Let Them Live: How Saving One Life From Abortion Sparked a Movement, by Nathan & Emily Berning with John Greco, is available for pre-order with a September 1 release. I received an advance copy because I am a longtime supporter of the Bernings’ pro-life organization, also called Let Them Live.
When the Guttmacher Institute surveyed women about their reasons for aborting, 73% answered that they could not afford a baby. In other words, nearly three-quarters of abortions can be prevented by meeting a mother’s financial needs. That is exactly what Let Them Live does. The result? Hundreds of children saved from abortion.
With that background, I expected a series of feel-good stories about families helped on their feet and babies free to grow up. And there is some of that. But Let Them Live doesn’t shy away from darker topics. What about the mother who receives the support she needs to choose life and is excited to meet her baby, only to suffer a miscarriage? (I’ve been a helper in that situation, and it’s heartbreaking.) What about the woman who fakes a pregnancy to defraud pro-life donors? The authors candidly address the latter scenario and what lessons they took from it, which reminds me of a quote from this article: “The worry is that if you tell your donors about theft and fraud that occurs on your watch, your donors will give to other organizations that don’t talk openly about these issues. But they’re issues that every organization trying to transfer money or any other kind of aid at scale faces — and only by talking openly about theft can organizations design better procedures to prevent it.”
Let Them Live is also highly autobiographical. The Bernings share their meet-cute story, their infertility struggle, Emily’s family estrangement, and the stress of attempting life-or-death triage on a finite budget. Nathan’s conversion to Christianity features prominently; alas, this is not a secular book by any means. I remain an atheist, but at least he keeps it entertaining: “Along the way, there were psychedelic drugs and a prominent presidential campaign, several out-of-body experiences, and a trip to county jail.” Far out, man.
God-talk notwithstanding, I still found it to be a worthwhile read. The Bernings’ journey is proof that anyone can make a difference. Seeing how far Let Them Live has come, and how it is scaling up to save even more lives in the future, should inspire all of us to renew our commitment to families in need.