By / Jan 27

Russell Moore and Jim Daly talk to David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress about the motivation and process behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos.

By / Jan 27

Steven Harris, Paige Cunningham, Tim Goeglein, and Dr. Freda Bush combine their expertise to discuss the undercover Planned Parenthood videos and what implications we can expect.

By / Jan 26

Russell Moore and Jim Daly talk to David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress about the motivation and process behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos.

By / Jan 8

WASHINGTON, D.C, Jan. 8, 2016Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, commented on President Barack Obamas veto today of the Restoring Americans Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, legislation which included a provision that would have ended federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

“The President’s veto and his support of Planned Parenthood are not surprising moves, but they are sobering reminders of how much more there is to do for the cause of women and the unborn, said Moore. The tax-supported human trafficking of Planned Parenthood is deeply entrenched in our cultural conscience, and it is grievous to see this administration’s continual denial of the most basic of human rights to the most vulnerable among us.”

The House of Representatives passed the legislation Wednesday and sent it to the presidents desk. The Act had passed the Senate in December.

The Southern Baptist Convention is Americas largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBCs ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.

– END –

To request an interview with Russell Moore

contact Elizabeth Bristow at 202-547-0209

or by email at [email protected]

Visit our website at

Follow us on Twitter at @ERLC

By / Dec 22

ERLC's Steven Harris sits down with Congressman Diane Black to discuss the latest in abortion legislation and how U.S. citizens can get involved in the legislative process.

By / Oct 13

WASHINGTON, D.C, Oct. 13, 2015Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, commented on Planned Parenthoods announcement today to stop receiving federal reimbursement for costs of fetal tissue programs.

Planned Parenthood’s announcement is an acknowledgment of what they have denied all along, Moore said. They traffic in human organs from non-consenting victims. This is essentially Planned Parenthood’s way of saying We never did this and we won’t do it again. It is time for the United States government to hold this predatory corporation accountable.

The Southern Baptist Convention is Americas largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBCs ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.

– END –

To request an interview with Russell Moore

contact Elizabeth Bristow at 202-547-0209

or by email at [email protected]

Visit our website at

Follow us on Twitter at @ERLC

By / Oct 8

The pro-life movement is ordered toward a single end: establishing the conditions, economic and otherwise, so that every baby conceived in America is welcomed into a loving home. Of course, such a state of affairs is too broad, too underdetermined to function meaningfully as a goal. The path between our current situation and there requires seeking changes not only in our country’s laws and governmental structures, but better economic support for single mothers, smoother adoption processes, and a host of other changes that are more cultural than political. Social change is like baking a cake, except without any directions: you need all the right ingredients, but there are no rules about how they will react when mixed together.

It is no wonder, then, that in the face of such complexity, the pro-life movement has emphasized changing laws to restrict access to abortions while simultaneously supporting and counseling single mothers and at-risk women. On the one hand, laws have a broad, general applicability; by constraining the choices of every citizen, legislation (of any kind) has a pervasive and wide social effect, even if that effect is not known immediately and may sometimes be hard to detect. On the other, supporting and counseling women who are considering abortions is the sort of concrete, specific action that is immeasurably more satisfying: one knows one has saved a life and has a story to tell.  Both forms of action are necessary; neither is sufficient.

In between these poles, however, are a host of other incremental, sometimes invisible changes on the way toward the ideal of ending abortion in America. Defunding Planned Parenthood is the change that has received the most attention outside the pro-life world of late. No pro-life organization or individual in the world believes ceasing the steady flow of tax dollars to the organization will end abortions by itself. Defunding is, instead, simply one more element among the vast social complexities that have to be addressed sooner or later. And now seems to be a promising time.

The central rhetorical challenge to defunding Planned Parenthood, however, has been the claim that disadvantaged women will suffer because of the loss of access to crucial health services, and that the variety of alternative providers simply are not large or pervasive enough in American society to make up the difference. Matthew Loftus, for instance, argued that pro-lifers should push to expand Medicaid in order to compensate for what would be lost if Planned Parenthood suffers.

The sentiment at the heart of Loftus’ essay is understandable—but it is one that less careful and more progressive proponents than Loftus have used to undermine the incrementalism that the pro-life community has largely adopted. The notion that we should only defund Planned Parenthood if and when we have sufficient alternatives in place to ensure that no one experiences a gap in services is a tempting ideal, but not one anyone should reasonably accept.

