Through my work with Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, I have shared publicly what it’s like to be offered a medically necessary abortion at 25 weeks pregnant. And I have shared what it’s like to walk with my sister through her grief over an abortion she experienced alone.
I have had a specific vantage point to observe some of the many issues involved. The choice to abort never occurs in a vacuum, and if Christians want to have a true impact on the issue of abortion, we must carefully work to eliminate why abortion seems the best choice, not merely make it an illegal choice.
How local churches can respond
On Sept. 1, 2021, my home, Texas, became as close as the United States has seen in decades to a state where abortion is banned. The law that enabled this ban, SB 8 (or the Texas Heartbeat bill), is now under consideration by the Supreme Court.
Our gospel witness demands we prepare to rise to this occasion as a watching world looks to Texas to see how churches will respond if the laws they’ve so vocally called for and supported become a reality.
The good news is there is not a need to reinvent the wheel. The crisis pregnancy ministries that have worked tirelessly before now continue to be the boots on the ground. They are strategic partners for churches wanting to do more. Churches are uniquely capable and equipped to be able to help alleviate much of the reasons women believe abortion is the best option. With more churches now considering and looking to be a positive resource for women, there are several paths forward:
Expanding network currency. Churches wanting to be more involved in crisis pregnancy ministries can begin by partnering with established organizations in great need of more resources. This could mean financial support (which is sorely needed), but it could also mean helping connect the passions, interests, and skills of the church members. Although resources are not one-size-fits-all, most Dallas and Fort Worth based crisis pregnancy centers share a need for help with the following:
- Mental health
- Language and communication (especially bilingual skills)
- Sewing skills (for blankets, socks, etc.)
- Childcare opportunities (VBS/Parent’s night out/stay & plays could all be great resources for pregnancy centers to share with clients).
- GED/ESL opportunities
- Print supplies/office resources
Help make easier on-ramps to existing ministries. The problem is not a lack of resources; it is connecting the right resources with the people who need them. Churches are crucial ministry partners for many pregnancy centers. This is an opportunity for churches to strengthen their communication efforts with pregnancy ministries. It is especially helpful to provide welcoming points of entrance into the church beyond a Sunday morning service, which can be threatening and overwhelming to a woman facing a difficult situation. If your church has childcare nights, or evening sporting events, or other community/relationship-building events, those would be an ideal opportunity to invite people who are in need of community and Christ’s love right now.
Support the boots on the ground: Oswald Chambers once said, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.” Pray for your local pregnancy centers, and let them know. These ministries have been and will continue to serve, love, and minister to women and children, but they are also on the receiving end of much anger, misinformation, and hostility as the Texas bill works its way through the legal system. Many of them are tired and in need of encouragement. While SB 8 continues to attract national attention, our centers need our vocal prayer and support.
Some helpful guiding principles
The future of the Texas Heartbeat Bill is yet to be determined. However, it is my firm belief that churches should begin envisioning now what a life without Roe v. Wade could look like and work toward that. At the Christian Life Commission, we have committed to following Micah 6:8 to be our guiding reference as we navigate public policy, culture, and the building of the kingdom of God. Working toward a world post-Roe, the principles of Micah help point us in the right direction. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Act justly: As believers, we confidently stand behind the truth of the dignity and worth of the unborn. Throughout Scripture we see God’s calling upon his people to care for and protect the marginalized and the vulnerable. This calling to justice extends to the unborn. We care deeply about their protection and believe to act justly means to advocate for their dignity and rights.
Love kindness: There is plenty of space in Christianity for conviction and compassion. It is good to have conviction and passion for the vulnerable among us. But that should never stand apart from people who are hurting and also need compassion — to listen to their cries and needs — and follow the example of James 2 by showing our faith through our works. We must creatively pool resources to meet the moment of need in the mother’s life. The banning of abortion will not undo the host of issues that culminate in the choice to abort. A Christian response ought to be marked by true kindness.
Walk humbly: Pride is never a good look in the life of the believer. As we craft our responses and attitudes toward this issue, a haughty spirit over the victory against abortion is not the way forward. We celebrate truth and justice, but we also weep with those who weep. The celebration of progress within the pro-life cause should spur us on to love and good deeds. If the fruit of our celebration is the humiliation and pain of others, we have done it incorrectly. It is crucial to remember that while laws may help regulate and provide protection for the vulnerable, the causes which lead up to abortion will still be with us. In humility, we ought to ask God for wisdom on how to help end abortion by working to alleviate it as the seemingly better choice.
As we move toward the possible reality of a post-Roe world, may God help us exemplify the truth and grace of Jesus and uphold the dignity of every life we encounter.