Focus on the Family with your host, Jim Daly. And thanks for joining us, I’m John Fuller.

Jim: If you watched or attended our Alive from New York event last May, you’re already acquainted with Christina Bennett. She spoke toward the beginning, right after Alveda King. And she has a great story we wanted to share with you in more detail today.

Christina is a member of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition. She served for four years as a Client Services Manager at a pregnancy resource center. And she’s the communications director for one of our very own affiliates, the Family Institute of Connecticut.

John: Okay. And speaking at a fundraiser for Options Pregnancy Center in Arkansas, here’s Christina Bennett sharing some details that, frankly, are gonna be a little graphic as she addresses this topic. So, if you have younger children within earshot, let me suggest you use earbuds or listen in later online at our site or through the podcast or on our mobile app.

Christina: So I want to tell you a little bit about myself and my story, and why I do the work that I do and how important it is. When I was coming here on the plane, I wrote a little – not so much of a poem, but I was just thinking about the stones, and I wrote this. “I’m a little rock. God flings me at the enemy, and the giant falls.”

We got these stones tonight, and every stone has the name of a baby that’s been saved. But in addition, God has made us living stones. We’re little rocks, little stones that God is using us to throw into the heart of darkness, to throw at the enemy and to bring down giants, because giants are meant to fall. I want you guys to know that.

I could have been a statistic. I could have been just a number among many. But God stepped in. God rescued me. And instead of being just another statistic, he made me more than a conqueror. He made me an overcomer.

I had an appointment to die. I had an appointment to lose my life through abortion. I was scheduled to be aborted in a hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, 1981. There was an appointment. My mother made it. She went in by herself to get an abortion, and God stepped in at the eleventh hour. And I’m going to tell you what He did.

My mother was very similar to the clients that we heard their stories. She was afraid. She felt alone. She didn’t know who to talk to. She went to my father, at first, and told him that she was pregnant. And he already had two children. And he said, “I think the best option would be abortion.” And it wasn’t that simple. He didn’t say that nicely like I said it. There was pressure there.

And so my mom felt that rejection from him. So she thought, “You know what I’ll do? I’ll go to my church.” . So she thought, “I’ll go to my church. I’ll talk to my mentor, and surely, she’ll be compassionate. And surely, even though I know in her mind, you know, I’m sinning and this is not right; I’m having sex outside of marriage, but at least she’ll listen to me.” So she went, and she went to talk to her mentor. And when she told her mentor that she was pregnant, the woman said, “If you come back to this church, I’ll be the first person to put my foot in the door and not let you in.”

She wasn’t expecting that, not at all. But unfortunately, sometimes in life you get what you’re not expecting. And what she got was shame and rejection and pressure. And so she went to get the abortion. She met with a counselor at the hospital. But the only thing was, they didn’t give her any counsel. That was strange. She didn’t get options counseling, like the Pregnancy Center does. They didn’t talk to her about adoption or give her an adoption referral. They didn’t tell her that there was resources available or maternity homes or ask her if she was being coerced because it’s actually illegal to coerce someone to have an abortion. No, they didn’t do any of those things.

Instead, the woman looked at my mom and said, “Well, this seems like the best decision for you to make.” Now, I don’t know why she came to that conclusion. Maybe it’s because my mom was in her 20s. Maybe it was because she was not married. Maybe it was because she was black. You know, no one really knows. We can only assume. They put her in a white hospital gown. And she was told to just go into the waiting room and wait with all the other girls.

She walked out of the counselor’s office, and she sat in the hallway for just a moment to pause, just a moment. And when she did, she began to cry.

And then at the other end of the hallway, there was an African American woman, a janitor, who saw my mom crying. And she walked up to her, and she lifted up her chin. And she looked her in the eyes and said, “Do you want to have this baby?” And my mom said, “Yes. Yes.” And she said, “Then God is gonna give you the strength to have this baby.” She said, “Go put your clothes back on.”

