Sovereign Grace Ministries Executive Director Mark Prater’s Ties to the Abortion Industry

By | July 11, 2014

“All human life–from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages–is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God.  Nothing surpasses the greatness or dignity of a human person…If a person’s right to life is violated at the moment in which he is first conceived in his mother’s womb, an indirect blow is struck also at the whole moral order.”
                                                –Pope John Paul II
                                                  In Washington, D.C., Oct, 7, 1979

2014-07-11 Mark Prater

In the ongoing saga of the utterly corrupt leadership of Sovereign Grace Ministries we have more shocking news!

In what was a stunning revelation to me, Brent Detwiler, in his latest blog post, revealed that Mark Prater, Executive Director for Sovereign Grace and an elder at Covenant Fellowship Church,  held a lucrative job with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals prior to being recruited by Dave Harvey  in order to start Providence Church in Pittsburgh in 1996.  At that time Dave Harvey was one of the “king makers” in Sovereign Grace Ministries. Harvey later would serve a short time as the leader for Sovereign Grace Ministries as C.J. Mahaney had to resign under the cloud of covering up sexual abuse of children while he led the ministry. Dave Harvey himself soon followed the path of Mahaney, stepping down from his position  under questionable circumstances, and has since fled Sovereign Grace Ministries for greener pastures.

Here is the relevant portion of Brent Detwiler’s post:

“Mark Prater was trained in crisis management, public relations, and communications techniques while a regional manager with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in the 1990’s.  Wyeth marketed the infamous Norplant implant.  “By 1996, more than 50,000 women had filed lawsuits, including 70 class actions, against Wyeth and/or its subsidiaries, or doctors who prescribed Norplant.”   

In that context, Mark led the initiative to train obstetricians throughout the nation in the proper insertion and removal techniques for the progestin only implantable contraceptive device that acted primarily as an abortifacient (i.e., it caused abortions) by making the endometrium hostile to the implantation of a fertilized ovum.  God knows how many preborn children lost their lives because of this product.  As a result of these efforts, Prater zoomed up the corporate ladder and was well paid for his work.  

I don’t know for certain if Mark Prater knew the progestin only drug in the Norplant device caused abortions.  It is hard to imagine he did not.  I plan to write and ask him.  I also plan to contact the Executive Committee and Leadership Team of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  This issue needs to be addressed.  I do know, Prater left Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in order to start Providence Church in Pittsburgh in 1996 at the behest of Dave Harvey.”

Because of ongoing legal complications Wyeth Pharmaceuticals removed  NORPLANT  from the market in the USA, but it has been re-introduced under a new name. Read this troubling article here. Below are some excerpts from the article:

 “Faced with tens of thousands of lawsuits from injured women, the original manufacturer, Wyeth-Aherst, in 2002 reached an out-of-court settlement with the victims. That same year it took Norplant I off the market in the U.S., in an obvious effort to stem the financial hemorrhaging caused by the lawsuits.

There is one more difference we should mention. Since “Norplant” has become a byword for a dangerous contraceptive drug/device, Norplant II has been given a new name. It will be marketed under the name “Jadelle”. Of course, a dangerous contraceptive by any other name is still a dangerous contraceptive.

The U.S. Agency for International Development picked World Contraception Day to proudly announce its new Jadelle program. We think the choice of this day oddly appropriate, since our aid agency apparently does have ambitions to contracept the world: It is ordering no fewer than 27 million implants at roughly $10 apiece from the manufacturer over the next six years.

Norplant I died a very public death some years ago, pilloried in the courts and pummeled in the media. One may well ask why it has now been resurrected, under a new name and with a new manufacturer.

The answer is that implanting long-term contraceptives in poor women is one of the cherished goals of the population control movement. USAID itself reiterated its commitment to this goal at the recent London Family Planning Summit sponsored by the Gates Foundation.

A woman on birth control can stop taking her pills. A woman on depo-provera can stop taking her injections. But Jadelle, like its predecessor, is impossible to remove short of surgery. A woman who has been chemically sterilized by Jadelle will stay sterilized—for five long years.”

