The Table Podcast

Engaging the Abortion Issue with Truth and Love

In this episode, Dr. Darrell Bock and Brian Fisher discuss abortion, focusing on the Human Coalition’s unique pro-life ministry and positive support its provides to mothers.

Timecodes
00:15
Bock introduces Fisher
05:36
How is the Human Coalition unique?
11:18
Entering Pro-Life ministry
13:33
The Human Coalition Network
19:55
What kind of families do you serve?
25:20
What kind of care do you provide?
28:05
How can others get involved with the Human Coalition?
31:29
The Impact of Abortion
34:00
Demographics and Politics of Abortion
42:00
How to Partner with the Human Coalition
Transcript
Darrell Bock
Welcome to The Table where we discuss issues of God and culture. I’m Darrell Bock, Executive Director for Cultural Engagement at the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary.

And our guest today is Brian Fisher, Co-founder and President of Human Coalition. Now that sounds like quite a gathering of folks. What’s the Human Coalition all about?

Brian Fisher
Human Coalition is about ending abortion, city by city, through this beautiful mix of technology and business metrics, with compassion and grace and tangible health. We in effect go and find women online who are at risk to abort their children, bring them into pro-life pregnancy centers, some of which we own and operate, and then our goal is to not only save the child, but get the families plugged into a local church.

It’s 107 staff members in 7 states. It’s grown like crazy over the past four years, but God’s been very gracious. To date we’ve rescued 4,166 children from abortion.

Darrell Bock
Oh, wow, that’s terrific. Well, let’s start at the beginning here. My understanding is you were originally a businessman, is that right?
Brian Fisher
Yeah, it’s a patchwork quilt. I’m originally from Pennsylvania. I graduated with a classical piano degree, and when I got out of school –
Darrell Bock
Okay, that sounds like qualifications for what you’re doing.
Brian Fisher
Well, it’s completely related.
Brian Fisher
Got out of school and realized that musical talent and musical employment weren’t necessarily related. So, I got a job in Christian radio, and I was in Christian radio up in Pittsburgh for about three years and gradually discovered that Christian radio pays about the same as unemployment. So, at some point –
Darrell Bock
So, you don’t want my job?
Brian Fisher
Yeah, no, no. That’s all right; you’re doing a great job. A wonderful job.
Darrell Bock
Yeah?
Brian Fisher
And I eventually got recruited into the financial securities world – stocks and bonds and whatnot. So, I was the number two person in a startup company that grew very successfully. And then I originally thought that that was where I was gonna spend my career.

But God had other plans. In 2006, my wife and I and our boys moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and I took over the helm of an organization called Coral Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Darrell Bock
Oh, yeah, sure, uh-huh.
Brian Fisher
D. James Kennedy.
Darrell Bock
Yep.
Brian Fisher
And that’s where my journey into the pro-life world really started. But my early career was all in the business world: media and finance.
Darrell Bock
Mm-hmm. So, it was at Coral Ridge that changed your direction, or how did you end up at Human Coalition? ‘Cause I know it’s a more – that’s a more recent organization.
Brian Fisher
It is. In 2007, we – at Coral Ridge we tested an idea. The idea was could we go online and find women who were looking for abortion providers and give them the option to instead connect with what are called pro-life pregnancy centers. There’s about 3,000 of these all over the country, ministries that are Gospel centric and provided help in order for the mother to choose life.

And so, we started testing the idea of using for-profit Internet marketing, buying ads, if you will, so that when a woman would go online and search for an abortion, she would find us instead. And that test was successful. We started sending hurting women into pro-life pregnancy centers and making the phones ring.

And then, in 2007, Dr. Kennedy, the founder of Coral Ridge, passed away, and so I moved to Dallas in 2008. I was the COO of a large marketing agency in Dallas. But God just was relentless in pressuring me to continue that test.

And I wish, Dr. Bock, I had a different story, but I wasn’t that interested in doing the work. I was excited to be back in the for-profit world. My wife was just getting settled in Dallas, the kids were getting settled into school, and I was very busy. And I just could not understand why God would be bothering me, if you could, instead of a number of excellent other pro-life organizations that are out there. I thought the last thing this country needed was another pro-life nonprofit.

But in 2009, I opened up the organization, and on June 22, 2010, we were able to connect with a young woman in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who was going to have an abortion and instead, we were able to give her the option to go into a pregnancy center there. And she came in with her fiancé, and they saw their little daughter on the ultrasound, and they chose life. And today they have a five-year-old little girl.

And I got the call that night, June 22, 2010, from the center saying, “We just rescued the first Human Coalition baby from abortion.” And I tell this story a lot. I’m of German and Austrian descent, which means my emotional range is about the size of a caterpillar. But I got off the phone and just wept, because God had condescended not only to save me when I was six years old, but to use me in the act of rescuing a human being from being rippled limb from limb in the womb, and all I had done was complain and very reluctantly become a participant.