So mom got up. She walked into the waiting room with the other women, and the doctor called her name. She walked into his office. And I hate to be so graphic, but the reality of abortion is graphic. The doctor hadn’t cleaned up the blood from the last abortion – all right? – because that’s the reality of abortion. That is the reality. So the blood from the last baby that was aborted was on the floor. And my mother was disgusted, and she said, “I – I change my mind. I – I’m leaving. I don’t want to go through with this.” And he said, “No, you’ve already paid for this. You’re just nervous. You’re gonna go through with it.” And she said, “No, I’ve changed my mind.” And he said, “Don’t leave this room.” And she ran out. She left, and she went down the stairs. And for those of you who are not millennials and you know about pay phones…

(LAUGHTER)

Right? Pay phones? She picked up a pay phone, and she called my dad. And she said, “Come get me.” And he did. And, you know, to my dad’s credit, they tried their best to make it work. They got married. It only lasted for a year. But my dad’s still in my life. He’s amazing. He just retired as a – as a principal for 40 years working in the inner city in Connecticut. My mother is amazing. They are my biggest supporters. They love me. Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, yes. Absolutely. I’m thankful for them and to God be the glory because God saw me when no one else did. He saw me in that 11th hour.

You know, we’re living in a dark time when it comes to this issue. We’re living in a culture that honors death. And for those of us who fight for life, we’re made to be the bad guys. We’re told that we don’t love women. We’re told that we are pro-birth. We’re told that we only care about the baby and not the woman or the family. We’re told – I’ve been told that I’m racist for speaking out about abortion in the black community. I’ve heard all of those things and, like many of you, been ridiculed and screamed at and harassed and made fun of because we value life. Because we see that the names on those stones represent actual living children. And they’re worth it. And we’re not willing to let one go, like Mrs. Parker said.

(APPLAUSE)

And I want to thank all of you. I know that there were people praying for my mother. I was born in 1981. Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton became legal. And if you don’t know Doe v. Bolton, sister case to Roe v. Wade, that allowed for abortion any time, nine months, for any reason. And that’s the law of the land today in this country. I know that when that happened in 1973, people were praying.  And somehow, those prayers got answered – at least one of them did – when my mom walked out. But I want to thank you as well because your prayers are being answered. And God hears you, and God is doing something great.

My mom’s story, it ended with hope because she left. And today, you can look and you can see me, and you can hear about my life and all the adventures that God has allowed me to do – did ministry for seven years. I traveled. I spent three months in Mozambique working with orphans, working with the poor. I’ve been to Italy, and Guatemala, and Holland and Nepal telling people about God’s love. I lived in Atlanta and D.C. working in the pro-life ministry. My mom’s story was hopeful.

But she didn’t tell me until I was in my 20s. You know why? Because even though it ended well, she still was traumatized walking through it – the rejection from my dad, the shame from the woman at church. In fact, when my mom opened up and told me her story – we were in the bathroom one day, and she said, “You’ll hate me if I tell you this. I can’t tell you. I’ve hid it your whole life, and you’ll hate me.” And I said, “Mom, I would never hate you.” But she was afraid.

What if it was different? Let’s imagine that for a moment. What if it was different? What if my mother could have gone to a pregnancy center? What if she could have went to Options and talked to someone who cared, who listened, who loved her? What if, instead of someone saying, “This seems like the best decision,” someone said, “Well, let’s consider your options and talk about it”? “Are you being pressured? What are you feeling?”

All the janitor had to say was, “Do you want to have this baby?” Is that simple or what, right? “Do you want to have this baby?” But no one had asked her that. But if she’d gone to a place like Options, then they would have.

And so I can’t change my mom’s story because we can’t go back, but we can go forward. And that’s why I work for a pregnancy center. I believe so much in this movement and in these centers that I work for one because we can reach women like my mom when no one else can.

John: You’re listening to Christina Bennett today on Focus on the Family. And you can get a CD of this program for a gift of any amount when you call 800-A-FAMILY. That’s 800-232-6459. Or donate and request that CD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Let’s go ahead and continue to listen to Christina Bennett as she was speaking at Options Pregnancy Center in Arkansas.

