Home Page | Calendar | Forums | Login | Turn Images On |
Home > LDM > Discipleship Teachings > Other

I Changed My Stand

My Struggle Over Abortion

by Pastor Zolton Phillips, III


I was a member of the Clergy’s Advisory Council to the Virginia League For Planned Parenthood in the early 1970s. That was before the Roe v. Wade decision, back when states were allowed to make their own laws in regard to abortion. Planned Parenthood had launched a campaign to liberalize the abortion laws of Virginia and I participated in that effort, talking with people in the state legislature at Richmond where I lived.
Down in the university area of Richmond was the Fan Free Clinic, a medical facility for students and the underprivileged in the Fan District. The clinic provided treatment for anything from the common cold to venereal disease. They also saw young ladies coming in that were butchered, really torn up from abortions. In desperation these women had chosen to risk their lives rather than face the disgrace of an unplanned pregnancy, or bear a child they did not want or were unprepared for.
At Planned Parenthood, I heard doctors make presentations saying that a legal, professionally performed abortion was safer than having a baby1 and that access to contraceptives would decrease the rate of pregnancy.2 Free contraceptives and "safe" abortions seemed a reasonable solution. I made my decision to support Planned Parenthood’s goals on the basis of these observations - not on the basis of any biblical study. My congregation, the Village Presbyterian Church in Richmond, knew what I was doing. I didn’t preach it from the pulpit, but in private conversation, I certainly was an advocate for abortion.
Other ministers and I - members of the Clergy’s Advisory Council - would be called in to meet with the Chairman of Planned Parenthood of Virginia to give our advice about the different projects he was working on. I was never totally comfortable with my position, but I wasn’t quite sure why until later on.
The campaign to liberalize the state’s abortion laws was successful, and I made myself available as a counselor for the first abortion clinic in Richmond. When women came seeking counsel, I told them that if they wanted to have an abortion, it was understandable and that I would arrange one for them if I could. But always in the back of my mind there was something that prompted the question, "Is this really right?" I would push it down, but it gnawed at me for a long time.
Finally, I asked the state Chairman of Planned Parenthood to let me witness an abortion. I’ll never forget that day. Inside the dilapidated brick building, a former minority hospital, I was greeted by a nervous nurse and two hurried doctors. I donned the standard white coat and entered a room where I saw a very pretty young lady, anxiously sitting on the edge of an old hospital bed. There were brief introductions and then I stepped to the back and listened to the doctor tell this woman what would happen. He emphasized three things: 1) "There will be no pain to speak of." 2) "You will walk into the room." 3) "You will walk back from the room." I’m not sure what prompted them to say such things, except possibly to reassure her that this was not a major medical operation.
We went into the procedure room. I stood at the head of the lady as her legs were placed in the stirrups, the doctor sat down, and the nurse stood at his side. Following four cervical injections that were painful to the lady, she was dilated by a series of rods increasing in size. Then an ominous-looking machine with a gauze bag inside a jar was pushed close to her. The vacuum tube was put in position, the machine turned on, and a sucking sound I’ll never forget filled the room. As a mass of fluid and blood went into the jar, the gauze bag caught the fragmented body parts where I saw what appeared to be a tiny hand catch in the bag.
I asked the nurse, "Is that what I think it is?" She said, "Yeah."
After it was over, the ashen-faced woman staggered back to the other room, supported by no one until I went to her aid. The rest of my day was filled with gloom.
I spoke with some people at Planned Parenthood about my uneasy feelings and was told they would disappear after seeing a few more abortions.
I did see other abortions - two vacuumcurette and one saline. After the saline abortion, the baby was born alive. Shocked, I appealed to the nurse saying, "Hey, he’s trying to live, help him!" She replied, "I can’t because they’ve signed the papers that he’s dead."
When I came home, my wife and I began to do a lot of talking and praying and searching the Scriptures - something I had not done thoroughly enough. After a period of searching, God spoke to both of us at the same time. Jeremiah 1:5 was the verse God used to change my mind. "Before I formed you [Jeremiah] in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you..." If the Lord knows him, then he has to be alive.
There was considerable guilt over my involvement. I still struggle with it. Maybe my work didn’t have that much of an effect, but I was a part of the movement. That haunts me very seriously at times. Then when I realize the grace of God, the haunting begins to disappear and I’m better able to accept His forgiveness and forgive myself.
Nevertheless, it amazes me that we Christians can be so blind, especially when I consider that the reasons society gives for justifying abortion today would have killed our Christ before He was born: He was conceived out of wedlock, conceived in an impoverished woman, uncared for by society, and an embarrassment to family members.
"...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matt. 25:40 KJV)
Dr. Zolton Phillips III served as past president of Presbyterians Pro-Life, a group working against abortion within the Presbyterian denomination. He and his wife Sue, formerly from Florida, now live in Blackstone, Virginia, where he is pastor of the Blackstone Presbyterian Church. They both continue to be active in pro-life advocacy.
We at Americans Against Abortion deeply admire and respect Dr. Phillips for openly sharing his testimony. We believe it is people like him who, unafraid to admit their past mistakes and take a stand for righteousness, demonstrate the power and grace of Jesus Christ. Thank you pastor Phillips. May Jesus multiply your ministry greatly! (Author: Pastor Zolton Phillips, III)

