By / Jun 11

Every year, approximately 70 million abortions occur globally, ending the lives of precious unborn babies.1 Around the world, an estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies end in an abortion every year.2 As Christians, we ought to be deeply grieved by this reality and should be propelled to prayer and action. 

Scripture tells us that every single life is precious to the Lord, and has innate dignity and worth. And throughout God’s Word, it is clear that God values the preborn. At the climax of Creation, God created man and woman and then declared them to be “very good.” In Psalm 139:13-16, we learn about God’s intimate care for life in the womb.

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.

Therefore, Christians have a biblical mandate to care for life, following in God’s footsteps by protecting and defending all life. 

While there are many pro-life concerns within the United States, it’s also important to remember that the issue of abortion doesn’t cease at our border. Abortion is a multifaceted global issue and affects different parts of the world in unique ways.

Sex-selective abortion

Approximately 140 million girls are “missing” globally due to sex-selective abortions and intanticide. While sex-selective abortions occur around the world, they are most prevalent in countries with a son preference. These countries and cultures believe that sons will give the family more prestige and will be able to better care for aging parents than daughters.3

The two most populous nations on earth, India and China, eliminate more girls each year than the number of girls that are born in the United States.4 According to the Invisible Girl Project, “while sex-selective abortion is technically illegal in India, the laws aren’t enforced as they should be, and an estimated 700,000 girls are aborted every year. On average, one girl is aborted in India every minute just because she is a girl.”5

China is the country with the most notable population of girls missing because they are targeted in the womb. As a result, there is a gender imbalance, and Chinese men don’t have enough women to marry, resulting in bride trafficking and a sex trafficking industry.6 The bride trafficking industry preys on the poor and vulnerable and reduces women to their ability to produce offspring. It’s dehumanizing and degrading. 

God has designed us as male and female, and choosing to end the life of girls in the womb is a vile and wicked practice.

Abortion because of disability

Several years ago, Iceland boasted that they had “basically eradicated” people with Down syndrome.7 As prenatal screening tests became more readily available in Iceland, almost 100% of unborn babies who received a positive test for Down syndrome were aborted. Even though people with Down syndrome can live long, full lives, many of them aren’t given a chance at life. Sadly, this predatory practice isn’t limited to Iceland. Throughout Europe and the United States, discriminatory abortion practices target unborn babies who potentially have a disability. 

In Denmark, 98% of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted. In the United Kingdom, 90% of women with a Down syndrome diagnosis for their child chose abortion.8 According to George Will, a columnist for The Washington Post, “In 2016, a French court ruled that it would be ‘inappropriate’ for French television to run a 2 ½-minute video (“Dear Future Mom”) released for World Down Syndrome Day, which seeks to assure women carrying Down syndrome babies that their babies can lead happy lives, a conclusion resoundingly confirmed in a 2011 study ‘Self-perceptions from people with Down syndrome.’”9

Forced abortions

Since 2017, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has waged a systemic campaign of oppression and persecution against Uyghur Muslims, a predominantly Turkic-speaking ethnic group.10 The CCP has used totalitarian tactics like pervasive surveillance, thought control, ideological reeducation, forced birth control, and compulsory labor. Uyghur women are subjected to forced pregnancy checks, medication that stops their menstrual period, forced abortions, and surgical sterilizations. One of the major reasons that these women are even sent to the internment camps is for having too many children.

The CCP has waged a long and dreadful war against women, and more specifically, as mentioned above, against baby girls. Through the coercion of the one- and two-child policies, it created a gender imbalance as stark as 120 boys for every 100 girls. Families in China often had to seek the approval of local family-planning officials just to have a child, even if they hadn’t already reached the one-child cutoff.11 To meet quotas and restrict population growth, women were subject to forced abortions, and both men and women were forced to have sterilizations.12

Positive developments

The Trump administration’s Office of Global Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) led the U.S. in signing the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a “historic document that further strengthens an ongoing coalition to achieve better health for women, the preservation of human life, support for the family as foundational to a healthy society, and the protection of national sovereignty in global politics.”13 It was co-sponsored by the United States, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda, and co-signed by 32 countries in total, representing more than 1.6 billion people. While the Biden administration has removed the U.S.from the Geneva Consensus Declaration, the important work will continue since it was a multilateral statement.14

One of the key parts of the declaration is the reaffirmation “that there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion, consistent with the long-standing international consensus that each nation has the sovereign right to implement programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies.” It should be encouraging for those in the pro-life movement to see countries band together to protect the unborn in their nation.15Ibid.

International ultrasound machine

The ERLC advocates for life domestically and abroad. One of the ways the ERLC is involved in the preservation of the unborn is through the Psalm 139 Project—an “initiative designed to make people aware of the life-saving potential of ultrasound technology in crisis pregnancy situations and to help pregnancy centers minister to abortion-vulnerable women by providing ultrasound equipment for them to use.”16

This work is vital because women are more likely to choose life for their babies after seeing an ultrasound photo of their unborn little one.17 The ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project has pledged to fund its first international placement of an ultrasound machine in a Christian, pro-life ministry in Northern Ireland.

