Carol Everett used sex to get what she wanted—and it seemed to be working. Today, she talks about her former life as an abortion clinic operator, and the life she found after she met Christ.
Carol Everett used sex to get what she wanted—and it seemed to be working. Today, she talks about her former life as an abortion clinic operator, and the life she found after she met Christ.
Carol: If any one person had said, "You don't have to do this," I would have stopped because deep in my heart I wanted to. But there was no one there, there was no one there.
I take full responsibility for what I did, but today I'd like to see people be that voice, to say to that woman, "You don't have to walk through that door. There is help and hope, and I'll walk through this with you."
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, January 28th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We'll hear Carol Everett's story today, and we'll hear more about the choice women have to say no to abortion. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. We are going to hear, the rest of this week, a powerful story, Dennis, that may be painful or challenging for some of our listeners. But before we kick that off, this is Day 24 of the 40-day Love Dare that we've been doing all this month and continuing up to Valentine's Day. This is taken from the book, "The Love Dare," which was a New York Times bestseller back when the movie, "Fireproof" came out and was in theaters and, by the way, it is just now out on DVD as well. And if our listeners would like more information about the book, "The Love Dare" or about the DVD "Fireproof," they can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and we've got information about both of those resources on our website.
Day 24 of "The Love Dare," is built around 1 John 2:17 that says, "The world is passing away and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever." Day 24 talks about the difference between love and lust, and your assignment today is to identify those objects of lust in your life, whatever they are, and remove them, single out every lie that you've swallowed in pursuing forbidden pleasure and reject it. Lust cannot be allowed to live in some back bedroom of your life. It has to be destroyed, killed today and replaced with the sure promises of God and with a heart that is filled with His perfect love.
There is more information about this assignment in the book, "The Love Dare," and, again, it's available on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com, and we hope you'll continue with us as we go through the 40-day Love Dare leading up to Valentine's Day and we trust that doing these things will make a difference in your marriage relationship.
You know, it was a number of years ago, I remember, Dennis, being at a youth group in our church, and the youth pastor was talking about the biblical case against abortion. And as I sat there, I thought to myself, "I wonder how many of these young people growing up in Christian homes where Mom and Dad would have pro-life sentiments and might even be able to articulate a biblical basis for the opposition of abortion – I wonder how many of these young people would, a, share that conviction, and how many of them, b, would be able to make the case biblical themselves? We can't just assume or take for granted that our children understand this issue and understand what the Bible has to say about it.
Dennis: Our nation today is divided around this issue and, yet, I think there has never been a time when Christians need to think biblically, think clearly, and speak compassionately than today.
I think what we say, Bob, and how we say it is really important, and we're really honored to have a warrior on behalf of the children yet to be born, a real advocate for the pro-life movement – Carol Everett, who joins us in the studio. Carol, welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Carol: Thank you, it's good to be with you today.
Dennis: Carol has quite a story that we want her to share with you as a listener today. I'll not take any of that story away here, but the drama in her life led to ultimately to found and become CEO of an organization headquartered near Austin, Texas – and we let folks from Texas in Arkansas every once in a while – called the Heidi Group, and we're really honored to have you in our midst because you represent something that's very close to my heart. You represent a positive statement on behalf of the unborn and a compassionate – compassionate response, as well, to these unwed mothers who are giving birth to these babies, and these courageous moms who are protecting the life of the unborn, right?
Carol: Yes. I think this is a ministry to women in unplanned pregnancies. We all think the baby is the one we're working to save, of course, but what we don't realize is that woman makes the decision – that girl or that woman – and she is the one we need to minister to, and we need to see her as someone who needs the Lord, and then her life changes, she saves her baby's life, and that baby's life is changed, too.
Dennis: Carol, you have written a book, and I need to say to you, Bob and I have interviewed a lot of authors here on FamilyLife Today. This title may be the most chilling of any title – what do you think, Bob?
Dennis: That we've ever interviewed a guest on. The title of your book is "Blood Money."
Dennis: How did you come up with that title?
Carol: Well, because I worked for blood money for six years, and it's a title that means a lot to me because I want people to know that what I did in the pregnancy termination industry was bloody, and it was about money – the largest unregulated industry in the nation today.
