By / Jan 10

NASHVILLE (BP) – The Supreme Court will rule on a case involving an Idaho law that bans nearly all abortions in the state.

The high court agreed to hear a challenge to the law, known as the Defense of Life Act, which makes it a felony for doctors to perform most abortions, with an exception for procedures performed when necessary to save the life of the mother.

Last Friday (Jan. 5), the Supreme Court ruled Idaho can enforce the law while the case involving the legislation is being resolved. The court is expected to hear the case in April, and a decision is expected by early summer.

The Friday ruling put on hold a lower court ruling which blocked the Idaho law, based upon a lawsuit filed by the Biden administration.

Brent Leatherwood, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), said the lawsuit filed by the Biden administration against the state of Idaho is a wrongful “twist” of federal law seeking to “thwart” the state’s legislation.

Despite what some activists and parts of culture want you to believe, abortion is not health care. In fact, it turns the entire notion of health care on its head. Equally alarming are those who, in the furtherance of abortion, seek to twist federal law to mandate that doctors violate their conscience in the medical care they provide. All of this is preposterous, and the Supreme Court should see through this backdoor attempt by the Biden Administration to thwart Idaho’s ‘Defense of Life’ state law.

Emergency room doctors are more than capable of quickly managing life-threatening situations for mothers like ectopic pregnancies with the utmost care. But they should never be forced to perform elective abortions that terminate the life of a preborn child. The Supreme Court’s decision to review this case is potentially a positive step to both uphold a state’s action to protect life and rebuke the federal government for doing Planned Parenthood’s bidding.

Brent Leatherwood

In a similar case, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently determined that ER physicians in Texas were not required to perform emergency abortion care under EMTALA, in a decision announced just days before the high court agreed to rule on Idaho’s law barring abortion.

Leatherwood noted the importance of continuing to fight for the pro-life cause amid these ongoing legal battles.

It is imperative for all of us who care about the lives of preborn children, their mothers and families to make it clear that abortion is wrong, and the ability to end a defenseless life is no freedom at all.

Brent Leatherwood

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

By / Apr 5

We’re familiar with the terms “abortion” and “tourism,” but what do you get when you put these two words together? Abortion tourism is travel for the purpose of obtaining an abortion where it’s legal, and it’s not a new phenomenon. Yet, it has continued to evolve as the abortion landscape has changed in the United States. In 1970, prior to Roe v. Wade, New York repealed all laws criminalizing abortion, giving birth to abortion tourism in the United States. Just two years later, and a year before the Roe decision, over 100,000 women traveled to New York City for abortions, half of whom traveled more than 500 miles to come to a city where they could legally abort their children.

Abortion tourism began to slow when Roe was decided in the Supreme Court in 1973. Abortion was legalized in every state, and the need to travel out of state for abortions decreased. But abortion tourism still wasn’t obsolete. Some states had more restrictive abortion laws than others, so women who found themselves in positions where the abortion they wanted was no longer legal traveled out of state to obtain legal abortions.

Abortion tourism today

But a major shift to the abortion tourism industry began last year when the Texas Heartbeat Act, a law prohibiting abortions in Texas as early as six weeks, went into effect on Sept. 1, 2021. With this law came a rise in abortion tourism. From September to December 2021, nearly 1,400 Texans a month went to surrounding states (Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Oklahoma) to have abortions, according to research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.

In addition to the procedure itself, abortion tourism comes with expenses such as transportation to another state and lodging while there. So the need to travel for an abortion is merely an inconvenience for some, while it eliminates the possibility of having an abortion for others. For women who don’t have a working car, can’t get time off work, or don’t have anyone to watch their kids, traveling out of state for an abortion becomes much more challenging, and sometimes impossible. Companies such as Citigroup are already supporting abortion tourism by offering to cover travel costs for U.S.-based employees seeking an abortion, and Lyft and Uber both announced last year that they would cover any legal fees drivers face for serving as a ride for women to an abortion clinic.

With this rise of abortion tourism, comes an increase of tourism to out-of-state pregnancy resource centers. Women searching for abortion clinics in a neighboring state have stumbled across pregnancy resource centers and traveled hundreds of miles to get there. While this is an incredible opportunity for these PRCs, it also presents challenges for these centers which are designed around the concept of community and walking with women and families to provide them the support they need to choose life.

