Episode 225: Theresa Brennan makes understanding Roe v Wade simple

Rusty sits down with Theresa Brennan from the Right to Life League to make sense of the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the practical steps churches can take to support their communities.

Rusty George: This episode is brought to you by ServeHQ. Train your Ministry volunteers, leaders, and new members online fast and easy with ServeHQ.

Intro/Outro: Welcome to Leading Simple with Rusty George. Our goal is to make following Jesus and leading others a bit more simple. Here's your host, Rusty.

Rusty George: Hey, welcome to episode 225. We like to say around here that we try to keep it simple, but today's topic is not simple at all. It seems simple. It seems cut and dry, uh, but as we've learned over the last few months, there are some very differing opinions even in the church when it comes to the issue of Roe versus Wade.We're gonna talk about that in this. And we're gonna talk about the love of God from all the way, from the womb to the tomb. And what is our responsibility as Christians now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, what does that mean? Does that mean that it's all finished? How does that impact the state? And what does that do for churchesBecause now we got some kids to take care of and we got some families to. Who maybe thought abortion was their only option. So I think you're gonna learn a lot by our guest today, Teresa Brennan, who is President of Right to Life, and she has some fascinating things to say at a pastor's breakfast that I attended a few weeks ago.And I thought, I think she might be helpful for our listeners on this podcast, so I think you're gonna learn a lot. This might even kind of rile you up a little bit, and I understand that we don't always think the same thing on things, but it's good for us to have the dialogue. So I'd appreciate your patience.

And you're listening as we have this conversation with Teresa Brennan. I wanna thank our sponsors Serve HQ for helping us out and being a part of the show. They do great stuff to help your volunteers get trained on their own time and in their own space without having to come into your building and sit there from nine the noon on a Saturday while their kids are out playing sports.You can train your people from wherever and whenever through Serve hq.church. Make sure you check. Okay, here we go. It's not simple, but I hope it's helpful.

Teresa, thank you so much for joining the podcast. Uh, our goal on this podcast is to help, uh, leading others and following Jesus a bit more simple. There's nothing simple about. The topic we're gonna talk about today, Uh, in some ways it's simple as far as how we sum it up, but boy, there's so many facets to it. You work with a great organization, uh, that deals with, uh, the right to life. And the right to Life League is who you're a part of. And I would first of all, love for you to tell a little bit about yourself. I mean, you didn't always wanna do this. How'd you get involved in this? And, uh, you know, tell me about your, what you do.

Theresa Brennan: now. Yeah. Thank you Rusty, for really engaging on this vital topic right now. It is a difficult, uh, topic to talk about, but it is so important at the moment. So our organization was started in 1967, so we're the first pro-life organization in our nation when California was considering the very first therapeutic abortion bill and my grandparents were actually involved in the start of the, uh, organization and in lobbying, Ronald Reagan, who was our governor at the time and did sign that bill into law at a time when I think a lot of people didn't really understand what abortion is, what's the reality of it, and how much damage it really would cause to women. Um, I personally started on this journey about two years ago.

Prior to doing this, I was a litigation attorney, so I worked in corporate litigation and I had been asked to serve on the board of directors of our organization. And as we were looking for someone to lead the organization and we were interviewing people, I was driving home on a Friday night, which, uh, is in Los Angeles.

I don't know where your viewers are from, but if anybody's, you know, everyone's familiar with LA traffic. So it was a pretty long drive and I was thinking about the job and you know, really. Praying on it. And I, I suddenly felt tangibly called to take the job. And it was not something that I, I had ever thought about or had ever occurred to me, but it really was a calling from the Lord.

And, um, I didn't honestly know as much as I know about pro-life right now, the movement, and they could never have imagined when I started in 2020 that we would have the Dobs decision and that Roe versus Wade would be overturned. Such an incredibly exciting time to be pro-life. What other states are doing is just incredible.

And what California's doing is probably passing the most egregious abortion bills, uh, in our nation. So it's a great time to fight for life in California. We really have to stand up as a community, as brothers and sisters in Christ and. Wage war against the evil that is abortion.

Rusty George: Okay. So let's, let's talk about this a little bit.

Uh, and I want to, I want to get specific on just the, the overturning of Roe. What does that mean? For those of us that have just seen the headlines and the protests and the outrage and the Facebook memes and messages, what will the result of this be? Because it basically goes back to the states. Am I right?

