Yakima Herald-Republic article highlights Tebow visit

Another positive article from the Herald-Republic on yesterday’s event:

Pam Tebow tells Yakima crowd to prevent abortions

By Jane Gargas
Yakima Herald-Republic

YAKIMA, Wash. — Pam Tebow, mother of Tim Tebow, quarterback of the Denver Broncos, brought a message to Yakima on Tuesday — complete the mission of preventing abortions.

Tebow spoke to nearly 1,000 people at the Yakima Convention Center during a luncheon fundraiser for Image Point Mobile Medical Services, a newly formed nonprofit Christian organization headquartered in Selah.

“Invest in this mission, and it will last forever,” Tebow told the gathering.

The group’s goal is to raise $300,000 by October to outfit a mobile van with ultrasound equipment. The aim, explained Image Point board chairman Lenette Lindemann, is to decrease the number of abortions in Central Washington by providing an intimate setting where women can find out if they are pregnant.

“My heart is to be close to women who are vulnerable to abortion so they can make a fully informed decision,” Lindemann said. “The ultrasound lets them understand that this is life.”

Tebow, who lives in Florida, told the audience that she contracted amoebic dysentery when pregnant with son Tim while she and her husband were serving as missionaries in the Philippines. Her doctor advised her to abort, but they decided against it.

Move ahead 20 years to 2007 when Tim, quarterback of the University of Florida, became the first sophomore in history to win the Heisman Trophy.

After ESPN aired a portion of an interview with Pam that focused on her refusal to abort Tim, she gained a national platform for her pro-life message.

Later, she and Tim starred in a Focus on the Family commercial that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl, talking about the family’s decision not to terminate the pregnancy.

She said there have been 53 million abortions in the United States since Roe v. Wade became law in 1973, upholding a woman’s right to have an abortion. Of those, 12 were potential Heisman trophy winners, she said, according to the pro-life group Human Life International.

“You have to decide to be part of the solution,” she told the audience. “You have to face the reality of abortion.”

Throughout her talk, Tebow, who travels around the country giving 60 speeches a year, sang passages from the Bible that she had put to song to teach her five children Scripture, and wove in anecdotes she called “God stories,” that she said demonstrated the hand of God in daily life.

“We get to be part of a grand God story because we’re here today,” she said. “Saving babies and saving moms is good work.”

Audience members traveled from throughout the state and Oregon to hear Tebow’s speech; many nodded in agreement when the Rev. Jon Oletzke from Stone Church of Yakima told Tebow before his benediction, “God is using you to bring fresh air into the church.”

Julia and Jack Beckner of Selah were inspired by Tebow’s message. “It’s so impressive that she came to Yakima. God blesses little places,” said Julia. Added Jack, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here and to give (money) to this.”

Lindemann explained that Image Point invited Tebow to speak in Yakima as a way to raise awareness of its cause. She said that Tebow’s contract specified that her speaking fee couldn’t be disclosed, but Lindemann called it “very reasonable.”

At the end of the event, Lindemann announced that she had just received news that the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization with 1.8 million members worldwide, would be donating $40,000 to pay for the van’s ultrasound equipment. Half the money would come from the local chapter and half from national headquarters, she said.

Before forming Image Point, Lindemann was a founder of Life Choices of Yakima, a pregnancy crisis center, and served as its executive director until last September, when she decided she wanted to form a group to offer mobile services. During that time she was a vocal opponent of a law introduced in the 2011 legislative session that would impose regulations governing privacy and disclosure at pregnancy centers.

Supporters of the law said it was needed to protect clients from any attempt to pressure or coerce them into not seeking an abortion.

After the legislation did not pass last year, it was reintroduced during this year’s session. It again failed to advance.

It’s not clear if a mobile van would fall under the same category as a stationary crisis center, but Lindemann said that Image Point Mobile Medical Services is not intended to be a rival to Life Choices or other crisis pregnancy centers.

“It’s not about competition,” she said. “It’s about saving babies’ lives.”

Serving with Lindemann on Image Point’s board of directors are Denise Van Horn, Brenda Brink, Earl Engle and Steve Younker.

* Jane Gargas can be reached at 509-577-7690 or jgargas@yakimaherald.com.

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