Abortion tourism in the future

Now, the Roe v. Wade decision is being challenged at the Supreme Court with a Mississippi abortion case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. If the Supreme Court rules to overturn Roe, the abortion tourism landscape could shift once again. While the market may increase if the court decision allowed abortion to became illegal in some states, traveling to obtain an abortion would also likely become a greater barrier to abortion for women.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, individual states will be free to make their own decisions on abortions. Many states have laws in place that would automatically either protect or prohibit abortion access. Particularly, if abortion becomes illegal in several Southern and Midwestern states, such laws would cause abortion clinics to close in wide swaths, increasing a woman’s average driving distance to the nearest abortion clinic from 35 miles to 280 miles. And the clinics they could access for legal abortions would likely be overwhelmed with patients.

Even if the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs allows states to make abortion illegal, abortions will continue in other states that welcome abortion tourists with open arms. States like New York are preparing for the new wave of abortion tourism that could come if Roe is overturned. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has promised that New York will welcome women into their abortion clinics who can’t have abortions in their home states — much like they did in the early 1970s. 

As more states rightly establish pro-life laws, which would make abortions more challenging both for women seeking abortions and clinics providing abortions, churches need to prepare to help make abortions unthinkable and unnecessary – both through advocacy and care. Let’s pray that God would advance pro-life laws, soften hearts to choose life, and make our churches a refuge for women with unplanned pregnancies, vulnerable children, and those whose lives have been turned upside down by the abortion industry’s empty promises. 

By / Mar 2

As anticipation builds and news coverage increases, both sides of the abortion debate are sounding the alarm that the recognized right to life in our country could be drastically changed as the Supreme Court reconsiders the harmful “viability standard” set in Roe v. Wade and affirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This challenge to the existing law comes from a Mississippi abortion case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

The Dobbs case is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to affirm life, shift abortion jurisprudence, and send the question of abortion back to the states. For the pro-life movement, this Mississippi abortion case could be the culmination of nearly 50 years of focused work to overturn Roe and protect the unborn. 

What is the Mississippi abortion case about?

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court is reviewing a Mississippi law titled the “Gestational Age Act” that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, except in a medical emergency and in cases of severe fetal abnormality. This law replaces the ‘viability standard’ created by Roe. The court is examining whether pre-viability restrictions on elective abortions are unconstitutional. 

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court admitted that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting unborn human life, but concluded that that interest did not become compelling until viability, because at that point the unborn child “has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb.” However, the choice of viability as the point before which a state may not forbid abortion is entirely arbitrary. Even the author of Roe and two authors of Casey’s three-justice plurality have admitted this. When the “viability standard” was initially created in 1973, viability was around 28 weeks, but it is now around 21 weeks. The viability line will keep moving as our modern medicine continues to improve. No Supreme Court decision has ever provided a principled justification for the viability standard.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Dec. 1, 2021. Now that oral arguments are completed, the court will spend the next few months researching and deliberating about this case. The final decision on what could be a watershed case in American jurisprudence will likely come at the end of next June as the court closes its term. 

Why is the viability standard so important?

The viability standard creates two classes of unborn children — those who are legally protected after viability, and those who aren’t. The Constitution does not create a right to an abortion of an unborn child before viability or at any other stage of pregnancy. The U.S. is one of only seven nations across the globe that allow abortion for any reason after 20 weeks’ gestation. With each passing day, especially in light of our technological age and the use of the ultrasound, more and more people recognize preborn lives are worthy of protection.

Why is this case important? 

This Mississippi abortion case provides another chance for the court to come to that same conclusion and affirm the fundamental right to life. Even if the Supreme Court overturns the disastrous precedents set in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, abortion would not become illegal overnight. Instead, each state would then be free to set their own laws banning or allowing abortion. If Roe is overturned, an estimated 26 states will implement complete bans on abortion. This decision, rather than marking the end of the pro-life movement, will instead launch a new chapter as advocates turn their attention to protecting life in statehouses across the country and stopping the proliferation of chemical abortions.

