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Changing Minds to Save the Pre-Born

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
February 19, 2024 4:34 am

Changing Minds to Save the Pre-Born

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 19, 2024 4:34 am

Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, shares inspiring stories about the pro-life movement and will help you to speak up for the preborn and vulnerable women. She talks about what motivated her as a teenager to get involved in the pro-life movement, her work with Students for Life of America, and how to graciously deal with criticism, attacks, and misinformation from abortion advocates.


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When I'm speaking to young women, I'll ask them, why are you falling for these antiquated lies of the abortion industry?

You know you're strong enough. Abortion is the opposite of empowerment to young women. That's Kristin Hawkins. She's our guest today on Focus on the Family, and she's the head of Students for Life, a pro-life organization working primarily on college campuses. Kristin has some great insights for us today about protecting women and their pre-born children from abortion. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. John, this issue of abortion is so close to my heart, and I'm so grateful that Focus for many, many years, 40 plus years, defending the innocent life of a pre-born baby and helping the moms. As Christians, we're called to protect the vulnerable around us, and some of the most vulnerable people we're ever going to encounter are pre-born children and their mothers. And I'm so grateful that we've helped so many in that way.

We have done that together, by the way, the donors and Focus. And the reality is abortion harms both mom and baby, and there's so much we can do to support the pro-life movement. So part of this program is just getting you up to speed on what's happening on the front lines from one of the most articulate fighters for the pro-life position. And Kristin is out there on college campuses like Berkeley and Dartmouth and Yale and Harvard. Think of that discussion, and we're going to hear more from her shortly.

Yeah, and I mentioned she's the president of Students for Life, and Kristin is married to Jonathan, and they have four children. Kristin, welcome to Focus on the Family. Thanks for having me. It's good to see you again. It's good to have you here too, and I always admire from a distance what you're doing, and it's good to finally have you here on Focus on the Family.

It's great to be here. Focus is so critical for what we do, and I want to thank you all for what you guys do. I remember as a little girl sitting at church, I would get those Focus on the Family bulletin church inserts. That was really kind of the first time abortion I learned about abortion was through those church bulletin inserts. So I don't know if you all are still doing that.

We're still doing that with Takedown. But I mean, just thank you for that, because what you mentioned earlier, you all have been doing this for 40 plus years, and the legacy you guys have had is spread out across America. Wow, that's very kind. Well, Kristin, let's start with the obvious question. What got you going to be an advocate, to be a really strong voice for the pro-life movement? What was the occurrence that you kind of went, wow, I got to do something?

I think everyone has those kind of stories of those of us who have committed our lives to the pro-life movement. For me, it was a simple ask in my life, where a woman that I went to church with was a part-time accountant at a pregnancy resource center. I was looking to graduate high school early. I decided to graduate school a year early, and so I had to get all of my volunteer hours within one summer to graduate with honors. And so I just put out a call at church that Kristin's available for slave labor all summer. Whatever you need, I have to fill up all of these volunteer hours. And she came up to me and said, you know, I work at this women's center.

Do you want to come and intern for me at the women's center? And I had, I would love to be able to say today that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into, that I knew, you know, really fully the issue of abortion and the violence of abortion, but I didn't really know that much. I largely felt that I was pro-life.

I grew up in a church. We didn't talk about much, but as I mentioned, we had those bulletin inserts so I knew a little bit, but you know, I was kind of one of those people of, yes, I'm against abortion, but in this case or maybe in this case. And so when I walked into that pregnancy center in Steubenville, Ohio, the women there were just so excited to have me there because I was the youngest volunteer by a couple of decades and they just poured into me for an entire summer and really trained me in how to counsel some of the women who were coming into the clinic my age, even younger. Yes, I did the menial intern task of reorganizing the supply room and teaching everyone how to use the computer, yes, but for me, I remember distinctly walking out of that pregnancy center the first day, you know, with the thought in my head of why doesn't anyone talk about this?

