By / Jan 19

This week, Chelsea Sobolik sits down with Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life. They discuss how and why the March began, this year’s theme and how Christians can get involved in caring for women and their preborn children.

Guest Biography

Jeanne Mancini was appointed to the role of President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund in the fall of 2012. In this capacity she proudly directs the small non-profit organization committed to restoring a culture of life in the United States, most notably through the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Previously Jeanne worked with the Family Research Council (FRC), where she focused on issues related to the inherent dignity of the human person, including abortion, women’s health, and end-of-life issues. Prior to FRC Jeanne worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of the Secretary. Her federal government experience includes global health policy, as well as domestic and international health care issues. Before working in public policy, Jeanne worked for the Catholic Church in a variety of positions involving educating on life issues, human sexuality, marriage, and family.

Jeanne has made frequent media appearances including interviews on MSNBC, CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, and others. Jeanne’s writings have appeared in The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, the Washington Post and numerous others publications.

Jeanne holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from James Madison University and a Master’s degree in the theology of marriage and family from the Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Jeanne resides in northern Virginia with her husband, David.

Resources from the Conversation

Sponsors

  • The Big Wide Welcome // This episode was brought to you by The Good Book Company, publisher of The Big Wide Welcome by Trillia Newbell. Building on the popular book God’s Very Good Idea, The Big Wide Welcome inspires kids to be like Jesus and love others. Grab your copy and some free coloring sheets at thegoodbook.com.
  • Prison Fellowship — Second Chance Month // Every person has dignity and potential. But one in three American adults has a criminal record, which limits their access to education, jobs, housing, and other things they need to reach that potential. Join Prison Fellowship this April as they celebrate “Second Chance Month”. Find out how you and your church can help unlock second chances for formerly incarcerated people who have repaid their debt to society. Learn how at prisonfellowship.org.
By / Jan 29

Every January the March for Life rally brings thousands of people to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to “end abortion by uniting, educating, and mobilizing pro-life people in the public square.” This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the “heightened pressures that law enforcement officers and others are currently facing in and around the Capitol,” the event organizers have made the rally virtual and are encouraging pro-lifers to join by watching the broadcast online

The event brings in around 250,000 attendees each year, including tens of thousands of evangelicals. (In 2016 the annual Evangelicals For Life Conference began to coincide with the March for Life.) But when the original March began in 1974, abortion was still considered a “Roman Catholic issue.” 

For example, prior to the 1970s, many Southern Baptists either took no position on abortion or were accepting of legal abortion under certain conditions. A poll conducted by the Baptist Sunday School Board in 1970 found that 70% of SBC pastors supported abortion to protect the mental or physical health of the mother, 64% supported abortion in cases of fetal deformity, and 71% in cases of rape. In 1971, the leadership of the Christian Life Commission (which was later renamed ERLC) even supported a resolution—which was later adopted at the SBC annual meeting—that called upon Southern Baptists to “work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”

Fortunately, there were still some leaders within evangelicalism who understood the necessity of protecting life in the womb. Although thousands of people helped launch the movement, there are three leaders who during the 1970 and 1980s had a particularly important influence on getting evangelicals to embrace the pro-life cause. 

Harold O.J. Brown

When abortion became legal throughtout the U.S., Harold O.J. Brown, a Harvard-trained theologian, historian, and philosopher, was working as an associate editor at Christianity Today in 1972. As WORLD magazine notes, “On Jan. 21, 1973, he joined some members of the American Medical Association and the Christian Legal Society in New York to discuss abortion and a strategy to combat it. The next day, the high court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision. Brown hurried home to write his magazine’s lead editorial.” 