When wrongs are baked into a culture, people who otherwise have no stake in those misdeeds become entangled in them through no fault of their own, frequently by enjoying—even unwittingly—the benefits those misdeeds momentarily provide. The undoing of such wrongs inevitably causes suffering, and invariably those who are least guilty will suffer most. But the responsibility for such collateral damage falls on the original wrongdoers, not those who seek the remedy. And the likelihood of such suffering should in no way prevent us from seeking justice in the first place. If we outlawed pornography in this country, countless people would be out of work, and many of them would be women at risk of greater social harms. But there is no obligation on us as a society to allow such products to be made until everyone in the industry has another job.

The notion that there is no form of suffering our society should accept in the unwinding of gravely evil moral systems is a reverse form of moral perfectionism and idealism. There is a disparity, to be sure, in my writing this: I will not bear the defunding of Planned Parenthood the way many of my neighbors might. But there are wrongs we must end and there are sorrows and sufferings we must allow—allow but not intend, accept but not choose. No one really believes in a moral idealism that refuses to countenance any consequent harms in the pursuit of our preferred goods: but it is a convenient position for critics of the pro-life community to adopt in order to ensure that nothing ever happens. “We need to change hearts and minds, not laws” is a refrain that is often on the lips of the sort of pro-lifer who thanks God they’re not like those extreme people who hold up signs and go to rallies. But while it is true that the ideal demands such a widespread and deep renewal, pro-lifers have learned to be incrementalists well—which means changing laws and fighting political battles. The refrain that we should only defund Planned Parenthood if we ensure no one loses out is itself simply another form of this lofty moral idealism, one which Loftus’ essay comes near to even if he doesn’t embrace it outright.

The unwillingness on the part of many progressives to countenance the thought of allowing any harms to anyone, even those currently disadvantaged, is itself one of the strongest and most pervasive reasons for the perpetuation of the unjust system of abortion that has throttled our country. By enmeshing abortion within a network of distributing health care (but not as much as advertised!), Planned Parenthood advocates are able to weaponize the very victims they exploit in order to ensure they can continue to do wrongs. The idea that such an unjust system could be unwound without any suffering among its beneficiaries—those who are at the top of the system, and their “clients”—is simply fanciful. It is as probable as the proposition that slavery could have been destroyed without the suffering of both the slaveholders and those doubly unfortunate men and women who had to learn to make their own way in a strange new world.

Indeed, avoiding accepting even the possibility of our own suffering and harm is at the heart of our country’s most pressing social problems. Refusing to countenance the possibility that America could be attacked again on 9/11 helped justify a regime of torture that itself was a gross stain on the American conscience and character. Our police forces have often so heroically and willingly become vulnerable in the face of danger so that the rest of us have not. But the militarized forces that approached the people of Ferguson made it clear that they would not accept the risk of loss and show their faces, faces that are necessary for reminding the society that they are our own police officers, even if they do not look like us. There cost of maintaining the pretense of invulnerability is far higher than most people realize. The cost of being vulnerable is one most people refuse to even consider.

Which is why Loftus may be right that it should be Medicaid programs and American tax-dollars to compensate for the burden at-risk women might fall under. It has a strong rhetorical force, and it appropriately seeks to shift the cost of bringing justice toward those who are best able to bear it. The strong help the weak, after all. And critics will simply say that the willingness to accept social harms simply endorses a so-called “war on women.”

But as I said, the injustices that arise in unwinding an unjust situation are not those any pro-lifer seeks or wants. But the actual, present evils of dismembering human beings in the womb are gravely disproportionate to the possible—not even actual, but only theoretical and based on people’s best guesses and predictions—disruption of services to those women who seek them. Again, torture is the appropriate analogue: the extreme situation of a war or a possible threat to American safety under no circumstances justifies torturing human persons.

And I am skeptical about the efficacy of Loftus’ proposal: nature abhors a vacuum, but political communities might need one if they are to rediscover and rebuild the social and moral ties which those who are at risk need to reverse their fortunes. But this kind of argument, and the overoptimistic claims by pro-lifers that no women will be affected if Planned Parenthood is defunded, should not obscure the more fundamental and basic fact that in the face of such gross moral evils we should unhesitatingly accept the burdens such actions might impose, even if those who are most disadvantaged have to bear them hardest.

