David Williams worked for 10 years with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) ministering to college students in Northeast Ohio, serving as a traveling speaker and also as a chaplain for one season with the Cincinnati Bengals. In 2013, David decided to devote more time to his God-given passion to preach. Along with speaking, David mentors college students and ministers with Pregnancy Resource Centers to be a voice for the unborn and mentor men who have been effected by or whose partners are considering abortion.
In this interview David shares his perspective on how the Shockwaves of Abortion are impacting the African American community.
Kevin: David thanks so much for sharing your experience and insights with us today. What’s the best place to start as we try to understand how the shockwaves of abortion are impacting the black community?
David: People want to understandably jump into the powerful moral, political and religious debates around this contentious issue in our society. But I think we can often fail to realize the historical perspective as we think through the issue of abortion.
To understand the unique vulnerability of the African American community to abortion, we need to look at how traumatic slavery was for the black family. Families were systematically and cruelly dismantled according to the business needs of the slavers. Men would be torn from their wives and children. They were bred like animals to create the optimal labor value for the slave businesses. Women were routinely sexually abused, raped and separated from their children. Many mothers would abort their unborn children rather than have them born into slavery.
Kevin: David how does this historical experience of systematic abuse of the black family connect with the high rate of abortion among African Americans?
African Americans were not looked at as human beings created in the image of God but something less than that. Because of this they were seen as nothing more than property to be done with however their ‘masters’ saw fit. This sinful, ungodly system of slavery, which lasted for over 200 years in our nation, I believe not only oppressed, devalued and traumatized African Americans but also ingrained in us certain mind sets about marriage, family, sex and abortion.
Now in our nation, babies in the womb, who are created in the image of God, are viewed as less than human. They are seen as nothing more than the property of the woman, who happens to be a mother, to be kept or discarded according to her choice. This is very similar to the way that African Americans were viewed during slavery. Even though laws in our nation have changed that have freed and given equal rights to African Americans the mindset among some that blacks are inferior (racism) is still alive and well. When you combine these facts it does not surprise me that the majority of abortion providers are in urban centers and that over 30% of abortions are by black women (though they comprise only 13% of women).
Kevin: Planned Parenthood and their supporters say that their tax-funded services are essential in poor minority communities.
David: The abortion industry and their allies think the solution for the high rate of out of wedlock pregnancies and other social problems in poor minority communities is abortion and more birth control. What they fail to see, or ignore is that this attacks us in those areas of historical traumatic vulnerability. Those that have a previous history of trauma are more likely to experience more serious post abortion reactions such as debilitating anxiety/depression, substance abuse and/or to act out their grief and pain in dysfunctional relationships. Obviously this feeds the very problems the pro abortion forces say they are rescuing us from. But the truth is, we are being exploited and targeted in a very direct way by the abortion industry.
Kevin: David in your public speaking ministry and other work you have a lot of contact with Black Pastors, church and ministry leaders. Given how important the church is in many poor minority communities, why have church leaders been largely been silent or even pro-abortion in their preaching and pastoral ministry?
David: I often have an opportunity to share about my own abortion loss and healing in my speaking ministry. I am finding more and more that this opens up the door for pastors and other church leaders, educators and laymen to share about their own shame, guilt and pain from being involved in an abortion decision. I recently spoke with a church leader who had an abortion with his wife over 20 years ago. They were never able to have children. This is a very deep wound. After sharing with him he expressed an interest in getting connected to a group for healing at a Pregnancy Resource Center. I am finding that his response is rare. Most Pastors, church and ministry leaders that I speak with are reluctant to go through a healing program and to be public in any way about this secret in their past.
Kevin: How does this impact a Pastors being able to preach and minister to his people about abortion and abortion loss?
David: As men we can all struggle with the sin of pride. We understandably want to appear together, strong and in control. It’s hard for men who are used to being looked up to as morally sound, virtuous and holy men and church leaders to let their guard down and open up this wound to a deeper healing…let alone publicly share such a shameful secret.
Kevin: How might these secrets keep our ministry leaders and other leaders in our black communities either silent about or complicit in the high abortion rate in African American communities?
David: Until you receive the grace from God to put aside that pride, that fear of losing control, fear of the powerful feelings associated with that abortion loss…you naturally “don’t want to go there.”
I believe that as long as we live with these secrets acting as if all is well then we miss out in experiencing the healing grace and forgiveness of Christ. I think that this circumvents our ability to freely and fully minister God’s word to others. The thought becomes “who am I to speak up about abortion when I also am guilty and wounded by it.” This keeps too many silent. Thus abortion continues to ravage lives in the African American community and leave in its wake multitudes of broken women and men who sit in church feeling guilty, condemned and afraid to confess what they’ve done and seek healing.
The fullness of the gospel message is compromised when our leaders fail to address this issue in their own lives. It communicates that “my position, image and ego are more important than letting Christ take full possession of my life”…especially those areas that are most shrouded in secrecy and shame.
Kevin: I have heard you share that some ministry activity can be driven by a need to atone for the death of their child or children lost to abortion.
David: Yes, and this can be an unconscious thing. But when you don’t do the grief and healing work around that loss, this can lead to acting out and ministry burn out. Equally important, by not dealing with these vulnerable wounds, we leave ourselves open to exploitation of these emotional vulnerabilities by Satan. Secret wounds can feed secret acting out of unresolved emotional pain, grief, guilt and anger from abortion; pornography viewing, extra-marital affairs, workaholic tendencies, anger issues and health problems can all be at least in part related to an unresolved abortion loss.
Kevin: But what a blessing for men, especially our spiritual leaders when they can take that courageous step and reach out for help.
David: Jesus is telling us to put aside our pride, our privilege and our positions for a time and learn to open ourselves fully to his grace and Lordship of our lives. I can tell you from personal experience, you will be richly blessed. You will come to more fully realize the will of Christ in your life. If you are minister/pastor or other church leader, you will be freed to preach the Gospel of Life and the Gospel of the healing power of Jesus over abortion wounds. You will have the privilege of being used by God to lead others to forgiveness, healing and hope. Your ministry will be empowered and blessed in ways that you could never imagine prior to taking that step.
Kevin: What was an essential part of your own healing journey that led you to this powerful ministry of public testimony, ministry to those facing unplanned pregnancies and men suffering after abortion?
David: Brad Mattes of Life Issues Institute had a key role in this and it reveals the power of men ministering to and with love challenging one another.
For a number of years I have frequently shared parts of my story with teens and college students. Though I would mention the abortion that my girlfriend had when I was 19 I had no idea of how deeply I was wounded by it. In 2013, I was asked to share about the abortion experience at a Pregnancy Resource Center banquet in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Brad Mattes was in attendance.
A few days after the event Brad and I had a phone conversation where he asked me a question which at the time I thought was weird. He said to me, “David how have you invited Jesus to heal you from the effects of your past abortion?” My initial thoughts were, I am OK. That was so long ago (22 years) and I have been a Christian for 16 years. But I said to him, “I have not specifically done anything to heal from the wounds of the abortion.”
He then asked me if he could send me a book Fatherhood Aborted and if I would be interested in going through a post-abortion bible study with a male peer counselor. I told him that I would be open to both. As I read the book and went through the bible study I began to see the effects and the deep hurt of the abortion in my life both prior to and after coming to know Jesus. I would have never made the connection.
As I went through the bible study, I began and continue to experience God’s forgiveness, grace and healing in ever increasing measure. It has impacted my relationship with my wife, children and ministry in ways far beyond anything I could have imagined. By God’s grace He has called me to be a champion for the unborn, to minister to those in the midst of crisis and broken by past abortion. (Genesis50:20)