Abortion is happening thousands of times a day and no one talks about this. Well, and I do want to make a shameless plug for our internship program that we have in focus. So if you are a college person and want to spend a summer with us, get ahold of us and moms, dads, you can let your adult children know about that. So, but in that context, you did get an opportunity to begin counseling and that really sparked you, I think, right? What happened and how old were you then? And pretty courageous because of your youthfulness that somebody would have said, well, let's put you in the counseling role because that's heavy. Yeah, that's something normally you would see pregnancy centers do. I think Sharon, the director of the center, probably saw something in me and I would sit in with her for counseling sessions and then by the end of summer, I was able to do some of them by myself. I was 15, nearly 16, and it was hard because I grew up in pretty sheltered, stable family, a great family.

There was no financial poverty, no spiritual poverty. And then to meet some of these women who came into the center, many of them had already had abortions in their life. They're coming for a pregnancy test.

Sometimes I knew they weren't, I'd say, you're not, do you really think you're pregnant? She was coming there because she wanted to talk to somebody, but she needed some diapers for her two year old. Her boyfriend was abusing her and just hearing these stories and realizing that abortion isn't this great solution for any of these women, no matter how terrible these circumstances are, it's, it's this bandaid and in a lot of ways it let the abuse continue on in her life. Yeah.

And in that regard, I mean, I think the statistics show when they do the post survey work that women are far worse off after abortion, emotionally, spiritually, in every way. So that's why you are there. Students for life, it's about 18 years old now, so it's becoming an adult. It can vote. It's about it.

But in that context, I mean, that's a long time going after this. What have you seen in that movement? You're going after students. Why?

Why is it important to be on these college campuses where there's, you know, pretty much monolithic thinking about the abortion issue, which is every woman should have the right to terminate the life of their baby. That's a hostile environment to get into. What's it like? Yeah, I don't mind hostile environments. I actually enjoy them.

I find I thrive in those environments. So I and what's the mission? Yeah, I mean, I think when you look at the mission of students for life, you look at back at the history of social reform movements in our country. And you know, in order to have great cultural change take effect, you have to win over a generation of young people. That is what the left has done.

So brilliantly. I mean, today, we've seen the chickens come home to roost on our college campuses. And this wasn't just like two years ago, people tend to think like, oh, it's gotten really bad since COVID. No, this is what they've been teaching our young people for decades in schools. And now they're in college. And now they're adults. No wonder why they're confused about their gender or think that they have no value or purpose in life because you've told them that right for two decades while they were in school and so I know and I think about my life and the time I spend away from my four kids, my husband and you know, why am I doing this work and getting on these planes and going to these crazy places that people don't want me right? I know that there's nothing greater than I can do to build this generation up these young people who they are the ones having the conversations on campuses with the women who are most targeted by the abortion industry. They're saving lives are helping moms and families find success. But then these are the ones also leading the pro life movement. Now we have, you know, 10s of 1000s of graduates and students who are now running their own pregnancy centers, starting their own maternity homes, you know, working for members of Congress, they are literally everywhere. They're running for office, they're being elected to office. This is the generation that's going to hopefully achieve the full mission, the pro life movement, which wasn't just reverse Roe versus Wade. It's to end abortion to make it unthinkable and unavailable. That's really going to be this generation's legacy.

And maybe so that's what we have all worked for for so long. Let's get down to some practical storytelling. You're there helping students in very practical ways. You're lecturing and talking and debating and doing q&a's it again, Berkeley and dark talks.

Yeah, I mean, it's and I've seen many of those and you do a great job. Tell us about that component, what you practically do to help these female students in their point of need. And one of the things that comes out in the data, I didn't mention it a moment ago, but if a woman has just one person that says, I will help you through this, they're far more likely to have the child instead of being alone.

If they're alone, they're desperate, they're looking for, you know, way out. But they say if I just had one person saying we can do this together, she'll tell you that the pregnancy center I wrote a book back in 2010, where I interviewed students for life leaders, young women on campus is all who had an abortion story. And every story, every person we interviewed, the difference between life and death was one person finding, if she was able to find one person as her, she didn't have to have the abortion.

Not that they had all the solutions and all the answers to everything going on in in her life at that time. But just saying you don't have to do it. You're, you're absolutely right. And I think that's what's important about what we do at students for life every day on campuses where we're going out hosting events, starting conversations, we measure our conversations, we measure our conversion, we have a 10% conversion rate last semester on campus. And that's, you know, that's hard to get people to admit that they're, you know, they were wrong to your face online, the conversion rates much always much higher because you're just committing it to yourself. But then, you know, you start just hosting these events and starting the conversation. It's building up these groups, students for life groups on high school college campuses that are this remaining force that are constant.