So, that’s my red letter date. I was converted, if you will, from being a reluctant pro-life Christian to a rabid pro-life Christian, really intent on helping enough families that we see abortion become unthinkable and unavailable.

The organization was very rudimentary for several years, and a Texas family got wind of us and converted us into a full-time organization in 2012. And so, three guys – three business guys started working with Human Coalition full time on February 1, 2012, in my living room on tray tables. And the last four years have just seen that extraordinary growth. And like I said, we now have a 107 folks 7 different states.

Darrell Bock
So, how does it work? I mean I think you’ve got a little – you gave us little glimpses about how the first one did. You’re looking for people who are searching for services of one kind or another and basically intercept them online and then go from there?
Brian Fisher
Yeah. There’s 1.85 million Internet searches a month in the United States for abortion terms – 1.85 million. Like “abortion clinic,” “R U 4 86,” “abortion with a coat hanger,” “abortion at home,” 1.85 million times a month those terms are searched.

And so, from our perspective, that’s a huge mission field. But you have to be online. And so, our first iteration of the organization was only online. And then we started a call center in order to help pick up the calls and set appointments at pro-life pregnancy centers.

We serve 21 pregnancy centers across the country, but we now own five of our own. And so, because we’re business guys that are running the organization, we measure everything, and we test different ways of effectively communicating with women. And the clinics that we own and operate are now rescuing four to five times as many babies since they’ve become part of our family compared to before.

And so, when I talk to churches, they sometimes look at me quizzically when I talk about software and metrics and technology and Internet marketing. But Psalm 24:1 says, “The Earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it.” And so, we believe that the Spirit is present in the supernatural as well as the natural.

And so, we want to use every available means, whether it be technological or relational to rescue those children. And so, the clinics that we own and operate are now the most effective in the country at rescuing families from abortion.

Darrell Bock
Now, what passages, in your experience in working with this, have drawn you into this direction? Obviously you feel called of God to do this, and you sense that there is a moral mandate of sorts to pursue it. So, what passages have drawn you in this direction besides the experiences that you’ve had.
Brian Fisher
Our key verse as an organization is Proverbs 24:11-12 which says, “Deliver those who are being taken away to death and those staggering to slaughter; oh, hold them back. Because if you say, “We did not know this,” does He not consider the ways of the hearts, and does He not know who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?”

There’s lots of other verses in Scripture which command followers of Christ to be about the business of redeeming and reconciling. But that verse to us is very compelling because it is a command and a warning. It is a command for us to be about the business of protecting innocent life, and it’s a warning that ignorance is not an excuse. And it’s not the typical Psalm 139 pro-life verse, I get that.

Darrell Bock
Yeah, yeah, “You wove me in my mother’s womb.”
Brian Fisher
Yeah, which is beautiful, and we’ve committed that to memory, and we talk about it frequently. But there’s no question that, biblically speaking, God is the author of all life, and he also has a deep desire for innocent life to be protected and maintained.

And so, in a culture today, which is largely a culture of death, it really is the Church of Jesus Christ, which is the bastion, the representation of the author of life, and we’re mandated to protect it.

We talk about Exodus 1. It’s a fascinating passage. You have two Hebrew midwives – Shiphrah and Puah – who are commanded by Pharaoh to kill infant Hebrew boys, and they refuse. And one could argue they lie to Pharaoh about why they didn’t do it, and God honors them. God blesses them and gives them families, Scripture says.

And we see Rahab protecting spies lives. There’s this constant reminder of God desiring for us to protect innocent life. And obviously, the ultimate example is Christ Himself, who came and sacrificed His own life for ours. So, that’s woven throughout all the Scripture, and if we preach the Gospel, we have to also preach, as part of that, our Creator God and the fact that He creates each and every one of us in His image.

Darrell Bock
Yeah, the passage that I’m familiar with, ’cause I do work in the Gospel of Luke, is the passage of the fetus of John the Baptist leaping in the womb when Mary and Elizabeth come together, and Elizabeth interpreting that experience as something that is acknowledged by God, with the additional promise in the background that this baby, John the Baptist, will be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. So, Luke is obviously making a play on what’s going on here.

And so, you see the value of a fetus, in this text, that allows us to think through the way this budding image of God, creation that God is in the process of forming, how that works. So, these passages are important because they do show this grounding of life from the very beginning, even before birth, as something that people should be concerned about, particularly in a culture, like our own culture, where infanticide, where if a girl was born to a family, oftentimes she was just left out to die, ’cause she wasn’t socially useful. We sometimes think that the situations what we’re in are new; they’re actually quite old.

