‘The biggest genocide’: an interview with former Kansas frontman John Elefante on abortion
Dec. 6, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - John Elefante is a multi-Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter and producer, who is best known for his stint as the lead singer for the massively popular rock band Kansas in the early 80s.
Recently, he has received considerable attention in the media and in pro-life circles due to his release of the song “This Time” and the accompanying music video. The song tells the real-life story of how Elefante’s adopted daughter Sami was nearly aborted, but how her birth mother changed her mind at the last minute.
LifeSiteNews.com recently spoke with Elefante by telephone. During our conversation he explained his beliefs on abortion and how they have evolved over time, and shared the story behind how “This Time” came to be and how it has been used to save at least three babies from abortion.
Note: The interview has been condensed and edited for brevity’s sake.
LifeSiteNews.com: Have you always been pro-life, or where did that all come from?
John Elefante: I think that I started thinking about it after I got saved. You know I never really thought about it before I got saved.
LSN: And when was that?
LSN: was there any particular ‘aha’ moment where suddenly you just realized the truth about abortion?
JE: I think it was when we met my daughter’s birth parents and she told us how close she came to aborting my daughter. I just went “Wow. If that happened we wouldn’t be sitting here right now.” It changed so many things, and that hit me pretty deep.
There was a couple other ‘aha’ moments, where there were some very close people to me that I know that have had abortions, multiple abortions. And it hurts, it stings. And it hurts me to see them hurting as a result of it every day. You can sweep it under the rug, you can try all you want. But it’s not that easy.
LSN: What did you think of abortion before your conversion?
JE: I didn’t think about it either way. I didn’t necessarily think it was good, I didn’t necessarily think it was bad. I was very indifferent to it. But I think indifferent is bad, because that means you’re not thinking about something with serious, serious consequence and importance.
LSN: Being pro-life isn’t really a common position in the entertainment industry. What’s it like being pro-life as an entertainer?
JE: I’m shockingly surprised how many of my entertainment friends are pro-life. I really am. Some of them, of course, I’m not shocked that they’re pro-choice. But there’s a band I toured with a lot this summer. After I appeared on the Huckabee Show recently to talk about “This Time” and abortion, out of the five guys in the band I got texts from three of them saying “Way to go man, I love your stance on that.” I was like, What? this is coming from who? That’s awesome!
I have some friends who are actors, pretty well known actors. One friend in particular called me from Nashville and told me he cried when he saw the video. He’s extremely pro-life.
I don’t want to say that things are changing, but I think I’m starting to see a change in the youth. Young adults between the ages 18 and 24 have now shifted to 56% pro-life. I think they’re starting to realize, because of the Internet in a lot of ways, that they’ve been duped. That a fetus is not just a piece of tissue . They’re starting to see scientific evidence that points to the fact that at the point of conception, it’s a life. And they’re going, “Why wasn’t I told this before?”
And that younger generation is going to grow up and be my generation, and hopefully we can get rid of this darn thing. I mean, 56 million babies since 1974? It’s hard to think about. It’s the biggest genocide the world has ever seen.
LSN: The younger generation, people refer to them as the survivors of abortion. In many cases they may find out they have lost siblings to abortion. What role do you think that might be playing in the dynamic?
JE: Well, I can only speak based off emails I have received, and Facebook messages. I have received 300 Facebook messages from strangers and close to 600 emails at my John Elefante music site. I hear things like: “I had a little brother who was aborted because we couldn’t afford to have another baby.” These people pour their guts out on how hard it was for them to deal with that. “You know that I would have had a little brother,” or, “I would’ve had a little brother and a sister.”
I get emails like, “My mom told me when I grew up that she was going to abort me.” And that works two-fold with these people: You don’t stop loving your parents, but it makes them think, “Really? You were going to abort me, and that would mean I wouldn’t be here. That means you didn’t want me.” It’s confusing to a person.
LSN: Let’s talk a little about your experience with adoption and then the whole story behind this song ‘This Time’. If you could just tell me a little about that.
JE: I wrote this song for my new record On My Way to the Sun. I had a honking kind of melody for the song. And I thought this is a story song, this lyric really needs teeth. I said, “Lord, just give me something, really, really powerful for this song.” And I shut my eyes for a minute. Went upstairs, got a diet coke, came back down, shut my eyes again.
I said, “The more You put it on my heart, I’m supposed to tell the story of how my daughter came into the world, and how she almost didn’t.” And I started writing a couple lines at a time. I put myself in that abortion clinic that the birth mother was in 20 years ago.