In 2019, Northern Ireland legalized abortion for the first time in its history. The ERLC will aid the cause of life there and help women choose life for their children. The partnering organizations will be Both Lives Matter, an organization that advocates for both the mother and preborn child, and Evangelical Alliance, a group that unites Christians from across the wider United Kingdom on issues important to believers.18


Christians should boldly proclaim through word and deed that every single life has innate dignity and value. We should seek to be on the frontlines of protecting and defending life, both domestically and abroad. May we resolve to regularly pray for the lives of the unborn and their mothers around the world. May we ask the Lord to give government leaders the courage to pass pro-life laws and uphold the dignity of their unborn children. May we pray that women in vulnerable situations would have the support needed to give life to their children. And may we resolve never to remain silent about God’s care and compassion for every life.

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By / Jul 19

On Thursday, ERLC hosted an event in Washington, D.C. called “Humanity Denied: Religious Freedom in North Korea.” The speakers included Kenneth Bae, the longest-held U.S. prisoner of North Korea, and Jin Shin, president of the Institute for Peace Affairs a researcher and educator who has spent over 30 years on issues relating to the peaceful reunification of North and South Korea, and Olivia Enos, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Institute who specializes in human rights and national security challenges in Asia.

Here are five things you should know about North Korea and the Kim family:

1. Since the mid-1940s, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been ruled by the autocratic and cultish Kim family: Kim Il-sung held power from 1948 until his death in 1994; his son, Kim Jong-il, ruled the country from 1994 to 2011; and his grandson, Kim Jong-un, has been the supreme leader since 2011. After taking control of his country, Kim Il-sung developed such a strong personality cult that under the DPRK constitution he remains, even in death, the “eternal President of the Republic.” Similarly, within a year of being appointed premier, Kim Il-sung was referring to himself as “The Great Leader” and erecting statues of himself (the country now has more than 500 statues of him). His birthday is a national holiday known as the “Day of the Sun”, and in 1997 Kim Il-sung even created a new calendar that recalculated time from the year 1912, when he “came to earth from Heaven.”

2. Kim Il-sung instituted the ideology known as Juche, a form of hyper-nationalistic self-reliance. As the DPRK website explains, “The Juche idea means, in a nutshell, that the masters of the revolution and construction are the masses of the people and that they are also the motive force of the revolution and construction. The Juche idea is based on the philosophical principle that man is the master of everything and decides everything.” Writing in the Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs, Grace Lee explains how this official autarkic state ideology is used to keep the North Korean population under control:

The Kim Il Sung regime instructed the North Korean people in the juche ideology using an analogy drawn from human anatomy. The Great Leader is the brain that makes decisions and issues orders, the Party is the nervous system that channels information, and the people are the bone and muscle that physically execute the orders. This belief system, inculcated in North Koreans since early childhood, made them docile and loyal to Kim Il Sung even in the face of famines and energy crises that have devastated the country.

Under the idea of Juche, says The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann, “Farmers were expected to overcome nature and grow enough crops to feed the entire population.” The result of this agricultural system was a famine that killed 3 million of the country’s 22 million people. As his people starved, Kim Jong-il focused on a policy of songun (military first) to maintain the world’s fourth largest army. The Defense Department says North Korea uses reunification with South Korea as a key component of its national identity narrative to validate its strategy and policies, and to justify sacrifices demanded of the populace.

3. Knowledge of the outside world is limited for most North Korean citizens. All legal televisions are tuned to state-controlled domestic programming, and outside of a closed domestic network, there is no internet access. The state maintains a network of informants who monitor and report to the authorities fellow citizens they suspect of criminal or subversive behavior, USA Today notes, and unauthorized access to non-state radio or TV broadcasts is severely punished. To keep control of the population, the Kim family maintains a massive system of kwanliso (gulag-like political prison camps). As Human Rights Watch explains:

Between 80,000 and 120,000 North Koreans are estimated to still be in kwanliso, which are characterized by systemic abuse and deadly conditions, including torture and sexual abuse by guards, near-starvation rations, back-breaking forced labor in dangerous conditions, and executions. Working conditions at these sites are extremely difficult, including exposure to harsh weather, rudimentary tools, lack of safety equipment, and high risks of workplace accidents. Death rates in these camps are extremely high, political prison camp survivors told Human Rights Watch.

4. Freedom of religion or belief does not exist in North Korea and is, in fact, profoundly suppressed, says the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The North Korean government relentlessly persecutes and punishes religious believers through arrest, torture, imprisonment, and sometimes execution, USIRF adds. Once imprisoned, religious believers typically are sent to political prison camps, where they are treated with extraordinary cruelty.

