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momPastor Christian McShaffrey wrote this material in 2005 as part of a “Pro-life Resource Packet for Churches ” published by the Wisconsin Right to Life (Sauk Co. Chapter) and distributed to all the churches in central and south-central Wisconsin.

While the original printed version included information specific to WRL, this version has been edited to be more broadly applicable.

I. General Introduction

II. Pastoral Exhortation

III. Getting the Facts Straight

A. What is an abortion?

B. How are abortions performed?

C. Is it really a baby?

D. What will an abortion do to me?

E. What are the alternatives to an abortion?

IV. Materials Geared Toward Teens

A. Communicating with today’s teens

B. Acknowledging cultural pressures

C. The abstinence ideal

D. How to say, “No”

V. Practical Ministry Helps

A. Answering the objections

B. Identifying the victims

C. Counseling the parents

D. Confronting the community

E. Relevant biblical passages

VI. End of Life Issues

A. Understanding the issues

B. Advance directives

C. Hospice care

VII. Getting Your Church Involved

A. Preparing the congregation

B. What you can do

C. Links, names, and numbers

I. General Introduction

This booklet was written to assist church leaders as they serve those poor and desperate souls who are contemplating having an abortion, recovering from an abortion, or who are facing other difficult end-of-life decisions.

While there is an abundance of information available on these topics and a variety of resources which we could offer, this booklet has been designed to meet only the immediate and most basic needs of pastors, teachers, and counselors in the Church.

II. Pastoral Exhortation

Dear church leaders,

As you consider what benefit this booklet might be to your own ministry, we humbly ask that you remember how our Lord Jesus responded to the confused multitudes that came to him in time of need:

“And Jesus, when he came out, saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion for them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: so he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34).

Will you, who have also been called to shepherd the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2), be so moved when wandering souls come into your study in tears?

Will you, who have been called to minister the word in all seasons (2 Timothy 4:2), be ready to give an answer when those difficult questions about life and death are raised?

Will you, who have been called to speak on behalf of the speechless who have been appointed to die (Proverbs 31:8), actually do so before it is too late?

Will you, who have been called to care for Christ’s children, receive that crown of glory when the Chief Shepherd returns (1 Peter 5:4)?

I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to remember your high calling at to receive this booklet as a modest encouragement in the ministry.

Your fellow servant,

Pastor Christian McShaffrey
Grace Reformed Church (Reedsburg, WI)

III. Getting the Facts Straight

A. What is an abortion?

Deception Through Definition

The words used in the abortion debate are never neutral.  Whether we realize it or not, the words we use do betray our underlying presuppositions and core commitments.

On the one hand, those who defend the legality of abortion will speak of their cause as being “Pro-Choice” (in order to leave the impression that those who are against abortion are actually “Anti-Choice”).

On the other hand, we who oppose abortion typically speak of our cause as being “Pro-Life” which also leaves an appropriate impression.  Namely, that those who advocate abortion are in all actuality “Pro-Death.”

We must choose our words carefully and beware of the deceitfulness of definitions.

Deception Through Technical Language

The medical establishment has labored to shroud the heinous nature of killing unborn children through a subtle use of “clinical language.”  When defining abortion, the Medical dictionaries will use language like this:

“The premature expulsion from the uterus of the products of conception, of the embryo or of a nonviable fetus.” [1]

Speaking the Truth in Love

As a Christian Pastor, you have been called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and this involves two things:

1. You must speak plainly

2. You must speak tenderly

“So…Pastor, what exactly is abortion?”

“Abortion is just another word for murder.  It is a violent, terrible, and unthinkable act in which the precious life of an unborn and innocent child is deliberately taken. Abortion is the deliberate killing of an unborn child.”

“But… aren’t there any exceptions?”

“No there are not.”

B. How are abortions performed?

Suction Aspiration

A powerful suction tube with a sharp cutting edge is inserted into the womb to dismember the body of the baby and tear the placenta from the wall of the uterus.

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)

A loop-shaped steel knife is inserted into the womb through the dilated cervix.  The body of the baby is cut into pieces and removed and the placenta is scraped off the uterine wall.

RU 486

This abortion pill first starves the child to death (through hormone deprivation) and then causes muscular contractions to expel the dead baby.

The Morning After Pill

This pill will inhibit ovulation, interrupt the menstrual cycle, and alter the lining of the uterus so that the child cannot live.


