Southern Baptists call for the defunding and investigating of Planned Parenthood

June 21, 2017

Last week, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held its annual meeting in Phoenix. If you’ve been following the news, you might be forgiven for thinking that Southern Baptists only addressed two topics last week: renewing our commitment to evangelism and the much-discussed resolution denouncing the “alt-right” and other forms of white supremacy. But as is the case with every annual meeting, far more happened than the bits that were emphasized by the media. One resolution in particular is worth noting, even though it has unfortunately garnered little attention outside the halls of the SBC annual meeting.

On Tuesday afternoon, Southern Baptists unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the defunding and investigation of Planned Parenthood. The resolution’s adoption was greeted with sustained applause and even a few cheers from the messengers. It was an important moment that demonstrates how committed the SBC has become to the sanctity of human life and the pro-life cause in the public square.

Like many Protestant denominations, Southern Baptists were ambivalent about abortion in the early days following Roe v. Wade. We even adopted several resolutions in the 1970s that affirmed the sanctity of human life while also acknowledging a woman’s right to have an abortion. But over the course of a decade, a growing number of Baptist pastors and laypeople became convinced that pre-born life is just as sacred as life after birth; therefore, at least most abortions constitute the murder of a human being created in God’s image. Countless Southern Baptists became active in the pro-life cause at the local level and many pastors and other denominational leaders became public spokespersons for the sanctity of human life.

Since 1980, Southern Baptists have adopted more than 40 resolutions that speak to the issue of abortion on some level, and at least seventeen resolutions focus primarily on the issue. Building on a consistent track record of pro-life advocacy, it was a good and God-honoring moment when Southern Baptists went on the record calling for the defunding and investigation of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States. The resolution mentions several reasons Planned Parenthood should be defunded and investigated.

In response to these facts, Southern Baptists resolved to do the following:

The sanctity of all human life, including pre-born life, remains the single most pressing social justice issue of our day. Praise God that Southern Baptists are on the record calling for the defunding and investigation of Planned Parenthood, an organization that is at the very center of the abortion industry. If you want to know more about Planned Parenthood, including the recent controversies with the Center for Medical Progress, check out the following links:

The ERLC continues to make the pro-life cause a central plank of its Christian witness in the public square. Make plans now to join the ERLC and Focus on the Family for the Evangelicals for Life Conference in Washington, D.C., this coming January 18–20, 2018.

Nathan A. Finn

Nathan A. Finn is provost and dean of the University Faculty at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina. His latest book is Historical Theology for the Church (B&H Academic, 2021), co-edited with Jason G. Duesing. He serves as a Research Fellow of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Read More