Latino Youth Pastor in California Shares Abortion Survivor Story

“It’s shoved down my throat that everybody who’s a minority is against conservative values — and that only white people are in favor of these values. It was nice to see that wasn’t the case.”

Light-bulb moments that transforms belief into action

Nora Garcia was seated in a doctor’s exam room in Mexico. She had been under treatment for cysts, which were dissolving — thanks to a powerful medication. But now she faced a new threat: severe abdominal pain. She continued to listen intently to what he had to say.

“I know I told you there is no way you could get pregnant with this medication, but it seems you’ve gotten pregnant,” the doctor told his disbelieving patient. “It looks like the medication has not only done damage to you, but it has also damaged the fetus.”

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KEY POINTS
What’s Happening: A Latino youth pastor, who discovered his mother had been pressured to abort him, unites with Church United as an advocate against abortion.
Related Story: Alabama signs into the most restrictive abortion law in the nation.
Implications: Church leaders need to encourage young people, who want to make a difference, to learn the truth about abortion and become involved.
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Trusting her doctor’s expertise, Señora Garcia had agreed the treatment with teratogen, an agent known to disrupt the development of an embryo or fetus. Already the mother of one child, she wasn’t planning on having another, at least not in the near future.

Devastated, Señora Garcia listened as the physician warned of a risky, painful pregnancy that would likely result in fetal deformity. The child, he declared, would likely have missing limbs, cognitive disorders and be underdeveloped. His treatment plan for this crisis was abortion.

Señora Garcia was heartbroken, but she declared, “No abortion. I’m going to have this child regardless.” 

The pregnancy was indeed complicated, and the baby did not make it to full-term. But when he came, he was bello — beautiful.

“I was born underdeveloped and I was a bit scrawny as a child, but I’m standing on two feet. I have two arms,” says the now 24-year-old Luis Garcia, a youth pastor at New Hope Church, Placentia, Calif.

Luis hadn’t discovered the contributing factors of his premature birth until just a few years ago. 

When he found out, “I broke down,” Garcia said. His mother “broke down, too.”

Now several years later, Garcia admits he still gets emotional when talking about his mother’s adamant stand for life, despite pressure from her physician to abort her son.

“He recommended to my mom, ‘Look, because he’s going to grow up having these deformities. It makes more sense to have an abortion,’” said Garcia. “It was as if having no arms and no legs made me less human, according to the physician. My mother didn’t like that — not one bit.”

Although Garcia says he sees God’s hands at work in saving his life, he is quick to point out that his mother’s decision not to abort was not spiritually motivated. While she attended church from time to time, his mother was not a born-again believer. 

“I don’t want to twist something to make it sound like it’s a story of faith. This is a story of God’s faithfulness, but not of my mom’s faith,” he said. “She always tells me, ‘I do believe God’s hand was on this, but I didn’t do it because I was a Christian. I just didn’t want to do the abortion.’ For whatever reason, God put it in her heart. She praises God for my life. She thanks God. She worships Him. She’s a strong believer now.”

Luis Garcia (far right), Youth Pastor at New Hope Church, Placentia, CA, joined other Church United pastors on October 2018 at a voter forum in Moreno Valley, where he shared his abortion survival story for the first time. Also pictured (from left): Troy Shedeed, Senior Pastor of Generations Church, Moreno Valley; Bob Tyler, attorney and President, Advocates for Faith and Freedom; and Tim Thompson Senior Pastor of Murrieta 412 Church. 

The Power of a Personal Story

Luis Garcia has also become an outspoken advocate for life. As a seminary student who serves as a youth and worship leader at his church, his commitment led him to meet Pastor Jim Domen with Church United. At the time, Domen was looking for some administrative help.

Garcia told Domen, “Look, I’m not that political. I choose not to get into the political discussion.” 

Domen responded by saying, “Have you heard about men and women in the Bible who were involved with government? Esther, Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul. ” 

He then asked Garcia to consider the power of his personal story.

“I’m not pro-life because I want people to be responsible,” Garcia said. “I’m pro-life because God created them. Pastor Jim then told me that while I may not know everything about public policy, he could tell I have a passion for this and it started to open my eyes.”

The conversation was one of those light-bulb moments that transforms belief into action. Soon, Garcia joined Church United’s team.

“It was an opportunity to meet other pastors, work with other churches and share with/prepare pastors about what’s going on in the real world,” Garcia said. “Not that churches aren’t the real world, but I understand why some people become blind or disconnected from what’s going on — especially when it comes to public policy.”

A Generation of More Zeal than Truth

Although his seminary schedule now limits his ministry time with Church United and his local church, Garcia still participates where he can, speaking out passionately about a pastor’s role in influencing culture, particularly as it relates to young people.

“In my generation, everyone is zealous about speaking out, but we’re not really zealous about truth,” he said. “We like to talk before getting the information. That’s unfortunate because we don’t really care so much about truth, but we do care about what truth means to us. We like to come up with our own truth rather than actually figuring out what truth is in the real world. We love the idea of changing the world. We love the idea of having our voices heard. We have such a zeal.”

Garcia said he’s grateful for his own pastors, who often talk about biblical values from the pulpit at New Hope Christian Ministries in Placentia. Several of the youth at the church have taken the message to heart by supporting various pro-life events, and one has become active in her community, informing teens and adults about a new California curriculum that is mandating inappropriate materials on sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity topics in schools. 

“Leaders of the church need to have the vision to speak up as they should,” Garcia said. “It’s important to inform the church of what the world is going through, through the lens of biblical authority. If God says that life matters, which He does, then we must talk about abortion.”

When the Christian community is silent about abortion, this allows pro-abortion voices to resonate in a vacuum, undermining the value God explicitly places on life.

“The (pro-abortion) argument is really against God,” he said. “It’s an attack against His creation. It’s an attack against His authority. It’s an attack against our biblical worldview. We need to talk about this because it’s biblical to stand up for these things.”

Minorities Against Abortion

Garcia said his affiliation with Church United has uncovered a surprising revelation in the form of what he calls a major lie perpetuated by the mainstream media: that biblical values are only supported by whites.

“I saw how passionate people were about public policy,” he said. “I was so hyped up and so happy to see that there was a diverse group of people that were so interested in the same thing. I spend a lot of time online, and it’s shoved down my throat that everybody who’s a minority is against conservative values — and that only white people are in favor of these values. It was nice to see that wasn’t the case. My greatest joy and the biggest eye-opener is the support that the church receives from minorities.”

This is why Garcia remains committed to helping others’ open their eyes, too. 

“I don’t want to be the one who looks back on the past and says, ‘You know what? I should’ve done something about it.’ No. I want to do something about it now.”

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