Letter On Abortion
I have said on many occasions that I love to read the mail that is
sent to me by our friends and radio listeners. Most of it is warm and
wonderful and creative. Some is critical and harsh. But all of it is
beneficial, for the mail keeps us in touch with those to whom we are
accountable. You are among that number. This is your ministry and we
need your help in keeping it relevant to today's families. thank you for
sharing your lives with us in such a personal way.
Quite frequently, a letter will arrive that has an enormous impact
on our staff. The first administrator to read it will immediately
distribute copies to others in various departments for their reactions
and comments. That interchange is a meaningful part of our work.
In fact, that process occurred a few days ago when I received an
unforgettable letter from a physician in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His name is
Dr. Marvin Eastlund, and his letter was so important that I requested, and
received, permission to share his words with each of you. Dr. Eastlund and
I have now formed a new bond of Christian brotherhood--for reasons that
you will soon understand. this is what he wrote:
Dear Dr. Dobson,
I am an avid listener of your radio programs on WBCL-FM in Fort Wayne
and and equally avid reader of your books. I listened with interest to
your programs aired last month about abortion and the trauma suffered
by women after having had an abortion. I am an obstertrician and
gynecologist and have had many dealings with this very situation in my
practice. I fortunately see many of the abortion candidates before the
final decision is made, and even more fortunately have had the
opportunity to talk with these women and witness to them and share with
them the reality of abortion. There is an overwhelming sense of
accomplishment when a woman decides to keep her unborn baby and carry it to
term and give that baby a chance to live. I have rejoiced at the
opportunities to be used of God to help those who are struggling with this
I have had patients who have had abortions before coming to see me.
these people are the most miserable. My heart goes out to the woman who is
suffering so much from the decision she made years before. Many are
seeing me because they are now infertile.
The guilt they express is tremendous. In some cases they killed the
only baby they could have had and now th womb is closed. They grieve
when, if they do conceive and then hear the baby's heartbeat with the
ultrasonic instruments, they realize that the abortion they had previously
was likewise a tiny baby with a heartbeat. The trauma they experience is
overwhelming. the act of the abortion is not just he removal of pregnancy
tissue from the uterus. There is more, much more, to the procedure than the
pro-abortion counselors ever tell the person who is trying to make a
decision. Once done, the damage is very difficult to live with.
I had one 40-year-old patient who was not very well medically and had
undergone an abortion about six years earlier. she was in agony over what
she had done. She could not live with herself. She was drinking alcohol.
She was on various "nerve" medications from other physicians to help her
cope. She came to see me because she was desperate to have a baby and just
could not. In talking with her she unloaded the grief and burden she
was carrying about the previous abortion. Her main objective in getting
pregnant again was to replace the baby she destroyed. She felt if she could
only get pregnant and have a baby, the previous problem would be
canceled and everything would be fine. God used the situation that day to His
glory. He gave me the insight and words to say in the encounter that
changed that woman's life. I expressed to her that she did not need another
baby. She needed forgiveness. I was then able to share with her that true
forgiveness comes only through Jesus Christ. That opportunity allowed me to
share my faith with her and she then accepted Christ into her life and
experienced the forgiveness she was desperately seeking over the previous
several years. We both floated out of the office that day! She subsequently
conceived and had a beautiful baby from an uneventful pregnancy. I am
praising God for giving me a "mission field" right in my own office!
One other situation I wish to share with you was my own
experience with abortion. I had arrived at that point in my career where I
was faced with the choice of saving one life over another. I try to avoid
this predicament of at all possible. However, in the field of medicine,
occasionally one must make the decision of who to attempt to save and who
to let die. These decisions are very hard indeed.
The woman was a longstanding patient of mine who had had much
difficulty with infertility. After successfully conceiving, she was then
found to have a hydatidiform mole pregnancy. this situation is an abnormality
of the placenta that very rarely is accompanied by a living child.
It carries a high potential of malignancy, and once diagnosed, the
uterus should be emptied and the patient treated according to the findings.
The malignancy that occurs is very virulent and usually the patient is dead
within a year. The fortunate aspect, however, is that the cancer is very
treatable with chemotherapy with almost a 100% response rate. thus, the
cancer is curable with aggressive treatment.
This placed us, my patient and myself, in a real dilemma. How do we
treat this situation? To allow the pregnancy to continue would allow the
cancer to continue giving the mother a certainty of death in a few months.
To treat the cancer would possible abort the pregnancy and most certainly
cause gross deformities if the baby survived.
To abort the pregnancy would allow further treatment but also kill
the baby. We did not know what to do. She felt, as I did, that abortion
was wrong. We struggled together about this issue. I obtained
several consultation opinions from experts around the country. All
agreed that abortion and more chemotherapy was the route to go. Medically, I
likewise agreed that this was the most logical step.
However, my personal convictions really wrestled with science at this
point. The patient and I turned to prayer and asked for divine guidance.