I find this deeply troubling.  The Apostle Paul, prior to his conversion, persecuted the church and personally arrested and put to death many Christians.  After his stunning encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus he was saved. Another great saint, John Newton, was a slave trader prior to his conversion.  It is clear God can and does use men who have been saved out of terribly sinful pasts.  That said, I think Mark Prater owes an explanation to the church.  When did Prater become a Christian? Was he saved while employed at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals? If so, how can he justify his line of work?  Was he converted while employed at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and subsequently convicted that to preserve his testimony as a Believer he needed to quit his job?  If this was the case I would have no problem with Prater moving on to become a preacher.  IF not, and he has never seen anything wrong with working for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, never repented, and just simply transitioned from a PR man for an abortifacient drug company to the Christian ministry I would take issue with the man being involved in any type of leadership role in the church.  I am unsure of the situation, but Prater needs to come clean on this.

Below is a brief description of NORPLANT.  I would encourage you to read the whole story at the link provided.


For decades, the popcon fanatics have dreamed about a mass means of neutering minority women that would be quick, efficient, and private. And the concept of a “safe and handy” abortifacient is certainly nothing new. A quarter-century ago, Garrett Hardin and other population theorists fantasized that the dominant “contraceptive” of the future would be an efficient abortifacient pill.[2]

It appears that the science genie has finally granted the population controller’s wish. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the abortifacient “contraceptive” NORPLANT for public use on December 10, 1990.

The Power Behind the Plan.

The ominously-named Population Council (founded by population control fanatic John Rockefeller III) owns the patent for NORPLANT, which was developed by embryologist Sheldon Segal of the Rockefeller Foundation. The Population Council will reap four percent of the colossal profits that will accrue from the use of the drug. The abortifacient is produced by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories of Philadelphia, a subsidiary of American Home Products, and will cost women about $500 to produce about five years of barrenness.[3]


Implantation and Extraction Procedure.

The NORPLANT carrier consists of six small tubes about the size of matchsticks. These tubes are made of silastic (silicone rubber), the same material used in heart valves and medical tubing.

The insertion procedure is performed by a clinician, who makes a 1/8-inch incision about six inches above the woman’s elbow. The capsules are then loaded one by one into her arm in a fan-shaped pattern using an insertion tube.[3] Local anesthetic is used for both the implantation and extraction procedures.

The removal of the six tubes will be tricker than implantation in many cases, because they become coated with fibrous tissue and gradually anchor into the surrounding tissue. This is a result of trauma caused by the implants being pushed into the tissue and a low-scale inflammatory reaction to the tube’s foreign substance.

Mechanism of Action.

Once implanted, the six NORPLANT carrier capsules slowly release the drug levonorgestrel (low-dosage progestin), an abortifacient that prevents implantation of the developing human being (blastocyst) in the uterus.

The initial rate of progestin release is 100 micrograms per day. This rate gradually declines to 30 micrograms per day after 27 months, and then levels out.[4]

One major study showed that NORPLANT may reduce but not inhibit sperm migration by thickening cervical mucus, thus allowing fertilization to take place.[5] Another test of 41 women using NORPLANT for a period of one year showed that 24 women experienced a suppressed uterine lining, 12 had an irregular uterine lining, and only five had normal (unchanged) uterine linings.[4] Thus, NORPLANT had a clearly abortifacient effect in 70 percent of the women tested.

This means that a woman being used by NORPLANT will continue to ovulate, and will therefore be blissfully unaware that she is aborting at least once or twice each year.

2014-07-11 Photo of Prater election 2014-07-11 Pray for Prater

Indeed.  Pray for the whole denomination!

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Yes, most birth control pills prevent conception as their first line of defense, but they ALL have a hormonal component that prevents the uterine lining from being able to host and nourish a fertilized egg, thus causing the destruction of created life. The pills prevent the thickening of the uterine lining, which provides nourishment to the fertilized egg. This is a back-up feature, but it happens often. How many babies should a Christian be willing to destroy? What statistic should we be comfortable with? It is my firm belief that prolife Christians using hormonal birth control methods, kill their babies by the millions….probably more than all than those seeking abortions at clinics combined. Most often, this is due to ignorance. The Church needs to speak up on this issue…but Church leadership fears alienating folks.