This procedure is similar to the one using RU 486, though administered by an intramuscular injection instead of a pill.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

Forceps with sharp metal jaws are used to grasp parts of the developing baby, which are then twisted and torn away.

Instillation Methods

These methods involve the injection of drugs or chemicals into the amniotic sac to cause the death of the child and his or her expulsion from the uterus.

Partial-Birth Abortion

The baby is first pulled into the birth canal with forceps (except for the head, which is kept just inside the womb).  Then a pair of scissors is used to pierce the back of the baby’s skull and a suction catheter is then used to suck the baby’s brains out.


The entire uterus, baby, placenta, and amniotic sac are removed through surgery.

C. Is it really a baby?

Unfortunately, this commonly asked question already anticipates a negative answer.  Therefore, we must gently correct the inquirer by replying, “Do you mean is he or she really a baby?” (reminding them that a baby’s sex is determined at the moment of fertilization).

In order to facilitate a fruitful discussion on childhood development, you should first ask the counselee when she thinks she became pregnant.  With this information, you will be able to use the following chart to describe what her child is doing right now!

Also consider using a full-color fetal development pamphlet like What They Never Told You About the Facts of Life to aid in this discussion and try to use words like “Your baby just learned how to….” or “…isn’t that wonderful?” in order to fully engage this mother-to-be on an emotional level.

1st  Week – Sex of the child can be determined

2nd Week – Heart is forming and eyes develop

3rd Week – Heart begins to beat

4th Week – Arms and legs are growing

5th Week – Mouth, ears, and nose are taking shape

6th Week – Skeleton is formed and child begins to move

7th Week – Lips are sensitive to touch

8th Week – Every organ is now formed

9th Week – Child can suck his or her thumb

10th Week – Child squints, swallows, and frowns

11th Week – Child can urinate and smile

12th Week – Child can kick, turn head, and practice breathing

13th Week – More graceful movements, vocal chords forming

4th Month – Child grasping with hands, doing somersaults

5th Month – Sleeping habits begin and child responds to sounds

6th Month – Child can now survive outside of the womb

7th Month – Child can look around and recognize the mom’s voice

8th Month – Rapid growth occurs… “It’s getting cramped in here!”

9th Month – Child triggers labor and birth follows

“For you formed my inward parts; you wove me together in my mother’s womb.I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psalm 139:13-14a)

D. What will an abortion do to me?

Physical Complications

Despite the use of local anesthesia, many women do experience pain during the abortion procedure.  And while the use of general anesthesia can reduce the pain, it also significantly increases the risk of cervical injury or uterine perforation.

After an abortion, many women experience complications such as bleeding, hemorrhaging, laceration of the cervix, menstrual disturbance, and inflammation of the reproductive organs, bladder or bowel perforation, and serious infection.

Women who have abortions also face an increased risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and a more than doubled risk of future sterility.

Having even one abortion will increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 90%.Over 200 women have died from legal abortions since 1973.

Psychological Consequences

Clinical research has shown that having an abortion causes serious psychological harm to over 50% of women.

Nightmares, flashbacks, and persistent and painful feelings of guilt and regret are frequently experienced by women who have aborted a child and lead many women to seek unhealthy and destructive avenues of escape (e.g., alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, etc.).

“They report horrible nightmares of children calling to them from trash cans, of body parts, and blood…” [2]

However, since the scientific study of abortion is a rather recent development, long-term studies have not yet been able to determine exactly how much psychological damage such criminal violence actually inflicts.

Spiritual Consequences

The Bible teaches us that God is so holy that he cannot even bear to look at sin (Habakkuk 1:13) and it also describes having the light of God’s countenance taken away as an extremely painful personal experience (c.f., Psalm 6).

Even worse than these temporal afflictions is the eternal punishment which awaits those who die with blood on their hands; for the Lord God Almighty declares that “hands which shed innocent blood” are an abomination to him (Proverbs 6:17).

E. What are the alternatives to abortion?

Through all the “Pro-Choice” rhetoric, abortion clinic “counselors” make it seem as if having an abortion is a woman’s only rational option when faced with an unexpected pregnancy.  But this could not be farther from the truth.