If abortion becomes illegal in many states, many more vulnerable women and their preborn babies will need help and support. Christians must be ready to stand in the gap and provide love and care. Together, we must work toward a day when abortion is not only illegal but also unthinkable. Southern Baptists have long pleaded the case for America to recognize the inherent dignity of our most vulnerable neighbors, because Scripture tells us that every single life has innate dignity, worth, and value.

By / Feb 16

Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 16, 2022—The Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has donated an ultrasound machine to Hope Clinic for Women in Nashville, Tenn., and will hold a dedication ceremony Friday, Feb. 18 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. CST at the clinic’s location at 1810 Hayes Street, Nashville, TN 37203. 

The machine was placed by generous donors at the center in April 2021 as a replacement for a broken machine.

“Hope Clinic has a history of providing exceptional care for women who face unplanned pregnancies,” said Elizabeth Graham, ERLC vice president of operations and life initiatives. “We are thankful for the many ways they offer help for vulnerable moms and preborn babies. Our goal is to see abortion become unthinkable and unnecessary, while pursuing legal protection for preborn babies. Because of the gracious donations received through Psalm 139 Project, another ultrasound machine is being placed in a clinic that can begin working to show men and women the miracle of life in the mother’s womb.”

Hope Clinic for Women was established in 1983 by a group of OB/GYNs, community leaders and churches. This clinic is a faith-based, safe and confidential place for women dealing with life choices regarding past and present pregnancies. The clinic offers services such as: 

  • Support for unplanned pregnancies; 
  • Access to women’s healthcare; 
  • Relationship education; 
  • Pregnancy loss (miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death, failed IVF/Adoption and abortion);
  • Postpartum depression;
  • Medical care;
  • Professional counseling; 
  • Education classes; 
  • Case management; 
  • Mentoring 

 Hope Clinic for Women has a strong reputation among clients, donors and volunteers and is open Monday-Friday to serve the Nashville community.

“The ability for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy to learn fetal viability, estimated due date and see and hear a heartbeat is truly life-changing,” said Hope Center for Women Executive Director, Kailey Cornett. “Our clients want truth and knowledge to empower them. We’ve seen over and over that the use of this ultrasound machine has opened the eyes and hearts of countless women and their partners. For Hope Clinic for Women, over 80 percent walk away from that experience with strength to pursue life and parenting. We are so grateful for the donation of this machine that catalyzes miracles to happen.”

One hundred percent of financial contributions designated to the Psalm 139 Project go toward purchasing ultrasound machines and providing training for workers. No Cooperative Program resources are used for these machines. Tax-deductible gifts may be made online to The Psalm 139 Project, or via check to ERLC, 901 Commerce Street, Nashville, Tenn., 37203. Learn more at psalm139project.com.

By / Dec 16

Mail order abortion pills are the next front for the pro-life movement, especially in light of the recent oral arguments in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The FDA today made permanent the temporary regulations allowing women to obtain the pills without an in-person consultation with their physician. This decision represents an extension of the abortion regime’s attempt to expand their ability to provide the abortion and a failure of the government to protect women from dangerous complications that may occur. In addition to making the regulations permanent, the FDA will require that pharmacies that dispense mifepristone be certified. 

What is the abortion pill and procedure?

The use of abortifacient medications has quickly become one of the most common forms of abortion. In 2019, abortion pills accounted for over 40% of all abortions in the United States. The pills may be used up to the 10th week of pregnancy. The procedure uses two separate medications. The first, mifepristone, blocks production of the hormone progesterone which thins the uterine lining and prevents the embryo from remaining implanted. The second pill, misoprostol, is taken 24 to 48 hours after the first dose. It causes the uterus to contract and discharge the child and placenta. A follow-up appointment is required after two weeks. Though this previously included either a sonogram to check for any remaining tissue or blood work to check for an infection caused from any remaining tissue, current regulations allow this to be completed by telephone. 

Previous FDA restrictions

Previously, the first pill had to be administered in a doctor’s office or at a clinic. The second pill could be taken at home. However in April 2021, the Biden administration lifted this requirement because of COVID-19 restrictions on gathering together. The temporary guidance allowed individuals to receive a prescription for the pill with only a telemedicine appointment. They were then shipped through the mail. At the time, the FDA argued that this was a result of review of multiple studies that noted no link between a lack of in-person visit and serious safety concerns. The decision by the Biden administration was a rollback of Trump-era policies that required the in-person visit and which were subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision.