Theresa Brennan: Yeah, that's exactly right. So there is no sudden end to abortion across our nation there, and there is no lack of treatment for miscarriages. There's been a huge misinformation campaign on this topic and a lot of. Inaccurate media reports, but no, uh, there is abortion, unfortunately is not ended across the nation.

Each state now gets to decide based on how their voters, uh, respond, whether they're going to have abortion. So some states had trigger laws that went into effect the minute that the Dobbs case came down and Roe versus Wade was overturned. Many states immediately outlawed abortion except in cases for the life of the.

Um, that is not so in California. In California, nothing changed in the abortion landscape. So, I mean, it's estimated that 40,000 babies in Texas will, um, be alive because of that decision. But in California, we're intending to fly women in from any state that wants it, pay for their abortion, pay for their travel, pay for everything.

So, California, Really, Sometimes we refer to it as really the abortion. Apocalypse. Newton said we'd like to be an abortion sanctuary state, but truthfully, it's gonna just be an apocalypse, and Los Angeles is going to be ground zero for that. That's where the state is funneling money into, or the Planned Parenthood and other organizations that will perform all of these abortions.

So you're absolutely right. It's now a grassroots movement at the local.

Rusty George: So when this, uh, bill was overturned, I'm old enough to know, um, that this has been talked about for years and nothing's ever happened. It finally happens. I was surprised at the outrage of people because it's still. Legal in some states, and I, I guess I was surprised by their, their reaction as a woman.

Can you help me understand the other side of this? Why, why, um, perhaps would somebody feel like this was a devastating loss to them?

Theresa Brennan: I think that there has been a very effective media campaign on the part of Planned Parenthood to paint abortion as a healthcare, and it, it isn't healthcare because in actual healthcare, Uh, women don't die.

Men don't die. Babies don't die. That's not part of healthcare. And some of the most powerful stories that speak to that are the abortion survivors who are alive today because they had a botched abortion. So, Um, it's not healthcare. Um, but women were saying, You're taking away our fundamental rights. This is my body and my choice.

And people, It used to be that the abortion movement would say this should be safe, legal, and rare. Now we have actresses up on stage in the Oscar saying, I could never have done this without my abortion, which is a lie. I know many women who. Have, have, you know, lots of children. In fact, I think the most powerful, um, commentary on that was by Senator Tim Scott, who is a US Senator.

and another member of either the House or the Senate at the US was speaking and said, If we don't have access to abortion, these babies will continue in a cycle of poverty. The moms are poor, the babies are gonna be poor, and they're going to just continue to perpetuate this poverty. And one of the senators said, My mother was poor.

And she was a poor single black woman who had me, and I'd like to think I'm contributing positively to society. So he really, you know, sort of, uh, debunked the, the idea that women can't have their babies. Now that being said, We have to support women better. We absolutely have to. This is an issue of community, and I think to some extent we have failed to provide the services as a state.

We're funneling almost $2 million into abortion rather than funding things like. You know, adoption services or, um, uh, education for women in childcare while they go get an education or housing for pregnant women. Like we could be providing resources on a state level that encourage women to have, uh, the baby and to provide the resources that they need.

Rusty George: Mm-hmm. . That's so, so well said. Uh, you're, you have a flyer that, uh, I picked up, um, which kind of walks through pro-life answers to counter abortion, and, and it really kind of brings up some of the biggest questions people have about abortion. I, I really think that we've all got a. Uh, one or two little sound bites in our mind that we use as our defense mechanisms when these things come up.

Can you just give me the nutshell answer for some of these, and I'll just, uh, throw some of these out. For instance. Um, there there's a common understanding that it's, you know, not technically, um, a baby, yet the unborn baby is just a clump of cells, uh, until after it's born. Uh, what would you say?

Theresa Brennan: So scientists agree and the science is clear that at the moment of conception, this is a person with separate DNA separate and the cells are multiplying.

But to say that, you know, we're all growing, we're all at some point in the human, you know, stage of life. Um, to say, Okay, this is a, not a baby, but at 24 weeks, it somehow magically turns into a baby. And that is, it's a, it just doesn't, The, the logic of it does not flow, and that's one of the easiest ways I think to talk about in a calm way, but to really talk about the issue of abortion was someone who is for abortion.