Throughout the United States, there are nearly three thousand Crisis Pregnancy Centers which are staffed by volunteers who are ready to provide real help to pregnant and scared women. The volunteers at these centers are devoted to showing women that there are real and healthy alternatives to abortion.

“Should I Become a Mother?”

While questions may be raised as to one’s readiness to take on maternal responsibilities, never let the basic reality be denied that if a woman is pregnant, she already is a mother!

Once this is affirmed, the discussion can move in a more fruitful direction:  This woman now needs to face much more pertinent questions, such as, “Am I ready to take on this responsibility?” and “Where can I go for help?”

“Should I Consider Adoption?”

Many women believe that “giving up” their child is a terribly selfish thing to do; but this is simply not the case.

To kill one’s child is selfish.  To keep one’s child without being able to care for him or her is selfish.  But to ask the question, “What will be best for this little one?” is actually one of the most maternal questions a woman can ponder.

There are literally thousands of families who cannot have children of their own.  Their hearts’ desire is to shower love upon a child.  Yet, they cannot.  Help the counselee to realize that she may very well be the long-awaited answer to someone’s prayers.

“But is Adoption Biblical?”

If it were not, then none of us would be saved; for Paul rejoiced in the fact that God the Father has, “Predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved”  (Ephesians 1:5-6).

IV. Materials Geared Toward Teens

A. Communicating with today’s teens

Clarifying The Problem

The very concept of a “teen” is actually a relatively recent phenomenon.  Granted, there has always been that certain element of the population who happen to be between the ages of 13 and 19.  But is this really the definition of “a teenager” which we are being asked to accept nowadays?  We assert that it is not.

It seems that when most people talk about “teens” they are speaking of a group which has been defined by attitude rather than by age.

Complicating The Problem

If the barrier which stands between the adult and the adolescent is primarily one of attitude rather than age, then parents, counselors, and pastors must be quick to resist the temptation of using “hip talk” to relate to “teens” on “their level”.

Even with the best and most up-to-date “slang glossary” in hand, a superior who resorts to such measures will accomplish nothing but further alienation through a forfeiting of the respect that they are already entitled to.

Confronting The Problem

When faced with the problem of poor communication with a “teenager”, the adult must be very careful not to accept all the blame.  This, in fact, is precisely what the out-of-control or even mildly-defiant adolescent desires.

This is nothing but sin and it does need to be addressed.  The Fifth Commandment REQUIRES all inferiors to RESPECT their superiors.  Therefore, do not be afraid to call sin by its proper name, call for repentance, and restore, thereby, right order to the counselor/counselee relationship.

Conquering The Problem

As already alluded to, “the problem” of communicating with today’s teenagers has most to do with the assumption that teenagers need to be approached as some “special subspecies” of humanity.  They are not.

If a child has begun to have sex, they have (wittingly or not) stepped themselves right into the realm of adulthood.  This being the case, the best hope for communication lies not in “hip talk” but in the plain and honest speech with which we adults typically address one another.

B. Acknowledging cultural pressures

The Desire for Intimacy

Let it first be noted that a personal longing to be loved and to be intimate is a completely natural and God-given desire.  God created us male and female and has built into us (even before the fall) a longing to find and experience that completeness which marital intimacy affords.

Therefore, do not overlook, degrade, or despise a counselee’s longing for sexual intimacy.  Rather, explain that this particular desire needs to be understood and fulfilled according to God’s will (since he is the one who created it).

The Entertainment Industry

Movies, sit-coms, and modern music seem to have become some of the devil’s favorite playthings. It is shameful even to speak of the things which are portrayed by the media as being “absolutely normal” nowadays.

Therefore, we must realize that the poor girl who is considering having an abortion is (at least to some degree) just as much a victim as that unborn child.  This girl has been bombarded with flashing lights and high-tempo propaganda all of her life.  She has grown up in a culture of death and has been seduced by the ever-subtle wiles of the devil.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood exists in order to cast off all of the restraints which God himself has put upon the sexual relationship.  Therefore, it must be regarded as nothing but a sinister and seditious attack from the Antichrist.

And this is no empty charge.  We shall let them explain their own plan and purpose:

“… to be ready as educators and parents to help young people obtain sex satisfaction before marriage. By sanctioning sex before marriage we will prevent fear and guilt. We must also relieve those who have these… feelings, and we must be ready to provide young boys and girls with the best contraceptive measures available so they will have the necessary means to achieve sexual satisfaction without having to risk possible pregnancy.” [3]

Planned Parenthood not only believes this, but also does everything in its wicked power to promote and establish its depraved and lawless cause.