Christina: When my mother told me my story, I sat on her bed — she left right after she told me. She walked out. I sat on her bed, and I began to cry. And at the time, I had a relationship with God. And I began to talk to Him, and He began to talk back to me. And one of the things that God told me that has never left me is this. “Christina, I wanted you. I wanted you.” And then – yes, you can clap for that.  (APPLAUSE)

That’s awesome. And it’s not – it’s not just me. After that He asked me a question. And He said, “How do you think I feel about the others?” And I did not know. Here I am in college in Connecticut. I’d heard so many things. I’d done so many things. But I did not know how God felt about the others. I didn’t even know who the others were. But I began to find out because I started to research and listen to women, and they would tell me stories.

“I took the RU-486 pill. I passed my baby. I saw it. It was horrible. I remember what it was like. I was crying. It was traumatic.” “I had an abortion. It was 20 years ago. Every single year on the due date, I think of the age my child would be.” “My boyfriend pressured me. He told me that I had to have an abortion. Otherwise, he was going to leave me.” I began to listen to the stories, and I realized, what have we been sold? What has society told us? Is this empowering? Is this liberating? Is this freedom? No, no, no.

And then, when I began to research the history of Planned Parenthood and how it was started by a woman named Margaret Sanger, who believed in a philosophy called Eugenics, where she believed that certain people groups should prosper and grow and other people groups – people that look like me with my skin color – that we should be “pulled out of the grounds like weeds,” that she had a Negro Project where she hired black ministers to go to tent revivals and to push birth control. Why? Well, she knew that Americans were not ready for abortion because we’re talking about the 1930s. They asked her in an interview, “Do you believe in sin?” “I think sin is bringing a child into the world, a child that can’t take care of itself.” That’s what she thought. And this woman pushed abortion in lower-income minority neighborhoods as a way of helping.

And people tell me all the time, “Christina, OK, everyone thought that way then,” which is not true, but nevertheless, people say that. “Everyone thought that way then, but things have changed now.” Have they? Then why are 78% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical facilities in lower-income minority neighborhoods? If things have changed so much, why is abortion the No. 1 cause of death for the black community? Why are black women three times more likely to abort than any other race? Why? Is it just because we have a desire to? No, it’s not. It’s because we’ve been targeted.

Planned Parenthood gets $500 million a year from our taxpayer dollars, but they still ask for funds, and they get it from celebrities and everybody else. But we’re doing something different, aren’t we? We’re doing God’s work.

Today, I got to step in the footsteps of one of my heroes, Elizabeth Eckford. When I was in high school I saw her story. She was one of the Little Rock Nine. I connected with her because – well, honestly because she looked a little bit like me, right? Because (laughter) to be real, representation matters. It’s a real thing. And she had glasses. I have glasses. But also, I saw her, and I thought, “This is a teenager.” And I was a teenager at the time. And she was alone. And there are people all around her, and they were screaming at her. But she was there. She showed up. And I thought, “Wow.” That left an impression on me.

And, you know, today when I was flying in, I thought maybe, maybe there’s a museum or something. I don’t know. Maybe I could see. And then Patti was kind enough to take me over there. And I could have just lost it. I literally could have just started weeping right there in the museum when I was looking at her and her courage. But you all have the same courage. You really do. And I know people don’t like to make comparisons and – when it comes to tragedies, at least – and we don’t necessarily have to because every tragedy and every injustice in society has its own pain and sorrow. But I will say this, and I’m not ashamed to say this. This is the greatest civil rights issue of our day. It is. This is the greatest human rights issue of our day. And I’m going to say something that – maybe you won’t understand it, but I believe it’s true. Abortion is a greater evil than slavery.

Unidentified person: (Yelling) Yes, it is.

Christina: And let me tell you why. Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, you know their names. And there’s only one reason you know their names – because they lived, right? You don’t know the names of children that have died. And I wouldn’t wish slavery or segregation or sex trafficking or any of the evils of the day – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Again, it’s not about comparing tragedies. What it’s about is recognizing that we are living right now in the midst of a great injustice and that God has called us to do something about it, right?

(APPLAUSE)

Otherwise, how do we stand? How do we stand before God one day, knowing? And how do we stand before the cloud of witnesses, knowing that they gave their all, they fought hard, they did everything they could?

