Abortions in Missouri top 12,000 in 2003
MBC goes on offensive with pro-family confabs
By Allen Palmeri
October 26, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – A total of 12,476 babies died in 2003 by resident Missouri abortions, according to Missouri Department of Health statistics released to The Pathway Oct. 5.
From 1998-2002, the number of resident Missouri abortions declined from 12,751 to 12,250. The increase of 226 deaths last year put the total lower than the 1999 figure of 12,600 but higher than the 2000 number of 12,292.
“It’s very tragic and it’s very unfortunate they went up even the amount that they did,” said Patty Skain, executive director of Missouri Right to Life. “I think we just have to get more aggressive to convince people that this is not the way to solve the problem of unplanned pregnancy.”
The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) is doing just that.
Joe Ulveling, MBC family ministries specialist, is developing resources that will help prevent abortion among teenagers and singles.
“The best cure for a problem is for it to never happen,” Ulveling said.
His new weekend conference series, “Discovering Your Lifetime Date,” will debut in 2005. Choosing a mate is the focus of the four sessions, with the emphasis on teaching how couples can stay morally pure until their wedding day.
“To me, that’s the prevention right there as far as before someone’s married,” Ulveling said. “But there are a lot of married couples that have abortions, too. You get caught in materialism, two incomes, the money is more important, and what that boils down to is selfishness. Jesus put our needs first when He died on the Cross, and we need to do the same for our spouse and others. Abortion, to me, really boils down to selfishness at that point. They’re more concerned about themselves than about the responsibility of that life, that awesome blessing.”
God is going to use teachers like Ulveling and many others in Missouri who are devoted to helping young people to eventually lower the state’s number of resident abortions, according to the chairman of the MBC’s Christian Life Commission.
Rodney Albert, pastor, Hallsville Baptist Church, said that help is on the way. He cited statistics that show the current younger generation to be more opposed to abortion than their parents’ generation.
“The spirit is for churches to hold the line,” Albert said. “This is a marathon, not a sprint. As we are faithful to embrace biblical morality, which is a respect for life, as we faithfully communicate that to our culture, I believe we’ll see these numbers decline—and particularly with our young people.
“We’ve got the generations in the trenches. Now the question is, ‘What’s going to turn the tide?’ I believe the momentum is swinging our way, if we just hold the line.”
Ulveling said his passion is to teach prevention. Repenting from sin and turning toward Jesus Christ for salvation would be the ultimate form of prevention — something he has been blessed to see in his seminars.
“The ultimate way, in my belief, to help stop abortion is prevention,” he said. “To me, it’s a lot of fun, because prevention really is my heartbeat in helping couples, helping families, before they get to that point.”
Education is another effective tool in the fight to reduce abortions.
“When I see those billboards and they say, ‘The heartbeat of abortion is killing,’ that’s reality,” Ulveling said. “Part of education is giving them what really happens in the development of the baby, just the nuts and bolts.”
Another effective tool is enlightenment, Ulveling said. Four-dimensional, or 4D, ultrasound technology is being made available to more of the 2,300 United States pregnancy resource centers through the fundraising efforts of Focus on the Family, he said.
“You can see the face of the baby in the 4D,” he said. “You can see all of the parts of that child. It is absolutely amazing. I think if the clinics can actually have that 4D ultrasound, that’s enlightenment to the ladies who are right there.”
In the meantime, if citizens hope to lower the number of abortions in the state, a wonderful opportunity is right around the corner, Albert said. It’s called the Nov. 2 general election.
“It’s absolutely essential for Christians to elect pro-life leaders,” he said.