Okay? If you're not for. Abortion to nine months. Then when would you say that this person should be protected? And they really can't speak to that because there is no, you know, magic number. Like is it two weeks? Is it 24 weeks? No. They have a fundamental right to life from the moment that they are alive, which is at conception.

Rusty George: What about the idea that, Well, it, it, it needs to be an option for those that are victims of rape or incest or the mother's life is in danger.

Theresa Brennan: So I do think that there, when the mother's life is in danger, that is a very serious, um, you know, topic that people bring up. And the truth of the matter is an abortion is never necessary even when the mother's life is in danger.

So if a woman is at let's. 12 or 15 weeks in her pregnancy and something happens and, and it, it really is a choice between her life and delivering. The baby doctors will say, Yes, we may have to deliver this baby, the mother's life is in jeopardy. We're not going to intentionally, you know, rip the baby to shreds in the mother's womb and then, you know, vacuum, suck it out.

Is what an abortion really is. We're going to deliver the baby and we'll do whatever we can to assist the baby. The likelihood is the baby is not going to survive, but the intent is not to kill the baby. The intent is to deliver and then assist as much as we can. And the same thing is true, you know, no matter what the stage the baby is at, if the life of the mother is in jeopardy and the baby has to be delivered, we deliver the baby, but we don't kill the baby to save the life of the mother.

Rusty George: Hmm. Talk a little bit more, and you mentioned this briefly a second ago, but it seems to be one of the major push backs, and that is my body, my choice, uh, the, the, the freedom that I have and I need to have, I mean, you are a woman. Do you ever sense that this changing of this law limits your right.

Theresa Brennan: Yeah, it's so interesting.

You know, that idea of bodily autonomy is something that we have taken to extremes at this point. And, uh, I think that we all understand there are restrictions with what you can do with your body. You just can't, uh, you know, Kill someone with your body. You can't, like, it's not. And also, um, from a woman's perspective, I have five children.

When I have a baby inside of me, that baby has a separate body. So for instance, I don't have the parts, like I don't have. Forearms, four legs, two hearts. When there's a baby, it's a separate body, so it isn't the woman's body. But I think the, the, the real problem with the, my body, my choice is that idea of personal autonomy that I was speaking to before.

The truth of the matter is we aren't individuals. We live in a community. There's a beautiful poem by John Dunn, which says, No man is an island entire. Self. And so all of us are in community. And when the baby is born, uh, at conception, the ba not born, but like, um, becomes alive at conception. That baby becomes part of our community.

Your community. My community. That baby is part of who we are as a society, and we have a duty to defend that person as part of our community, but we also have a duty to the woman to make sure that she has the resources that she needs, that she feels supported and helped in her pregnancy and. That is actually one of the amazing services that pregnancy help clinics and centers do.

Women can go there a lot of times it's fear. Um, and that's the reason why they're choosing abortion. They're afraid they won't have enough money. They're afraid they won't have anyone to help them. They feel alone. And the pregnancy help centers really do walk them. One of the, um, most important statistics that I've heard since I started, you know, really working in the pro-life movement is the From The Gut Marker Institute, which is a Planned Parenthood statistical information gatherer.

And the statistic is that 75% of all abortions happen. To women who are within 2% or lower of the federal poverty level. So what that means is that this isn't really a choice that they're wanting to make. They're feeling trapped in circumstances. So we really need to figure out how to assist them in creating a community for the baby and a community for them.

Rusty George: Hey, let me interrupt this podcast for just a second. Every church leader knows that having trained and engaged volunteers is essential to successfully accomplishing your mission. But if you're like most. You also know how tricky it can be to onboard and equip people for your team. What if there was a resource that made it easier?

Let me recommend Serve HQ to you. Serve HQ as simple video training courses that help you equip volunteers and develop leaders. You can create your own training or use their video library. You can even automate next steps to onboard new people. Check it out@servehq.church. Now, back to our conversation. I think that's so well said.

I, I know that there was a lot of rhetoric about, you know, we won, We won, we won. As far as the overturning of Roe, it seemed to be this monumental thing, which it is. But the church's responsibility is to help people from the womb to the tomb. And that may be a single mom that's struggling. That may be the foster care system.