They're hosting educational displays, talking about the violence of abortion, talking about the resources in their community, and then pressuring this university themselves to change their own policies to support pregnant parenting women to be that one person. So we have tons of stories of that. Yeah, and I want to hear person meeting that girl. Yeah. And I guess the good way to describe that is you try to be that friend.

Yeah, that's right. You try to be that one person, that one entity that can help her make the better decision. Give us a couple of those stories of women that you've helped. Yeah, one of the stories that is a recent story President Trump highlighted a couple years ago, I didn't know about it until I was watching on TV.

And I was like, why did anyone tell me this? One of our students in Fresno approached the students for life table, took one of the fetal models, the rubber fetal models, went to Planned Parenthood, was going to have an abortion. Jessica walked out of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility after they told her, you know, you have to do this, you're Latino, you know, you're the first one, you're family to graduate college, you're not going to achieve your goals. So she walked out. And the next week, she found the students for life group again, on campus, tabling about abortion, tabling about nonviolent alternatives in our community, walked right up to them and said, Okay, now what do I do? I'm not gonna have this abortion.

Now what do I do? And it's an incredible story of just how the entire Fresno State students for life group came around this young mother helped her through, you know, went with her to university meetings where they had to kind of stand up for her rights as a pregnant student on campus. Jessica eventually became the president of the students for life group as a mother walked in her master's graduation with her son with her.

It's incredible story. And there's all kinds of stories like that of just having that presence on campus, as a students for life group highlighting all that's there that the group is willing to do, whether it's baby diaper drives, a baby showers, free babysitting nights that these students for life groups do. They're that voice to say you don't have to make this false choice. You don't have to choose between your education or, or the way you see your life going and your child, you can do both.

It's not going to be easy, but you can do both. You know, I'm stuck back away. You said a moment ago about how they tried to tell this young lady that if she has a baby, she will destroy her life. I mean, what I'm hearing is if you're a mom, you're a loser. And it's so bizarre. It's so it's Yes, it's that but it's also so bizarre that they've been able to achieve a certain level of dividing a mother from her baby.

It's so contrary to God's nature. A mom has that desire. She has that nature and that nurture to be there for that baby. And it's kind of profound in a sad way that they have done such devastation to that natural ability of a mom. And to label that person, you're not going to succeed.

You can do it today, you can do it, you can have a career, you can be a mom, you can get married, which is a better way to go, right. And yet, I do think they're unfortunately successful in brainwashing young women, that they will never succeed if they have a baby. What a lie from the pit of hell. No, and that in that lie, didn't just start, you know, recently, I mean, you think about the 1960s, and the second wave of the feminist movement, and how, you know, in the 70s, you started seeing advertising marketing in America shift from a mother being this put together, nicely dressed woman who can handle it all to becoming this disheveled person. And the career woman is the one who's put together and has it all going on. And I mean, that started way before I was even conceived or thought of. And that's what we've seen on these campuses. And we call it when I'm speaking to young women, I'll ask them, why are you falling for these antiquated lies of the abortion industry, you know, you're strong enough, you know, we've been told, you know, since we were little girls in schools, that we are equal to boys, and we can achieve, you know, even more than boys can achieve. And if you look at the college, you know, you know, graduation rates, more women are graduating college now than men.

So I mean, that's a whole nother problem and whole nother broadcast and expert you need to bring on there. But why do you feel that you have to succumb to these lies of the abortion industry? They are abortion is the opposite of empowerment to young women truly is. And I'm so proud of what pregnancy resource centers do around the country.

It's it's an awesome movement. They are there for that woman to help her in so many practical ways. You're not going to get that at a Planned Parenthood clinic, sorry, or any other abortion clinic, they're into making the money off the abortion and you're out the door. And that's the plain truth. And of course, we do our optional ultrasound program here, which helps equip those pregnancy resource centers with the ultrasound machine to show the mom her baby and oftentimes, the majority of women will choose life when they have counseling and see that baby, you know, in the womb, it's so amazing that baby will be sucking its thumb, it'll be waving its hands, you know, this is a living human being.

