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Actress/Model Jennifer O’Neill Speaks on Behalf of the Unborn
Perhaps her most significant achievement is her effort to heighten public awareness concerning the devastating results of abortion on women, men and families.

Jennifer O'Neill is an acclaimed actress, film and television star, author and artist. She became a household name through her role in the classic film Summer of '42 and went on to star in other motion pictures including The Innocent, The Carey Treatment, Caravans, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud, A Force of One, Lady Ice and Scanners.

Jennifer O’Neill

Perhaps her most significant role, however, is serving as the spokesperson for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, an international, non-political and non-denominational effort to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings upon women, men and their families.

Ms. O'Neill came to Silent No More out of her own experience. She went through an abortion in the 1970s, during her early 20s, after being pressured into it by her fiancé at the time. There followed a long battle with depression, as well as numerous marriages and nine miscarriages. But, after becoming a Christian at the age of 38, she went on a path of healing to the point where she has now been happily married for over a decade, is the proud mother of three children and speaks to others to warn of the mistake she made.

Ms. O'Neill was the keynote speaker at the Halton Pro-Life dinner. The November 9, 2007, event attracted more than 300 people to the Oakville Conference Centre, and raised some $15,000 for the organization's educational work. Prior to speaking at the dinner, Ms. O'Neill sat down to speak with Beacon Magazine.

Tony Gosgnach (TG): Imagine you're speaking to a 15-year-old girl who has just discovered she is pregnant. She is frightened not only about what her parents will say and do, but also about school, her friends and her future. What would you say to her?

Jennifer O’Neill (JO): First and foremost, not to panic. It's a very scary situation, to find oneself in an unexpected pregnancy. But you need to take a breath, slow down and go to any local ministry or establishment where you can get a free ultrasound examination of your baby, to see the humanity of your baby. The loving arms of those who run those centres ... will embrace you and take care of all your needs – spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially.  Just know you're not alone. That's the most important thing. Don't panic.

Abortion is not a quick fix. It has a lifetime of horror behind it, beyond the fact that it's aborting your child. It is a baby you're carrying ... You may feel completely alone, but you are not alone. Just go to these centres and you will find yourself covered with love and answers.

TG:  As far as parents and friends of someone in this situation, what would you advise them to say and do?

JO:  I have heard story after story of concerned parents taking their 14-, 15- or 16-year-old daughter to an abortion mill, thinking, "My daughter has to finish high school or college" ... completely unaware of what they're sentencing their daughter to. Ignorance is not bliss. Educate yourself before you educate someone else. You can't give what you don't have. If you're a parent, boyfriend or girlfriend with a young lady or woman who finds herself pregnant, educate yourself about the options. And if you really love that person, don't go for the obvious lies and the quick fix. Because pretending something isn't there doesn't mean it wasn't. You're not going to help them by sticking their heads in the sand and covering it up. If you love them, investigate.

TG:  Can the Christian community's approach to unplanned pregnancies sometimes come across as being guilt- based, rather than reflecting the compassionate and loving side of God?

Jennifer O’Neill with Higgins.

JO:  Anything can come across in any way. But God's Word on this issue is very clear. He knit every baby – Hello, fellow fetuses out there! We were all a fetus. We were all babies in our mothers' wombs and God knit us together. He knows every hair on our heads and God will protect you and your child all the way through. That's not guilt. That's a good message. If you've messed up – and a baby is not a mess-up – but perhaps you find yourself in an unexpected pregnancy. Again, don't panic. God doesn't make mistakes. That baby is there for a reason.

My biggest heroes in the whole world are couples or individuals who bring life to the full, even if it was not expected, and…place [their child] in other loving homes…if they don't feel they can raise that child ... That's a baby you're carrying. It has completely different DNA and a right to life. You're not expecting a child; the child is there. That's not based on guilt. That's based on fact and love. There are other alternatives (to abortion).

TG:  Do you think it's possible to go back to a time when abortion was not as commonplace as it is today?

JO:  Yes, of course, through awareness. Really, ignorance is not bliss. We need to understand what are the real ramifications and aftermath of abortion. Can we go back? I want to go back further than that. It's not a legal issue, as far as I'm concerned ... (With the Silent No More Awareness Campaign), our purpose is to make abortion unthinkable. We're not designed to kill our babies. This is not just in our society. If you go back ... (in many) societies, this went on – abortion or putting babies out to die if they were the wrong sex and so forth.

How do we get back there? We have to get in touch with our faith and with God. Not fence-sitting, not being lukewarm. We need to be bold. We need to stand forth because God does not honour lukewarm individuals. He's very firm on the issue of life. First of all, He is not going to be defeated. Any baby who has been aborted, or has died at an early age and not been aborted, is in Jesus's arms. That's according to God's Word, not Jennifer O'Neill's word. So God is not going to be defeated on this issue. He wants us to stand up, make a difference and have one voice

We need to have no division in the Body of Christ and no division, certainly, about the abortion issue.

TG:  As Christians, what should we pray for concerning the abortion issue?

JO:  Wisdom, and not to grow weary doing good. Jesus Christ did not do one thing on the face of this earth without the power of the Holy Spirit. He didn't start His ministry without the power of the Holy Spirit. God doesn't need us to do anything, but He has called us to do everything. We are here for the Great Commission. We are here to stand for the very things He speaks of and designed us to do. So once we can get out of our own ways – past the division in the Body of Christ – then we become a clear and powerful voice. So we need to not grow weary, but instead to go back to the source of replenishment, and that is the power of the Holy Spirit.

TG:  When were the times that you personally felt closest to God?

JO:  Obviously, through struggles. Through struggles, we get into that corridor where there is nobody – no husband, no friends ... there's nothing ... It's when you're in that corridor and the door is closed and God hasn't opened the other door.

It's called trust. "Trust in Me in all things. Trust that I will turn all things for good for those who are in service and love Me. "Trust that He has our best interest at heart and we can be His Gideon's army once we get out of our own way. It's an intimate relationship God is looking for with each and every one of us.

TG:  Finally, what are some of the most amazing things you've seen God accomplish in your life?

JO:  The grace He has shown me. Every child I've had. We forget it so quickly, the miracle of life, which I stand for so ardently. If God can come to me at 38 years old after living in the world, so to speak, in movies, fame, fortune and all that, yet I still had this empty hole in my heart. How often He saved me – I almost died three times – and He continues to save me. His passion, compassion and grace for me are an everyday miracle. I don't know why I'm astounded at the things God does, because He's God. But He always takes my breath away.

Originally published in Beacon, January/February 2008.




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