Brian Fisher
That’s right.
Darrell Bock
It’s going on. So, this kind of ministry is pretty important in terms of thinking about what’s involved. So, let’s talk about – so, you – what would be the way to say this? God just kind of relentlessly kept this topic in front of you, and you eventually said, “Okay,” or –
Brian Fisher
Yes. I don’t have a personal experience with abortion. I grew up in very Christian home. My family members are all believers. I had a very boring testimony, for which I’m very grateful. I think it first became real to me in 1999, when my first son was born. I was holding him in my arms just hours after his delivery, and I remember thinking, just for a fleeting moment, “We abort him.”

I wasn’t a kid person at that point, I certainly am now. But I think my head and my heart connected to where the logical horror of abortion connected to my heart actually holding a tiny infant baby who had no ability to take care of himself.

And that was the catalyst for me just getting educated over the next seven or eight years about abortion and what it has actually done to rip apart the fabric of the American family. You know, 58.5 million Americans killed by abortion since 1973; it’s about 2,800 a day. We’re still averaging that. It’s the leading cause of death in America.

Darrell Bock
Wow.
Brian Fisher
And outside of the holocaust of death, the ramifications to women: depression and suicide and physical illness and problems with other pregnancies; the impact on men: depression, violence, relational issues are so astronomical, I think we have a hard time conceptualizing to what extent abortion has really harmed – has harmed the culture.

I didn’t know any of that. I mean in 1999, I just didn’t know. And so, God began educating me. And so, by the time He called me into this work full time, I think he had taken me through a crash course. And that education continues today. I still have a ton to learn.

Darrell Bock
Yeah, the fallout from all this is something you’re probably gonna come back to and talk about on the other side of the break, because I think that’s something most people don’t even think about. It’s just – it’s a single decision, but it’s a single decision with consequences all over the place.
Brian Fisher
Mm-hmm.
Darrell Bock
So, what is it you actually do now? Do you help run the company and develop it and –
Brian Fisher
Yes. I’m the co-founder and president. So, I spent a good amount of my time fundraising – as you can imagine, because it’s a nonprofit – and running the operations of the organization. Our headquarters is in Plano, Texas, but we own pro-life clinics in Grapevine, Texas, and Pittsburgh, and Raleigh, and we’re about to start in Atlanta. And then we serve another 21 clinics in different states across the country.

And because of that business background, we have developed a formula, if you will, that actually articulates how we can end abortion in cities, by reaching enough women and saving enough babies. And that’s how we’re growing now in our ministry, because there’s such a hunger, in major cities across the country, to see abortion ended and to have a strategic plan which can be measured and evaluated is a huge blessing to many churches.

Darrell Bock
So, obviously you own some of these clinics, but you also have established, I guess, associate relationships with some of them.
Brian Fisher
Mm-hmm.
Darrell Bock
How does that happen? Do they contact you or how does that work?
Brian Fisher
They do now, just because we’re one of the larger pro-life organizations in the country. But initially we just called them, and we said, “Hey, look, if we can get your phones to ring, with women who are looking for abortion providers, but are willing to talk to you instead, will you take the calls?”

And, of course, there are pregnancy centers all over the country, that’s exactly what they want to do. And so, they find us because we will provide them essentially with the Internet marketing to go find women in their area at risk to abort, and we provide them call center support. We’ll actually set the appointments for them. And so, all that they have to do is meet with the clients and do the ultrasounds and provide long-term care for them so thought we can save those babies. It’s a great relationship.

Darrell Bock
So, is there software that –
Brian Fisher
Mm-hmm.
Darrell Bock
Ah, okay. Now –
Brian Fisher
It’s very high tech.
Darrell Bock
Can you – I feel like I’m talking to Apple now. Can we talk about this?
Brian Fisher
Sure.
Darrell Bock
So, there’s software that helps you locate these folks
Brian Fisher
Yes. If you were t come into our offices in Plano, you would think you were walking into a tech company. It’s a very strange nonprofit. Obviously many of our offices are medical, and so, you have nurses and ultrasound technicians and counselors.

But in Plano, we have software developers, Internet marketers, statistical analysts. We have sociologists. We have people who are focused on how to help women make that choice for life in a way that serves them well.

And because all of our data is collected on a very large software platform, we have the ability to test different ideas. One idea we just tested here in Texas, we changed the color of one of the counseling rooms. We developed some tests in the area of atmospherics. Atmospherics is basically how do nonverbal factors influence our decision-making?

Every time I walk interest Best Buy, I’m a victim of atmospherics. Right? The lighting is great, and the colors and the layout of the product all suck me in. Well, our decision-making processes are done in the same way even in an issue as serious as life. And women tend to be more highly impacted by atmospherics than men.