We both came away with the peace that, in this situation, her life took
priority over the baby's. I then tried to refer her to someone who would
handle the abortion. I look back on that as a way for me to settle the issue
in my own heart. She thwarted that attempt by asking me to do the
procedure. She did not want anyone else operating on her. Here I was
going against my own principles by doing an abortion! That was very hard to
deal with. I then realized that I had already done the abortion when I agreed
with the go-ahead plan. I again prayed and received the peace of mind that
this was the proper step. I scheduled the procedure and remember vividly
standing at the scrub sink just before the surgery, agonizing over this
decision. Just a few hours before, I had obtained an ultrasound of the
pregnancy showing a live fetus with a beating heart and what appeared to be
a normal pregnancy in progress. The very thought of destroying that
unborn child nauseated me. I prayed in earnest while scrubbing. I
probably prayed more earnestly than I ever have before. I prayed to God to
forgive me of this sin I was committing.
I asked Him to stop me if this was not in His will. I offered my life
for that baby's. I told God to take my life right at that moment and not let
me take the life of that baby. Nothing happened and I finished scrubbing.
I went into the room and began the D & C procedure. All the time,
I was very uneasy about doing the procedure and wished I were somewhere else
at that moment. Before inserting the dilator, I asked once again for
guidance from God. If this were not to be, please stop me now. Nothing
happened. I proceeded to dilate the cervix and explored the uterine
cavity. To my relief and, I must admit, surprise, the uterus was
empty! Just hours before there was undeniable proof of a live pregnancy
there. Now there was nothing! I first thought I might have perforated the
uterus by accident and was not in the right place. However, I carefully
retraced my steps and was convinced I was in the right place. I was then
able to remove a small piece of tissue that looked like degenerating placenta.
After a careful exploration of the uterus, I was still
dumbfounded. I called one of my partners who was very familiar with the
case and explained the findings to him. He likewise was not sure what to do.
We agreed to stop the procedure at this point and obtain another ultrasound.
That ultrasound showed an empty uterus! The pathology report confirmed
that the tissue I removed was degenerating, "burned-out" placental tissue.
I witnessed a miracle! God heard my prayers and intervened and took
that baby home with Him, thus freeing me from the act of destroying
that baby. There was no other explanation for that finding.
Even some of the nonbelieving physicians who were familiar with this
case agreed with me. I had never felt so close to God before. He answered
the petitions of my patient and me and saved us both tremendous guilt
by doing the abortion. He led us along the path to the point where we could
only receive the quidance from Him after we fully submitted to Him. He
then took control and performed in such a way that no human could obtain any
glory from what He did.
The patient then underwent the remainder of her chemotherapy and
experienced a very successful recovery from her cancer. We both grew
immeasurably in our faith through this whole experience.
I apologize for this very lengthy letter. I have been wanting to share
this with you for some time. Your recent broadcasts on abortion gave me
further stimulus to put these thoughts and episodes in writing. I
support you fully in your Christian witness to the world and especially in
your stand on abortion. Your message is heard by many, many people, and
you are being listened to. There is a difference in hearing and
listening. Let me tell you, people are listening and lives are being
changed by your testimony. God is being glorified through your efforts.
Thank you for your time and your friendship through the medium of radio.
Marvin E. Eastlund, M.D.
I thank the Lord for physicians like Dr. Eastlund who have taken an
unflinching stand against the killing of unborn children. In fact, it is my
hope that doctors who are "on the fence" will read his letter and be touched
by the truth of its message. Each one who comes to this understanding can,
of course, help preserve the lives of precious little babies who would
otherwise be lost. As for the rest of us, let's pray that the Giver
of Life will open their eyes to the significance of this issue that
You might be interested in knowing that Focus on the Family has
recently developed a new area of service to women facing unplanned
pregnancies. It is our belief that many babies are aborted because young
mothers are confused, frightened, and lack the resources to carry to term.
If they only had access to medical care, Christian counseling and a place
to go, they would follow the dictates of their hearts. That's why local
Crisis Pregnancy Centers are so vital in this battle to spare the
lives of unborn children. Unfortunately, CPCs are usually underfunded,
overworked and short on educational materials. I wish more churches
would provide financial aid to these centers of life, but, for whatever
reason, most are threatened with bankruptcy.
That's why we are developing a support mechanism for the more than
500 CPCs with whom we are in contact. We will be providing free literature,
audio cassettes and video tapes to those that need these materials. A budget
of $15,548 has been designated for the next few months with more to
come. I wish we could allocate ten times that much to this worthy cause.
Your help in this and related pro-family activities would
especially be appreciated again this month. March was difficult for us and
April always brings a tug of war with the tax man. Anything you can do
to defray our expenses would be like manna from heaven to us. We will receive
it with thanksgiving and grateful hearts to our Lord and to His generous and
And remember! Let us hear from you when you feel like writing.
Without your response, this ministry becomes a vacuous conversation with
ourselves. Dialoge with you is much more interesting!
Your friend in Christ,
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
If you would like to write to Dr. Dobson, you can write to:
Focus on the Family
P.O. Box 50
Arcadia, Ca. 91006
Downloaded from the Goodnews BBS MI
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