C. The abstinence ideal

Abstinence is the choice to refrain from having sex before marriage and is God’s express will for all of his unmarried children:  “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

The Old Objection

Until just recently, the idea of teaching abstinence was considered laughable. “After all,” many have said, “in our sex-saturated culture, young people are just naturally going to be sexually active, so the best we can hope to do is teach safe sex through contraception.”

A New Opportunity

However, since the observable results of freely available birth control have proven to be nothing less than a complete societal disaster, a growing number of students, teachers and parents are now admitting that the only safe sex is no sex.  As a result, the discussion of abstinence is gaining a new-found acceptance in our society.

Acknowledging the Risks

The fact is, there is no method of birth control (including condoms) which can stop sexually transmitted diseases (including the HIV virus) or prevent pregnancy 100% of the time.

The Deeper Issue

Project Reality [4] has a wonderful saying: Avoid the pain – Abstain.  There is actually no such thing as safe sex because it “doesn’t protect the heart.” [5] Therefore, Project Reality wisely promotes true sex.

What is “True Sex”?

True sex can only occur within marriage. The best way to avoid the pain of shattered relationships and unwanted pregnancies is to abstain from sexual activity.  Please consider and feel free to share Project Reality’s slogan:

Abstinence means freedom –
Freedom to pursue your hopes and dreams
Freedom from fear of pregnancy, STDs and AIDS
From feeling used, worried, guilty
To wait for true love in marriage

D. How to say “No”

Saying It

As valuable as a “how to” section may seem to be, it does not ultimately matter “how” someone refuses unwanted sexual advances.  The most important thing is that they just do it!

Planning It

However, this assumes that the about-to-be rejected sexual advances are actually unwanted.

More often than not, young men and women actually get themselves into difficult and even dangerous situations by simply failing to plan ahead.

A sure way to be caught unprepared in a dangerously compromising position is to have never even thought about what you would actually do in such a compromising situation.

Therefore, young men and women need to be taught to consider and talk about these matters in advance; lest they be caught unprepared.  Churches, schools, and homes should all provide occasional, deliberate, and sex-segregated settings for the discussion of such admittedly sensitive topics.

Wanting It

Perhaps the most important “No” in this section is the one which happens to be spelled this way: K-N-O-W. We must teach our children (even from the earliest age) the evils and dangers involved in having pre-marital sex so that they actually WANT to remain pure.

Doing It

There are several helpful hints one can give that will equip the young person with the mental and verbal weapons he or she will need to ward off the attacks of unwelcome sexual advances.  We offer this helpful and memorable acronym as but one example:

S – Say It, “No, I don’t want to have sex.”

E – Explain It – Be prepared to tell them why you chose abstinence

X – Xercise It – Your words may need to be “backed up” with actions…

[Stop kissing, push him or her away, get up and leave]

V. Practical Ministry Helps

A. Answering the objections

Listed below are some of the most common excuses offered to justify abortion as well as some powerful counter-questions which can be used with or without further elaboration.

For a more exhaustive treatment of this topic please consider purchasing a copy of Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn.

“What about my right to choose?”

What about the baby’s rights?

Since when does one person have the right to determine another person’s destiny?

“What about rape (or incest) cases?”

Why should an innocent third party [the baby] be punished for it?

Isn’t God powerful enough to bring good out of evil?

“What about overpopulation?”

Did you know that the entire world population could fit comfortably inside the state of Texas?

What about God’s promise in Genesis 8:22?

“What about my plans?”

Were you so worried about these ‘plans’ when you were having sex?

Do you not acknowledge God’s right to alter your plans (Proverbs 16:9)?

“Who are you to challenge my decision?”

First of all, I am your superior in the Lord (Hebrews 13:17).

Secondly, I am your friend and don’t want you to get hurt.

B. Identifying the victims

While the murdered child is the most obvious victim in Abortion, we simply must not underestimate the far-reaching and painful consequences of so violent and evil an act.  Therefore, we shall here identify each potential “victim” and offer some brief insights which might help as you offer counsel.