It may be helping through adoption. Uh, but our goal is not just to protect the life of an unborn, but to help that child with born as well. What are some things that you think we could do a better job with to help with that? .

Theresa Brennan: So I do think that supporting local resources like pregnancy health centers is really vital to this.

They really do walk the journey with mothers, and I know churches partnering with those organizations in your community is gonna be vital, especially because people may not realize this, but those organizations are under. Our own attorney general here in California issued a consumer alert that said, Be aware of the fact that these organizations provide deceptive and misleading information because they don't refer or perform abortions.

So they're under attack from their local city attorneys, even the state attorney general. So they really need, um, you know, financial support and they are the ones who are provid. Clothing, diapers, food, and even parenting classes to these women because sometimes it isn't even necessarily just the resources.

It really can also be, um, you know, needing someone who can walk the path with them, someone who will assist them. Emotionally and spiritually, and these organizations are praying with these women and really bringing them to Christ. Also, it's amazing how ministry driven these organizations are. And truthfully, I mean that's, that is the root of all problems, right?

This is a, this is a war of principalities. This is a battle between good and evil. This is really, you know, God calling each of us to serve each other in this community and bringing these women to Christ and showing. The truth about abortion is vital and sometimes very painful because many of these women, you know, had an abortion at an age where they really didn't understand it, or they were lied to by Planned Parenthood and they had an abortion.

And I've had women come in and sit in my office and say, , you know, when they came to Christ and when they really understood what they had done, they were just inconsolable. So the more we can prevent that and or possibly help them, like at the point where they're there, but nurture them spiritually and physically, the more we're going to end this problem here in California and across our.

Rusty George: I'd love to hear more about that because the, the, my fear is that as the church celebrates this, we exclude and even condemn those who have made that decision and feel like they're now beyond the grace of God. What, what is the best way that a church can not only support. Uh, you know, the right to life and, and, uh, pro-life, but also support those who have made that decision, um, but now feel like they're, you know, have the scarlet letter.

Uh, how do we, we love them back to life. And what are, what are some things you're seeing there? So

Theresa Brennan: I would love to see every church have some kind of ministry or resource for post-abortive women. I think that's also one of the things that really keeps pastors from talking on the subject. Yeah. Is that okay if I speak on this, maybe I'm gonna bring things up.

Or a woman's going to feel traumatized. And that is quite possible. Like, um, you know, we were very involved in the making of unplanned and at the end of the movie we wanted to make sure. That there were resources for women who were going to be, you know, sort of re-experiencing the trauma of their abortion.

Hmm. So I would love to see if not a peer to peer counseling option in churches, You know, at least in the local community that they can refer to. And a lot of times, again, that is usually at a pregnancy health center where they have someone who's trained to do. So if a pastor knows that he's gonna speak about this issue, then having, uh, resources available for post-abortive women is going to be, you know, really vital.

And, you know, I mean, I hope that we can create communities for post-abortive women so that they don't feel condemned because it is, you know, there's a level of shame and secrecy to it that is, Um, devastating to women. Mm-hmm. and men. Honestly, some men are, are, you know, maybe they, when they were younger, drove their girlfriend to Planned Parenthood or encouraged her, or even pressured her to have an abortion.

Men are suffering as well.

Rusty George: Okay. So for someone out there that has a, a, a friend, a daughter, someone in their life that is thinking of getting an abortion, what's the best way to help that person to, uh, give them information without just overwhelming or condemning what's the best way to walk with them?

Theresa Brennan: Yeah, I really do think that it's, again, pointing out, um, you know, is it fear? Like, speak to the fear and it's, it's temporary. We all know, we all live in fear of certain things in our lives, right? If we're afraid that our children might make a bad decision or whatever, but we know also that it's temporary.

Unfortunately, you know, a lot of times it doesn't, It feels like this is gonna then somehow destroy the rest of this woman's life, or she's thinking in her head that she'll never. You know, recover from this if she doesn't have an abortion, that it's gonna change her whole life. The truth of the matter is, we see this all the time.

It does change women's life to have the baby, but always for the better. The regret is not on the side of having a baby and putting it up for adoption. The regret really is in making the choice to, you know, abort the baby, which when you find out what it is, it's a very painful experience. Um, you know, when you sort of see the reality of it.

