Focus on the Family organization has been working in the field of family for many years. How did they start? Why is the promotion of life an integral part of their mission? How can we achieve a society where the possibility of artificial abortion is unchangeable regardless of the legislation? We asked Robyn Chambers, the executive director, to talk about many challenges and their vision.
1. How did Focus on the Family start? What is your mission?
Focus on the Family is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. We provide help and resources for couples to build healthy marriages that reflect God’s design, and for parents to raise their children according to morals and values grounded in biblical principles.
We’re here to come alongside families with relevance and grace at each stage of their journey. We support families as they seek to teach their children about God and His beautiful design for the family, protect themselves from the harmful influences of culture and equip themselves to make a greater difference in the lives of those around them.
No matter who you are, what you’re going through or what challenges your family may be facing, we’re here to help. We’re committed to providing trustworthy, biblical guidance and support.
The ministry was founded in 1977.
2. Focus on the Family actively engages in the pro-life cause. How did you join the pro-life movement? What did motivate you to join Focus on the Family?
I started at Focus on the Family in 1992 in our call center. Then I moved in our Global Division twenty years ago and began work as the legal coordinator responsible for our contracts with foreign publishers. When I worked on the translation of a booklet called, The First 9 Months, I realized I needed to begin telling my story. Shortly after that I was asked to become part of a new initiative, Option Ultrasound. That program allows Focus to work with pregnancy medical centers across the U.S. and grant new machines and nurses training. This technology allows a woman to see what is going on in her body and the nurse has the opportunity to talk with her about all her options.
I soon started sharing my own unexpected pregnancy story and God has led me to share that story with donors, other women in an unexpected pregnancy. I didn’t share that story for years because of the judgement from other Christians. But God has surrounded me with others that have been in the movement and have their own stories. So, even though our culture isn’t always friendly to those of us that think life is the better choice, God sustains me during those hard times, and I know life is worth fighting for.
Photo: Focus on the Family
3. Did your perception of the pro-life cause change over the years?
When I first started working in the pro-life space, I thought there would be unity and collaboration. However, that was not the case when I first started in Option Ultrasound. I was very disappointed and a bit disillusioned. I could not understand the competition and territorialism. I chose to work through that and build solid relationships with those that felt the same way I did. Since Roe—the legalization of abortion in the US—was overturned in June, I have seen a tremendous swing toward unity and feel we are toward a better collaborative effort.
4. What do you consider are the most significant achievements for the pro-life movement? What are the most significant achievements by Focus on the Family?
The most significant achievement for the movement is the overturning of Roe. However, abortion didn’t go away, the legality of abortion and the laws around abortion went back to each individual state. That means we have 50 battlegrounds and lots of work to do.
For Focus on the Family – Option Ultrasound has partnered with pregnancy medical centers and together we have helped serve women and helped save nearly a half a million babies. That’s almost 1,000,000 lives impacted by Focus on the Family.
5. What do you consider the most pressing pro-life issues in your country?
The easy access to the abortion pill is one of the most egregious evils being done to women across the US. There is no oversight by a physician, no confirmation of pregnancy and these women are now doing a “self-managed abortion.” The potential for extreme physical and psychological trauma is very concerning. The pro-abortion community is using fear-based tactics to push their agenda for “women’s right to healthcare.” When speaking with our Physician Resource Council—a pro-life group of physicians—they all agree, a self-managed abortion is not healthcare. Women deserve better!
6. What is your vision for the pro-life movement in your country? What synergies would be useful?
This past June, I presented a plan to our executive Leadership that I had worked on for nearly 2 years. I felt if Focus could lead out in wholistic care for a woman after she chooses life, we could make abortion unthinkable regardless of the law of the land.
I developed a plan that would allow us to continue to partner with pregnancy medical centers by equipping them to remove all the barriers that would keep a woman from choosing life.
We have a plan to reach the medical community to partner with local centers by providing no cost or low-cost prenatal care; we are reaching Christian business owners to reserve remote jobs for moms in an unexpected pregnancy as well as the father of the baby, and we are asking Christian colleges and universities to reserve scholarships for mom and dad for online classes. We believe steady jobs and access to higher education will break the cycle of poverty and allow those parents to thrive.
We are also working on a plan to equip churches on how to have a robust pro-life outreach at their churches. This plan has many ways the church body can serve their community without the pastor being the only one leading out.
We have developed many partnerships across the years with groups that are joining us in this work. We partner with Heartbeat International by providing grants to nurses and doctors to have the certification for the abortion pill reversal protocol. We have more than 100 nurses across the U.S. that can take those calls and immediately get help for women that regret starting the chemical abortion process.
These are just a few of the new initiatives Focus is working in to change hearts and minds!
7. What is your vision for Focus on the Family?
I believe Focus has a unique opportunity to be leader in unifying the movement and providing more resources than ever before to the ones on the front lines of this evil – pregnancy medical centers. I want to see Focus be the convener that challenges churches to step and serve the most vulnerable among us.
8. Did you witness some specific fruits of your labor, perhaps a change in some people's lives?
I have a dear friend that is the CEO of a pregnancy medical clinic in Omaha, NE. She shared this story with me, and it impacted me in so many ways:
The CEO was in the ultrasound room with the nurse and a client that was very abortion determined. After receiving permission to perform the scan the nurse began – when the nurse found the tiny baby’s heart the mom said, stop! She then turned to the nurse and the CEO in anger – not anger at them, but at the lies she had been told. She said she had been told by teachers, friends, family members, that what she had in her womb wasn’t a baby. She was told it was just a clump of cells and abortion wasn’t really taking a life. This momma wept and said, that’s my baby and I can see the heart beating! That means that baby is alive!
That story touched me so deeply and at the same time made me sad. How many women have been lied to and not given all the information and education she needs to make a decision for life!
9. Are there some people who have been an inspiration to you?
One of my former vice presidents, Yvette Maher, was such a leader in what Focus was doing in the movement and she invited me to be a part of that and spoke into my role here at Focus on the Family.
Peggy Hartshorn and Jor-el Godsey, former president and current president of Heartbeat International have spoken into my life for 20 years. The experience they have is amazing and they have poured that into my life and that helped solidify my call to this work.
10. Would you share some parting thoughts?
As I was working through some of the Post Roe plan, I became very overwhelmed with the enormity of the work. I cried out the Lord and He gave me very familiar scriptures to sustain me:
Isaiah 40:28-31 – but one verse stood out –
Vs 29: He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
I knew at that moment that God has called me to this work, and He will equip me with all that I need, right when I need it.