“This decision runs counter not merely to the moral teachings of Christianity through the ages but also to the moral sense of the American people,” wrote Brown in that editorial

Three years later Brown left the magazine and founded the Christian Action Council, the first major U.S. evangelical pro-life organization, and became a contributor to newly established journal, The Human Life Review. The Christian Action Council would later adopt the name “Care Net,” and become one of the major networks for pregnancy resource centers

When Brown died in 2007, Michael Kruger, now the president of the Charlotte campus of Reformed Theological Seminary, said that Brown’s “most central place of influence is rightly considered the pro-life movement. He not only anticipated the problem before abortion was legalized, but he has been one of the great organizers of actions to deal with the problem.” 

C. Everett Koop

One of the men who joined Brown in founding the Christian Action Council was Dr. C. Everett Koop. Koop was a pioneer in pediatric surgery who invented many of the anesthetic and surgical techniques that are now used on neonates and infants. In 1956 he established the nation’s first neonatal surgical intensive care unit, and became the first editor of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery when it was founded in 1966.

Early in his career he became convinced that “abortion amounted to taking a sacrosanct human life.” This lead him in 1975 to wrote The Right to Live; the Right to Die: Famous Pediatric Surgeon Speaks Out on Abortion and Mercy Killing. The influence of Brown is apparent in this book, observes Matthew S. Miller. “Koop evidently kept Brown’s articles close at hand as he put his own thoughts to paper,” says Miller, “He quotes from Brown more than from any other source (other than the Bible), often whole paragraphs at a time.” 

In his memoir Koop says, “I aimed the book primarily at Christian readers, as I sought to awaken the evangelical community to a vital moral issue they were choosing to ignore.” The 120-page treatise would sell over 100,000 copies in its first year of publication, and another 100,000 in the years that followed. 

Koop’s pro-life activism caught the attention of newly-elected president Ronald Reagan, who nominated Koop to be U.S. Surgeon General in March 1981. When Reagan published his 1984 book on abortion—the only book to be published by a U.S. President while in office—the original version included an essay by Koop titled “The Slide to Auschwitz.” 

Francis Schaeffer

In 1950, Koop removed the appendix of a young girl named Priscilla, which sparked a lifelong friendship with the girl’s father, Francis Schaeffer. A few years later, Schaeffer would leave the U.S. to set up the ministry organization called L’Abri (“The Shelter”) in Switzerland. Harold O.J. Brown brought Schaeffer back to the states to give a series of lectures in Boston, including at Harvard. These lectures lead to Schaeffer and his wife Edith becoming well-known figures within evangelicalism. 

After the Roe decision in 1973, Schaeffer took up the cause of opposing abortion. In 1979, he partnered with Koop on Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, a project that included a five-part film series, a book, an activist handbook, and an international lecture tour. 

“In Washington, D.C., the series was screened by prominent politicians and opinion makers; churches across the country showed the series to their congregations,” noted PBS. “Thousands of evangelicals heard Schaeffer’s message and became persuaded that they had a duty—indeed, a moral obligation—to set aside their long-standing aversion to politics and step into the political arena.”

“It is difficult to overestimate the incredible impact that Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop made on evangelical Christians in the latter third of the 20th century,” said Richard Land, former president of ERLC. “Everyone devoted to the pro-life cause owes an incalculable debt of gratitude to Francis Schaeffer and to Dr. C. Everett Koop.”

By / Jan 22

In this episode, Josh, Brent, Julie, and Meagan discuss the inauguration, QAnon in light of Trump leaving the White House, the new COVID-19 variant, Uyghurs “genocide,” the four nominees for SBC president, the March for Life going virtual this year, and the states Americans are choosing to work from home in. Julie also gives a rundown of some of the ERLC’s most popular content from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Julie

Julie Masson serves as Director of External Engagement for the ERLC. She is responsible for strategic planning, development and implementation of the ERLC brand strategy across all ERLC departments and provides leadership and oversight for the ERLC marketing team as well as coordinating external affairs and partnership deliverables. Julie and her husband Jesse spent two years in Spain with the International Mission Board before moving to Kansas City where they live with their three children. She is a graduate of Iowa State University. You can connect with her on Twitter: @juliermasson