The current regulations were temporary, in effect only because of the pandemic. However, the FDA’s decision today makes permanent the regulation, clearing the way for any certified healthcare provider to prescribe the drugs online and send them by mail. If the Supreme Court were to overturn the precedents in Roe, a possible outcome of the recent Dobbs abortion case heard earlier this month, individuals could still obtain the abortion pills through the mail with a telehealth consultation. Even in states which have passed restrictions on mail-order abortion pills, some companies have said that they will continue to ship the medication and disregard the laws and regulations. 

Dangers of mail-order chemical abortion

The FDA stated in their updated regulations that the “benefits outweighed the risks” as they removed the requirement for in-person consultation. However, though the rates of serious effects are statistically rare (between 1-2%), complications are not uncommon. Also, it should be noted that of the statistics that are available, there are disputes as to their accuracy because women may not report their adverse effects as being linked to the pill if they choose to go to the emergency room, thus leading to an undercounting of complications. 

Common complications from the abortion pills include severe bleeding or cramps as well as hemorrhaging. More dangerous, however, is the threat of an infection that may result from the medication not causing all of the fetal tissue and placenta to be expelled. Also, for individuals who have an ectopic pregnancy (an instance where the embryo implants outside of the uterus), detectable only through a sonogram, taking the first dose of medication — mifepristone — could cause very serious complications such as the rupture of the pregnancy and severe bleeding. 

How should Christians respond to the new regulations?

As Christians, we should lament the lengths to which abortion providers will go to extend the ghoulish practice of taking unborn lives. In some ways, it should be an encouragement that abortion providers feel the need to push for such drastic measures because it evidences the success of the pro-life movement in advancing and passing legislation restricting access to abortion and protecting the lives of the preborn. At the same time, Christians must recognize that this is further evidence that it is not enough just to make abortion illegal. We must convince the culture that the destruction of life is unthinkable.

Even in states that have outlawed the abortion pills, enforcement is difficult. Thus, Christians must work to ensure that they do not confuse the passing of pro-life legislation or the overturning of the precedents in Roe and Casey as the end of the fight. Important as that is, if people still desire abortions, these pills will be available. Christians must work tirelessly to proclaim the dignity of every human life and address those factors that lead women to consider abortion.

By / Dec 3

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 3, 2021—The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, will host a special online event, Monday, Dec. 6 at 10:00 a.m. EST, to discuss yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case and how it could overturn the Roe v. Wade decision and affect the future of the prolife movement. 

Pro-life leaders who are scheduled to participate in the online event include:

  • Herbie Newell, president & executive director, Lifeline Children’s Services
  • Denise Harle, senior counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom
  • Elizabeth Graham, vice president of life initiatives, ERLC
  • Chelsea Sobolik, director of public policy, ERLC

The ERLC and other pro-life organizations filed an amicus brief in the Dobbs case earlier this year requesting the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.

Throughout the event, panelists will discuss questions such as: 

  • How can churches prepare for a post-Roe world?
  • How could the justices rule on this case?
  • What do we know from oral arguments?
  • When can we expect a ruling?
  • How could this case change the future of the prolife movement? 

“The stakes are high, and we will continue to advocate for the protection of all human lives until abortion becomes illegal, unthinkable and unnecessary across the world,” said ERLC’s Elizabeth Graham.

Members of the press are invited to attend and can register for free at this link

Immediately following the event, you’re invited to join event speakers for a 10-minute “on-the-record” Q&A to ask follow up questions from the panel discussion pertaining to the Dobbs case. If you would like to join, please RSVP to Elizabeth Bristow at [email protected] to receive further information for this virtual press room

By / Dec 3

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case centers on an abortion restriction passed within the state of Mississippi that prohibits the procedure after 15 weeks. However, briefs and arguments before the court have focused not just on the 15-week ban, but the constitutionality of the court cases that currently govern abortion jurisprudence: Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvannia v. Casey (1992). The court could decide to uphold the Mississippi restriction, and in effect change the standard set by Roe and Casey. It could also go further and overturn both, ending almost half a century of federally sanctioned holocaust against the unborn.