And that's the battle we're trying to win. Yeah, this is focused on the family with Jim Daly. And at our website, you'll be able to see all the details about students for life and about option ultrasound and ways that you can be equipped to stand for life.

Just stop by the site, the link is in the show notes. Kristin, I want to kind of get into that moment that you're on a campus, and you're having these exchanges with students that, you know, it's almost there is a my expression of this, there's almost I've seen the videos on YouTube, it's almost like a militancy. And I block uniform think that they show up in, you know, it's the typical congregation of thinkers on the left, you know, the LGBTQ crowd and the pro abortion people. And by the way, I no longer call them pro choice. That is not an accurate statement.

It is campaign for that. So, you know, I think all of us in the Christian community don't give them the dignity of choice. That's not what they're about. Ever.

They're about 600 $700. Right, but it's not it's Yeah, it's a lofty sounding title, but it's not who they are. And especially the leaders of that movement. But describe being in that kind of angry, aggressive context. I mean, you know, for me, I do want to have a discussion, I want to keep the dialogue open, the Lord, I think really does command us to maintain that. But boy, our own temperament, the way that we're wired can really trip us up in that environment where there's unloading of this emotion coming at us. How do you frame it?

How do you go about engaging with somebody who's frothing at the mouth and seemingly want to hurt you? Because of what it is you believe? Well, I'm very lucky. I mean, my, my singular prayer usually when I step onto an environment like that is come Holy Spirit, you know, so it's a good start. It's a good start. And you know, words will come out my mouth sometimes and I'll watch the video later.

I'm like, man, where did that come from? It was not in any written remarks I had or thoughts I was having. And so the Holy Spirit does come and I think he gives you that sense of peace and calm when you're having those discussions. I think, you know, for me, when I'm having that discussion with a young person, especially when they get really angry, you have to understand, you're probably talking to a walking wounded person. I mean, with the rate of abortion in our country, likely that person's been involved in abortion or has had an abortion or know someone they love who's had an abortion. And so there's some sort of hurt there. Often I get young people in this I know this is issue close to your heart, Jim, who have been raised in the foster care system. And they're very hurt by what their parents did to them, by how you buy something that happened to them in the system.

And they're there. And sadly, they'll, you know, they'll say, Well, I don't think anybody has any value. I don't have any value. And so you're dealing with somebody who's, it's not just arguing a political argument about abortion, or even a human rights argument about this child that they'll never know.

It's having argument with them themselves that they have value. And no, I have to start out all my speeches on campuses now, reminding students that they have value. Like I've, I think themselves, yes, yeah, I take I tie I give a pregnancy helpline for standing with, which is our kind of comprehensive resource of pregnancy centers and government funded non abortion agencies, I talk about post abortive healing, and then I then I always end with and you have value, no matter how much you hate me, or how much you may disagree with me, I want you to know that I believe you have value and you had a right to be born.

Those are like the three standard things I have to always, you know, make sure I go through. And so I think that helps have, you know, peace in those conversations when someone's screaming at you or, you know, calling me nasty names or threatening my children. I tend to get more, I guess, angry when it's a person who comes up.

I just I'm thinking about my last campus I was at this fall semester, University of Florida, where a young man who kept professing his Christian faith and using it to justify abortion. I think I probably lost my cool on that one. Yeah, well, it's with Christians that I tend to lose my, my coolness with, because I'm like, you should know better, you know, of all the things, why are you quoting scripture to me, trying to justify killing God's children. But yeah, no, I think that helps. I also think we're all called to different things, too. I'm, I am much better in a hostile situation where people are screaming at me, because we're pretty calm. I'm calm. And I'm also thinking about what I'm saying and what people who are watching the conversation are thinking because often I have 50 students who are watching the conversation.

So I'm pointing out the logic position that they have taken. And I get to see I have the best of you in the whole deal because I get to see the little light bulbs go off and all the audiences, you know, well, that's what's so good. You know, again, one of the things that we've done for years here is that option ultrasound, but that now has expanded into so many efforts within the pro-life community. For example, certainly the placement of the machines in the clinics, but also developing a powerful app, My Choice Network, that gets all the independent pregnancy resource centers kind of connected in community. And we're able to do national or regional ad campaigns on an app when a woman searches abortion, need abortion, and that has exponentially sent women to these clinics to get advice on having the baby and saving the baby's life. That's been powerful. I mean, I mean, hundreds of thousands of appointments in the pro-life community.