Culture

  1. Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States
  2. Trump departs on final Air Force One flight
  3. QAnon reels following inauguration
  4. STATEMENT ON 2021 MARCH FOR LIFE
  5. New California Variant May Be Driving Virus Surge There, Study Suggests
  6. Field of Flags’ put on display at the National Mall ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration
  7. U.S. declares China’s actions against Uyghurs “genocide”
  8. Randy Adams announced as nominee for SBC president
  9. Pastor @EdLitton to be third candidate for SBC president
  10. The states Americans headed to the most in 2020, according to U-Haul

Lunchroom

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  • A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Your Children About Gender: by Jared Kennedy. This short book walks through six conversation topics designed to help you apply the truth and hope of the gospel to the complex issue of gender. 
  • Stand for Life: At the ERLC, we stand for life. Our work to save preborn babies and care for the vulnerable is vital to our work. Believing that abortion can end in our lifetime, will you join us as we STAND FOR LIFE?
By / Dec 18

In this episode, Josh, Brent, and Lindsay discuss the first American to receive the coronavirus vaccine, Biden and Pence getting the vaccine live on TV, how mouthwash slows COVID-19’s spread, Brexit, J.D. speaking at the March for Life, snow days, and Dolly Parton saving someone’s life. Lindsay also gives a rundown of this week’s ERLC content including the ERLC Staff with COVID-19 and the concern about aborted fetal cells in medicine, Jordan Wooten with “How lament can lead to hope in a time of plague: Grieving our losses amid the pandemic,” and Jason Thacker with “What is Parler, and why does it matter?” Also in this episode, the hosts are joined by Mary Wiley for a conversation about life and ministry. 

About Mary

Mary Wiley is the author of Everyday Theology, an eight-week Bible study exploring essential doctrines and why they matter in our everyday lives. She holds an MA in Theological Studies from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, works in publishing, and hosts the “Questions Kids Ask” podcast. She and her husband, John, have two children and live near Nashville. You can connect with her on Twitter: @marycwiley

ERLC Content

Culture

  1. Critical care nurse in New York is among first in US to receive a coronavirus vaccine
  2. Covid has killed more than 300,000 nationwide
  3. Biden, Pence to get COVID vaccine soon
  4. Gargling Could Slow COVID-19 Spread, Mouthwash Makers Say
  5. Emmanuel Macron: French president tests positive for COVID
  6. Brexit Countdown: What To Know As The United Kingdom Breaks With The EU
  7. AP: The Electoral College decisively confirmed Joe Biden on Monday as the nation’s next president
  8. Inauguration committee urges people not to travel for Biden’s inauguration
  9. Greear to be first SBC president to speak at March for Life
  10. Parts of the Northeast blanketed by over a foot of snow
  11. Fantastic snow day letter from Jefferson County Schools in West Virginia
  12. National Treasure Dolly Parton Literally Saved the Life of a 9-Year-Old Actress on the Set of Her Latest Christmas Movie

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Sponsors

  • End of Year Giving: If you’ve benefited from the content shared on this podcast, would you please consider making a year-end donation? Any individual donations we receive, apart from the Cooperative Program, goes to placing ultrasound machines in pro-life pregnancy centers, advocating for religious liberty, and human dignity here at home and across the globe.
  • Searching for Christmas by JD Greear. This book is perfect for giving to unbelieving friends and family this Christmas.
By / Sep 29

President Trump signed an executive order that seeks to ensure that “infants born alive, no matter the circumstances of his or her birth, have the same dignity and the same rights as every other individual and are entitled to the same protections under Federal law.”

The “Executive Order on Protecting Vulnerable Newborn and Infant Children” clarifies several existing laws, including the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA), Section 504 of the Rehab Act and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act to ensure born-alive babies in American hospitals are entitled to non-discriminatory access to medical care,with the consent of a parent or guardian, when they present at hospitals receiving Federal funds.

