I love helping crisis pregnancy centers, whether in my home state of Texas or across the country. They provide life-affirming alternatives and offer women the truth. Not only do these centers help save the lives of babies, they help spiritually save the lives of mothers—and fathers—by sharing God’s love through Jesus Christ and giving them the opportunity to give their lives to Him and be discipled.
I didn’t always believe this. For years I thought pro-lifers were crazy, and I didn’t see the value in what they were doing or what they cared about.
My younger sister Anita Jo, nicknamed “Tooter,” and I grew up in San Saba, a small town in central Texas. I don’t ever remember hearing the Gospel growing up. My parents drove me to church and picked me up after Sunday school. As a young teenager, I started attending a different church because it had more youth activities.
When I was 16 and Tooter was 9, I grabbed her hand, and we walked down the aisle to join the church and be baptized. One of my friends asked me afterward, “Are you going to change?”
What a silly question, I thought. I’m a pretty good person, and I’m not doing anything wrong.
However, I soon found myself pregnant. Jim Bob and I had a fast wedding, and our baby came early. When I was on the delivery table, Jim Bob named our boy Joe Bob. Kelly, our daughter, came two years later.
I thought we had the perfect family. But one day, I just looked at my husband and thought I don’t like him anymore. So I divorced him. It was my fault. I didn’t have any standards in my life.
Then I met a man named Tom, who made my heart stop. But Tom came to our eventual marriage with something—an agreement that there would be no more children. He asked me: “If you get pregnant, will you have an abortion?” Never expecting to get pregnant, I said, “Yes.”
Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision, had just legalized abortion nationally. Two weeks later I discovered I was pregnant.
I called my OB-GYN doctor, who said, “We can take care of this.” At the age of 28, I had the procedure, but the moment the anesthesia wore off, my first thought was I’m a murderer.
Apart from my husband, I couldn’t tell anyone I was bad enough to kill my own child. I stuffed those feelings deep inside. But surely Tom would understand, surely he would hurt. When I got home, though, all he said was, “We’ve made the best choice we could. We need to go on with our lives.”
I hated him. I started to punish Tom, including not cooking for him. But that didn’t really get his attention. What did, though, was when I had an affair. Our marriage died, and I was on my way to divorce court for a second time.
Another deep concern was having to take care of Joe Bob and Kelly. I was working for a doctor, but I quit there and entered medical sales.
The man I worked for noticed that one of our accounts was buying cases of Xylocaine, which is used to numb a woman’s cervix. It was an abortion clinic. My boss and his partner decided to open abortion clinics, and I was asked to talk to doctors and refer abortions to their clinics. I would be paid $25 per referral.
I didn’t make a lot of money at first, but I was well on my way to becoming heavily involved in the abortion industry. One day, one of the clinic directors didn’t show up for work, so my boss asked me to run it.
I saw how I could improve our telephone script to increase the number of abortions. We’d capitalize on the fear the woman was experiencing and use it to reaffirm her decision.
Abortion is not a choice. It’s a radically, skillfully marketed product, sold to a scared woman. I was an expert marketer and doubled my boss’s business in four months. But he didn’t share that money with me, so I opened my own clinic in 1980.
One clinic became two. And I dreamed of opening three more, which would make me a millionaire because we could do 40,000 abortions a year at five clinics.
But we had infighting among top management staff. We called in a business management counselor to help us iron things out. Little did I know that the message he would share with me would dramatically change my life and direction—professionally and for eternity.
Jack didn’t meet with me at the abortion clinic but off campus. Over several weeks, I saw that he was different. He didn’t cuss, chew, drink, take drugs or cheat on his wife. “What in the world are you doing here?” I finally blurted out.
“God has sent me,” Jack replied. “There’s someone in this clinic that He wants out.”
I told him I thought I was a Christian. I had a Bible in my desk and even tithed. He wasn’t impressed.
One day, challenging me, Jack asked me to pray with him. I was stunned, but I followed him, phrase by phrase. “Dear God, I’m a sinner. Please forgive me of my sins. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins. Please reign on the throne of my heart as Lord and Savior. Make me a worker in Your vineyard. Amen.”
Racing back to the clinic, I knew something had happened. Women were huddled together, crying. I never noticed that before. I was known as “The Hammer,” someone who could get a hesitant woman to make that final decision. But now I was telling them, “You don’t have to have an abortion. Would you like me to help you tell your parents?”
In my confusion, I fell to my knees and prayed, “Lord, if this is not where You want me, hit me over the head with a two-by-four.”
That “two-by-four” ended up being an exposé by the local CBS affiliate on clinics doing fake abortions on women who came in thinking they were pregnant but actually were not. They caught us red-handed.
Not long after that, on July 27, 1983, I walked out.
But I left there a hurting woman. I was crushed, knowing we had performed 35,000 abortions, that one woman had died, and 19 women had been maimed to the point of a hysterectomy or colostomy.
Jack and his wife connected with me every day for 18 months. Two Scriptures helped immensely. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I confessed the sin of murdering those 35,000 babies. But I wrestled the longest with forgiving myself for killing my own baby. Jack helped me understand that if Jesus’ blood wasn’t enough, then I was putting Him back up on the cross. I had to apply the truth of 1 John 1:9 to my own heart. It was so hard, but God has helped me accept it by faith. And to admit to Joe Bob and Kelly what I had done.
The Lord has led me into the pro-life movement. What a privilege! God helped me to found The Heidi Group, named for the child whose life I took by abortion. It’s a network of 34 facilities across Texas—including the Heidi Clinic in Round Rock—to offer life-affirming health care and to help women with pregnancy care. You, too, can be involved.
What an incredible mission field these women—and men—represent. To save their babies and to save them spiritually, by God’s grace.
Prayerfully consider getting involved in a local pregnancy center near you. Or start one. Stand up for His truth.
Scripture Quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.