Standing for life has always been a core part of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
The Psalm 139 Project is our most tangible life initiative, designed to make people aware of the life-saving potential of ultrasound technology in crisis pregnancy situations and to provide pregnancy centers with ultrasound equipment and training as they minister to abortion-vulnerable women.
Since the inception of the Psalm 139 Project, we have placed 30 machines, and we are already well on our way to our goal of placing 50 ultrasound machines by January 2023 — the moment marking 50 years since the disastrous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was handed down.
During the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in June 2021, the Psalm 139 Project was the focal point of our booth in the Exhibition Hall. We were able to bring the same ultrasound machines, approved through an extensive vetting process, that we place in health clinics. Our manufacturing partner even sent a representative to our exhibit to demonstrate both a 3D ultrasound machine and a mobile ultrasound machine. This allowed messengers and other attendees at SBC to experience what women see on the machines when viewing their child for the first time. Studies show — and our own clinics’ data proves — women in crisis pregnancy centers are far more likely to choose life when they see their baby on an ultrasound machine. That result is why we believe so deeply in the work of the Psalm 139 Project.
People visiting our booth at SBC were not only able to see an ultrasound machine but were encouraged to offer a message of hope and encouragement directly to a woman in a crisis pregnancy situation through the use of handwritten notes. Over 1,500 people stopped by our booth to write touching messages that will be given to women in pregnancy resource centers where we place ultrasound machines.
The motivation behind our life work comes from the gospel. In fact, one of the most effective ways we appeal to consciences is by explaining the imago Dei and the inherent worth that truth gives to every preborn child. We do this both here at home and abroad.
In 2019, we announced our intentions to place the first-ever privately controlled ultrasound machine in Northern Ireland –– a region in the United Kingdom that has been one of the most pro-life areas in the world –– after an effort was made by their national government to decriminalize abortion services.
After being delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, the Psalm 139 Project placed its first international ultrasound machine in October 2021 with Hope House, a Christian ministry seeking to love both lives of the mother and baby in pregnancy and beyond. A group from the ERLC, including Elizabeth Graham, ERLC vice president of operations and life initiatives, personally delivered the ultrasound machine to Hope House to begin training their staff for this life-saving work.
Similarly, we have sought to draw attention to other contexts where the abortion industry is gaining ground. For example, we pointed out Argentina has become the first Latin American country to legalize abortion. President Fernández, in explaining his support for the law, referred to abortion as a mere “interruption” of a pregnancy –– an appallingly simple description of ending a child’s life.
Catherine Parks, in an article for the ERLC, states it well, “There is nothing caring about telling a woman in a difficult situation that ending her child’s life is the way to ensure her survival and that of any other children she may have. We must seek to protect life at every stage.”
As we look ahead to 2022 and then to the 50 year anniversary of Roe, we are more committed than ever to standing for life. And that means, by God’s grace, seeking to save preborn lives, caring for vulnerable mothers, and proclaiming in the public square the unswerving proclamation of the dignity of life found in God’s Word.
Pro-life pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) are often the only thing standing between a vulnerable woman and an abortion. Thanks to your support and the ongoing generosity of Southern Baptists, the ERLC is able to place lifesaving ultrasound machines in PRCs, which allow them to serve vulnerable women who would otherwise go to Planned Parenthood. We’ve already placed 25 lifesaving machines, and we’re working to place 25 more by January 2023.
Will you help us reach our goal of placing 25 more machines in the next year? Requests for these lifesaving machines continue to pour in from around the country, and our team can’t keep up without your help.