Gimme Shelter shows cowardice at the heart of abortion

Prolife Movie Review: Gimme Shelter

Forget what you know about teen pregnancy.

You are likely not prepared for the true-story raw reality faced by Agnes “Apple” Bailey in Gimme Shelter opening in theaters this weekend.

When we meet her, Apple (played by Vanessa Hudgens) is willing herself into the courage to make a phone call, reaching out to the father she has never met. She has a plan to flee her abusive mother, June (Rosaria Dawson) so strung out on meth that she begs, threatens, curses, hits, and professes love in an unbroken string of desperate profane venom when she sees Apple in the cab ready to go. Apple makes it out alive. But when the cabbie asks to see her money to pay for the interstate ride to New Jersey, she tries to steal the car and gets literally kicked to the curb on the highway.

We don’t know her well, but her surly demeanor makes us wonder if Apple doesn’t just deserve the trouble she’s trapped in.

Things only get worse when she’s arrested for prowling outside Dad’s mansion. Tom (Brendan Frasier) brings her inside, and while she’s wolfing food asks, “How old are you now, Angie–14? 15?”

“I’m 16,” she spits, “And my name is Apple, don’t you remember? Apple, not Angie!!”

Somehow the bright interior of this lavish home suddenly appears much more menacing than the dingy squalor Apple just escaped. And right on cue Tom and his wife Joanna (Stephanie Szostak) respond with civilized contempt, offering money and referrals to a social worker before coercing Apple to abort the pregnancy that is a revelation even to her. (“I only did it once.”)

Apple decides to run from the abortion Joanna has arranged. Now forced to sleep in cars and on the street, she lands in the hospital where Chaplain Frank (James Earl Jones) befriends her and arranges a placement in a shelter for pregnant teens. Apple is infuriated, seeing her history of foster care and shelters as proof of her lack of value to anyone.

But she clings to a pair of ultrasound images of her unborn child. And for the sake of the child, she agrees to go.

Kathy (Ann Dowd) welcomes Apple to the shelter home with a mix of bulletproof faith and maternal warmth. It’s disarming–not just to us but to those who oppose her steely and measured determination to protect her girls.

I’ve seldom seen a portrait of courage so achingly portrayed as the heart of young Apple Bailey. As the adults around her call in the parents, she must stand them all down in order to stand. She also faces down a rebellious roommate at the shelter and an attempt on her life. By meeting others who are learning to cope in the same circumstance, Apple learns to trust–and when not to.

At the end I was grateful for such an unsympathetic introduction to this character. For the Apples of this world don’t need our pity. Teen pregnancy is not an insurmountable social ill requiring case workers and big budgets either. Not even when the teen is a homeless desperate runaway dragging trunks of baggage just trying to survive.

All they need is love.

I’ve often wondered what I would have done if a place like Kathy’s had been offered to me when I was young and pregnant on the run. I wasn’t fleeing abuse, just chasing hard after a good life without the burden of unwed motherhood. Unlike Apple, I had the advantage of loving parents and enough education to secure not just a job but a career. But I had a poverty of spirit and moral backbone that would have made me bold to face down my fears and give life to my child. The beauty of Apple’s choice betrays the cowardice from which I suffered and which I believe is at the heart of every choice for abortion. Forgive me if you are suffering from the effects of a coerced abortion–the cowardice is often not that of the mother. Having been victimized and brutalized by so many for so long, Apple rejected the choice of her own well-being over the life of her child. If, instead your strength failed, as mine did, just know that God can change the coward’s heart and make us brave today. And if you coerced another, look to Tom’s redemption as your hope. It’s never too late to do the right thing now.

Gimme Shelter is a soaring triumph of the human heart–a blessing of a film and one I can’t wait to watch again.

Crisis pregnancy at the heart of Stallone v DeNiro dramedy

Prolife Movie Review: Grudge Match

What could make a bravehearted fighter so opposed to facing an opponent that he walks away from the fight that could settle a tied record between the two once and for all?

Prolife Movie Review Grudge Match by Kim Ketola

DeNiro v Stallone in Grudge Match

That question is at the heart of Grudge Match starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro as the aging fighters drawn together for that final match. When we meet them Stallone’s Henry “Razor” Sharp  is working at a foundry and DeNiro’s Billy “The Kid” McDonnen is a nightclub owner headlining his own stage as a comedian. Razor is approached  by Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart) to lend Razor’s character to a video game co-starring The Kid. He adamantly refuses until he realizes he can raise cash for his aging trainer (Alan Arkin) and his health care needs. The video game taping devolves into mayhem which goes viral online, and suddenly the Match is on.

Ministries and organizations helping after abortion

I am so grateful to be able to partner with and recommend the following organizations for remembering those hurt by abortion and offering true and lasting hope:

Heart! by Andrea Silva via Wikimedia Commons

Heart! by Andrea Silva via Wikimedia Commons

Please know that you can always call our toll-free number for confidential help and we will return your contact within 12 hours. Call us at 800-811-3003. You can also leave a private message via the comment reply form. Simply let us know in your note that you don’t want your comments published.