Justice in an imperfect world demands that someone lose out. When people benefit from unjust systems, any remedy demands some kind of compensatory loss, either from them or from someone else. The necessity of suffering for the sake of bringing the just to an imperfect world is an ineradicable feature of the moral universe, and we avoid it or downplay it at the cost of our own clarity. We may struggle to articulate any rational basis for which wrongs we will allow and which we cannot abide, but we simply cannot fall prey to the kind of moral idealism that only pursues justice under the conditions that no one suffer for it.

By / Sep 29

ERLC President Russell Moore Responds to Planned Parenthood Congressional Testimony

WASHINGTON D.C., Sept. 28, 2015Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, responded to the testimony of Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, before the House Oversight Committee Tuesday.

“Nothing that Mrs. Richards said before Congress removes any of the deeply disturbing signs that we’ve seen pointing to an industry of human trafficking within Planned Parenthood clinics. Further, she consistently dodged important questions about the prominence of abortion in Planned Parenthood’s revenue and about Planned Parenthood’s practices toward infants who survive abortions. My prayer is that protecting the lives of babies and their mothers will soon become a more important national priority than political solidarity and corporate profit. As the committee hearing demonstrated, we have a long way to go.”

The ERLC also provided fact-checking analysis of the testimony, “available here”:

The Southern Baptist Convention is Americas largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBCs ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.

To request an interview with Russell Moore

contact Carrie Kintz at 202-547-0209

or by email at [email protected]

Visit our website at

Follow us on Twitter at @ERLC

By / Sep 29

Earlier today, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, gave sworn testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 

Throughout her testimony Richards provided a number of misleading claims, inaccurate statements, and downright falsehoods. Here are five in particular you should know about:

Claim #1:

One in five women in America has sought care from a Planned Parenthood health center. They trust us, because our rigorous health standards have been developed with the nation’s top medical experts over the course of our 99-year history.

This is an oft-repeated claim by PP that 1 in 5 women have visited one of their clinics during their lifetime. But it’s hard to see how this statistic could be accurate. 

PP claims that every year 2.7 million women and men in the United States visit one of their affiliate health centers. Currently, there are 158.6 million women in America. Even if we assumed that no men ever visited a clinic and that all 2.7 million were women, it would take them 11 years to see that many women. And that is if no woman ever went to a PP clinic more than once in an 11-year period. 

Claim #2:

The vast majority of the federal funding Planned Parenthood receives allows doctors and clinicians at our health centers across the country to provide birth control, cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. No federal funds pay for abortion services, except in the very limited circumstances permitted by law — when the woman has been raped, has been the victim of incest, or when her life is endangered.

The claim that no federal funds pay for abortion services is one of the most persistently misleading claims made by PP. All this really means is that PP cannot directly use money from the federal government for abortion services or receive direct reimbursement from Medicare for an abortion. But money is fungible. A dollar spent for one purpose can also cover other purposes. For example, the money the federal government gives to PP can be used indirectly to cover operating and overhead costs such as rent and staff salary. This allows PP to provide abortions that are essentially subsidized by the government. 

Claim #3:

According to an independent analysis conducted by the Guttmacher Institute at the request of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in 21 percent of the counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, we are the only safety-net family planning provider and in 68 percent of the counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, we serve at least half of all safety-net family planning patients. Without Planned Parenthood, many patients would not have timely access to basic reproductive health care. 

This is simply false. As Alliance Defending Freedom shows in this infographic, for every PP clinic there are 20 comprehensive care clinics where women can receive the same or better health care. 

Claim #4:

Planned Parenthood health centers often provide preventive services that other safety-net family planning providers simply do not offer. A Guttmacher Institute survey of providers offering publicly funded family planning care — including health departments, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and Planned Parenthood health centers — found that, “Planned Parenthood clinics surpass other clinics in terms of offering a wide variety of [contraceptive] methods and making those methods easily accessible.”

The reality is that PP doesn’t even offer even the same level of services that are required by federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).