That's been a great success. The other which we hadn't talked about, but it's something I've thought about going all the way back during the Obama administration. We always talk about women keeping that child, but adoption is an option, a better option and then ending the life of your child. But one of the difficulties we have is we don't have a national kind of waiting adoption list of parents who want a newborn infant. So we are attempting to work with agencies, adoption agencies to develop a national database. And if we can, you know, there's about a million abortions every year, and from our research about a million people that would do the adoption, we just need to link these up. So we're working hard in that same space with Option Ultrasound to put money toward developing that list so that women will have options, pre-qualified adoptive parents who are Christians and want to get involved in this way. That is another noble approach.

That's right. And I'm so thankful for what you're doing because that's so, so needed. I just interviewed a woman a couple months ago on my podcast, explicitly pro-life, explicitly pro-life, and she's a foster care advocate in Jacksonville, child psychologist, and just talking about what's happening in the foster care system in Florida and how hard it was for her family to adopt a child and the blessing of her child that she was able to adopt.

It's so, it should not be this hard. But you think about politics. Politics is a place to engage in that. You know, we need better state laws about, you know, to help adopting families, the rising costs of adoption in our country. We don't, we don't talk about those things a lot. There needs to be folks coming together to address some of the real concerns we have, you know, and folks have with the foster care agencies and states or how, you know, the Christians are being sidelined in some of these states from adopting or from being in foster care. Exactly.

It's horrible. But this is so good. And here's an irony. You know, we have got the metrics down. It's $60 to save a baby's life through the Option Ultrasound program that I've talked about. So I hope people will engage that way. Jean and I are doing that. You know, we try to do that every month to save babies through the program.

And you can change a young person's mind about abortion for $12 a month. Let's do that. I'll support you.

I'll match you and you match me. That'll be great. And you know, again, this is just a way to engage in all of the great work that's being done. Kristin, it's important to mention the fact that another thing that we're involved with, along with the Pregnancy Resource Centers, is the abortion reversal pill. So this is a very safe thing to do. Once a woman has taken that first pill, they can get the reversal pill if they do within about 24 or 48 hours. It can actually restore the baby and no harm. There's long term studies that have watched this.

I think 5000 babies were looked at clinically, all solid, healthy children. But and this is all hormone treatment. I mean, they, they blast the baby with a hormone in order to start the process.

And then you can reverse that. So I would encourage women who are maybe in that spot to think about quickly. And you can get a hold of a Pregnancy Resource Center call 1-800-A-FAMILY. We could put you in touch with somebody right away. And a nurse will be on the line with you. Yeah, that's awesome. Go staying with and start a chat with Heartbeat International instantly.

Yeah, they're the ones who founded the abortion reversal network and they can get the protocol going. Kristen, thank you for what you do. I'm so delighted that we could have you on focus so that you could express what you're seeing at the ground level. There's nothing that beats being on the ground and talking with people and I admire the fact that you're doing it. I'd encourage people to take a look at your YouTubes because those are really good instructors on how to deal with angry people in your face and the way that you're able to respond to them with logic, with compassion, with spiritual insight.

Keep on going. Well, thank you for what you guys do and your option of ultrasound. And it's incredible just to hear a refresher of all that focus that the family is doing right now to change our culture and save lives and help mothers. Well, thank the Lord for people with big hearts that give to help this effort and your effort as well. So thanks for being with us. Well, I hope you've been encouraged to donate to Focus on the Family today to save a baby's life. For a phone call away, 800, the letter A in the word family, 800-232-6459, or check the program notes for the link and all the details. And 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. As a parent, it's easy to find myself sitting backseat to my kids in the backseat. It's tough to be a step ahead.

In full honesty, I'm pretty hard on myself when that happens. But I've found Practice Makes Parent, a podcast from Focus on the Family, hosted by Dr. Danny Huerta and Rebecca St. James. It helps me be more intentional and not feel alone when things get tough. Everything they share is practical and well practiced, and I can use it right away. Listen to Practice Makes Parent wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-19 06:43:59 / 2024-02-19 06:55:26 / 11

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