Abortion access at the time Roe was decided

At the time that Roe v. Wade was decided, abortion was largely prohibited across the country. It was legalized in four states, and allowed in limited circumstances in 16 others such as rape, incest, or the life of the mother. In the remaining 30 states, abortion was outlawed without exception. For those who desired an abortion, it often required travel to a state (or country) which permitted the procedure. For example, in 1972 there were over 580,000 legal abortions in the United States. Historian Daniel Williams has shown that even with a majority of states banning abortion pre-Roe, certain states were able to provide enough hospital abortion services for hundreds of thousands of abortions. Thus, while abortion was largely illegal, it was not unthinkable.

What happens in various states if Roe is overturned?

While overturning Roe would return the question of abortion access to the states, the country is in a much different place than it was when Roe was decided. If Roe is overturned, a wide disparity would exist between different states, with some automatically protecting or prohibiting abortion access. Others would almost certainly become contested battlegrounds for control of state legislatures and the governorship so as to pass measures in either direction.  

Whereas before only four states gave women the right to seek an abortion, currently 15 states and the District of Columbia protect that access: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Maine, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. 

Another 12 would immediately ban or severely restrict abortion access: Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. There are also a number of states that have enacted laws which are currently blocked by the federal courts, but which could be easily reinstated to restrict access: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, and South Carolina. There are also states that would likely move to ban or restrict abortion based on the makeup of their state legislatures: Florida, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming. 

Between these opposing groups of states would be those that would become highly contested for control of the government. For example, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina have a governor who is a Democrat and state houses that are controlled by the Republicans. As the push for pro-life causes moves to the state level, these local races would become more crucial in electing pro-life supporters.

New challenges at that state level

If the Supreme Court chooses to overturn Roe, the pro-life movement will need to focus on a number of new challenges that are likely to occur at the level of state policy. First, it is likely that the limiting of abortion in one state will not stop individuals from traveling to obtain it. After Texas passed a 6-week abortion ban, the neighboring state of Oklahoma reported an increase in individuals from Texas seeking an abortion. And while overturning Roe would increase the distance that individuals would have to travel on average to over 125 miles to reach the nearest abortion provider, it would still be an option for those who have the resources and are capable of traveling. 

However, the more likely result will be an increase in the use of abortion medication. Currently, over 40% of abortions are obtained through the use of the abortion pills. With the pandemic and the loosening of restrictions on telemedicine, it has become easier to obtain the pills online and have them shipped directly to abortion-vulnerable women. Though there are some state regulations that limit the use of these pills and obtaining them through the mail, their prevalence is expected to rise because the cost of the medication is cheaper than a surgical abortion. 

Another consideration that the pro-life movement will face is elected officials who refuse to enforce bans and restrictions, especially in states with divided governments. For example, Michigan’s attorney general has stated previously that she would not enforce the state’s ban on abortion if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe. Even if the pro-life movement is able to help pass legislation further restricting abortion, it will require government officials willing to enforce it.

Importance of state-by-state action for pro-life movement

With the shift from a national to state-level emphasis, the pro-life movement will need to adapt even as it continues doing what it has done for years. In the states where abortion is permitted, the pro-life movement will need to learn how to mobilize at the local level to pass ordinances, advocate for legislation, and help promote officials who stand for the dignity of the unborn. This will look different from state to state, and in some places it may be possible to only achieve partial measures in the short term — a ban on abortion at 20 weeks rather than a heartbeat bill — but in all it will look like advancing toward the goal where abortion is illegal and unthinkable, and every life is protected.

In those states where abortion becomes illegal, the pro-life movement should not cease to work toward making abortion unthinkable. Just because abortion is illegal does not mean that women will not face unexpected pregnancies and the difficulties that might make them consider abortion. The number one reason that people seek abortions are for economic issues, and these concerns — poverty, job insecurity, the cost of healthcare — will still exist once Roe is overturned. If Roe is overturned, Christians will have the opportunity to refute the claim by pro-abortion advocates that those in the pro-life movement only care about the baby and mother up to the point of birth. We will be able to showcase that being pro-life is a womb-to-tomb ethic, and that the church, in the name of Jesus, seeks to serve and love the most vulnerable.

By / Dec 1

I have been keeping up with what is often simply referred to in my circles as “Dobbs.” This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard the oral arguments in this case. Dobbs challenges the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 2018 Gestational Age Act, which bans abortions of unborn children whose gestational age is more than 15 weeks. 