And then the women. Who have had an abortion are incredibly depressed, can, you know, have higher incidents of alcohol abuse, um, or, you know, just suffer really. And that's the argument also I feel for people who are like, What about rape? What about, you know, incest? What about these things? Which those are outliers.

Again, you know, I sort of say, Look, listen, let's talk about if somebody's really animated about being pro-choice. Um, I'll say, Listen, let's put aside, uh, you know, the rape and incest. , Um, and let's just, you know, are you willing to end abortion up to 12 weeks? Are you willing to end it to 15? They never will commit to that, but I will say, You know, it's, it it women need to feel like they have not only resources, like physical resources, but spiritual resources.

And I'm gonna tell you this because this community, like if you can't do anything else, because maybe you don't have the money to donate to a pregnancy health center, if you can't do anything other than pray. That. I mean, we all know and, but it can't be said enough. The power of prayer and the change that it brings to communities and to people is just incredible.

I mean, we see miracles in pro-life every day, and it's the power of prayer. Um, I can share, uh, an amazing story with you about, um, a girl who spoke at AR gala and her father was at the event also, and she said she was pregnant in a crisis pregnancy. She was 16. and she had an appointment to go to Planned Parenthood to have an abortion that day.

So she went that day to have an abortion and her dad was involved in a community group. Um, but he had never done this before, but he, this was the first day he had signed up and he went to a different Planned Parenthood and prayed in front of the other Planned Parenthood that women would choose life for their.

So he literally prayed his daughter out of her abortion. She was there for her appointment, She decided not to. Wow. Yeah. When she came home that night, she. Um, he said, Hey, honey, guess what? He didn't know anything about this. He's like, Guess what? I was praying out in front of Planned Parenthood that women would choose life for her baby.

And she just literally burst into tears and said, You won't believe it. But I was at Planned Parenthood ready to abort your grandchild. So again, like if you could do nothing else, pray. Pray for the people involved in the movement. Pray for the moms that are, I

Rusty George: heard you speak recently at an event and you detailed some different laws and bills that they're trying to pass right now.

Uh, particularly in our state, state of California. These, uh, I had not heard of, and I think a lot of us did not know these were going on. Can you give us, um, a little bit of, uh, a tutorial on some things that are.

Theresa Brennan: So most of them, I think there's 15 of them are either on the governor's desk or have been signed.

So they've gone through, um, and they really are. Things that if an industry were actually interested in promoting, you know, good healthcare for women, these things wouldn't be happen. Like expedited medical licenses, um, for anyone who wants to do an abortion, um, scholarships to train people to do abortions, but then also lowering the standards for those abortions.

So allowing nurses to do them without a doctor present, removing standard operating procedures, but probably the most. Um, egregious Bill, and again, this is kind of a, I mean, we are funding, uh, Los Angeles County. We're gonna spend millions to create abortions for women, but the, the worst one really was AB 2 2 23, which we called the infanticide bill.

It it. Protects women from being prosecuted. So they get civil and criminal immunity for their abortion, even if they do it outside the confines of the law. So we, in California, we had a viability up to 24 weeks. You couldn't. Now it's, it's no matter what, the woman cannot be prosecuted. And you know, again, as we were speaking about.

It's, it's hard to have a woman who's making a difficult choice anyway to prosecute her. I don't know. Any of us wanna see the government going after women who are choosing to have an abortion. We really wanna walk them through the journey and pray them out of it. But that Bill goes much, much further.

Besides granting civil and criminal immunity to the woman, it grants total civil and criminal immunity to anyone who helps her. So I could choose to illegally obtain, uh, an abortion pill and give it to a woman who's 30 weeks pregnant and she can deliver that baby. And leave it to die because it also covers, um, immunity for perinatal death due to causes in utero.

So she takes the pill and the baby is left to die. The woman and the person who helped her cannot be prosecuted. So it's very expansive. Hmm. It even blocks the sheriff's office from investigating. So if a sheriff's office or a coroner's office investigates the death of that baby, there's an automatic 10 to $25,000 fine for investigat.

Rusty George: I know that , I, I, I know that the, the idea behind this is we wanna give people more freedom and they will even couch it. In healthcare, what's really going on? It's just about money, is there's just money to be made. I know there's a deeper issue, which is spiritual, but what would you say is motivating so many of these.

