‘Help Her Be Brave’ Offers Practical Pro-Life Pointers

BOOK PICK: The bottom line is helping women and their babies.

‘Help Her Be Brave’ offers practical advice for aiding moms in need.
‘Help Her Be Brave’ offers practical advice for aiding moms in need. (photo: Moody book cover)

HELP HER BE BRAVE

DISCOVER YOUR PLACE IN THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT

By Amy Ford

Moody Publishers, 2021

208 pages, $11.99

To order: amazon.com


Given its readership and niche, Register “Book Picks” focus almost exclusively on Catholic books from Catholic publishers. But the pro-life movement is today’s most important example of practical ecumenism in action, so when a valuable contribution comes from our Protestant brethren, it deserves note.

Amy Ford’s book is chock-full of practical suggestions to help women in difficult circumstances before as well as after birth. They come from two sources: her own personal experience (single and pregnant at 19, she got as far as the abortionist’s table before choosing life) and her subsequent ministry program in Protestant churches to reach out to similarly situated women.

“The church … can be one of the first places a girl runs when she finds out she has an unplanned pregnancy. It should never be the place she avoids because of shame or guilt. The church can help her be brave and choose life. The church can reach out and invite these women and men into a spiritual family. The church can help heal past hurts and wounds. ... The church can help practically by giving single or struggling moms support so they just don’t survive, they thrive. … I believe Christians who have taken a stance for the sanctity of life don’t realize that if abortion became illegal today, the church wouldn’t be ready.”

James 2:14-17 warns us about a faith of pious platitudes bereft of practical provision when he speaks of the dead faith that wishes a shivering brother to “stay warm” without a coat.

Ford’s book invites readers to “See,” “Comfort,” “Welcome,” “Protect,” “Love,” “Support,” “Free,” “Empower,” “Know” and “Embrace” these mothers. Each of those chapters includes a biblical reflection, followed by personal reflections of how that goal can be implemented. 

The most valuable part of each chapter, at least in the reviewer’s judgment, is the generally three to five pages at the end of each chapter that provide pithy practical suggestions, “Ideas for How to [See, Comfort, Welcome, etc.].” They meet people in all the places Christians might be found. Are you a health care professional? Maybe you can volunteer a day or two a month in your local pregnancy-support center to provide ultrasounds or other prenatal care. Are you a young person thinking about your future? Maybe you want to become a health care professional (or a lawyer or a public figure or a journalist) to support pro-life activities with your professional skills. Are you an everyday person? Do you have a driver’s license so you could drive a mom to a doctor’s appointment? No license? Can you organize a baby shower for moms at your church? Don’t like crowds? Can you help an unwed mom study for her GED or babysit her child while she does? Can you help organize personal care packages at your parish for those moms in need? Can you canvass local businesses to donate some diapers or blankets or baby wipes to the local pregnancy-care center? 

What impressed me about Ford’s book was both the practicality of her suggestions that make concrete differences in real women’s lives as well as their comprehensiveness, assuming that each member of the Body of Christ can do something — “working kindly in his little sphere, whatever it may be” (to borrow Dickens) — that makes our promotion of life real and practical. 

Ford is clear: The bottom line is helping women and their babies. At the same time, she also sees it as an evangelical moment: This life-changing moment in women’s lives can be the opportunity to show them the Church is a friend — not just in crisis but in life. 

We Catholics can surely say “Amen” to that.

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