In the 1992 SCOTUS case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court essentially upheld the essence of Roe v. Wade (1973) but replaced the trimester framework of Roe with a viability standard. Briefly stated, if the court rules in Mississippi’s favor, the arbitrary viability standard will be removed, granting states the authority to enact life-saving legislation. A favorable ruling, in this case, would save countless innocent lives.  

But I’m not writing this article because I have some expertise on the legal nuances of this case. You can find a detailed analysis on this issue from all kinds of groups and organizations that specialize in these matters, and I thank God for them. I have been significantly helped by the work of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) in understanding this case and its significance.

Right outside my hotel room 

I am writing this article because of a recent gut-wrenching moment that made this case even more personal to me. I had the great joy of preaching at the Mississippi Baptist Pastors Conference a short time ago. The conference met in Jackson, Mississippi, and I had the privilege of preaching in the historic pulpit of FBC Jackson. My hosts graciously got me accommodations at a nearby hotel.

As I got out of bed the first morning at about 7:30 a.m., I heard singing outside my hotel room. I thought it was odd because I did not imagine Jackson, Mississippi, as a place where parties from the night before would still be going on in the morning. However, when I looked out my window, I saw an unattractive pink stucco building about a hundred yards away from my hotel. I also saw a group of young adults gathered in a circle. They were the ones singing. These adults were not singing party songs from the night before; they were singing praise songs and praying.

It was then that I noticed other adults wearing reflective vests, and it finally hit me that the pink building was an abortion clinic where babies were losing their lives. I can’t explain the nauseating feeling I got standing there contemplating what was happening so close to me. But then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only was this an abortion clinic, but this was the Jackson abortion clinic of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. I wept. I prayed. 

From 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., I counted eight cars arriving at the abortion clinic. Eight in two hours. I wept and prayed some more. It was jarring. I hardly slept that night. “Dobbs” was not merely a court case for me at that moment. “Dobbs” was life and death, women and babies, voices I could hear as they walked into doors that would end one life and forever alter the other.  

Today — a day which will determine the future of abortion in America — is a good day to weep and pray some more. I am praying that one day soon I will get to stay in the same hotel room. I want to look out of the same window, knowing that God made the prayers of those young adults that morning effectual. And if that pink stucco block building is still standing, I want to know it is no longer a place where innocent lives are ended. 

If so, I will weep and pray again, but this time they will be tears of joy.

This article originally appeared here

By / Dec 1

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 1, 2021—Brent Leatherwood, acting president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, commented on today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s oral arguments for the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.

“After listening to today’s proceedings, I’m left asking a simple question: What good is precedent if it is bad? At multiple points, whether it was, for example, the faulty reasoning of Justice Harry Blackmun in his Roe opinion or the irrelevance of the viability standard, it should be abundantly clear that the precedent in the area of abortion is completely unmoored from the Constitution itself. Furthermore, it completely disregards the individual whose rights are most affected: the preborn child. That cannot continue. Denying the dignity of our most vulnerable neighbors should not be a hallmark of American jurisprudence.

“While it is difficult to predict the ultimate outcome in any case by simply listening to oral arguments, the Court has before it a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dismantle the abortion framework that has built up following the decisions in both Roe and Casey. The Court should not hesitate to do so.”

The ERLC and other pro-life organizations filed an amicus brief in the Dobbs case earlier this year. Additionally, the ERLC has created an explainer on the case.

The ERLC will host a special online event, Monday, Dec. 6 at 10:00 a.m. EST, to further discuss Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and how the case could affect the future of the prolife movement.

By / Dec 1

Collectively, we have served the pregnancy center movement for over four decades. We believe, unapologetically, that this is our life’s work. We are amazed that God has called both of us, separately, to serve women facing unplanned pregnancies in Middle and East Tennessee. We partner together with thousands of others across the country as we seek to see women served, babies saved, and abortion ended. 

The coming weeks are going to play a key role in determining where our country is headed on the issue of life and abortion, and it is essential that Christians go to God in prayer. 