Darrell Bock
Oh, really? Yeah. [Laughs]
Brian Fisher
Shocker. A surprise, right? It took us a while to figure that out.
Darrell Bock
Yeah.
Brian Fisher
But the women on staff continue to validate that. So, we tested the idea of changing the color and furniture arrangement of one room to create an atmosphere of calm. And we left the other counseling room, which was very nice, alone.

We realized that a woman who was going to abort and does, her primary emotion is anxiety. The woman who is going to abort but then chooses not to, her primary emotion is calm. So, what sort of things could we create that give her a sense of calm so that we can serve her better?

And so we call it the “blue room test.” The renovated room gave us a 15 percent increase in our effectiveness at counseling for life.

Darrell Bock
Oh, wow.
Brian Fisher
Just because of the color of the room.
Darrell Bock
Wow.
Brian Fisher
That’s the power of using software and data and analytics to supplement compassion and grace and tangible help.
Darrell Bock
Hmm. There’s so many things that are fascinating about this. So, you helped manage this. So, you help manage this. What do you primarily do now? Just – are you primarily helping establish these contacts with these centers as well as just overseeing all the business aspects of what’s going on?
Brian Fisher
I do, and I travel a fair amount. I speak all over the country for different organizations and for ourselves and churches and banquets and pro-life events, broadcasting the message that abortion can, in fact, be ended.

That comes to a surprise to many people, but when you pull out the numbers and the data, and you realize that we can, in fact, dramatically improve the number of at-risk women that we speak with, and we can dramatically improve the number of babies that we rescue, and we can dramatically improve the Church’s involvement in this work practically, the message starts to resonate. Whenever I speak, I say, “As a Christian, it’s a tricky balance, but on one hand, we have to be as aggressive as possible to rescue every family that we can from abortion. On the other hand, we have to be as aggressive as possible at extending the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to the tens of millions of people who have aborted a child.”

Both those things have to happen in the life of a Christian. It’s a difficult balance, and frankly we don’t always get it right. But by my estimation, there are probably 60 million adults today, in America, who are the parent of an aborted child, and that is another tremendous mission field for the Church.

So, I have the privilege of addressing both of those issues when I move around the country. When I’m at home, in Plano, I spend a good amount of my time casting vision and frankly setting our two- and three-year plans up and getting the team ready to go to the next level. And we’re opening up new cities; we’re in Atlanta. So, I spend quite a bit of time there.

It’s an absolute joy. Could I have ever predicted in a million years that this is what God would have me do? No. It’s hard work, and it’s not very popular in many cases. But when you can see 4,100 children whose lives have been protected and preserved because of what God is doing, it makes all the difference in the world.

Darrell Bock
Yeah, it’s an amazing ministry in many ways. I’ve got all kinds of questions about the type of women that you minister to and the impact of what it is that you’ve done. I imagine you have tons of testimonies from women who walked in, thinking they were gonna make a decision to abort a child and decided to keep it and now, on the backside of that, feel very positive about the decision that they made.

What happens to those children, first of all, and then secondly, I imagine you have some stories about some of the women who’ve decided for life as opposed to aborting a child?

Brian Fisher
It’s just wonderful to see those stories of transformation. And we get a lot of e-mails and complaints saying, “Well, you’re just increasing the population, and what if the child is born into a drug-abuse home, and you’re just setting them up for failure.”

But really, when you see a mother who was in a very insecure crisis situation, come into a system of care, where we will link arms with her, and not only walk with her through the crisis, but walk with her until she’s stabilized, it’s amazing. It’s the hands and feet of Christ in a very practical application.

The vast majority of women who choose life choose to parent. Some choose to place for adoption, but it’s actually pretty rare, because abortion is really seen culturally as the last form of birth control. And so, the situations that you might envision as being worthy of adoption are not as plentiful as you might think. Many women have the ability and the wherewithal to parent this child. And those that do place for adoption have wonderful experiences with that as well.

Probably one of my favorite stories, and it’s just from the last two weeks, is that our clinic in Pittsburgh, a woman came in. She wanted to have an abortion, but she was willing to come in and speak with us. And she saw her baby on the ultrasound.

She thought she was about five weeks pregnant. She was 16-1/2 weeks pregnant with her little son. And she’s married. She has two children already, but both she and her husband are out of work, and they’re flat broke. And so, she said, “I can’t afford the child.”

And we hear that often. And so, our team up there said, “Well, look, if we can help you put your résumé together, if we can connect you with a job placement service, if we can help you receive health insurance and get on food stamps, is this a situation where we can keep the child?”

And she said, “Yes.” And she chose life.

Now, later that week, one of our staff members sat with her for three-and-a-half hours in the Welfare Office. And when the Welfare Office tried to give the client the cold shoulder, our advocate said, “We’re waiting until you help us.” And they walked out of that office with health care and food stamps and a résumé. So, that story will be yet to be continued. But the woman felt secure. She felt as if somebody had stood in the gap for her.