EMTALA ensures an individual’s access to emergency medical screening and stabilizing services, regardless of the ability to pay. The Executive Order clarifies thatE MTALA applies to all children, including those born prematurely, are born with a disability, or survive an abortion. It further clarifies Section 504 of the Rehab Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by programs and activities receiving Federal funding. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act makes clear that all infants born alive at any stage of development are considered persons for purposes of these and other federal laws and are, therefore, afforded the same legal protections as any other person.

Even though there are existing laws, some hospitals refuse to properly provide lifesaving medical care to babies who were born prematurely, with a disability or babies surviving an abortion. The Executive Order directs the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “ensure that individuals responsible for all programs and activities under his jurisdiction that receive Federal funding are aware of their obligations toward infants, including premature infants or infants with disabilities, who have an emergency medical condition in need of stabilizing treatment, under EMTALA and section 504 of the Rehab Act, as interpreted consistent with the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.”

The Office of Civil Rights at HHS has passed regulations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to further clarify the protections, and have a complaint portal where the public can file a complaint if they believe that a child has not received proper medical care.

Why is this important?

Any measure that seeks to protect vulnerable born-alive babies ought to be applauded, because Christians affirm that every life, both unborn and born has inherent dignity and worth. We should celebrate when our laws protect all life. The majority of Americans support limits on abortion. According to a Marist poll, 70% of Americans would limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy, or to a more stringent requirement. Nearly half of those who identify as pro-choice (47%) also support such restrictions. Labeling someone as “pro-choice” doesn’t clearly indicate how they view restrictions and limits on abortion and lumps everyone into the same category.  

What’s next?

This executive order is a positive announcement of administrative policy, yet, a permanent and legislative solution is needed. Congress should swiftly pass the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to ensure that every child, including those who survive attempted abortion, is fully protected under the law. This important bill would amend the federal criminal code to require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to, first, exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and second, ensure that such a child is immediately admitted to a hospital.

The ERLC is committed to defending the vulnerable at every stage of life. Withholding medical care from an infant who was born alive denies the human dignity affirmed to them by God. Such a callous dereliction of responsibility by both the legal system and medical profession also denies that child’s basic human right of life as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

By / Jan 23

The ERLC hosted it’s Evangelicals for Life conference last week ahead of the annual March for Life. Jeff, Steven, Chelsea, and Lauren gathered around the table back at the Leland House to reflect on the keynotes heard, panel discussions enjoyed, and the constituent advocacy meetings the team hosted on Capitol Hill.

Resources from the Conversation

By / Jan 18

What is the March for Life?

The March for Life is an annual pro-life event held in Washington, D.C., in January. The overall goal of the march is to “end abortion by uniting, educating, and mobilizing pro-life people in the public square.”

This year’s March will take place on Friday, January 18. The event begins with the March for Life Rally, at 11 a.m. on the National Mall. Following the Rally, the March up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court and Capitol Building begins at approximately 1 p.m.

Various local events related to the March for Life are also held throughout the United States.

The March for Life Education and Defense Fund’s is also a nonprofit organization that conducts year-round pro-life education and legislative work, as well as hosting the annual March every January.

Why is the March for Life held in January?

Each year the March is held on or around the anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in the case Roe v. Wade. The first March for Life was held in the nation’s capital on Jan. 22, 1974—exactly one year after the Roe decision was announced.

How did the March for Life get started?

The annual event was started by pro-life activist Nellie Gray. Following the Supreme Court decision in Roe in 1973, Gray retired from her federal career and dedicated the remainder of her life to the protection of the unborn.

In October 1973, a group of 30 pro-life leaders gathered in Gray’s home in Washington, D.C., to discuss how to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Roe. According to the March for Life organization, “There was a fear that January 22 would pass as any other day rather than allow for a moment to reflect upon how legalized abortion had hurt women and taken babies’ lives over the course of the year. That was the day that plans for the first March for Life began.”