See feedback for this article


Articles in this group

Blessed Are The Poor in Spirit
What does is mean to be poor in spirit? There is something about the poor that delights the heart of God. They are contrite. They know they are in need. But what is it about them that draws the kingdom of God to Earth? (Author: Heidi Baker with Shara Pradhan)

Who Needs Quiet Time?-You Do!
Fifteen minutes later, you roll out of bed. Late again. With toothbrush in hand, you step into the shower where you have what passes for "devotions" - a hasty, "Good morning, Lord." (Author: Fran Paris)

A Christless Pentecost
The following is a prophetic warning from Azusa Street 75 years ago, concerning the dangers of a Christless Pentecost! (Author: David Wilkerson)

Crossing the Great Divide
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation." (Author: Tom Marshall)

Sharing Jesus in a Diverse World
How do we reach TODAY's generation with the Gospel? (Author: Danny Lehman)

Finding God When You've Failed
Honesty is indeed a prerequisite to effective prayer. But it can also be cleverly guided on a boomerang path by our arch opponent. (Author: Jack Hayford)

The Great Rock Of Islam
My grandfather was a very famous and respected Koran teacher, and the people of his city always obeyed his words. My father learned all about the Koran from him, and he grew to love it very much. (Author: Unknown)

Others
Others (Author: )

The Truth About Faith
Is your faith weak? Are you perplexed because your faith doesn't seem to get results? (Author: David Wilkerson)

The Power of the Cross
There is not a more liberating, redeeming, costly, significant, or glorious work in all of human history than the cross of Jesus Christ. (Author: Noel Alexander)

Who Cares?
On one of my recent journeys, as I gazed from the coach window, I was led into a train of thought concerning the conditions of the multitudes around me. (Author: General William Booth)

Prayer
There's nothing more transfiguring than prayer. People often ask, "Why do you insist on prayer so much?" The answer is very simple - because Jesus did. (Author: Leonard Ravenhll (originally written 1982))

What Was I Thinking?
How a man ends up working in a Crisis Pregnancy Center (Author: Scott Manganella)

The Devil The Dope Man
Powerful testimony from a addiction to salvation...to starting Hope city. (Author: Lisa Stribling)

Working Hard Or Hardly Working?
Many people are afraid to work. They re afraid of the very idea of it. Just thinking about it can ruin their whole day. (Author: Tony Salerno)

Who Will You Deny? Yourself or the Lord
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." - Luke 9:23 (Author: By John Wesley)

Walking Out Of Homosexuality
What I remember most from my childhood is a deep hunger to be loved. (Author: Joe Hallet)

Walking With Jesus
The following are a brief overview of some of the key aspects of becoming a Christian and starting your walk with Jesus. We strongly encourage you to read from many of the articles on Last Days Ministries web site for more information. (Author: LDM Staff)

Meditation-Our Lost Treasure
Yet the treasure they were seeking was an earthly treasure. Its benefits might last a lifetime - but certainly not for an eternity. (Author: Fran Paris)

Mighty Moments
The following story is a chapter from a book published in 1931 called "Mighty Moments." We were really encouraged by this touching story of a young man's faith and his determined love for God. We hope it will inspire you in a mighty way as well. (Author: Lionel Fletcher)

Mission: America
Want to reach the world for Jesus? All you have to do is open your heart - and your eyes. (Author: Denny Gunderson)

Mission Trip Report:India
I was just happy to be somewhere. (Author: Rebekah Green)