Dennis: Your story, actually related to children, goes all the way back to your teenage years.
Carol: Yes, it does.
Dennis: You had an unplanned pregnancy when you were 16; ultimately resulted in your first marriage, which ended in a divorce when you were 24?
Carol: Twenty-four, yes.
Dennis: At that point you used sex to get men's attention, and you soon attracted a man and actually moved in with him, right?
Carol: Well, he moved in with me, yes.
Dennis: With the two children you'd had in your previous marriage?
Dennis: Tell us about that relationship and the agreement that he made you sign before you married him.
Carol: It was the early '70s, free love, flower children, feminism, and we had an agreement that there would be no more children, and I said – I never expected to get pregnant again so, of course, I agreed to that. It was a prenuptial agreement, but it was a verbal prenuptial agreement. It was a very destructive agreement because it was about the relationship and that I would bear the burden for the relationship and the children, and he would, more or less, just live with us, and there would be no more children. If I got pregnant, there would be an abortion.
Bob: Now, why did you sign on for that in the first place?
Carol: Today I would never do it, number one, but I loved this man, and I really thought he was the man for me. Many things in my life had set me up for destructive relationships, and this was just a continuation of that destructive lifestyle.
Bob: Didn't it seem to you at the time that that might be an unreasonable request on his part?
Carol: Yes and no. But I was hopelessly in love with this man.
Bob: Mm-hm, that blinded a lot, didn't it?
Carol: It blinded my entire life.
Dennis: He even pressed you as to how you would dissolve the relationship if you ever went after a divorce.
Carol: We negotiated the end of our relationship before it was even started – that I would pay for the divorce.
Dennis: If a young lady came to you today, and I realize this is a side issue about what we're talking about, but there is so much occurring in our culture today that you just have to stop. And I don't know that we've ever had anybody on our program who actually signed a prenuptial agreement, but you agreed to one. What would you say to a single woman or, for that matter, a single man who was thinking about coming up with a prenuptial agreement before they got married?
Carol: I would tell them they were planning the end of the relationship. I would take that young woman's hand, I would take her in a room, I would sit down with her and talk to her about the way God ordains relationships and the way man ordains relationships and point out to her that that relationship had no chance of succeeding.
Bob: Well, when you found out that you were expecting, now your third child, your first with this husband, you realized you were in a dilemma even before you broke the news to him, right?
Carol: Part of me was so excited about being pregnant by this man that I thought I loved, and I hoped that he would change his mind, I hoped that he would say, "Let's have this baby." But he did not give me an out.
Bob: Do you remember going to him and breaking the news?
Carol: Oh, very clearly. He was very silent. His silence meant to me that I had to take care of my part of the deal, the prenuptial agreement. I had to arrange and have the abortion.
Dennis: He didn't even direct you or make any comments to you at that point?
Carol: No, he actually provided the urine so the pregnancy test would be negative. And that was his part.
Dennis: You say in your book that nothing of what is said to a young lady coming into one of these abortion providers is the truth. You're saying it's all a lie.
Carol: If they told women the truth, women would flee. If they told her it was a baby, she would not stand there to take her baby's life. She would leave. When she asked the question, "Does it hurt?" If they told her the truth, that it was an unnatural interruption of a natural process, and it's excruciatingly painful, she would leave. So they must lie to her.
What we must remember is these are people who are taking the lives of babies. They have no ethical standards.
Dennis: How did they lie to you?
Well, my doctor just simply said, when I called and said, "I'm pregnant," he said, "We can take care of it." He asked no questions. He didn't consider talking to me about continuing the pregnancy, he just said, "We can take care of it." And that's when he said, You need to bring the father's urine so the pregnancy test will be negative. Your insurance will pay for it. I'll put you in the hospital tomorrow."
Bob: Now, help me understand why the pregnancy test needed to be negative if you were about to have an abortion?
Carol: Well, this was two weeks after Roe v. Wade, and we weren't sure where we stood on a lot of things at that point, and so he just didn't want to take a chance with a positive pregnancy test.
Bob: So he was going to do something that might still be illegal?
Carol: Well, yes.
Bob: As far as he knew, and that's why he wanted to have all of his bases covered in case anybody ever came back, right?