Following the Supreme Court decision in Roe in 1973, Gray retired from her federal career and dedicated the remainder of her life to the protection of the unborn. Before her death in 2012, Gray had attended every March for Life, which at the time totaled 38 rallies.

How many people attend the March for Life?

The original March in 1974 was attended by 20,000 pro-lifers. By 2003, the event brought in around 250,000 attendees each year. In the past few years, however, an estimated 300,000-400,000 people braved the cold to attend the D.C March.

How is Evangelicals for Life connected to the March for Life?

The annual Evangelicals For Life Conference began in 2016 in order to coincide with the March for Life. This three-day conference exists to help evangelicals articulate a truly Christian doctrine on the dignity of all human life. This year’s event, held at McLean Bible Church in McLean, Virginia, had 50 speakers and ended with attendees joining other pro-lifers for the March for Life.

ERLC also hosts a series of Congressional constituent meetings surrounding Evangelicals for Life and March for Life to promote pro-life issues, foster care and adoption, and a range of other policies related to human dignity.

By / Jan 15
By / Jan 15

The Bible tells us that every human being has dignity and worth. From the tiniest unborn life to the elderly at the end of life, from immigrants and refugees to those trafficked against their will, all life is precious to God. Imagine what it would look like for Christians to come alongside the most vulnerable and to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. In just a few days, hundreds of people seeking to be champions of human dignity will do just that as they gather with us in Washington, D.C., for Evangelicals for Life 2019.  

We know many of you cannot come in person, but we want to invite you to join us for our mainstage sessions via our free live stream. Here is a look at some of the sessions you may be especially interested in:  

All times are EST (eastern standard time).  

Thursday, January 17

Morning Session | 9 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

  • Adopted for Life: Loving Our Fatherless Neighbors | Russell Moore
  • Show Hope: Orphans, Adoption, and the Heart of God | An interview with Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman
  • Will Roe Go: Abortion and the Future of Pro-Life Policy | Travis Wussow, Kristen Waggoner

Afternoon Session | 1 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

  • The Church on the Margins: The Gospel and the World's Most Vulnerable | Mindy Belz
  • Caring for the Stranger: Immigrants, Refugees, and the Response of the Church | Travis Wussow, Noe Garcia, Jenny Yang, Thabiti Anyabwile Sojourners and Strangers: Loving Our Immigrant Neighbors | Afshin Ziafat

Evening Session | 6:45 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

  • From Womb to Tomb: Defining A Holistic Human Dignity Perspective | Dan Darling, Michael Wear, Matt Lewis, Kelly Rosati, Karen Ellis
  • Pro-Life Activism in Ireland: An Interview with Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • Pro-Life and Civil Rights: Loving Our Unborn Neighbors | Karen Ellis

On January 17, head to live.evangelicals.life and watch at your convenience. You will also be able to rewind the livestream once it has begun. If you’re at work during the day, go to the link and rewind to any sessions you missed. You do not need to pre-register, but we recommend you take a look at the entire schedule here and set some calendar reminders for yourself.

We look forward to you joining the conference from wherever you are in the world, via your own computer, tablet, or phone. Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and use the hashtag #EFL2019 to see what others are saying about the conference!  

By / Jan 11

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 11, 2018—As the partial government shutdown reaches Day 21, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention has announced free registration to its Evangelicals for Life conference for any federal or contract worker affected by the shutdown.

Those interested can register online for the fourth annual event at evangelicals.life with the promotional code FEDERAL.

The Evangelicals for Life conference will feature some of the nation’s leading Christian speakers Jan. 16–18 at McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Va., encouraging attendees to stand for the dignity of all human life, from the unborn to the immigrant and the elderly.

The conference will begin Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7:00 p.m. ET with a benefit concert by Steven Curtis Chapman supporting The Psalm 139 Project, a ministry of the ERLC dedicated to securing ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers across the country.

The conference will conclude Friday, Jan. 18 with the March for Life Rally and 46th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. The EFL website now contains complete programming details.