Laura’s story 

But first, Laura wanted to share her own calling with you to help us get into the proper frame of mind. Almost 40 years ago I, Laura, was a 25-year-old mom who stayed at home with my first child. Abortion had never entered my world. I didn’t think about it, much less pray about it. That changed when I saw a news story about dumpsters full of late-term aborted babies in California. Grown men, sanitation workers who had been tasked with cleaning them out, were speechless and haunted by what they had seen. I was instantly overcome with grief, and I became vocal about it. My small group started praying about it. God led us to start a pregnancy support center in our community. We opened our doors 36 years ago this January.

Life went on, I had more babies and settled into raising my children. My husband and I continued to be active at the center as volunteers, board members, banquet directors, and donors. But I didn’t give much thought to the possibility of abortion ending. We were just working hard to offer an alternative.

Then, 14 years ago, I was asked to become the executive director of our center. Suddenly, I was involved in this “issue” full time. It became my passion and my life’s calling. My girls were grown, and my son was in high school. I poured myself into making sure our center was thriving and that our clients received the support and love they needed — and that we were telling them about the abundant life that Jesus wants to give them.

This story may sound familiar to some of you as you contemplate your own calling and involvement in the life issue. We know that many felt this same way back in 2019 when states around our country passed laws seeking to dehumanize babies in the womb or even, in the case of New York, actually lit up the night sky to celebrate a recent law paving the way for more abortions in their state. We took phone calls from supporters and volunteers seeking to help us serve at our centers as we had a front-row seat to a stirring and awakening of God’s people on this issue of life. This is what we want you to have in mind as you prepare to pray for the Dobbs case. 

How to pray in light of Dobbs

Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case out of Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. You can find an explainer on the implications of this case here. Our goal in this piece is not to deliberate the intricacies of this case or to debate the legalese of Dobbs. Instead, as leaders in the pregnancy center movement, we want to encourage you to spend some time over the next few weeks and months in prayer for the justices, the attorneys, the organizations on the ground serving women, the unborn, and the women facing unplanned pregnancies who are walking through the doors of close to 3,000 pregnancy centers every single day. 

So, if you would allow us, we would like to point out ways you can be praying. This guide does not provide an exhaustive list of needs, but we believe that it is a great launching point for God’s people to come together in prayer as we seek the end of abortion in our country and around our globe. 

Justices: Please pray for the justices on the Court. Their job is one of ever-growing responsibility as they attempt to navigate the muddy waters of legislation, rights, public opinion, and the Constitution. It is easy for us to pile on when decisions don’t go our way, but it is far harder for us to realize that these men and women have families, friends, and normal life routines just like we do. Pray the nine justices will have courage, wisdom, and grace.

Attorneys: There are a number of attorneys and attorneys general who have prepared for this case. It is not lost on us that this case is a hinge point for our republic and for the rights of the unborn moving forward. We can’t imagine the pressure these men and women are feeling as they deliver arguments for which they have prepared and studied hard. Please pray for their peace, courage, and stamina. 

Pregnancy centers: God’s Word tells us in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” There are thousands of pregnancy centers across the United States that are filled with people who work to overcome this evil with good. Pray for the staff and volunteers that populate these centers day in and day out. Pray for the nurses who view these precious lives via ultrasound. Pray for strength and stamina for these selfless men and women who choose to serve during these very trying times and face real spiritual warfare. 

The unborn: Pray for these unborn babies. These lives represent image-bearers deserving of love, life, and an opportunity. Pray that the images we see on the ultrasound scans prompt action and heart change. Pray that these lives are given the care they need and deserve.  

Women facing unplanned pregnancies: Pray for the women facing unplanned pregnancies. Pray that obstacles would be moved out of their way as they seek to choose life. Pray that abortion clinics close their doors and these women find their way to the door of a pregnancy center. Pray for healing, healthy relationships, and a desire to be an incredible mom. Pray for support from a church, friends, or family members. 

We take prayer seriously at Hope Resource Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, and at Portico in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We start every day calling out to our God for his loving hand as we serve his image-bearers, both in and out of the womb. We don’t know how God is going to answer any of these prayers, but we believe that just as David boldly stepped up to confront Goliath in his day, we are called to boldly confront abortion in America in our day. God is calling us to pray courageous prayers. Will you join us in this call to action? We are grateful for your support and are honored to serve alongside you for the work of the gospel and for life.