February 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - It’s a scene that has played out in many post-abortive healing retreats and support groups. Clutching the pillow on her lap as if for protection, tears rolling down her face, Courtney Reames recounts the heart-rending story of an abortion she had when she was seventeen.
But there is a difference in this case: there are TV cameras in the room, and they are rolling, recording every word and tear of Courtney’s intimate testimony for a new reality program about post-abortion healing, called “Surrender the Secret.”
Courtney tells the other women that she had wanted desperately to keep her baby, but her parents pressured her into an abortion, telling her that they would kick her out of the house if she gave birth to her child. Her mom took her to an ultrasound appointment where she was told that there was something wrong with the baby and she wouldn’t be able to carry him to term anyway. She was doing the right thing by aborting him, they said.
They gave her an injection to induce a fetal heart attack. She felt the baby kick and thrash inside her, fighting vainly for his life, and then she labored for hours before giving birth to a dead baby. When he finally came out, she felt him touching her leg but refused to look at him. He was twelve weeks gestation, she was told.
Courtney saw her son’s pathology report for the first time a few years ago when she had to request a copy of her medical records. He was seventeen weeks, and in perfect health.
The four other post-abortive women in the room squeeze her hand and cry with her.
There are many post-abortive women who have offered powerful, public testimony about their experience before huge crowds and television cameras, but these five women are doing something new. They have agreed to have their journey of post-abortive healing filmed as part of “Surrender the Secret,” which is being produced by Knock TV, a Christian television network.
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The first of the show’s ten episodes premiered on KnockTV.com on January 22nd, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Episodes two through four are also now available, and the remaining six will be released online every Tuesday until March 26th.
“One of the purposes of this show was to give post-abortive women a voice in the media that they have not had yet,” says the show’s producer, Cecil Stokes.
These women are not just witnessing to other women the kind of healing that can take place, they are inviting women to seek healing alongside them.
And with only four of the ten episodes released so far, their courage is already bearing fruit in the lives of many post-abortive men and women. The first episode is approaching 5,000 views and the second 2,000, reports Knock TV President Geoff Rogers.
“We’ve gotten email from both men and women who are still struggling with their previous decisions to abort their children, and they are offering strong affirmation that the show gives hope,” says Rogers. “Many are asking how to get into a class for healing themselves, and others to engage to help lead a study in their local area.”
Hotline numbers for both post-abortive healing and crisis pregnancy assistance are advertised during the show, but women are also encouraged to consider undertaking the same Bible study as the women in the show.
The show takes its name from the Bible study developed by Patricia Layton, founder of the Life Impact Network. Layton’s organization maintains a listing of trained “Surrendering the Secret” leaders who conduct Bible studies across the country for post-abortive women.
Stokes, however, is quick to point out that the show is not aimed solely at those who are post-abortive. If four out of ten women in this country have had an abortion, that means that almost everyone has a personal connection to someone who has had an abortion, he says. Watching the show could be a great way to learn more about how to reach out to these women.
“I’ve been surprised at the women in my life who have revealed to me their stories,” he says.
Stokes is also the producer of the pro-life film October Baby which follows the drama of a young girl who finds out she is the survivor of a botched abortion. The release of both “October Baby” and “Surrender the Secret” have been the impetus for women in his life to confide in him about a past abortion.
One of the participants in “Surrender the Secret,” Christian actress Vanessa Ore, was recruited by Stokes when she shared the story of her past abortion with him after watching “October Baby.”
The release of “Surrender the Secret” prompted Stokes’ long time walking buddy to confide that she was post-abortive, the producer related.
“The way that God works is that we learn something and then He puts it to use shortly thereafter,” he says.