Carol: There is no problem with him doing a D&C on a woman with a negative pregnancy test.
Bob: Okay, I got you. So you checked into the hospital for the D&C, prepared for what you thought would be a minor surgical procedure.
Carol: I thought it would be a minor surgical procedure.
Bob: What happened?
Carol: The moment the anesthesia wore off, the very first thought was, "I have killed my baby." Now, think about that for a moment. I was a murderer. I had taken the life of my unborn child, this baby I was supposed to nurture and protect, and I had taken that child's life. And I remember thinking clearly, "I cannot call my mother, I can't call my best friend, there is no one I can tell that I killed my baby; that I'm a murderer."
Dennis: Is that because of the shame you were feeling?
Carol: It was shame and guilt and remorse – unbelievable darkness. Darkness is the only way you can describe it.
Dennis: Is that typical of a woman as the painkiller wears off and as the physical pain sets in?
Carol: I think there are two reactions and, remember, I've seen quite a few terminations now. Some women experience instant relief because they think their problem is over only to realize very soon that their problems have only started. And then you have the women who instantly realize they killed their child and start to grieve and deal with that.
But society encourages us to hide those feelings. Literally, when I told my husband that I was remorseful that I had taken the life of our child, he said we made the best choice we could, and we needed to go on with our lives, and that's what they do in the clinics – say you'll have a couple of days of depression, don't worry about it, it will all pass.
So we were actually encouraging those women to stuff their feelings.
Dennis: So here you are, 28 years of age, you've already had two children, what was it like to walk out of that hospital that day? Because I'm assuming you drove yourself home.
Carol: I drove myself home. I felt very alone. I felt guilty, I felt as if I should be put in prison, and I felt very alone. I rushed home expecting surely my husband understands my feelings because he participated in this decision, and he didn't. He just kept saying, "We made the best choice we could, and we need to go on."
Dennis: Back in the early days after Roe v. Wade, other than abortion being declared a woman's right, there was really no other voice speaking out of compassion toward protecting the unborn life or compassionately speaking to a woman who is pregnant who doesn't want the child and is thinking about terminating that life.
If you'd had – and I know this is speculative – but if you'd had a good, clear, compassionate voice in the culture speaking to you, even if it happened to be spiritual and Christian, do you think it would have made any difference? Do you think it might have turned you away from that abortion clinic that day?
Carol: I looked for someone to say to me, "This is wrong." And everyone I turned to told me it was the right decision. And if any one person had said to me, "This is not right," if any one person had said, "You don't have to do this," I would have stopped, because deep in my heart I wanted to. But there was no one there, there was no one there.
I take full responsibility for what I did, but today I'd like to see people be that voice and say to that woman, "You don't have to walk through that door. There is help and hope, and I'll walk through this with you.
Bob: Well, it's 30 years since you had your abortion, and you've talked about it openly hundreds of times, and we sit here and talk about it today, and in spite of all that's gone on in your life, God's redeeming work in your life, we can't revisit this without it just welling up the emotions in you, can we?
Carol: There is a consequence to what I did, and I didn't really understand this until my father died. And I think when my father died, I recognized that though I didn't want to, I could not erase him from my life. He was part of who I am, and no one recognizes this child but me, and she is part of who I am and what I am today, and that is a death that I have mourned and that, to some degree, I still want.
I understand I'm forgiven, I understand my freedom in Christ, but I lost a daughter because of my actions.
Bob: There are, undoubtedly, a lot of women listening to us right now, and tears have welled up in them as they have heard you tell this story, because we have a generation that, almost as likely as not, has experienced what you have experienced. There are a lot of women listening who have gone through an abortion, who are tearing up as they hear you talk. What do you say to those women today?
Carol: I say that there is hope, and the hope is Jesus Christ, who was the ultimate unplanned pregnancy, and yet went to the cross for my sins and yours. And because of Him, that we can apply Romans 8:1 – "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." In 1 John 1:9, "If you confess and repent of your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive." And we can walk free because of what He did.
Dennis: If there has ever been a time, I think, in this battle for the unborn, for us to step forward and clearly and compassionately speak to the issue, it's today. I think, in the past, we have been known, at least in some circles, as those who are angry about abortion. And I can't say that we shouldn't be angry, but I can say we can speak with the love of Christ compassionately about the issues we're facing, and the issues are not just an unborn life, it's a woman and, as you said, a man who both have been a part of something that's not right.
