A powerful, though often overlooked method for helping protect preborn life is to provide a woman in an unplanned pregnancy a “window” into the world of the child she is carrying. Internal statistics from the pro-life ministry Care Net have shown that when women who are still in the process of making a pregnancy decision are offered the option to view their baby’s ultrasound image in a supportive pregnancy center environment, they are much more likely to continue their pregnancy. That’s why in 2001, the ERLC launched the Psalm 139 Project, named after the verses in Scripture that state:
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Ps. 139: 13-16).
The purpose of the project is to raise money to provide ultrasound equipment to pregnancy resource centers and provide medical staff with the necessary training for operating the equipment. The initiative also plays a pivotal role in changing perceptions by helping people see that preborn children and mothers with unplanned pregnancies are not abstractions, but individuals made in the image of God and loved by Jesus. The project has received overwhelming response from pregnancy care centers expressing a need for new ultrasound equipment, indicating its positive impact and the demand for such resources.
The Psalm 139 Project began receiving funds in 2001 and placed the first ultrasound machine in 2004 (the cost of a machine and training is roughly $40,000). Initially, the project funded two to three ultrasound machines per year. But in December 2020, the ERLC announced an ambitious goal to place 50 ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers nationwide by January 2023, which would have been the 50th anniversary of the disastrous Roe v. Wade decision. Since the beginning of this initiative, over 85 machines have been placed in PRCs and other organizations around the United States. Twelve of those placements occurred thus far in 2023.
Across this nation, men and women working and volunteering in pregnancy care centers are the real heroes of the pro-life movement. These centers come alongside families facing unplanned pregnancies to educate and empower more women to choose life for their babies. And these centers wouldn’t be able to do this important work without the support of churches within their communities.
Cooperation among Southern Baptists
The Psalm 139 Project also wouldn’t be able to provide life-saving equipment without the generosity of Southern Baptists and partnerships with state conventions. To recognize these efforts, the ERLC gave a Psalm 139 Partner for Life Award to partners who have shown an exceptional commitment to valuing life by supporting those on the front lines of this essential ministry work. In 2023, the ERLC gave the award to:
- the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions,
- the Louisiana Missionary Baptist State Convention,
- the North Carolina Baptist Convention,
- the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board,
- Southern Baptists of Texas Convention,
- and the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia.
These conventions and their churches recognize that Southern Baptists have a greater opportunity to serve families in a post-Roe culture. The ERLC is committed to standing with these partners in protecting life at all stages and will seek to be a leading voice in this next chapter of the pro-life movement.
In 2024, the Psalm 139 Project will continue to identify and place machines, with an emphasis in placements in abortion-permissible states and provide critical support for those pregnancy centers as abortion tourism continues to bring an increased number of women seeking abortions to these states.
Culture may change; legislation may change, but the gospel remains the same. At the ERLC, we will continue to proclaim the glory of the gospel, the value of life, and God’s plan for the family.
One hundred percent of financial contributions designated to the Psalm 139 Project go toward purchasing ultrasound machines and providing training for workers. No ERLC Cooperative Program resources are used for these machines. Tax-deductible gifts may be made online or via check to ERLC, 901 Commerce Street, Nashville, Tenn., 37203. Learn more at psalm139project.org.