Here’s the secret to the success of the new movie “Unplanned” — it’s relatable.
It’s not an ideological treatise. It’s not theoretical advocacy. It’s real, it happened, and it’s one woman’s story of how her experiences shaped her worldview. In other words, through her testimony we find empathy. For Abby Johnson has walked a mile in our proverbial shoes. She fell for the same lies that have taken in so many women before her and is now a powerful tool for the truth.
Stevie Rivenbark, a 32-year-old mother of two from Fayetteville, North Carolina, has her own pro-life story to tell. It just so happens she’s sharing it while also running for Congress in the state’s 9th district GOP primary.
In 2012, Rivenbark was in a head-on car collision that killed two other people and subjected her to weeks of surgeries, being hooked up to machines, blood transfusions, and, most importantly, concern for the unborn baby growing inside her.
Then, when she was confronted with a life-threatening infection and the possibility of losing her leg, it was time to find out if she was really against the evil of abortion or not. She was presented with the option of aborting her child in order to help combat her infection. Or, she could do what a mom does: protect her child.
Rivenbark chose to protect. She chose life.
Several years later, she says all the risks were not only worth it, but they were simply the right thing to do. The only thing to do.
“I used to get squirmy talking about abortion like a lot of Republicans do,” Rivenbark told me, describing the hesitation she had before her car accident inspired her understanding about what is ultimately important. With everything suddenly on the line, there was now clarity about the one thing that mattered most — life. “We have to think about putting life above it all.”
Rivenbark’s story is a living testimony that what we’ve been debating as a people these last 46 years isn’t philosophical proposition, but the very real choice about who lives and who dies. Every one of those 60 million abortions were children, like Stevie’s. All of those children had souls, and each of them were persons. All of them had potential to impact this world, and the lives of others, for good. Potential that we made the decision to discard with careless disregard for the future we were silencing at our own peril — in this life and the next.
Rivenbark is one of several candidates running in the primary. And while I don’t know enough about her district or the other candidates to offer an endorsement of her candidacy specifically, I’m writing about her to endorse her sharing her story, in the hope that it will not just inspire other women who chose life under dire circumstances to do the same, but also because the power of personal testimony is the best antidote to Planned Parenthood’s propaganda.
I have probably written and spoken out the pro-life issue more than any other in my career, but it wasn’t until recent years when I began sharing my own testimony as the almost aborted that I truly feel like I’ve been an effective witness for the defense.
We need more folks running for office and willing to share their stories like Rivenbark is, to help us better make our case to the next generation that the oldest of truths still set us free.
Steve Deace is broadcast nationally every day on BlazeTV. He is the author of the book “Truth Bombs: Confronting the Lies Conservatives Believe (To Our Own Demise).”