I’ve never posted on this blog or any other forum regarding SGM. I do want to address the issue and definition of an abortifacient. Most prolife people would consider life to begin at conception, when the sperm meets the egg and all DNA is present from both mother and father. Norplant, and all hormonal types of birth control including the popular birth control pill, have a hormonal component that causes the uterine wall lining to be hostile to the fertilized egg. This makes implantation of the fertilized egg (which is life) near impossible. Millions of prolife Christians kill their unborn when they use birth control pills…and Norplant type devices. Any birth control that does not PREVENT conception is an abortifacient.


Just a couple points –

1) Mark Prater should be able to stand up for himself. If he thinks Brent Detwiler has slandered him then let him say so directly.

2) 5years in PDI has unapologetic-ally slandered Brent many times and has a reputation for bullying people on several blogs. He/she/it should not be calling anyone else slimy.

2) You’ve criticized Brent Detwiler for his assertions about Mark Prater’s history at Wyeth/impugned his integrity but you haven’t provided references for your defense of Mark Prater. In that sense, I think you’re being hypocritical. Why is your opinion of Prater more valid than Brent Detwiler’s opinion of him?

Based on Mark Prater’s behavior to date, which, to my knowledge, has included authorizing the public maligning of Brent Detwiler on the SGM website’s homepage, I doubt he left a lucrative career to become a Pastor. I suspect he was fired by Wyeth and concocted that story.

3) People at Survivors are constantly whining that Brent doesn’t allow comments on his blog so they can’t communicate with him.. That is BS. You can post anonymously but, in my opinion, you need to stand behind what you say with your real name if you want to be taken seriously.

Brent Detwiler has always responded to e-mails or Facebook posts. The kicker is you need to be willing to use your real name to correspond with him.

If you want a seat at the grown-up table then stand behind what you say.


I normally appreciate your analysis and have even re-blogged your articles from time to time…but Brent is dead wrong and his implying that Mark “knew” it was an abortificant is a lie in my opinion.

I’ll repost here what I just posted at Survivors….please consider taking this post down, it does nothing to help those of us who have been abused by SGM and leaders like Prater.

“I am not a fan of how Mark Prater has handled himself, but I knew Mark and his family, went on the Pittsburgh church plant, and eventually left after a falling out with with Mark and his family over polity and authority structure in PDI/SGM.
While it’s true Mark worked for Wyeth, it is not true that Mark knowingly sold these implants knowingly as an abortificant. They were originally sold as an implantable birth control and then it was recalled after further study. Mark resigned a lucrative career at Wyeth to become a pastor, and even at his time at Wyeth he made some unpopular stances to even the president of the company because of his personal faith.
Brent’s guilt by association is a smear and absolutely unnecessary. His criticisms of Mark’s minimizing and spin are dead on, but he his blows below the belt are inaccurate, unfair, and are slimy (as 5years pointed out).
Brent does not allow comments on his site for Mark to correct the record or for others to do so.
Brent-you are arrogant and vindictive. If you were so bothered about Mark’s involvement in this pharmacolgy…then why didn’t you oppose him, becoming a pastor back in 1995. It was an open fact that Mark worked for this company. You owe Mark a personal apology for implying that he knowingly trained doctors to encourage abortions, it’s lie.
For the record, I am personally pro-choice and have moved on from hoping to re-start a relationship with the Prater’s…but I can not let your smear campaign for your “Captain Ahab” moment stand. You need to be better than this BS you’ve spewed if you want people to take you seriously.”



I was wrong about the paragraph above being inherently contradictory yet it does assume that a process, per the link you were kind of enough to show me, happens on a regular basis.

I’m not sure everyone would agree. I’d like to see more sources about he likelihood of a fertilized egg being destroyed by Norplant. Is it one in 10 or one in 5 billion?

I heard a major Evangelical leader say that birth control pills were off-limits because there was possibly a one-in-a-billion chance they could act as abortofacients. I’m not a medical expert either yet I don’t know how you could come up with a statistic like that.

I do agree that the Pharmaceutical industry downplays the side effects of hormonal forms of birth control to the detriment of women.

Thanks again for the response.

Thanks for the link. I appreciate it. My concern is that if we don’t define terms consistently we end up putting a procedure like the one Norplant facilitates on par with a 3rd-term abortion, ethically-speaking. That can be a problem in my view.

Hi Janna,
I am no medical or reproductive expert, but I would agree with your definitions above. I would refer you to this link to see why I think Norplant qualifies as an abortifacient.

I hope that helps.