Darrell Bock
And she was about midway through her pregnancy?
Brian Fisher
Yes, about 16-1/2, 17 weeks at this point. So, she’ll deliver a little boy in another 20 weeks or so. And that family will continue to grow, and Lord willing, we’ll be able to help them get jobs and get on their feet.

You know, in many cases, people who are struggling don’t have the strength to advocate for themselves. They need somebody to stand in the gap and get it done for them. Here she would have been lost for another 30 days without some basic necessities, but it was only because of the intervention of Becky, our caregiver, that she was able to get taken care of.

Darrell Bock
So, these caregivers are not lawyers or anything like that. When you say the phrase representation, we’re not talking about formal legal representation?
Brian Fisher
No, it’s not legal, no, mm-mmm. It’s just somebody standing in the gap, saying, “I will help quarterback your care.” And the needs are plentiful. We’re, in essence, testing this program – it’s a new program for us – in Pittsburg, and then if it’s going quite well, we’ll populate it to our other clinics. But they’re vetting other ministries and services that are provided in the city.

So, women need food. They need maternity housing; sometimes they need drug and alcohol abuse counseling. Lots of different needs that a woman might have, it is really incumbent on us, as followers of Christ, to go the extra mile with these hurting people.

And so, we vet those organizations. Some of them are church, some of them parachurch, some of them civic. And then we bring the best of breed of those services together, and our designing care program is for clients that need them. Not everybody – not every client needs them. And that way, the client knows that there is somebody who is working on their behalf to alleviate their pain.

Darrell Bock
So, these caregivers, are they volunteers, or are they part of another organization that provides them? How do you get them?
Brian Fisher
They’re ours. No, they’re Human Coalition employees, although we are looking at – ’cause it appears as if the demand is going to be quite high in recruiting volunteer caregivers.
Darrell Bock
Yep.
Brian Fisher
Yeah.
Darrell Bock
So, if they were with you in Coalition, have you – I’m going one step back – so, do they come to you and you train them?
Brian Fisher
Mm-hmm.
Darrell Bock
I mean how do you get ’em into the mix?
Brian Fisher
Yeah, the woman that we have chairing the program up there comes from this arena. She comes from social work and from a design and care system. So, we got very fortunate. Her name is Becky, and she’s just tremendous. So, she’s, in effect, charged with building the program. And so far, the program has been extremely successful, and we anticipated going to have to turn into a mixture of paid staff plus volunteers who become trained in giving that care and advocating for the client.
Darrell Bock
Okay. So, I’ve got software people who work software on the one hand. I’ve got social work people who come alongside the woman on another. I’m assuming you have counselors who help – who are trained in psychology, etcetera, to help interact with the women as they’re in the process of making the decision. What other kinds of human beings do you have in Human Coalition? I mean –
Brian Fisher
We have pastors. We have a church outreach team. We don’t think abortion can be ended without the Church. And so, we invented a way to measure the Church’s involvement in the act of ending abortion.

We actually built a formula and a way to measure – you know, Dallas is an example. We now know what percentage of churches in Dallas are actually engaged in some meaningful work to end abortion. That team’s job is to build relationships with pastors and priests and church leaders and drive a deeper engagement in protecting innocent human life. So, we have our pastoral team.

We have our fundraisers. We have attorneys. This work requires substantial legal work.

Darrell Bock
That was my next question.
Brian Fisher
Yep.
Darrell Bock
I figure a lawyer’s gotta show up somewhere.
Brian Fisher
We got a few of those running around, a few lawyers. And then we have some wonderful speakers, and we have a large marketing team. Our Facebook community has over a million people from 47 different countries worldwide. So, that’s a team that has to be managed and the marketing is a big deal. So, it’s a very odd nonprofit.
Darrell Bock
Yeah. Are there any medical people involved?
Brian Fisher
There are.
Darrell Bock
Yeah?
Brian Fisher
In the medical clinics that we own and operate, we have nurses and RDMSs and ultrasound technicians, depending on the clinic. And then a medical doctor has to oversee all the ultrasound work.
Darrell Bock
Okay. So, you’ve got – you got a little community. I mean where else do you have software and social work and medical teams and lawyers and business people and pastors? What are you missing?
Brian Fisher
Well, we’re missing a few parts. We got to figure out the governmental piece yet. That’s a ways off. But at some point, we’re gonna have to start thinking about how to engage legislatively. Laws follow culture, and it’s great to be changing the culture, but we also have to be working on the laws. And there’s some things in the works for the next two or three years.