My Yoke Is Easy-A Parable of Grace
A Parable Of Grace by Joan Rappleyea with Chloe Jovejoy. (Author: Joan Rappleyea with Chloe Lovejoy)

Passion For Jesus
Almost any Christian can tell you what the greatest commandment of all is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. We all know this is the greatest commandment. But are we really taking it seriously? (Author: Jack Deere)

Pharisees, Sadducees, or Jesus
And why do some others think God is more interested in our earthly comfort than in our eternal character? (Author: Dean Sherman)

The Man In the Mirror
Imagine - me married! A day of rejoicing and celebration, of sharing love between family and friends. At my side was my wife, the woman I loved. But special as it was, our wedding held a much deeper significance. (Author: Sy Rogers)

The Person God Uses
The fact is, God is using everybody that He can, and using them to the full extent of their fitness for His service. So instead of praying so much to be used, people should search themselves to know whether they’re usable. (Author: Samuel Logan Brengle)

The Plight Of the Christian Artist
One of the most tragic stories in history is that of Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh was a "preacher's kid" whose greatest desire was to follow his father into the ministry. (Author: Denny Gunderson)

The Theatre of Your Mind - What's Showing?
"…be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans12:2 Most Christians have at least an intellectual understanding that with Christ all things are possible. (Author: Gunderson, Denny)

The Way Of Fellowship
The Fall is simply, "We have turned everyone to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6) (Author: Roy Hession)

Touching the Untouchable
It was March 25, 1986 - a day I'll never forget. All of Heidelberg, Germany, was alive that day with the fresh brilliance of spring. (Author: Joe Hallett)

Trail To Peace
I sat in stone silence looking at the white man sitting a few feet away from me. My heart was cold toward him, and I assumed he felt the same about me. (Author: Spencer Cody)

Training Your Children For Christ
First, there are some things that must be done if you want to reach the great goal in the training of children - for them to love and serve God with a pure heart. (Author: General William Booth)

True and False Unity
I leaned forward, readjusting my position in the pew, and glanced around the room. The atmosphere was charged with excitement as we waited for the service to begin. (Author: Floyd McClung)

Restoration Through Forgiveness
Because if we were to take these insects and release them on a plant, all four working together would eat the leaves, the branches, the main stalk, and finally the root. Now what would be left? Absolutely nothing. The plant would be destroyed. (Author: Doug Easterday)

Radical Hope
Deuteronomy 28:47 says, "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart..." (Author: Charlie Moore)

Raped and Pregnant
Rape is understandably difficult to talk about - especially for the women who are the victims. Yet because it’s so often used as a reason for abortion, we need to take a closer look. (Author: Three Women Tell Their Stories)

Singles + Sex
Many people think God is unfair. That He made us sexual beings and then tells us don’t! Almost every young person I know faces this problem. (Author: Dean Sherman)

Simplicity-The Evidence of Life
What was the greatest gift that God gave to us in Jesus Christ? Was it not that beautiful life? "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. " (John 1:4) I (Author: Dudley Hall)

Some Days Are Like That
Meanwhile, almost my entire wardrobe for this three-week trip was in the washer... along with a forgotten maroon sock. Yes, it's true. Everything came out with a distinct pink tone. (Author: Linda Cope)

Spiritual Burn Out
We sat in a cafe in the Mayfair area of London. Outside, the fog was settling in on the late November afternoon. (Author: Malcom Smith)

Spiritual Warfare
You may believe spiritual warfare is only for Christians who happen to be "into" such things - or for obscure missionaries working in dark, heathen places. (Author: Dean Sherman)

Taking Action, Living Adventurously
"The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed. " (Author: Larry Tomczack)

The Call To Run
Winning God's Way Part 1 (Author: Loren Cunningham)

The Call To Serve
Winning God's Way and Part 2 (Author: Loren Cunningham)

The Dangers Of Drifting From God
“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” -Hebrews 2:1 (Author: Unknown)

Dad I'm Pregnant - How Should A Father Respond?
Over the last 20 years, the percentage of illegitimate births to girls 19 and under has increased from 15% to 51%. In 1987, more than 1,100,00 teenage girls became pregnant, and 60% of those girls became pregnant again in the next two years (Author: Author Anonymous)

Does This Railroad Lead To Heaven?
This is a true story taken from the 1894 edition of “Touching Incidents And Remarkable Answers To Prayer.” (Author: Pastor F. M. Dosh)