‘She sat cold in the waiting room, frightened and alone.’ I came to the microphone and I sang those two lines. Then I wrote ‘Watched the clock tick down, knowing that her baby would soon be gone.’ And I sang those two lines. I started just writing a couple lines at a time. The story started culminating and coming together.
As it was then, I only had really two major facts about that day: she was in the clinic, very, very close to aborting my daughter, she asked to use the phone, called her mom and told her she was pregnant.
So, the song just kept developing and developing and developing, and right after I wrote it I didn’t think much about, “I just wrote a pro-life song,” or “It was a song about adoption.” It didn’t cross my mind. I was just like, “Thank you Lord for a beautiful piece of music that describes how my daughter came into the world and she almost did die.”
But when I listened to the mix after the song was finished, it hit me that this was going to be a controversial song. Those thoughts had crossed my mind before, but it really hit me when I heard the lyrics that clear. You know a lot of rock and roll is kind of mumbly, but he really mixed the voice loud, which I don’t usually like to do, but this song needed to be that way.
And when I heard it mixed for the first time I prayed, “Lord if this song can save one child, just one, only one, because I know you gave me this song for a reason, and you gave me this experience for a reason.”
LSN: What’s the reaction you’ve received to the song?
JE: 90% incredible, 10% vitriol, hatred, wishing disease on me, wishing disease on my daughter, you name it.
LSN: I’ve heard mention that you’ve heard from some people saying that they rejected abortion after watching the video or listening to the song. Could you share those stories with me?
JE: One I received in the comments of YouTube that his sister was going to abort her child. He sat her down. After she saw the video, she went ahead and did an ultrasound or something, but as a result of this video, she told her brother, ‘I will not abort this baby.’
Another girl who is a correctional officer. She was driving a girl to an ultrasound, and the girl told her she was going to abort the baby. She pulled out her phone and she said, “Can I show you something?” She had just received an email about the video that day. This girl cried like a baby and said, “There’s no way I’m having an abortion. I promise you, and I’m going to show everybody I know this video.”
Number three is a girl, a 20-year-old-girl. She was all set to abort. There are people in her life who were making her choose between a place to stay and aborting her baby. She was in a very tough spot. As a result of the video we found her a place to live, we gave her money, a lot of people chipped in money, we got her semi back on her feet, we got her healthcare. I just saw her Saturday. She going to keep her baby. She’s had two ultrasounds already. There’s no way in the world she’s going to abort this child. No way.
LSN: What does your daughter think of the reaction to the song and the publicity and all that?
JE: She’s not the kind of girl that likes attention drawn to her, so I’d say she’s shies away from it, only because her friends and so many people are talking about it, that she’s never liked a lot of attention drawn to her. But she’s 150,000% behind it. She’s told her story, since we told her she adopted when she was 11 years old. She’s told it to many, many people.
Now she has a video that tells her origin and she doesn’t care who she shows it to. I mean, she has lots of friends where she works and where she went to pharmacology school and she shows it to everybody. She won’t ask first whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life, if you’re pro-choice you won’t like it but, she’s like, “Hey, this is the origin of my life. Watch it.”
LSN: What year did you adopt her?
LSN: What role does adoption play in fighting abortion? You’ve adopted two children, that’s correct isn’t it? What role do you think adoption plays in fighting abortion?
JE: I think it’s huge.
When it’s explained to a young girl that some of the complications that can happen from abortion can go as far as even resulting in death, not to mention the depression that will set in after you abort. It’s a lot easier to carry a baby nine months and give it up for adoption than it is to carry that guilt for the rest of your life. And it might seem like a lifetime when you first get pregnant but it’s not, it’s not a long time.
And there are millions and millions of families wanting to adopt. I posted something on my Facebook page about the girl I talked about above that was contemplating an abortion. I’m not kidding you, I must have gotten 25 or 30 resumés - not just Facebook messages, we’re talking resumés, wanting to prove that they’re capable parents to adopt a child. It tore my heart out man.
Now first of all I can’t make that decision for her. She hasn’t decided whether she’s going to put the child up for adoption or keep it. She’s leaning toward adoption. But there’s just the outpouring of people wanting to adopt. It’s amazing. You know a lot of these girls are rushed into decisions so quickly, but they don’t have time to really explore their options, and it’s too late. And you know, as you know, we both agree, the pain is horrible. But it happens. One every 45 seconds.
LSN: I think that’s all the questions I have for you today. Thanks very much for your time, and thanks for doing the song and the video. I’ve been keeping watch over it since it was released and it seems to be doing very well and I will give it a bit more of a push.
JE: I appreciate it.