Claim #5:

Despite the critical role Planned Parenthood plays in providing health care to millions of Americans, since July, Planned Parenthood has been the focus of extensive discussion and scrutiny for our health centers’ limited involvement in fetal tissue research as a result of a deliberate and systematic effort by David Daleiden and other opponents of safe and legal abortion to infiltrate our health centers, try to entrap our staff into potentially illegal conduct, and create discredited, doctored videos designed to smear Planned Parenthood. 

Richards is referring to the investigative videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress. PP’s repeated attempts to claim the videos were “heavily edited” have been proven false. 

Coalfire Systems, a highly accredited forensic analysis and cybersecurity company that does work for Fortune 500 companies, issued a report Monday which found that 10 full-footage videos the Center for Medical Progress recorded while undercover at Planned Parenthood facilities and related locations “are authentic and show no evidence of manipulation or editing.”

“This conclusion is supported by the consistency of the video file date and time stamps, the video timecode, as well as the folder and file naming scheme,” the report states. “The uniformity between the footage from Investigator 1’s camera and Investigator 2’s camera also support the evidence that the video recordings are authentic.” The report also confirms that “edits made to the Full Footage videos [for the shorter YouTube videos] were applied to eliminate non-pertinent footage, such as restroom breaks, meals, and other similar periods lacking pertinent conversation.” 

By / Sep 15

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has released the tenth video in an investigative series on Planned Parenthood’s selling of aborted fetal tissue. The video includes comments from Deborah VanDerhei, the National Director of the organization’s Consortium of Abortion Providers, describing the harvesting of fetal body parts as “donation for remuneration.” The video also highlights conversations with Dr. Carolyn Westhoff, Senior Medical Advisor for PPFA; Dr. Vanessa Cullins, Vice President for External Medical Affairs for PPFA; and Deborah VanDerhei, National Director for the Consortium of Abortion Providers (CAPS) at PPFA.

“We’ve just been working with people who want particular tissues, like, you know, they want cardiac, or they want eyes, or they want neural,” says Dr. Westhoff to a prospective fetal organ buyer. “Certainly, everything we provide–oh, gonads! Oh my God, gonads. Everything we provide is fresh.” Westhoff continues, “Obviously, we would have the potential for a huge P.R. issue in doing this.”

“What I hope happens out of [these videos],” says ERLC president Russell Moore, “is not just that we act in public justice and defund Planned Parenthood but also that we start to shape and form consciences to do away with the violence of abortion.”

Other videos in CMP's investigative series: 

Fetal Body Parts Vendor Say Intact Fetuses “Just Fell Out” During Abortions (September 1, 2015)

Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts (July 14, 2015)

Second Planned Parenthood Senior Executive Haggles Over Baby Parts Prices, Changes Abortion Methods (July 21, 2015)  

Human Capital, Episode 1: Planned Parenthood’s Black Market in Baby Parts (July 28, 2015)

Planned Parenthood VP Says Fetuses May Come Out Intact, Agrees Payments Specific to the Specimen (July 30, 2015)

Intact Fetuses “Just a Matter of Line Items” for Planned Parenthood TX Mega-Center (August 4, 2015) 

• Human Capital, Episode 2: Inside the Planned Parenthood Supply Site (August 12, 2015)

Human Capital, Episode 3: Planned Parenthood's Custom Abortions for Superior Product (August 19, 2015)

• StemExpress Wants “Another 50 Livers a Week,” Financial Benefits for Abortion Clinics (August 25, 2015)

Recent ERLC articles on abortion and Planned Parenthood: 

Planned Parenthood and the Atrocity of Corpse-Selling – Russell Moore

Planned Parenthood at the Cross – Russell Moore

Planned Parenthood Vs. Jesus Christ – Russell Moore

#DefundPP: From Hashtags to Healing – Daniel Darling

Outraged at Planned Parenthood? Here are 6 Things You Can Do Now – Daniel Darling

10 Numbers You Should Know About Planned Parenthood – Joe Carter

The sale of fetal body parts: gruesome—and shockingly legal – Joe Carter

How to contact your legislators about Planned Parenthood – Justin Taylor 

ERLC and Focus on the Family are hosting the first ever Evangelicals for Life event next year in Washington DC on January 21-22nd, featuring Russell Moore, Roland Warren, David Platt, Eric Metaxas, Kelly Rosati, Ron Sider and others.