I don’t want you ever to have to look at your grandchildren and say, “I’m embarrassed. I lived in a time where 4,000 children were being aborted every single day, where Planned Parenthood was aborting over 330,000 children a year, and I didn’t do anything.” I know you don’t want to be embarrassed in that way. I know you never want to have to tell your children that. That’s why you’re here, right? You’re heroes. You are the ones that God has chosen to be a light in the darkness. You are the ones that God has chosen as living stones to go head first into the head of Goliath, the abortion industry, with all of its money and power and mocking and broken people because again, they’re not the enemy. The enemy is the enemy. They have been deceived by the enemy. Many women who are hurting are post-abortive. Many women who you see – I’ve had a woman scream in my face, and sometimes the angrier they are, the more wounded they are. But we can help heal. And we can help transform their lives. And we can help save children because God delights in them, every single one of them.

John: We’ve been listening today on Focus on the Family to Christina Bennett who was almost aborted as a baby, and now, of course, is a passionate champion for the pro-life cause.

Jim: She’s a warrior, John! And I was delighted to meet Christina when she spoke at our Alive from New York event. And I am so grateful her mother walked out of that abortion clinic all those years ago and chose life for Christina!  That was a very courageous decision!

And let me just say, if Christina’s story brought up some issues from your past, maybe you did go through an abortion, and you feel so much regret. Please, please get in touch with us.  We have caring Christian counselors right here at Focus who would count it a privilege to hear your story and help you find healing.

John: Yeah, they’re an amazing team and they’re just a call away. Our number is 800-A-FAMILY. Just request a call back from a counselor. That’s 800-232-6459.

Jim: And John, let me also give a big ‘Thank You’ to those of you who donate to this ministry, and who make it possible for us to offer the services of our Counseling team free of charge to those who call.

And as Christina’s message illustrates, we all need to work together to raise awareness about the impact that abortion is having on this generation!  We need to fight the lies that Planned Parenthood is telling young women today.

And the first big lie is that an abortion will erase your problem, allowing the girl to ‘get on with her life.’  But, as we’ve heard so often, abortion actually causes those problems. In fact, a study published by Cambridge University found that women who had an abortion experienced an 81-percent increased risk of mental health problems including anxiety disorder, depression, alcohol abuse, and even suicide.

The second big lie abortionists use is the trick of choosing words that dehumanize the child. Have you noticed they never use the word baby!? It’s “just a clump of tissue” or “a mass of cells.” And let me tell ya – when we shared a 4D ultrasound on the big screens in Times Square last May, I was watching the people who were protesting against our event.  And when they saw that image, and heard the baby’s heartbeat, they went silent. Literally, their jaws dropped open, and they lowered their picket signs.  It was like they had never seen a baby in the womb before.

John: Hmm.

Jim: And I’m sure many hearts and minds were impacted that day.  That’s the power of the ultrasound image.

And that’s why I’m so proud of Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound program. Since 2004, we estimate that more than 440-thousand babies have been saved because their mother, who was considering an abortion, saw her baby in the womb through that ultrasound.  Every 60-dollars that you give will save a baby from abortion. Your gift will help us target high-risk major cities with advanced 3D or 4D ultrasound machines, providing that crystal-clear image of each baby.

So please, join our team and be a part of this life-saving movement!!  And when you make a donation of any amount I’d like to send you a CD copy of this message from Christina Bennett. And thank you for doing ministry through Focus on the Family. Let’s fight for life together! Let’s be a voice to the voiceless.

John: Yeah, join our team today when you call 800-A-FAMILY. That’s 800-232-6459 or you can donate online and request the CD featuring Christina Bennett at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

As we’ve said during the past few weeks, the coronvirus pandemic has really impacted our budget. Uh, giving is down, but the need seems to be greater than ever. So, please, consider prayerfully how you can give today and help Focus on the Family continue our pro-life efforts like See Life 2020, our online event coming up September 26. You’ll find more about that at our website.

And right now, concerned pro-life friends of this ministry have offered to double your donation, dollar for dollar, so it’s a great time to give. Please do so as you can.

Next time, Dr. John Trent and his daughter, Kari, share how to bless your children through unconditional love.

Teaser:

Mrs. Kari Trent Stageberg: And I remember sitting down with him and just kind of saying, “So, I guess I can’t come back to the house. You guys don’t, you know…I guess you’re just done” in a sense. And he just put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Kari, it’s not about where you’ve been, it’s about where you’re going.”

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