Opinion

Preemie girl’s life “destroyed every pro-abortion argument” dad had ever heard

Brooke Anna
Joel Patchen with one of his children

Joel Patchen with one of his children.

At first glance, Joel Patchen might seem like a regular dad – a busy, smiling man with an active family. But after a few minutes of talking, it’s easy to see that Joel’s passion for defending life runs deep. His second child was born nearly three months early, and she died after only 40 days.

My second child, Brooke Anna Vaughan Patchen, was born 11 weeks early at around 29 weeks gestation. From her birth on December 13, 2002 (ironically, the date of the first oral arguments given in Roe v. Wade, Dec. 13, 1971), to her passing on January 21, 2003 (about an hour before the 30th anniversary of Roe), she radically changed my life.

Those 40 days Brooke lived outside the womb, before getting sick with a virus that rapidly took her life, destroyed every pro-abortion argument I had ever heard and revealed to me the concrete reality of life in the womb and fetal development. Convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt of the personhood of the preborn through Brooke’s living witness, I could no longer remain on the sidelines.

As I moved into pro-life work, I discovered through conversations with my parents that I, too, have a personal connection to the abortion issue. I was born eight years after my next closest sibling in 1970 despite the presence of an I.U.D. birth control device – a device that routinely induces early abortions. Had it not been inserted improperly, I might never have survived past my first week of life to be impacted by Brooke and tell her story.

Brooke Anna

Brooke Anna

The son of a minister and a school counselor, Joel also credits his parents for his choice to get involved in ending abortion. He says, “Their faith, convictions, and instruction gave me a firm foundation in a Christian worldview, which included love for God, love of one’s neighbor, and a respect for all life.”

For years, Joel has worked hard to promote a pro-life worldview – specifically reaching out to fellow Christians and churches. Joel formed his own ministry, named after his little daughter: Anna’s Choice. He explains the work that Anna’s Choice does:

We PRAY! Prayer is the foundation of all we endeavor to accomplish in the abolition of abortion. Secondly, we seek to educate, equip, and motivate God’s people to take action against abortion by helping them understand the value of all life, the devastating effects of abortion on women, men, and society, and the Biblical perspective on the sanctity of human life. We seek to achieve our educational goals through small group training, individual training, and relationship building. We are pleased to equip pastors, priests, and church leaders with Biblical resources, studies, and training in pro-life apologetics. We are available to speak at retreats, seminars, and corporate church services for those who wish to equip and reach a larger audience. In addition, we have written multiple books to help educate and equip Christians in this effort.

Joel’s three books are available on Amazon or from Anna’s Choice and are occasionally offered for free: Love is for Eternity: Cherishing Life Every Day of the Year, Who Am I? Why Christians Should Respect, Honor, and Defend Human Life!, and Brooke Anna: Letters from a Preborn Girl. The first two are Bible studies – perfect for church groups – and are foundational materials for Christians who desire to know what they should do about abortion.

Love is for Eternity Bible studyJoel is deeply motivated to inspire fellow Christians to stand up and defend life.

Fear, ignorance, apathy, and uncomfortability keep Christians from getting involved. Christians can address these issues by educating themselves about what the Bible says about the sanctity and value of human life, raising their children with a Biblical life paradigm, reaching out to the wounded and hurting in their fellowships (those struggling with the effects of past abortions), sharing the truth from the pulpit and the pews, seeing the need and the urgency of the matter by becoming informed about the state of the crisis, who it affects, how we’re all involved, and the mandate of Christ (Isaiah 61:1-4; Matthew 25:31-46). And most importantly by trusting God to provide them (Christians) with the courage to act, help, and intervene. If we will trust God and get involved, we will discover that most of our fears are unfounded.

It couldn’t be more true that it’s time now for Christians everywhere to take an active stand against abortion. Consider purchasing Joel’s books, educating yourself with the additional resources listed at Anna’s Choice, and inviting Joel to speak at your function or your church. You can call him at 719-651-5335.

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