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How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
December 22, 2021 5:00 am

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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December 22, 2021 5:00 am

Dr. Patti Giebink shares her inspirational story of how God changed her heart so that she stopped performing abortions and instead became a staunch advocate for the pro-life movement.

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Welcome to another Best of 2021 episode of Focus on the Family. Today we're featuring the powerful story of a former abortion doctor for Planned Parenthood. And I just intensively was studying the Bible with direction and understanding it. And at some point, and I don't exactly know when, but it became so clear to me that God is a God of life. That's his character. That's his heart.

There should be no question. That's Dr. Patty Giebank describing how God brought her out of the abortion industry and transformed her life. She's our guest today on Focus on the Family. And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly.

I'm John Fuller. John, we had a fascinating discussion with Patty. And looking back, I see two powerful themes in our conversation. First, God's word changes people.

I'm sure it has changed you. As you'll hear later, a friend happened to invite Patty to church. And when she heard the Bible taught for the first time, she said the scales fell from her eyes. It's a good reminder that the Holy Spirit does the work. We just have to introduce people to God's word. Patty also reminded us that advocating for life is a spiritual battle. We can't expect to win others over with simple logic and science unless we reflect the love of Christ.

I really agree with you about that, Jim. And Dr. Giebank's story is remarkable. As a listener, you can find out more in her book, Unexpected Choice, An Abortion Doctor's Journey to Pro-Life.

Get in touch with us to learn more about getting a copy. Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family. Let's go ahead and revisit this best of 2021 episode on today's Focus on the Family. Patty, welcome to Focus on the Family. Thank you. I'm actually thrilled to talk with you because you have such a unique perspective given the journey God has put you upon.

I mean, it's amazing. How were you first exposed to abortion? Let's start there.

Oh, that's a good question. I grew up in a very liberal household. And I remember talking to my dad when he was an intern. He talked about the illegal abortions and women coming to the ER and infected and bleeding. So I kind of went down a path of being pro-choice, never really thinking I would become an abortion doctor.

That wasn't, it really wasn't my plan. With all the history pre Roe v. Wade, women dying or becoming physically injured by illegal abortions, you know, that's what was so prevalent among these women's groups when I was in medical school. And I studied Roe v. Wade, read a lot of books on it. And the interesting thing is, and so between my dad and what I was hearing, and I didn't know that the numbers were inflated of the number of women dying every year from illegal abortion. Correct.

They just picked a number. Well, I suppose I had my aha moment when I was reading Bernard Nathanson's book. Dr. Nathanson is a former abortion doctor.

He has since died. But he talks about pre Roe v. Wade, how they knew that the only way they were going to get public support was to inflate the numbers. Of women dying from back alley abortions. From illegal abortions. The deaths and the injury.

And so they really inflated the numbers. And of course I didn't know that. And it just really stopped me in my tracks.

And I thought, okay, the foundation for doing what I was doing was gone. Because it was predicated on saving women's lives. Providing good healthcare, saving women's lives, keeping them from some unsafe thing. And I remember the women in the pro-choice women's groups had significant history.

And they would talk about their experiences. And it was awful. I think we have learned so much since Roe v. Wade. Ultrasound was probably not even available in early Roe v. Wade. It was just in its infancy. So there wasn't that option. And we didn't know everything we know now. So in the mid-90s, 1990s, when I was working at Planned Parenthood, it was just tissue. It's just tissue.

Yeah. Let's go back to 1995. You began working at Planned Parenthood. Describe, I think the first two years you were part-time and then in your third year you became full-time. So just describe that decision and your own practice. You sold it and then you moved into full-time eventually with Planned Parenthood.

Well I had my own practice. I was very busy in obstetrics, delivering babies. And the solo abortion doctor wanted to retire.

So he made an arrangement with Planned Parenthood. And they approached me and asked me if I would do abortions one day a week. Their abortion day. They didn't do abortions every day. They did them only as often as they had people. So I would be delivering babies the day before and the day after and then I'd go do the abortion day.

Which at the time wasn't too bad. When I think back and I think that's kind of mentally schizophrenic. Working really hard to save my OB patients and their babies.

And then the next day going in and doing pregnancy terminations. Did that plant a seed of doubt for you? I mean you describe it like that now. Was that the beginning of your uneasiness or your wrestling with this? Was that contradiction that you had to live through?

Not really. I think sometimes in order to do abortions we put pretty thick blinders on. You know stay focused.