Do You Feel Like Giving Up?
A growing number of ministers have been writing to me in recent months, telling of their concern for those in their flock who are simply giving up. Today, more and more Christians are at the breaking point. (Author: David Wilkerson)

Four Circles Of Intimacy With God
You're As Close To God As YOU Want To Be (Author: J.Oswald Sanders)

God Is Easy To Live With
Satan's first attack upon the human race was his sly effort to destroy Eve's confidence in the kindness of God. Unfortunately for her and for us, he succeeded too well. From that day, men have had a false conception of God (Author: A. W. Tozer)

The Heart Of A Worshiper
The fundamental essence of worship is this: Regardless of negative circumstances or complete emotional turmoil, I bow my heart and life before God Almighty, acknowledging His supreme lordship. (Author: Bob Sorge)

How To Find God
Practical guidelines for the True seeker (Author: General William Booth)

How To Make Grace Amazing Hell's Best Kept Secret
How To Make Grace AmazingI once came out of a store and saw a lady trying to open her car door by using a bent, wire coat-hanger. I asked if it was her car, or if she was stealing it. A smile relieved her face of obvious frustration. (Author: Ray Comfort)

Humility-The Strength of the Lamb
"He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Phil. 2:8) (Author: Andrew Murray)

I'm Gay, O.K.?
A man who at one time had given himself over to seeking pleasure spoke the truth when he said that “Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief.” (Author: Martin Bennett)

In The Hands of the Master Potter
the Lord says to you. "There’s a price. Do you want My presence and My miracles? Do you want Me? There’s a price behind the anointing. You must be willing to take up your cross and follow Me." (Author: Jill Austin)

Incest
This is the true story of the actual experiences of a woman who was on staff for many years here at Last Days Ministries. (Author: Anonymous)

It's Between You and God
(Mother Teresa put these up on the wall of her children's home in Calcutta, which is why this is sometimes attributed to her) (Author: Dr. Kent M. Keith)

Lies In Disguise: Battling Temptation
Many great mistakes are made concerning the problem of temptation. First of all, some people seem to think that after becoming a Christian temptations will cease. (Author: By Hannah Whitall Smith)

Living in Transition - The Art of Faith and Life
The Hitchhiker's Guide (Author: Michael Miles)

Love vs. Romance
A young girl recently wrote and asked, "Don't Christians believe in romance anymore?" (Author: Kathleen Dillard)

Making a Difference in Your World
The phone rings (Author: Linda Speight)

Making the Most Of Your Devotions
If you are a Christian, your personal relationship with Jesus must take first priority in your life. But for many reasons, that daily quiet time with God may be the first thing to dissolve under time pressures, stress, and busy schedules. (Author: George Mueller)

Carpe AEternum
"Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look to the fields, that they are white for harvest." (John 4:35) (Author: Fred Markert)

Charlie Coulson the Christian Drummer Boy
The following story is a true account, taken from an old, out-of-print book called “Touching Incidents And Remarkable Answers To Prayer.” It was compiled by S.B. Shaw and published in 1894. (Author: Dr. M. L. Rosvally)

Abortion Clinics: An Inside Look
The following are portions of an interview with a woman who used to work at an abortion clinic. Her story is a look into another world where abuse has become an industry, and extermination a daily routine. (Author: Former Clinic Administrator Speaks Out)

A Cry In the Night
The following story is true and was taken from one of our all time favorite books, "Touching Incidents And Remarkable Answers To Prayer" written in 1894. Gather the whole family around! This is a story you'll enjoy reading out loud to your children. (Author: Author Unknown)

Active Or Passive Lordship
Whenever God shows up on the scene things begin to happen - and in a big way! Pillars of fire, parting seas, rivers turning to blood, earthquakes, floods - the Bible has got to be the most action-packed Book that has ever been written! (Author: Fred Markert)

A Wonderful Visitor
The following is a true story and was taken from one of our favorite books, Touching Incidents And Remarkable Answers To Prayer, originally printed in 1894 (Author: unknown)

Are You Doing 'Jesus Stuff'?
Do you ever wonder what Jesus would be doing if He were walking the earth today? I do. I wonder where He would feel comfortable, who He'd want to hang out with. (Author: Carol DeGraff)


© 2014 Last Days Ministries High Accessibility Version. (Full Graphics Version)