Melissa Coles’ life became a whirlwind this past week. It also became part of a nationally released Christian film, “Lifemark,” about her decision 29 years ago to forgo a planned abortion and put her baby up for adoption.
She hardly could put into words all the attention the morning after a Tuesday night premiere at AMC Theatre in Plainfield, where she spoke briefly before the sold-out screening.
“The response from the audience was phenomenal,” she said, talking by phone from the Indianapolis airport where she was boarding a flight to the cast-and-crew national red carpet premiere in Washington, D.C. “People were crying and clapping. … At two other (area) theaters, the response was the same.”
The movie, from the Kendrick brothers, the producers of well-known, faith-based films such as “Fireproof,” “Facing the Giants” and “Courageous,” highlights the last-minute decision of the now 48-year-old Coles to climb off the medical office table in Indianapolis just before her scheduled abortion in 1993.
As a frightened teen, she said she heard an urgent voice in her mind: “Get up! Get up! It’s not too late.” She scurried off the table and ran out of the office.
Her story previously was featured in the documentary “I Lived On Parker Avenue,” and caught the attention of Christian actor Kirk Cameron. He then persuaded Georgia moviemakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick to transfer Coles’ experience and big message about adoption to the big screen. He now stars in the release.
The son David, whom she birthed, adopted by a couple in Louisiana, eventually triggered a longing in the mother, which is the heartbeat of the movie. They now remain in touch. He is a successful attorney.
Since 2017, Coles has been speaking at a broad range of anti-abortion events about adoption. She mentioned that she is humbled to be told that the documentary has convinced at least 11 young women to change their mind about an abortion. She hopes the movie, not yet scheduled to be shown in Columbus, might do the same.
She figures she has spoken to thousands of people in five years. That includes an estimated 1,600 at a recent abortion-alternative gathering for the Christian agency Care Net in Arizona. She spoke at a Bartholomew County Right To Life event in 2019.
Plus, a “Lifemark” book is scheduled for release soon.
She aches for those who have had abortions and wish they hadn’t, and regularly puts such women in touch with those who can help them emotionally. She said she understands some mothers-to-be may feel they no longer have a choice in Indiana, given the state’s new ban on abortions.
“There are still so many options,” Coles said. “Ideally, we want abortion to be unthinkable, because I see it as taking the life of an innocent child.
“I believe that God has a distinct purpose for everybody. And every person on this planet, no matter who they are, all have a specific purpose. We need to find a way to give that baby life, which is the same chance that we all have had.
“But, we never condemn anyone who has had an abortion. I have had friends who are post-abortive, and I have worked to help them with healing.”
Ideally, she now hopes that the film can be a healing agent, too.
“All this isn’t really about me,” Coles said. “I just want to be able to touch and help as many people as possible.”
The woman who initially firmly declined the idea of her story being made into a movie is now as open as possible to telling her story. Husband Shawn convinced her that the film was a good, and a God, idea.
“Now, anywhere that God calls me to go,” she said, “I will go.”
See the movie
“Lifemark,” featuring part of Hope resident Melissa Coles’ story of giving up son David for adoption, is now playing in Seymour, Indianapolis and Bloomington. For showings and tickets: tickets.lifemarkmovie.com.