That's the big part of the story right? I mean you're just in essence a scientist and you're performing a scientific routine to take care of this woman's difficulty. In that regard while you were at Planned Parenthood you wanted to do more to invest in women's health care and Planned Parenthood didn't respond that well to that. What was that contradiction that you saw working at Planned Parenthood? When they made me an offer to close my practice and work there full time I don't even remember how I considered it. But I did and I ended up closing my practice and working there full time. And again still just doing abortion day and then doing non-abortion things on the other days that I was working there.

That would be OB ultrasound, dating ultrasounds, GYN exams. But in that health care desire you kind of were met with a cold shoulder is the way I read it. That they weren't as interested in providing health care. They were about queuing up the abortions and let's keep it moving forward basically. Did I read that correctly?

Yeah. Make no mistake they're about money. And abortion is their top money maker. And I remember that we had a point where we'd break even. We had to do at least I can't remember if it was 8 or 10 procedures to break even on abortion day. And of course then we had considerably more procedures so then anything above that would be profit. My passion has always been to help women to provide good health care. And when I was working part time, abortion days were really crazy and I didn't really think about is this good health care or not. It was just busy. But when I worked there full time it really became apparent to me that my hands were tied as far as providing good health care. That wasn't the objective is the point. And the tying of the hands was just that right?

That's not our number one priority. I have at that time it was pages and pages in a big thick manual about protocol and what you can do and what you can't do, what you can say, what you can't say, what your job is. And it was very clear to me that I was a technician.

It wasn't my job really to counsel or do anything that isn't in the manual. In fact you had a woman show up at the clinic who was struggling with that decision. Describe that interaction and what was the outcome. Well like I said in the book, I didn't really see the patient until she got into the exam room, the procedure room which was a very small room. And she'd already been paid her money, been counseled, signed all the forms, had her labs, her ultrasound and then she comes into the room.

And I have about two minutes to talk with them before I start the procedure. And I always kind of get a feeling for if she was really ambivalent. She was clearly undecided.

And I said you know you seem to be struggling. She said well she really didn't want to do this but she already paid her money and she traveled to get there and so she might as well just go through with it. And I said well you know you can reschedule if you're unsure reschedule. Come back when you're sure. Take more time to think about it.

You know you don't have to do this today. She was so afraid she wasn't going to get her money back and I said you will get your money back. But she said no I just want to go through with this.

And so I did. And I probably said that one too many times where I said you know you don't seem to have your mind made up and maybe you should just reschedule. That was kind of what I would say if they seemed to be kind of uncertain. And I guess that wasn't the company line. The handlers weren't happy with that.

Yeah. That's terrible. You do in the book describe that tumultuous environment at Planned Parenthood. Just speak to the clinic itself.

A lot of people listening have never had that experience obviously and maybe they've had a friend. But describe what your experience was as a physician working in there. The cleanliness or the lack thereof. The orderliness or the lack thereof with the clinic itself. It was a small building. It really wasn't all that clean. And in the three years that I was involved with Planned Parenthood there I never saw anybody from the health department.

Never. And the people that they had counseling were not necessarily professional counselors but all they had to do was read the script and get them to sign. Many years later I went back into the same building and it had been converted first into a branch of the Pregnancy Resource Center. Which is a pro-life group. Pro-life group.

But the first time I went into the building I think I lasted about 20 seconds before I had to run back out. And that was after it had been cleaned up. And I know the Pregnancy Resource Center and the founder is a good friend of mine. And she was telling me about when, first of all they bought the building anonymously. A name, actually cattle on a thousand hills. They bought the building and she said when they went there it was just filthy. And I said yeah. It just didn't have that level of cleanliness that a private clinic would have.

Well let me just add in there Patty which is so important. So many states that support abortion do so little to regulate those clinics. That they are just filthy and so far under the standard. And there have been some courageous people that have had to try to document that on video. And they are the ones that end up in jail.

It's so bizarre. And everybody's claiming to be pro-woman. And yet they let these women go into these environments that are disgusting.

That are so far below even third world standards in some cases. That it's terrible. It shows you their support of the ideology over truly the well-being of a woman. And that's plain to see. If you fight in this arena spiritually you see it as clear as day.

And again you've seen both sides of this. And it's what's so amazing about your story. In that context let's move to your spiritual development. I mean you're working at Planned Parenthood. A friend I believe invites you to come to a church around the corner from the clinic if I remember the story correctly. Just mentioned there was a new pastor at this church. And I wasn't really looking for a church. I was kind of going down the New Age path searching.

