Angelina Steenstra speaks on abortion,
contraception and forgiveness in N.B., PEI
On June 16-17, spellbound audiences in Moncton and Charlottetown listened to a gripping and profound presentation by Angelina Steenstra. Mother of three children, spiritual mother of many, she is the co-founder of Second Chance Ministries, a post abortion outreach for both men and woman, in Scarborough, Ont.
“Abortion does not occur in a vacuum,” she stresses. “A whole community – doctors, nurses, receptionists, family, friends – is involved in the decision and in carrying out the abortion. Both that community and the broader one are affected for a very long time, even into future generations.”
Despite the prevailing myths, abortion is always a major event. Besides causing the death of a child, it impacts on the mother for the rest of her life. Increasingly, the literature documents a whole range of measurable, identifiable effects.
“Her body knows it has done something wrong; her spirit knows it has been involved in something abhorrent,” says Steenstra. The effort to suppress that knowledge affects behaviour, self esteem, health, spiritual life, and relationships.
Healing involves much more than grieving the death of her child. A first step is dealing with denial, the self-protective absolute blockage of all conscious awareness of the experience. The literature now shows that breaking through that denial generally takes many years – for some, many decades.
It is now becoming known too, that abortion affects other children of the family, including survivors of the ‘selective reduction’ that is part of technologically assisted conception. “When ‘excess embryos’ have been destroyed, the remaining child feels a deep sense of defilement, and needs healing,” says Steenstra.
It is even less widely known that abortion also has a profound effect on men. Their aftermath symptoms, though different from those of the women, are real, painful, and also destructive.
One factor often contributing to an abortion decision is a great unsatisfied hunger for healthy father-love, says Steenstra. Another major factor is fear, which, she says, would have little power if the women were properly supported.
Even more subtly influential, is the toxic atmosphere and milieu that allows the “values clarification” approach to education and moral formation. Intentionally or not, it allows sexual activity outside of marriage to be seen as acceptable.
“This is the old, old story of betrayal, of the lie that promises liberation, but leads to death, self hatred, and self destruction,” Steenstra says.
“All men and women are called to fruitfulness, to be fathers and mothers. If not physically, then spiritually,” she says.
She adds, “A particular grace that God wants to give to men, is to turn around this tide of evil. He is calling on them to reclaim their role as custodians of life. He wants to tell every man, father, brother, uncle: you are very important; you have a very big role to play.”
All paternity comes from God. The marital embrace connects with the Trinity, and is sacred. A key part of the abortion solution, says Steenstra, is rediscovering and teaching our culture those realities.
“When I discovered Planned Parenthood’s agenda, I learned that abortion had to become legal, because we were being sold contraception, and failed contraception almost always leads to abortion. So if we are going to heal this great wound of abortion, we have to go to the root of the problem: the promotion of contraception.”
For that, a major tool is education in natural family planning and fertility awareness, she says. “We are so blessed in this age to be able to recognize our own fertility with certainty. How beautiful it is, how awesome, to know exactly when we have the potential to create a being in the image and likeness of God, a human being who will have a capacity for the infinite, and who will live forever.”
Over and over, using many examples from her own experience, Steenstra stresses, “God does much more than forgive. In His economy, nothing is ever lost or wasted. He even uses our brokenness, transforming it and bringing life and goodness from it. With God, all things work together for good.”