And today, as never before, I believe we have to offer hope to the unwed mother or to the woman who is carrying a baby that she doesn't want or is being told to terminate – we have to give her that voice you longed to hear, Carol, of someone says, "No! Stop! Don't do this!" And, at the same time, come alongside her and counsel her and encourage her around the issues of what happens after the baby is born.
Carol: You're absolutely right, and we must do it in love, the love of Christ. We must reach out and say, "We care for you," and walk through that situation with her. And if we bring her to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we're saving two lives.
Dennis: Mm-hm. We need to introduce her to Christ, and then we need to help her recover, but we also need to give her alternatives, and I think one of the alternatives that we need to be boldly sharing with these unwed mothers especially is that there is another option other than just keeping the baby yourself and becoming a single parent. Adoption is, I believe, one of the things closest to God's heart, and so if there has ever been a time when the Christian community, especially the local church, needs to step forward and establish adoption and orphans' ministries, it ought to be today.
Personally, I've felt, for some time, that the church ought to be the safest place on the planet for a woman who has experienced an unplanned pregnancy, who is unmarried, who doesn't know where to go and feels all the shame and all the guilt and feels people are looking and pointing fingers. But it ought to be the safest place to go while she's pregnant, and then somehow in proper tension, upholding the right standards of Scripture of love and forgiveness and holiness and who God is, and no way condoning sin, but if that mother is able to give that child to a family to raise that child, she ought to be given a medal.
I'm just telling you the church needs to celebrate the forgiveness of Christ, first of all, for a sheep that's come home but, secondly, a courageous choice that I don't know of many choices that could be on a level of courage as to give your own flesh and blood away to another family because you love the child so much.
Carol: The ideal situation would be for the church to embrace this girl, to walk through the situation, never, ever compromising our values and what the Lord tells us clearly is sin. But to love her, to bring her into the fold, to find a place for her to live, to help her find a job, a skill, to help her finish her education; obviously, to lead her to the Lord, but then when that baby is born, to celebrate the most sacrificial loving act of placing that baby she loves so much in the arms of another woman to raise. And, yes, we should celebrate that an honor her for that gift.
Bob: I know one of the resources you have endorsed over the years is Randy Alcorn's book called "Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments," where he goes through and, step-by-step addresses the arguments that are made to try to advance abortion in our country and addresses each of those arguments one at a time.
There is also a section in the book called "50 Ways to Help Unborn Babies and Their Mothers," and I want to encourage our listeners to get a copy of Randy's book. This is one of those resources I think you just need to have at your fingertips in your home as you engage on this subject or even just as you raise your children to help make sure that you've developed a pro-life ethos in their thinking.
We've got the book, again, in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and you can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and the information about how to order a copy of the book is available right there. Again, it's FamilyLifeToday.com. You can order from us online, if you'd like, or if it's easier, you can call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, someone on our team can let you know more about how you can get a copy of this book, and we can make arrangements to have it sent to you.
Let me also say a quick word of thanks to those folks who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today and make programs like today's program possible. We are listener-supported, and those of you who, from time to time, make a contribution to FamilyLife Today – you keep us on the air in this city and in other cities all across the country, and we do appreciate you.
This month, if you are able to help with a donation of any amount, we have a thank you gift we'd like to send you. It's a daily devotional guide that Dennis and Barbara Rainey have prepared for couples called "Moments With You." It's a beautiful hardback book, 365 daily devotions included, and it's our gift to you when you support the ministry of FamilyLife Today this month with a donation of any amount.
If you are making your donation online at FamilyLife.com, just type the word "moments" into the keycode box on the donation form, and we'll know to send you a copy of the book. If you are calling 1-800-FLTODAY to make your donation over the phone, be sure to mention that you'd like a copy of the book, "Moments With You," and, again, we're happy to send it to you, and we just want you to know we do appreciate and value your partnership with us so much, and we appreciate your support of this ministry.
Tomorrow Carol Everett is going to join us again. We're going to hear more of her story, and we'll hear about the turning point that came in her life. I hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas – help for today; hope for tomorrow.