But I couldn’t be prouder of the team. It’s 107 people who get up every morning and work in some of the most desperate, dire situations in a very unpopular space. I mean let’s face it, we’re never gonna be given awards for the work that we do here on this Earth. And to have 107 people who are committed to that and jazzed by it and want to see babies saved, and want to see families transformed, it’s just a very special team.

Darrell Bock
Okay, now, I imagine someone listening to this going, “This is interesting; this is fascinating. I know abortion is a problem, that a lot of people choose it. I’m at a church. I lead a church. I’m on a staff. Maybe I’m not senior pastor but somewhere, and you’ve tweaked my interest.

So, what would you say to someone who’s basically trying to figure out, “All right, so, what might be a next step for me?”

Brian Fisher
Education is the first step. We – I wrote a book last year called Deliver Us from Abortion: Awakening the Church to End the Killing of America’s Children. I went on a year-long exploration to try to understand why, on the whole, churches are not directly, intimately involved in ending abortion. And they haven’t been for 43 years. There are numerous exceptions, and Dallas is replete with them. But there are too many churches that do not engage this issue because they fear it’s political or they fear other parts of it.

So, my exploration into that suggested that in order for a layperson or a church leader to really become a positive force in their church to engage them is to get educated. The basic facts of what abortion is and what it has done to this country are, by and large, unknown. And we don’t get convicted emotionally until we have the facts. Right? We have to – or a story or something that moves us.

In my case, it was just studying the issue and understanding the degree to which it’s impacted the American family. But for others, it’s a relative who’s aborted a child. And they have seen the devastation that that’s wrought on their family, and they want to save other families from that devastation.

In some cases, it’s the statistics of our own cities, how many children we’re losing each year in major cities across the country. But get educated. There are wonderful resources out there that can start the process of that, of education, and then share that. Get into the small groups, get into a Sunday school.

I’m teaching a Sunday school in my class right now about abortion. We provide training. We provide a Pro-Life 101. It’s a three-hour course that can be done at one time or spread over three weeks that give the basics the history of abortion, what the Bible says about abortion, and what we can do to end it.

And then it’s really connecting with folks in the Church who God is calling. And this is pivotal. You know, candidly, if the senior pastor does not view this as a pivotal issue, it’s an uphill battle. And I’ll just be shooting straight about that.

Darrell Bock
Yeah, yeah, sure.
Brian Fisher
But that doesn’t mean work can’t be done. And finding other like-minded people in the Church and coalescing together is really important. You need a team, and that team has to be humble. They have to serve the Church. They have to work within the authority of the Church and yet, at the same point, expressing the dire need that exists because of abortion. If you can get educated and form a group of like-minded people, you can get a lot done.
Darrell Bock
So, if someone wanted to contact you, ’cause they got interested, could they do that?
Brian Fisher
Yes. Just e-mail us at contact@humancoalition.org – contact@humancoalition.org. We have a great team. This is all they do is they serve churches, and they help churches move along the path to being involved in protecting families and ending abortion. And they would love to speak with you. So, contact@humancoalition.org.
Darrell Bock
Okay. Now, I said we would discuss this. Let’s think about the impact of making a decision to abort a child. You’ve talked about the devastation that’s involved here and the human impact. And I think that some people say – maybe think of this, obviously not very deeply, and go, “Okay, I make a decision not to have a child. I have a surgical procedure, and it’s done.” But it’s not.
Brian Fisher
It’s not. Well, you can imagine the horror of accidentally killing a human being in a car accident or some sort of tragic event, where you are accidentally responsible for taking the life of a human being. You never get over that. You move on, but it is a – it is something that deeply influences you.

We don’t escape that just because the child is small and not seen. And whether you’re the father, or the mother, or somebody who coerced the mother, or a relative who was pushing for abortion, we have to come to grips with what does it mean to be responsible for taking the life of another human being. And it impacts people in different ways.

Look, there will be many, many women who say, “I had an abortion, and I’m better for it.” That exists. And I’m not here to debate that. What I’m here to say is there are millions of women who have aborted and suffered and regret it. And had somebody stood in the gap for them when they had that abortion and said, “I’ll help you through this so that you and your child can live –”

Darrell Bock
There’s another way.
Brian Fisher
– you would have a whole different situation.

We have numerous people on staff who are parents of aborted children. And the men, several men on staff, would be the first to tell you that they are forgiven. They know Christ has redeemed them. They have repented, but it still hurts, and it’s gonna hurt until they go to glory and they meet their child.

Darrell Bock
So, how many of these women are single and need additional help beyond the decision? I would take it that the bulk of –
Brian Fisher
Most.
Darrell Bock
Yeah.
Brian Fisher
Yeah, 85 percent of all abortions are performed on unplanned pregnancies. Okay? So, if only 15 percent are where people just don’t want their child, there’s a diagnosis that they don’t like or whatnot, but 85 percent – and the overwhelming majority of those women are single or not in some sort of secure relationship.