You know people who are in New Age and other things are searching. And he just kind of offhand said they have a new pastor. You might like this church. And I didn't know anybody in the church.

Very small. But they had a new young pastor. And I was just captivated. And for the first time in my life I just felt so drawn to this church and to the Bible.

And it's like they talk about in the Bible about the scales falling off your eyes. So I started reading the Bible and starting to understand it. And for about a year and a half I just intensively studied the Bible.

I didn't have a real job at the time. And I just intensively was studying the Bible with direction. And understanding it.

And at some point and I don't exactly know when. But it became so clear to me that God is a God of life. That's his character. That's his heart.

There should be no question. That's powerful. Yeah.

People can't miss that. I mean you're coming from being an abortion doctor. Going to this church, reading the scripture deeply.

Perhaps for the first time. And your conclusion as a very smart person is God is a God of life. That is what we proclaim. That's our only beef with the abortion industry. Is that it's the exact opposite of God's heart for his creation.

Yeah. Then what happened? Well that's all God.

I mean I can't take any credit for any of this journey. Because I wasn't looking. I was searching for something bigger than what at the beginning. Another piece of the puzzle that's so important is that in 2004, I started working with a very solid pro-life Catholic doctor in our small town. She was unapologetically pro-life. And I was still kind of in that. I wasn't admitting that I had changed. Because basically all my friends and most of my family were pro-choice. But just listening to her and her courage. And she gave me strength to start thinking more of that. And so by 2006, which was the first Vote Yes for Life campaign, the first time I really stepped out and said, I've changed.

So that's from 2001 to 2006. That's five years of gradual, painful realization. And that's the sanctification process.

That's what happens. And that's what's so wonderful about the Lord removing the scales from our eyes. And then we begin to see what is true. That he is a God of life, as you said. And that's what's so beautiful. You found out that a pro-life woman, I think she was a nun, had been praying for you for 10 years.

I love this aspect of your story. Because it shows that the prayers of the righteous availeth much, right? And so this is awesome that people were praying for you by name.

They knew what was taking place. But they still took the time to, in really a fair definition, to love you enough to pray for you. She still prays for me.

That is good. She's 90, she'll be 91 this month. And you had never met her during that process? I had never met her, no. She wrote me a letter in December 2006.

And I was stunned. And she said this was now 10 years that she had been praying for me based on an article in the local newspaper. And she saw my name and what caught her attention was I said something, well it wasn't my goal to do Abortions Full Time. And she hung on that statement and started praying for me. And then wrote me a letter when, through the Vote Yes for Life campaign, I actually ended up doing a TV commercial where basically I said who I was and what I used to do and that I was asking them to Vote Yes for Life on this ballot initiative.

And so she saw that, which was confirmation of her 10 years. And then she took the initiative to write me a letter. It didn't have the right address. It went to the wrong clinic. But it found me. And I was just flabbergasted.

I was just stunned. And it's a beautiful story of the things we can do and also the things we should not do. In that regard, when you look at the battle, we see this as a spiritual battle. We're all created in God's image. Even those that are on the abortion side are created in God's image.

And we need to respect that, certainly as believers in Christ. So what are the things that you've learned, Patty, about the battle and especially being in both camps as you have been? What are the lessons that you can share with us in ways to be effective in communicating God's truth? That He loves them, He cares for them, but that He is a God of life.

I love that description. What have you learned from both perspectives? When I was doing abortions and there would be people protesting on the sidewalk as I would be driving in, they never really screamed at me or anything, but it never made me reconsider what I was doing. And the more I think about it, we're not going to make progress if we just stand on opposite sides of the street calling each other names. And so really the reason I wrote the book was I want both sides to see the other side. I want people to challenge their thinking because I hear things that aren't quite true on both sides. So I really want people to have a little more understanding. In that regard, because again, I want people to walk away with something in their hands, that specificity of what to do.

What is that or the two or three things that actually do make a difference? Words are important. I think of the women who've been hurt by abortion and they don't come up to you and say, you know, I've been hurt by abortion. Well, now they come up to me because I think they feel like I'm safe. But I think of the churches and nobody wants to add pain to women and people who've been hurt by abortion. But in churches, oftentimes the things that the pastors say or the other very well-meaning people are very hurtful.

And I think we need to make our churches a safe place for all sinners. I think of the women who've had an abortion. It could be five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago. All families, I believe, have been affected by abortion.