Theresa Brennan: Yeah. I mean, it really is money. Planned Parenthood has figured out how to get funding for their industry, and the chemical abortion pill is eating away at their profit margins, and so I think that they're really trying to figure out, okay, not only are they going, they get. They get donations from people, they get money from the insurance companies for the services that they provide, and then they get the government paying to provide scholarships to train the people to work for them, or, you know, expedited services.

So yeah, it's a, and to some extent, It. It looks a little bit like a money laundering scheme because tons of money is getting poured into Planned Parenthood. And then there was an article recently that said, and I haven't verified this, but I do, it was from a reputable source that said that. 50 million is gonna go right back into the politicians' coffers.

So donations to political campaigns right back to them. So it really is, but I mean, again, the spiritual aspect of it cannot be underestimated as well. Like it is a battle of principalities. It is good and evil and. Um, unfortunately the evil side of this is a little bit more well funded than God's side, but we do have God on our side, so I always tell people like, Spoiler alert, we know who's gonna win this.

In the end, , it's just right. You know, we have to trust and pray and hope, right and fight. You gotta stand up and speak the

Rusty George: truth. Okay. So for every guy out there that says, what's the line? No uterus, no opinion, , uh, tell me why we should care. I mean, obviously it is a big deal, but for every guy that thinks this is not my issue, I don't have a, um, uh, an opinion on this.

I don't wanna to step on anybody's toes, talk to that group for a.

Theresa Brennan: Yeah, I mean, I think it's funny, like it it, it takes two to tango and God really has created us in his image and likeness and every man has a mother, a wife, and a daughter who is going to live in this world, right? And men are called to lead.

Men are called to. Boldly speak the truth. God's truth, right? To stand up and to say, this is what is right. So men have to care. Men again, it it for me, it constantly circles back to community. The baby is part of our community. The mother is part of our community. The men are vital, vital, and they're undervalued constantly in today's society, right?

Men, men are getting marginalized, you know, in, in ways that really are damaging who we are, but as a community, Men are so, so vital and really, um, you know, without men in this movement, it isn't going to be strong enough to defeat abortion. It, it really is something I can't emphasize enough. It it's gonna take every one of us, every one of us.

Well said.

Rusty George: If people want to hear more from you or reach out to you, how can they find you?

Theresa Brennan: Yeah, so we are the right to Life league and our website is right to life league.org. And we would love to, uh, speak with anybody who would like to, you know, kind of call, you can reach out to us on the website. But also, um, you know, call, we have, our phone number is (626) 398-6100.

And we're always happy to provide resources to pastors or speak at, you know, churches if people aren't sure how to approach it. We have an educational program. It can be a very difficult topic, but we wanna provide the resources that everyone needs to really speak up about this because grassroots right now really matters.

Every single person's voice matters. Sounds

Rusty George: great. Well, this has been really helpful, Theresa. Thank you so much for not just being on the podcast, but for the work you're doing and for the many children that you are rescuing and for the many moms you are helping along the way. So thank you so very much for being with us.

Thank you, Rusty. Well, Teresa, I'm so grateful for you being on the podcast and enlightening us in many different ways, giving us some great resources to think through. I'd appreciate everybody's, uh, ongoing prayer for her. And for all women who are wrestling with past decisions, future decisions, and for the church to step up and to shoulder the weight of helping them work through those decisions.

I'm grateful for my conversation with her and I'm really grateful for my conversation that I get to have next week with a good friend of mine, Sean Lovejoy. Sean has been coaching pastors now for many years. He used to pastor a church himself and he's gonna talk to us about how to make simple. The days between the Sundays.

Sundays, we've kind of got figured out. But what do you do Monday through Saturday? How do you maximize your week and your days to really see maximum impact in the kingdom? So we'll be back next week with episode 2 26 and Sean Lovejoy, thank you so much for listening and as always, keep it simple. Take a

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Rusty George: channel for more devotionals messages and fun videos. Thank you for

Theresa Brennan: listening to Leading Simple. Let's.

Creators and Guests

Rusty George
Rusty George
follower of Jesus, husband of lorrie, father of lindsey and sidney, pastor of real life church
Episode 225: Theresa Brennan makes understanding Roe v Wade simple
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