So, this gets back to a sexual ethic and how do we define that in America today, but if we really want to end abortion, you must stem unplanned pregnancy, which means we have to get back to defining what a proper, healthy family, in the context of biblical marriage is.

Darrell Bock
Mm-hmm. And is there an additional demographic in terms of age? I’m assuming that you’re dealing with a lot of, in some cases, teenage women and early 20s? That’s the bulk of it?
Brian Fisher
Yeah, the average age of a Human Coalition client is around 24. It’s a little bit older than I would have thought and that many people think. Abortion is a high school issue in some cases, but it is predominantly a young woman issue, an early-20s woman who is either in college or out of college or whatnot in the career force.

And the demographics outside of that differ by city. So, we work in Memphis. The vast majority of women who are at risk to abort there are African-American, underprivileged. Here in Dallas, it’s a mix of white/Hispanic in the Grapevine area who are not necessarily underprivileged. The abortion demographics tend to reflect the area in which we’re working. In Miami, largely Latin American by in the thousands. Miami is one of the top five abortion capitals in the country.

So, that’s important for churchgoers and Christ followers to understand, because it is very possible to minister to people who look and act like you, who are also dealing with either having – had an abortion or at risk to have an abortion.

Darrell Bock
Now, I’m gonna deal a little bit with – I don’t know if the politics is it, but the rhetoric associated with the politics of this. Oftentimes what’s said is, is that you’re dealing in areas of human choice, and you’re pro-choice or you’re pro-life, that kind of thing. How do you help people sort through that rhetoric and how they are hearing it framed about, “It’s my body; you’re taking away my rights,” all those kinds of things.
Brian Fisher
Well, the good news is there’s actually no logical, factual argument for abortion. Whether you’re looking at it philosophically, ethically, medically, biblically, in all four of those arenas, the facts are irrefutable and quite clear. The challenge is, and your alluding to it, is that we don’t know how to defend the position for life.

Scott Klusendorf wrote a phenomenal book, and I recommend it to anybody because it’s highly readable and just extremely well done called The Case for Life. The Case for Life, Scott Klusendorf. You can get it on Amazon. It is probably the best pro-life apologetic I’ve ever read, and I’ve read most of them, because he accurately describes how to defend human life, whether you have a Bible or not, whether or not you’re talking to believer or not.

And so, for example, one of the arguments that you heard, “My body; my choice,” is the reference to what is growing inside the womb is not actually somebody else’s body. Well, of course, medically it is somebody else’s body –

Darrell Bock
Absolutely it is, yeah.
Brian Fisher
– from conception onward. So, that brings up the question is well why are we discriminating against somebody who’s just smaller than we are? So, do we devalue an infant because they’re smaller than a teenager? Well, of course not. We value their lives the same. Well, then why do we devalue a life that’s smaller than an infant? That doesn’t make logical sense.

And Klusendorf walks through the four major arguments that can be applied philosophically. Science completely backs up the pro-life position, and I think the Bible obviously does. And so, a little bit of education, a little bit of training – Human Coalition offers it. Klusendorf’s book is great – arm you to where you can disarm any pro-abortion argument. They are all built on lies and fallacies and misinformation, and a little bit of truth goes a long, long way.

Darrell Bock
You know, I’m on the board at Wheaton College, and of course we’re in the middle of a legal case right now in which the health care mandate to require the supply of certain medical procedures, etcetera, that could result in aborta fascia situations, that kind of thing, is something that has been a part of what we’ve studied.

I came into the task force knowing a little bit of theology, but knowing zero of the science. And what was interesting was the scientific material that we were reading that talks about how scientists define the beginning of life and when life begins, that kind of thing.

And although there is a spectrum there, it’s very interesting that our laws have not caught up with where the science is on this. Even the looser definitions of where life begins, because it’s pretty clear that you’re dealing with an independent entity, all of whose base functions of life reside within that entity from a very, very, very early point on, long before where our law allows abortion to take place so that when you combine the scientific with the moral and legal elements, there is very clearly a line that has been long past –

Brian Fisher
That’s correct.
Darrell Bock
– by the time we exercise what we have allowed legally our rights of abortion to perform.
Brian Fisher
Well, and ironically, there are actually two laws on the federal books that contradict each other to that regard.
Darrell Bock
Interesting.
Brian Fisher
Roe v. Wade obviously makes abortion legal at any stage of development for all nine months, and it’s up there with China and North Korea in terms of its permissiveness. We’re the top four permissive abortion countries on the planet.

