At just three weeks, before most women even know they are pregnant, a baby’s heart begins to beat. Its DNA is already determined—male or female, short or tall, aptitudes and personality.

But, how many young adults know this? For the entire life of our young adults, abortion has been legal and supported by our government, media and society. Sadly, in our society, unplanned pregnancy often equals abortion. The message this generation receives is “abortion is an easy answer to an inconvenience.” May God forgive us for creating a society that views a precious life as an inconvenience, and the idea that each woman should choose for herself whether or not to give that “inconvenience” life.

Just more than a year ago, I had the privilege of meeting with a young woman who had been brought to Hope Pregnancy Center North by her mother. This young woman wanted to parent her baby, but her mother was insistent that she wasn’t responsible enough to care for a child and wanted me to convince her daughter that abortion would be the best option for her.

The Lord gave me the opportunity to share with the mother how God promises to bring good from all things to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. I was able to share with her that we often see young women and men who have taken a path contrary to God’s plan, making multiple poor choices that result in an unplanned pregnancy. And how, when they discover they are responsible for another person, a new life, God uses it to help them make a turn.

I’m very happy to share with you that a few months ago this mother, now a grandmother, brought her daughter and grandson back to say thank you. This grateful grandmother could hardly speak through her tears to tell us how precious this grandchild was to her and how proud she is of her daughter. The daughter had married the father of their baby, changed several unhealthy habits and she and her husband were loving and responsible parents.

More than 1,700 new clients visited one of our three Hope Pregnancy Centers in 2011. Twenty-nine percent of them were college age, 25 percent were teenagers and 20 percent were age 25 to 29.

Many young adults do not know the truth of when life begins, nor do they know the truth about abortion procedures, risks and consequences. For those who know when life begins, generally, they don’t know that post abortive women suffer a 3-6 percent increase in depression and suicide and other self-destructive behaviors.

They don’t know that this irreversible decision, often made in haste and under pressure from boyfriends, husbands or parents, is going to affect every area of their life for their entire future. Abortion ends the life of a child and it forever changes the life of the mother. Fathers, grandparents, siblings and future generations are also affected.

One client who participated in Forgiven and Set Free, a 12-week post abortion Bible study facilitated in our centers commented, “I must say I’ve been so surprised and thankful for this program. My abortions were years ago, but I never realized how much healing was still yet to be done.

“This program provided a safe place to share and face the real issues that have been stuffed down so far. I will be forever grateful for these women who encouraged me to face my fears and have taught me that God can forgive me. I just wish I had found this program sooner!”

Another client said “this program has given me my hope back to live and love life and Christ.”

The church is not immune to this issue. Sixty-four percent of HPC clients profess to be Christians. When asked evangelistic questions, many give all the “right” answers. Some cry because they know what God’s Word says about life, but they feel their circumstances are too overwhelming to carry a child to term. Others don’t want to shame their families with an unplanned pregnancy and believe an abortion will erase their mistake as if it never happened.

Recent statistics show that 1 out of every three women in America under the age of 45 has experienced an abortion. That includes the women in our pews. Most suffer in silence unaware that help and healing is available.

God’s Word is clear on when life begins (Job 31:15, Psalm 139:13-16, Isa. 49:1, Jer. 1:5) and Who our Creator is. And He gives us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18,20).

Being ministers of reconciliation is the joy we have at Hope Pregnancy Centers. Whether a client comes in for a pregnancy test, an ultrasound, parenting class, or is suffering from a past abortion, hope is what we offer—hope in Christ with Whom all things are possible—hope for the future.

Gayla White is director of Hope Pregnancy Center North in Oklahoma City, a ministry of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children.