Hello Todd, I’m a big fan and have a request for you. Can you post your definition of the terms “abortion,” “abortifacient, and “embro.”?” According to Merriam Webster an abortion is defined as follows:
:” a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and cause the death of the fetus”

An “abortifacient is defined as follows, “an agent (as a drug) that induces abortion.”

An “embryo” is as follows: “: an animal in the early stages of growth and differentiation that are characterized by cleavage, the laying down of fundamental tissues, and the formation of primitive organs and organ systems; especially : the developing human individual from the time of implantation to the end of the eighth week after conception—compare”
If we abide by the definitions above I don’t see how Norplant can be considered an abortifacient as it prevents an egg from being fertilized in the first place as opposed to terminating an embryo.

In fact, this paragraph above is inherently contradictory: “Once implanted, the six NORPLANT carrier capsules slowly release the drug levonorgestrel (low-dosage progestin), an abortifacient that prevents implantation of the developing human being (blastocyst) in the uterus.”

If we define an “abortifacient” as broadly as it appears to be defined above then anything that prevents an egg from being fertilized, including spermicide and condoms, would have to go into that category, too, correct?

Thanks for the clarification. 😉


So as Christians, those of us who shop at Walmart (which uses sweatshops) or any of the major retailers, are child abusers b/c we have bought from stores complicit in unfair child labor? So Jesus wants us to buy all our clothes from amish merchants or make them ourselves? Similiarly, if we are Christians and happen to work for the PostOffice, FedEx, or UPS we are akin or complicit to drug-dealers since they use these companies in mass. So we should end our employment and business dealings with such companies (even though it was the free-will of the dealer that chose to use such)? Can we use these companies to ship medical supplies to our missionaries (since they do business with drug-dealers)? Would Jesus be ok with that? Or would Jesus want us to ship through a smaller custom-shipper charging 10 times more (that drug-dealers may or may not use)? Would Jesus want us to ship to our missionaries via ocean cargo vessels (that drug-dealers don’t use) taking weeks/months to get there (as children/villagers suffer/die in meantime)?

Similiarly, to link Prater like you have is ridiculous. Norplant is one product. Wyeth makes thousands. Is the malaria anti-viral that helps villages and Jesus’s children made by Wyeth ok? Is the Wyeth iodine water purifiers for clean drinking water ok? What about all the other medicine Wyeth makes that is a gift and blessing from God? The medicines that Jesus used made by Wyeth and others to save my wife’s life, and give my step-son a wonderful mother that he still has? Shouldn’t Prater be given credit for that?

Your explanation and article is incredibly simplistic and insulting, not only to Prater but to anyone with common sense. Some of what you have written in the past about SGM over the years is valid and needed to be said, and I thank you for that. However, you are just plain mean-spirited and wrong here. Your title indicates Prater is linked to the abortion industry. You have slandered him and owe him an apology. Your link to Prater is as strong as me linking you to a murderer because you bought a backpack made from Kevlar made by DuPont and Dupont polluted lakes and streams in the 50’s that were proven to cause birth defects and premature deaths. Furthermore, many Christians disagree with you 100% as to your definition of abortion (the pill).

You need to retract and apologize. No ones perfect, and you really missed it bad here. It would have been ok to ask Prater to explain himself, but as per your title you have already made up your mind b/c the quote is “Prater’s Ties to the Abortion Industry” (not possible ties, not anything non-definitive). This is no different than the dishonesty you rail against in SGM. I am not criticizing you b/c no one is perfect. Maybe you were sleep-deprived (I understand this being a 3rd shift worker) or just didn’t think it through fully. But what you have said here makes little logical sense and I know from your previous writings that you are logical, so please retract or amend as Jesus would have us do. We as readers will certainly forgive you, as we too would desire to be forgiven. We all have written or said illogical things from time to time, and hopefully have had others point such out to us. Thank you.


Astonishing. They placed so much emphasis on “purity”, but not on the safety of children. They placed so much on the “sanctity of life”, hired this spin-doctor for public relations. And make matters worse, they are still trying to pump pastors through and unaccredited “college” so that C.J. can have his picture taken with a bunch of “graduates” with plastic perma-grin smiles.

Meanwhile, back in Gaithersburg, Harris (the Boy Wonder) is hiding behind plausible deniability.

I am now convinced that God’s hand is truly set against you.