There’s another law on the books called Laci and Connor’s Law. You might recall that Laci Peterson was murdered by her husband Scott in San Francisco. Her body washed up in San Francisco Bay, along with the body of their unborn child Connor. He was charged with double homicide. So, he did not have the right to kill Connor, but Laci did. Same gestational age of the child. And Bush passed a law that made – I think it was 65 acts of violence against an unborn child, at any stage of development, illegal except abortion.

So, you have one law that says that unborn life from any stage of development should be protected from violence, and you have another law that says, “That’s not entirely true; we can kill that life at any stage of development.” That quandary presents a moral dilemma which any legal scholar or frankly any commonsense person would say, “This is ridiculous, and it makes no sense.” And furthermore, it propagates the idea that the value of the preborn child’s life is somehow determined by the mother and not by other institutions.

Darrell Bock
Yeah, I think the subtle argument in here that people don’t process is they think that because the child is dependent on the mother for well-being while in the womb, that somehow that disqualifies it from being considered life.

And yet, what I’m – what I was reading and the science says, no, actually all – we continue to protect a baby after it’s born because it’s dependent on parents in order to survive, but we regard that somehow as life, and where we are in the womb is somehow not. And that – and it’s very inconsistent. And as I said, all the scientific elements that make that person an independent entity are in the person while they’re in the womb.

Brian Fisher
That’s right. Yeah, from conception onward. I mean the zygote, a very pluripotent cell contains all the DNA, the 46 chromosomes, gender, hair color, all that is determined and left untouched. All the zygote does is develop into more mature forms of a human being. You and I were once zygotes, and biblically speaking, we were as valuable then as we are now.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And most people don’t even think about that. They just think about it in terms of the choices that are made and that kind of thing. And so, there is – there’s a lot that can happen in education.

One final question and we’re rapidly running out of time. If a church wanted – is motivated to do something, one, what do you advice and, two, how do they contact you.

Brian Fisher
Yeah, one is through that process of educating your congregation. We have worked with dozens of churches all over the country, and time and time again we learn that is the best way to get started. Get everybody on an even playing field about what it is the church wants to do.

And two is to absolutely reach out to us, ’cause we can provide the resources and the training to do that at contact@humancoalition.org. And if they’re already involved, they might financially support a pregnancy center; that’s awesome. They might provide post-abortive healing Bible studies; that’s awesome. The might provide tangible ways of helping women in crisis pregnancies; that is awesome.

Darrell Bock
Foster care of some kind?
Brian Fisher
Foster care, adoption services, maternity housing. And frankly, hundreds of churches across the country do that sort of work. I think the key point is make sure that what you as a church are engaged in is still relevant, and is moving the ball towards reducing abortion in your city if that’s where the church is going.

There’s a lot of techniques; there’s a lot of things that are being done that frankly are not the best use of time. And that’s where we can provide substantial help and counsel just because, frankly, we’ve seen most of what goes on.

Darrell Bock
M-kay. Well, that’s terrifically helpful and oh, man, there are tons of questions beyond that I could ask, but we’ve done a, I think, a good initial job in surveying the field. I think of it as being one of the more meaningful ways of social engagement that a church can undertake, where really you are dealing with life and death from the very beginning. I mean not – and at multiple levels, the physical life, as well as the spiritual life of people, and that that’s a terrifically valuable thing to undertake. And so, I can’t think of a more valuable ministry to undertake in many ways.

Well, our time is basically gone, Brian. I want to thank you for taking the time –

Brian Fisher
You’re welcome.
Darrell Bock
– to come in and chat with us about what is an area that I think many people have a gut feel about in the Church, but really are a little bit at a loss to know, “Okay, what does this actually look like, and if I wanted to help, what could I possibly do,” those kinds of things. And there are all kinds of way – I can see, you know, you need technicians; you need –
Brian Fisher
That’s right.
Darrell Bock
– sociologists; you need counselors; you need pastors; you need lawyers and doctors and nurses. That’s a pretty –
Brian Fisher
It’s a coalition.
Darrell Bock
– pretty wide swath.
Brian Fisher
That’s right.
Darrell Bock
I can see why it’s called Human Coalition. So, thank you again for coming in –
Brian Fisher
You’re welcome.
Darrell Bock
– and helping us with this –
Brian Fisher
Thanks for having me on.
Darrell Bock
– type of difficult topic.
Brian Fisher
Thank you.
Darrell Bock
And thank you for being a part of The Table, and we look forward to having you back again soon.
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Brian Fisher co-founded Human Coalition after years serving in executive management in the for-profit and non-profit arenas. Brian is a Certified Financial Planner and the author of four books and numerous articles. His columns have appeared in publications such as FoxNews.com, the Washington Post, Independent Journal Review, and CBN.com.
Darrell L. Bock
Dr. Bock is senior research professor of New Testament and executive director for cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited more than 40 books, including Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods, Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King, Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith, and Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Context and Coherence.
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