The Would-be Mother

You must resist the temptation of treating the mother as a criminal on trial.  She is also a victim in this and what she needs most at this point is divine forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

The Would-be Father

Oftentimes, the father is simply overlooked in post-abortion counseling or just written off as “the bad guy who made all of this happen.”  But you must resist such naïveté.

If the mother and father made this decision together, then he may be hurting just as much as she is. In fact, the father may have even tried to save his child, but was prevented by someone or even by current anti-father laws.

Just be sensitive to the father’s need of counsel and healing.

The Would-be Siblings

Don’t overlook the fact that some (or even all) of the siblings may have known about this pregnancy.  If they are considerably younger, these siblings may have been quite excited about the prospect of having a new baby brother or sister.

Their innocent hopes and dreams have just been violently shattered.  Make sure you are there to help them pick up the pieces.

The Would-be Grandparents

While some women arrange and fund their own abortions, many do not. In fact, it is actually not uncommon for parents to assist.  If this is the case, and even though it may not “hit them” immediately, they have just been an accomplice in the murder of their own grandchild. They will, therefore, need counseling.

On the other hand, the grandparents may have tried to stop the abortion but were unable.

Again, just be sensitive to the needs of all those souls who have just been injured.

C. Counseling the parents

Let it not be overlooked that, on a most foundational level, the post-abortion counselee has just been visited by death.  A child is gone – and this has forced all involved parties to grapple with the larger and more general questions of human mortality.

Therefore, besides addressing the natural and obvious feelings of shame and regret, it is also important that we understand and appreciate the various emotional stages a person typically goes through while dying or while watching someone else die. [6]


This is actually a healthy process as it is something of a built in “shock absorber”.  The very presence of death reminds all of us that we are mortal.  Therefore, it is completely natural when a person simply refuses to believe that this is actually happening.


Anger is usually expressed by survivors toward those who were responsible for the care of the lost one.  However, in the case of abortion, these bitter feelings of anger are usually directed inward.


Most people will try to “bargain with God” when death is imminent.  For example, they will say or pray things like, “O Lord, just give him one more year…”.  Sometimes this comes from a sense of personal guilt or from a desire to finish some unfinished business.

In cases of abortion, the kind of “bargaining” which goes on is all the more desperate and futile,  “O Lord…please take it all away… make it so that it didn’t really happen and I will never do such a terrible thing again.”


Let us not be so naïve that we overlook the awful darkness of this situation.  Never forget that there is such a thing as the valley of the shadow of death and that the Lord has promised to walk us through such valleys (Psalm 23:4).


This is the final and most necessary step: The reality and finality of death must be acknowledged.  After this (and only after this) can true healing begin.

D. Confronting the community

Jesus has called and empowered his children to function as both salt and light in this dark and rotting world (Matthew 5:13).  We, both as the Church and as individuals, need to let the light of God’s Word expose the foul works of darkness and we need to let the salt of God’s grace arrest pollution and preserve righteousness.

Letters to the Editor

Every week there are pro-death and anti-Christian articles published in newspapers all over the world (and even in your own town).  Watch for these articles and when you find them, consider them to be a God-given opportunity to write a calm, calculated, and Christ-honoring response to the editor.

Encourage laymen and laywomen to do this as well.  Everyone expects pastors to say and write “pro-life things”, but this is a responsibility that we all share.

Sidewalk Counseling

It is well within your constitutional rights to stand outside of Planned Parenthood offices and abortion mills in attempt to engage those women who are either about to go in or who are on their way out.  Make yourself available to these poor and confused souls:

  • Counsel them
  • Pray with them
  • Invite them to church
  • Hand out Gospel tracts
  • Just be there!

Street Preaching

While this form of ministry is becoming more and more rare, please remember that Ministers of the Word have been called to carry on the ministry of the Apostles (all of whom preached in public forums).

Preaching on public property is not only your constitutional right, it is also part of your biblical and prophetic calling if you are a Pastor.  For the Spirit of God has so charged you:

“Preach the word; be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”  (2 Timothy 4:2).

E. Relevant biblical passages

The Holy Bible provides us with the most valuable and powerful weapon in our continued battle against the principalities and powers which would steal and destroy the lives of those yet to be born.  Please prayerfully consider and use texts such as these to instruct your people on Life Issues:

Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion…’.”

Exodus 20:12, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”

Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Exodus 23:19, “The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not boil a goat in his mother’s milk.”

Leviticus 18:21, “Thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.”

