By Leigh Ramsey
In Spring 2014, several ladies sat around Barbara Beavers’ dining room table. Mrs. Beavers is the director of the Center for Pregnancy Choices for Jackson. The diverse ensemble of women had something in common—their calling.
Throughout the metro area, a handful of women have been called to minister to the post-abortive. The statistics show that one in three women have had an abortion, yet very few go through recovery. As the group began to discuss their needs and desires for this ministry, everyone noticed a consistent theme of getting the word out.
The question was posed, “How can people receive healing if they don’t know it’s available?” God had brought together a group of women and revealed to them His mission. That evening, Freedom 517 was formed.
Freedom 517 is a council of women who desire to remove the stamp of “taboo” from the topic of abortion. Their desire is to assist pastors, ministry leaders, and counselors with resources and training. Many understand that they have been forgiven for the sin of abortion, but they do not understand that there is freedom and healing available.
Freedom 517 stands on the promise held in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
God never intended for anyone to continue to carry the guilt and shame that often burden the post-abortive individual. This guilt, shame, and regret can manifest into different coping mechanisms that include, but are not limited to, the following: nightmares, addiction, depression, and eating disorders.
This is a sensitive topic that can be intimidating because of the political undertones and deep secrecy that comes with it. However, when the topic is not discussed, it seems “unmentionable” to the very people who struggle with this secret.
The group of women who makes up the leadership team for Freedom 517 has a unique perspective. Each woman is post-abortive and each has walked the road to healing and now facilitates recovery groups. This is important because the team is able to help church leaders and counselors find the balance of sensitivity and boldness that is often tricky, yet necessary, when it comes to the topic of abortion. The team members are able to share what helped them open up and seek healing, and what would’ve scared them away from seeking healing.
Freedom 517 offers training, resources, literature, and speakers to ministries, churches, and counselors. All services are free of charge, although the group does accept donations through the Center for Pregnancy Choices.
To find out more, please visit www.freedom517.org or at Freedom 517 on Facebook.
Leigh Ramsey home schools her five children and is founder of Out of the Dust, a ministry for post-abortive recovery.