They just don't know it. It might have been a grandmother who might have had an abortion pre-Roe v. Wade or post-Roe v. Wade. I just really believe that everybody has been affected.

Sure. Patty, right at the end here, I'm mindful, as we always are, John, that people listening, women particularly, but men too, where abortion has impacted them directly, a woman made that choice. She may have never shared that with anybody. And she's in a church now, and she's given her life to the Lord. And that was a decision that may have been made ten years ago, twenty years ago, who knows, forty years ago.

And she still carries that burden. And obviously, as a doctor, but also as a Christian woman, what would you say to her now? Tell someone. Speak up. Confront your pastor.

Not in front of the whole church. Pull them aside and say, I respect that you're pro-life and everything, but I've been hurt by abortion. I'm sure there's other people. And we need to find a different language. We need to find compassion.

We are all sinners. If a pastor of a church doesn't hear now and then from somebody in his church who's been hurt by abortion, then that pastor should wonder, why aren't people speaking up? How can I be a safe place? Maybe you just need to announce that you're open to meeting with people who've been hurt by abortion.

You're not judgmental. And you want to lead them to a path of healing or provide resources. And I remember a friend of mine said something about making our neighborhoods safe. Do you know your neighbor?

Do you have a young woman who might be in a crisis? Are we reaching out to them or are we just in our own little world where we're surrounded by other people that look and act like us? I quoted Moshe Dayan at a conference I did a couple weeks ago.

He was a freedom fighter for Israel. And he said, if we want to make peace, we don't talk to our friends. We have to talk to our enemies. So we have to reach out in some way, even if it's not about this topic.

For me, I have to force myself. I have to think, okay, how can I reach out? Talk about the weather. Talk about something. And so for my family, I just try and love them where they are, and hope that they will see the change in me and eventually ask or read the book. That's a good starting point.

Patty, this has been great. I'm reminded of that wonderful scripture, Romans 2.4, Don't you know it's God's kindness that leads one to repentance? And that pulses through me when I'm engaging with people from Planned Parenthood or the abortion industry.

And for that matter, the LGBTQ community as well. That's how they're going to be attracted to the gospel. And that's what the Lord does. And just knowing that He cares for every person again. And that nobody's beyond His reach.

That's what I hear you saying loud and clear. And we need to pray for those people. And I want to congratulate you again for, again, you had to have an open heart.

You're in the mire of the battle when you were working for Planned Parenthood. You could have easily kept the blinders on, but something in your heart kept you moving in a direction toward God's heart. And I'm very intrigued by that because that is the great part of the journey for everyone who sees the truth and embraces God's love and moves forward in that regard. And that's how, Jim, you concluded this conversation with Dr. Patty Giebenk.

It rightfully is a Best of 2021 episode on Focus on the Family. And we do recommend you follow up on this very important topic. Get a copy of Dr. Giebenk's book, Unexpected Choice, an Abortion Doctor's Journey to Pro-Life. John, let me turn to the listener. And I hope Patty's story has encouraged you. God is working to change hearts.

That's what He does. And He can use you to help women who are considering abortion. We often mention this statistic. About 60% of abortion-minded women will choose life once they see their baby through that ultrasound. So please join us in ministry as we help women in crisis. Our option ultrasound program equips pregnancy resource clinics around the country. And we estimate a gift of $60 can save a baby's life.

It's pretty incredible. And we invite you to join the support team for Option Ultrasound. Give a gift of $60. And as our way of saying thank you, we'll send a copy of Patty's book, Unexpected Choice. Call us today to donate and get that book. Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family.

800-232-6459. Or you can learn more by clicking the link in the episode notes. And I do hope you'll make plans to join us next time as we take a look at spiritual warfare in your marriage. The Scriptures begin with a marriage. It's Adam and Eve. It's an important institution. It reflects the image of God himself.

And so wouldn't it make sense if Satan wants to attack God that he would attack the thing that reflects his image? On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

We'll be right back. I believe that my marriage could be saved. I agreed to go, but was very skeptical that anything could help us.

But the whole environment was so safe and non-judgmental. I felt my heart start to open up as we worked with the counselors. Both of us still have work to do in our marriage, but for the first time in a long time, we have hope again. Focus on the Family's Hope Restored Marriage Intensive Program has helped thousands of couples who thought that their marriage was over. Find out which program is right for you at HopeRestored.com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-06 13:09:37 / 2023-07-06 13:20:04 / 10

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