Psalm 127:3, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.”

Psalm 139:13-14a, “For you formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”

1 Timothy 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, and give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

VI. End of Life Issues

A. Understanding the issues

As it is with abortion, so also is it with other end of life issues:  How we define things will inform (if not determine) our opinions on the matter.  Therefore, we must clearly define our terms before any fruitful discussion can take place.

Physician-Assisted Suicide

This is when a medical doctor intentionally provides a patient with the means to kill him or herself (usually by an overdose of prescription medication).

Assisted Suicide

This is when a layperson (i.e., a family member or a friend) intentionally provides a patient with the means to kill him or herself.


This term comes from the Greek word for “good death” and while the word’s etymology is certainly pleasant, it is also quite misleading.

Euthanasia is the intentional and direct killing of a patient by a physician or another party, supposedly for the good of the patient or others (frequently by lethal injection).There are three types of Euthanasia:

  1. Voluntary  (at the patient’s request)
  2. Non-voluntary  (without the knowledge or consent of the patient)
  3. Involuntary  (against the patient’s wishes)

“Does that mean I can never refuse treatment?”

Not at all.  A person can reject treatment at the end of life without committing euthanasia.

The Real Issue

The issue of Euthanasia is whether physicians should be allowed to intentionally kill their patients, either by providing the means of death or by directly ending the patient’s life.

This issue has nothing whatsoever to do with allowing someone to die naturally when medical technology cannot stop the dying process.

B. Advance directives

While pastors have not been called to be experts in secular law, there are at least two areas of law in which he simply cannot afford to be ignorant.  Both of these areas, therefore, will be defined and briefly discussed below.

Living Will

This is a legal document which provides written directions about health care which are to be followed when a patient is no longer able to make competent decisions.

Few doctors or attorneys actually recommend the use of a living will because of the following problems:

1.  To be useful, it must be specific.  This means it must be frequently updated and in accordance with the latest medical advances.

2.  Such specificity may also deprive a physician of the “medical flexibility” needed to treat the patient.

3.  It is a binding legal document, which, in emergent situations, may present problems of interpretation and application.

4.  Physicians lack the empirical evidence necessary to determine whether a condition is (ir)reversible and “vague probabilities” simply do not satisfy the requirements of binding legal documents.

Because of the aforesaid problems with living wills, most lawyers and doctors recommend the use of a durable power of attorney instead.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

This is when a representative (e.g., a spouse, relative, or friend) is legally appointed to make decisions when the patient is no longer capable of doing so.

Since this involves the placing of tremendous responsibility into a loved one’s hands, there are many things which need to be discussed prior to such an arrangement.

1.  How do you feel about CPR, artificial hydration/nutrition, dialysis, etc.?

2.  How do you feel about life-sustaining measures in cases such as coma?

3.  How do you feel about organ transplants?

4.  What will be most important to you as you are dying?

C. Hospice care

The process of dying is a painful one — not only for the person who is dying but also for his or her loved ones.  A range of emotions will undoubtedly be felt by all who are involved (e.g., grief, sadness, anger, denial, and fear).

As modern medicine continues to advance, this unfortunate reality must be faced:  In many cases, the dying process is unnecessarily prolonged. Death comes to us all and there is ultimately nothing we can do to stop it.  However, there is much we can do to comfort and bless those who are about to die.

The Hospice Philosophy

Dame Cicely Saunders (the founder of the first hospice in England) had this outlook for her patients: “You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live with dignity until you die.”

The Hospice Options

Hospice Care can be provided in institutions (Hospitals & Nursing Homes) or it can even be brought into your own home.

The Hospice Service

The job of the hospice team is to keep the patient as comfortable as possible by providing emotional, spiritual, and physical support.

The Hospice Environment

Because a typical hospice patient has exhausted all medical treatment options, the hospice environment setting involves no high technology equipment or treatments.

The most important part of hospice care is to provide relief from pain through medication (which the patient can sometimes self-administer as pain levels ebb and flow).

Other simple things such as hot baths, massages, assisting with household chores, and engaging in open dialogue, are key to ministering to the patient’s well-being and part of the hospice service.

VII. Getting Your Church Involved

A. Preparing the congregation

There is simply no excuse for being unprepared to minister to the victims of abortion.  They are in every church (whether we like it, care to admit it, or not). Therefore, we must equip both ourselves and the congregation to deal with abortion before the need ever arises.