Above all, don’t give up hope! You are not alone. There is help and hope for lasting healing and peace with God.

How to lose your life–for good

istockphoto © selensergen

istockphoto © selensergen

“My life is OVER!”

How many times have you had that thought? I hope not more than a few times and I hope you were wrong each time.

Drama is good in the movies, in real life not so much.

But I guess each of us knows a moment when we have been devastated by news that seemed to bring our hopes, our plans, our dreams crashing down around our heads. And maybe if you’ve had such a moment, your life as you knew it did in fact come to an end as you were called to sacrifice for the sake of others.

The art of faith is knowing when a crisis is God’s plan and trusting him to bring his goodness to pass through the unexpected, through dire and desperate circumstances.

New Year, New Blog

Creative Commons @ SallyM

Creative Commons @ SallyM

So glad that you’ve found us here online!

I hope you like the new web design and would love to have your feedback! Also hope you’ll subscribe to get our updates by email. I’m going to be posting a few times a week along with linking to updates about the ongoing weekly radio show. This blog will be devoted to spiritual formation and encouraging you on your journey of faith.

You can find our recent content for 2013 and resources specific to help after abortion over at Cradle My Heart. Older blog posts are archived here by date or by scrolling through the older posts.

Happy reading and Happy Almost-New Year!

Cradle My Heart Kindle edition Special


Cradle My Heart, Finding God’s Love After Abortion is available at a special price this week only.

The Kindle version on Amazon is only $5 this week (through 9/28).

You can also choose to download it to your computer–you don’t need a Kindle to read and enjoy.

CBA article on 9-20 Webcast-Register Now

Christian Booksellers Association article: Addressing the issues no one wants to talk about.

This fall, Kregel Publications is releasing new books for women addressing issues that are often too painful and difficult to discuss. Topics such as miscarriage, abortion and abuse are sadly prevalent in the lives of so many women, but often times women keep silent out of shame, hurt, or grief and find themselves unable to talk to anyone, even among trusted friends and their sisters in Christ. These women are desperately seeking support, understanding and healing, but often don’t know where to turn.

“Kregel Publications has always strived to develop and distribute books that will help individuals grow in their personal relationship with Christ. Most recently, we’ve focused on providing quality resources on topics that are all too common, but very often ignored by both the reader and the church at large,” explains Cat Hoort, marketing and publicity manager for Kregel Publications. “Abuse, abortion, and miscarriage, for example, are common challenges for even the most committed Christian. Yet fear, embarrassment, or a lack of knowledge on these issues has kept people silent far too long.”

In coordination with the launch of their fall releases, Kregel will be hosting a live webcast event on Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. EDT featuring authors Kim Ketola (Cradle My Heart), Teske Drake (Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow), and Dawn Scott Jones (When a Woman You Love Was Abused). The webcast will allow women to come together to share their struggles and fears in order to move toward healing and hope. Women will able to support one another and discuss shared experiences in a non-threatening, open and loving environment.

The live webcast is less than a week away–coming up on Thursday night. Register here.

Abortion healing – it’s time

One in three American women has experienced elective abortion–and we all think we’re the only one.

It’s time to talk this through. It’s time to help one another.

It’s time.

Listen in and share your heart with us. Sunday evenings starting September 9th.

Publishers Weekly notice of Women Redeemed Webcast

Publishers Weekly mentions Cradle My Heart and the Women Redeemed webcast coming up on September 20

Kregel Publications is producing a live Web cast, “Women Redeemed: Addressing the Issues No One Wants to Talk About,” on September 20 at 8:00 p.m. EDT.  The Web cast introduces a new line of books from Kregel that deals with issues such as miscarriage, abortion, and abuse.The interactive event will feature authors Kim Ketola (Cradle My Heart), Teske Drake (Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow), and Dawn Scott Jones (When a Woman You Love Was Abused).

This is going to be a safe place to discuss our pain and share our hope. There will be special offers on our books and many healing resources offered.

Please register today and plan to join us on Facebook Sept. 20th.


October Baby producer on Cradle My Heart Radio 9/9 at 9ET

Cradle My Heart Radio with Kim Ketola launches this week!

Listen on Sunday, September 9th at 8p CT/9p ET for an interview with Cecil Stokes, producer of the acclaimed feature film, October Baby.

The plot involves a young woman discovering that not only is she adopted, but her birth mother had tried to abort her. Stokes has said in interviews that he did not set out to write a pro-life or anti-abortion film–he was just trying to tell a true-to-life story which has happened more often than most of us realize.

If you haven’t seen the film, here is an excerpt from the Dove review from Christian Cinema:

This is a terrific and touching story and this film should be seen by those who recognize the horrors of abortion. Hannah is the survivor of an attempted abortion although she doesn’t know this for many years. You might just need a hanky for this sensitive and touching film.

The movie will be out on DVD on September 11.

This will be a live and interactive interview–your phone calls and comments are part of the program! More later this week, but plan now to join us next Sunday night. Station listings here and you can find links to listen online. See you on the radio!