How pregnancy resource centers offer help and hope in Jesus’ name

December 5, 2019

When Rosa* first visited the pregnancy center where I volunteered, she was accompanied by her husband. He spoke only a little English, and she spoke none at all. She stood somewhat behind him as he and I attempted to communicate, her gaze fixed on the ground. After much gesturing and pointing, we were able to figure out what size diapers and clothing they needed for their children. Rosa never said a word.

Over the next few years, Rosa and her husband would come by regularly for diapers and other things. We learned that they were believers active in a local Hispanic church. Her husband would sometimes ask us for a Spanish Bible he could give away to someone in their church.

Rosa slowly gained more confidence both in her ability to communicate with us and in our center as a safe and welcoming place for her and her children. Eventually she felt secure enough that she came in alone. Another volunteer saw Rosa in the parking lot of a local business. Rosa called out and waved, greeting the center volunteer as her friend.

An offer of help and hope in Jesus’ name

The pregnancy center where I volunteered, like others across our nation, advocates for the life of the preborn. They counsel women in unplanned pregnancies about their options: abortion, adoption, or parenting. Pre-Dobbs, these conversations were increasingly occurring on the telephone, particularly with abortion-minded clients as women searched online for abortion providers and landed on the center’s site.

As advocates for life, the center also provides resources to help moms with items they need throughout their pregnancy and the first year of their baby’s life:

They also offer:

The largest percentage of the center’s clients go to them for the material resources offered. Many of the clients are poor, and their need is often great. Thus many, like Rosa, go by frequently. As the volunteers get to know them, they greet the clients by name and ask about their children and their jobs. The volunteers ask if they know Jesus and where they go to church.

Nearly half of the clients, like Rosa, are Latino. Several years ago, a translator was added to the team, multiplying the center’s ability to befriend and serve their Spanish-speaking clients.

Diapers, wipes, clothing, car seats—these are the cups of cold water given in the name of Jesus. Each visit, each pack of diapers, each pregnancy test are opportunities to develop a relationship as well as to share the gospel. Every client who walks through the door is a divine appointment sent by God for the help and hope the center offers.

Stories of change and stories of struggle

Leslie and Frank* came to the center for a free pregnancy test, and the proof of pregnancy required by the health department to register for government services. They were living together but wanted to get married. In addition to maternity clothes and items for the baby, Leslie needed a car seat. She agreed to do a Bible study comprised of four booklets she was to complete on her own and bring in to discuss with a counselor. Frank joined her for many of the discussions. Their eagerness to read the Bible and learn what it had to say was exciting.

Over the course of Leslie’s pregnancy and after the birth of their baby, they came in quite often and were able to get diapers, clothes, and formula. We prayed with them for a job for Frank and praised the Lord with them when he found one. We also prayed the Lord would lead Leslie to a job working at home so she could care for the baby. The last time I saw her she had just completed training to do IT work out of her house. They married and started attending church regularly.

It was a great joy to have a front-row seat to the work of God in their lives!

There are many other clients I had the privilege of serving and of seeing the Lord work in their lives over the course of many months. One young woman I counseled was contemplating abortion. She had discovered the baby’s father was married, and she felt abandoned and overwhelmed. We had no idea what she decided, that is, until about nine months later when she brought her baby, Angel, to the center.

“My angel from God,” she told us.

She became one of the center’s most enthusiastic ambassadors, bringing many other women to the center for help and support.

There are, of course, sad stories too. The client who called sobbing and gasping for breath after leaving the abortion clinic. The young girl pregnant from being raped by her uncle; another young girl pregnant by the “coyote” who promised to transport her across the border. The distraught mom in tears crying out to the Lord in Spanish as our translator prayed for her daughter and for her marriage. More than once I read in the newspaper of a client’s arrest.

To some, these clients are merely nameless, faceless political pawns. But we see their faces. We know their names. The Bible instructs us to care for the widow and the orphan—those without a voice, who cannot advocate for themselves. This is true religion, James asserts.

To advocate for life is more than advocating for the life of the preborn; it is also offering hope and help to the mom.

I discovered that I was the same as the clients I served in so many ways. Certainly there are differences in ethnicity and background and socioeconomic status. But, we had much in common: we’ve made bad decisions, done wrong, had people do wrong against us.

What we—all of us—need and most want is hope and forgiveness and grace. We need Jesus. Our need is real, and it is great, but greater still is the life and hope Jesus offers. 

*Names and details have been changed for privacy

Lisa Spence

Lisa lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she teaches a ladies' Bible study at her church and volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care in her area. She and her husband, Randy, have four sons, three wonderful daughters-in-law, and one very old dog, Darcy. Read more … Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24