Ministers have been called to preach “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and the Bible has a lot to say about life issues.  Therefore, don’t you dare “skip over” the potentially offensive portions and leave your congregation with only the partial armor of God.


There are thousands of babies being killed every single day and God has graciously promised to hear and answer the prayers of his redeemed children.  Therefore, to be “selective” in our God-given ministry of intercession is a sign of indolence and lack of love.


A program of appropriate biblical counseling for those contemplating abortion will simply not “fall together” at the last minute.  Your office might be the last place a woman stops before driving over to the abortion clinic.  Therefore, you better know exactly what to say  to her.

Likewise, post-abortion counseling requires prayerful forethought and careful planning in order to be effective.


It is the distinct and God-given calling of church deacons to care for and assist the poor of the congregation (c.f., Acts 6:1-7) and it is oftentimes this very threat of “poverty” which leads some women to abort their children.  If clothing, food, diapers, cribs, etc., were made available to those in need, it could prove to be a powerful deterrent.

Prodigal Daughters

Far too often, women keep their emotional and spiritual scars “a secret” because many in the church act more like the prodigal son’s older brother than the gracious and forgiving father in that parable (c.f., Luke 15:11-32).

Encourage and nurture a community of love and forgiveness well in advance so that we can all rejoice when our lost brother (or sister!) has finally returned home.

B. What you can do

Your personal commitment to and involvement in the pro-life cause is crucial.  Never underestimate the difference one man or one woman (or even one child) can make.  Here are some ways in which you can begin to become more involved:


Pray (personally and from the pulpit) for the pre-born, women in a crisis, those suffering from post-abortion syndrome, the elderly, the infirm, the handicapped, the disabled, and the pro-life movement in general.


Don’t be afraid to mention and discuss Life Issues.  Lead the people by example through your willingness to talk about these matters, write letters to the editor, participate in public debate/discussion panels, testify at hearings, etc.


Include in your church calendar local or regional pro-life programs and activities and then invite people to go with you (e.g., Educational programs, Right to Life conventions, Pro-life rallies, Pro-life lobbying meetings, etc.).


Teach the church about Abstinence, Fetal Development, Abortion/Alternatives, Infanticide, Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia, etc., through sermons, lectures, literature, and any other appropriate means.


Give the people an opportunity to protect the unborn through special offerings and/or fund-raising within the church.


Identify a core group of the most interested people and then:

  • Ask your church board from permission to proceed
  • Elect a chairman and establish a regular meeting schedule
  • Identify contacts or or a liaison with a local pro-life group
  • Plan occasional educational and outreach activities

C. Links, names, and numbers

If you want to be more involved in the pro-life ministries but are not sure where to start, DON’T WORRY!

There are literally thousands of pro-life organizations already in existence which are ready to inform and encourage you.

The following list is by no means exhaustive and we invite our readers to recommend links for inclusion (provided that they do not include graphic images of aborted children).

Please note: Inclusion on this list does not necessarily imply endorsement.

National Organizations

American Life League

Americans United for Life

Baptists for Life

Center for Life and Hope

National Right to Life

Operation Rescue

Answering Questions

Life Before Birth

Adoption Resources

Bethany Christian Services

May We Adopt?

Multimedia Resources

Just the Facts

Michael Clancy

End of Life Issues

Apologetics Press


1. Victims and Victors, David C. Reardon, Julie Makimaa, Amy Sobie (Editors). Acorn Books, May 2000.

2. Wanda Franz, Ph.D., in a March 1989 congressional hearing on the impact of abortion.

3. These are the words of Dr. Lena Levine in 1953 on the topic of “Psycho-Sexual Development,” as quoted in Planned Parenthood News, Summer 1953, pg. 10.

4. Project Reality can be reached at (847) 729-3298 or www.projectreality.org

5. Scott Phelps, as quoted in Abstinence, Not Safe Sex, Is The Message – Project Reality Aims To Educate Kids On “Last Taboo”; Krystyna Slivinski Special to the Chicago Tribune, November 5, 1999.

6. Adapted from On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 1969.  Note: This author is not a proponent of Kübler-Ross’ “Classical Naturalism” or “Stoicism”.

Copyright © 2011, Christian McShaffrey. All Rights Reserved.