Woman Survives Three Attempted Abortions, Now Celebrates Life Via Photography

National   |   Sadie VanderKodde   |   Sep 18, 2013   |   12:33PM   |   Washington, DC

Bethany Sanderson has survived 3 attempts on her life. Not in a dark alley at the hands of a robber, but in the womb of her mother – an unwed 15 year old in a remote Indian village.

Now 27 years later, Sanderson is sharing her story in a remarkable way. Joining hundreds of other artists in Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Art Prize, she is premiering her photography exhibit titled “IMAGE” – a celebration of life inspired by the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Sanderson’s own incredible story.

When Sanderson’s mother, Satyavati, discovered she was pregnant, she and her family sought out a secret abortion in an out-of-town hospital.

The head nurse at this hospital, a Christian and a new friend of Sanderson’s future adoptive parents, had been “on the look out” for an unwanted baby. This Indian nurse convinced Satyavati’s family to send her to a protected ministry home until the birth.

However, in a culture that pressured women to reject “unwanted” pregnancies, she was desperate to get rid of the baby. She attempted, and failed, multiple times to abort her own baby. God preserved Sanderson’s life despite all her mother’s attempts to end it.

“It is truly difficult to look at my life and not see the Lord’s provision,” Sanderson says. “In many instances of my life, people meant things to harm me but the Lord meant them for good. The Lord allowed me to be born and adopted twice – physically then spiritually. He had every day ordained for me before one even came to be.”

Sanderson brings her story to life in celebrating pregnancy and birth through her Art Prize piece.

“IMAGE” is a series of sequential photographs of mother and child before and after birth to emphasize that children are knit together in their mothers’ wombs (Ps. 139) and made in the IMAGE of God (Gen 1:27). It is displayed as a lenticular, emphasizing the before and after of pregnancy. As you walk by it, you will be able to see and feel the change. Sanderson says, “As this is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and abortion is becoming so normalized, I believe, God through my story gave me a real heart to have a voice for unborn children. Whether one week or full term, a child in the womb is a human being and should be treated as an IMAGE bearer of God.”



Art Prize begins on September 18 and runs through October 6 in downtown Grand Rapids. Sanderson’s piece will be displayed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church for the duration. Support Sanderson and the pro-life movement by visiting Art Prize and voting for “IMAGE.”

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