5. The United Nations estimates that less than 2% of the 25 million population are Christian. The North Korean regime reviles Christianity the most and considers it the biggest threat, the USCIRF says, because it associates that faith with the West, particularly the United States. The USCIRF notes that the regime actively tries to identify and search out Christians practicing their faith in secret and imprisons those it apprehends, often along with their family members, even if they are not similarly religious. According to the U.S. State Department, tens of thousands of Christians are in political prison and facing hard labor or execution because of their faith.

By / Jun 12

Jeff, Steven, and Travis welcome national security expert and Asia analyst Olivia Enos from the Heritage Foundation to the Leland House to discuss the latest news from North Korea, especially the plight of the persecuted church. Olivia traveled to Singapore and Hanoi for the nuclear summits between President Trump and Chairman Kim-Jong un. And Steven recently traveled to South Korea as part of ERLC’s religious liberty efforts on the Korean peninsula and visited the DMZ to hear from Christian North Korean defectors.

Guest Biography

Olivia Enos serves as a policy analyst in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation specializing in human rights and transnational criminal issues. Enos has published numerous papers on human trafficking in Asia, human rights in North Korea, and reforming the U.S. refugee program and writes a bi-monthly column in Forbes. Her commentary has appeared in The Washington Post, The National Interest, The Diplomat, and Real Clear World, as well as numerous scholarly publications. She has also appeared on Fox News, CNN, and the BBC. She earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Patrick Henry College in Virginia, and a master of arts in Asian studies at Georgetown University. She and her husband Zach currently reside on Capitol Hill.

Resources from the Conversation

By / Oct 4

“I don’t want to go back,” Naomi* said, her voice thick with emotion. The middle-aged woman wiped away tears with the tail of her headscarf as she recounted how a Muslim group beat her husband near death over an alleged blasphemy charge.

Naomi’s youngest two sons, ages 12 and 17, sat quietly on the concrete floor. They chimed in occasionally to help their mother when certain English phrases eluded her. Floor fans churned the steamy air in a small apartment near the busy city center as Naomi told about the events that forced her family to flee their native country.

The sum of their belongings lined the walls of the cash-only, one-room residence. Naomi’s circumstances are typical among Christian asylum seekers in this Southeast Asian country. Forced out of their homes by violent persecution and pressed into hiding by harsh penalties for undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers wait in the shadows, hoping to find solace in the United Nations’ refugee resettlement program.

Naomi narrated a recent telephone conversation with her oldest son, 21, who was arrested and deported to their home country earlier this year with his father, Naomi’s husband.

“Mama, how long will we hurt?” he asked. “Trust in Jesus,” she said between sobs. “Just pray.”

Hearing the unheard

Six years ago, David and Melinda Cooper* became aware of the growing refugee crisis in their city. Former missionaries, David now serves as the pastor of a local church. Through the ministry of their church and with the help of volunteer teams, they are providing critical aid and compassionate care to this group of people.

“The refugee ministry started because God brought refugees to our church and we heard their story,” said Melinda. “It built up steam very quickly.”

The refugee ministry started because God brought refugees to our church and we heard their story.

News reports say more than 11,000 asylum seekers have fled from the same country as Naomi’s family to this country in Southeast Asia. Baptist Global Response, with the help of gifts from Global Hunger Relief, has been able to support the workers in this area in their efforts to care for the physical and spiritual needs of the refugee population.

Global Hunger Relief is a partnership of seven Southern Baptist organizations that partner together to fight the global hunger crisis. Baptist Global Response is one of those seven partners, and has prioritized meeting the needs of refugees around the world during the last few years as the refugee epidemic has grown.

With financial help from GHR and BGR, the international Baptist church has been able to purchase, organize and distribute monthly food bags and hygiene items. Teams from churches in the United States travel to Southeast Asia on short-term trips to help distribute critical resources and spend time with asylum seekers, listening to their stories about flights from affliction and the search for hope.

Those humanity-filled moments are important, asylum seekers said, because many of them rarely go out in public for fear of being reported or noticed by immigration police. The social interaction is especially enjoyable to children and teenagers. There are very few educational options available to asylum seekers, and in most cases, the peer interaction provided by classroom settings is out of reach.


Naomi’s husband and oldest son were held in immigration detention before they were deported. She’s thankful they are alive, but she knows they are now in danger. The anxiety caused by the separation of her family exaggerates Naomi’s health problems. Without access to proper medical care, high blood pressure and diabetes are a constant concern.

Naomi’s husband and oldest son cannot go back to their hometown, she said, so they currently live in another region of their native country. Her husband changed his appearance to avoid detection.

Naomi longs to see her family reunited and resettled, but she has refused to willingly take her youngest sons back due to the threat of violence against their family. According to Naomi, her family’s UNHCR refugee status determination case has been closed, and if their current appeal is unsuccessful, she and the two boys will be deported later this year.

Donate to help fund refugee food ministry at

*Names changed

Churches across the nation will recognize October 8, 2017, as Global Hunger Sunday by discussing the global hunger crisis, praying for those affected and giving to Global Hunger Relief. A version of this story first appeared in the Biblical Recorder.