By / Oct 9

SBC’s policy arm filed public comments, calls bill sponsors to file with EEOC

Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 9, 2023 The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention filed comments calling for the removal of abortion language from the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act regulations. 

The comments were filed in a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The federal commission is tasked with issuing regulations to carry out the newly passed law, but the EEOC’s proposed regulations include abortion procedures in the list of “pregnancy related medical conditions”—directly contradicting Congress’ stated legislative intent and endangering preborn lives.  

“We urge each sponsor of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to file an official comment on this proposal and demand abortion be dropped from this regulation,” said Brent Leatherwood, ERLC president and the signatory of the letter. “Failure to do so will only empower a radical agency to completely disregard clear congressional intent and, more alarmingly, turn a law meant to help mothers and children thrive into the abortion regime’s newest tool to destroy life.”

The ERLC affirms the important objective of the bipartisan PWFA to ensure women are given accommodations in the workplace in consideration of their health and the health of their preborn children. 

“Every human being has inherent dignity and every life should be protected,” the ERLC states in its letter to the EEOC. “In the context of the PWFA, Scripture makes it clear that mothers and children are precious and worthy of protection.” 

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 13.6 million members and a network of over 47,000 cooperating churches and congregations. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.

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By / Oct 6

By the end of September 2020, there were over 407,000 children in foster care. And it’s possible that with the overturning of Roe, even more children might need care in the future. Vulnerable women, children, and families in the United States will need help in a variety of ways, and Christians should continue to lead the way in making that possible. One of the organizations that’s doing incredible work in this area is Hands of Hope, an adoption and foster care ministry serving Indiana. Amy Jo Fox, the Communications and Care Community Director, answers questions below that shed light on practical ways we can join in their type of work wherever we are. 

Eli Pattat: What is Hands of Hope, and how did it begin?

Amy Jo Fox: In 2003, our Executive Director and her husband adopted their son internationally. God first planted the dream for Hands of Hope in Suzy’s heart just as they were pulling away to bring their son home. She turned to see the rest of the children that were staying there—with no toys, no playground, nothing to do, and she knew at that moment that she was being called to do more. In 2010, Hands of Hope became a 501(c)3.

Simply put, we believe the very best place for any child is in a family. Oftentimes, fear and finances are the two things that keep families from moving forward. So, the first thing we did as an organization was adoption and foster care informational meetings. Then, we began providing adoption matching grants and interest-free loans to help financially. The mission has always been the same: to uniquely and deeply love orphans at home and around the world. We educate on God’s heart for orphans and vulnerable children, motivate individuals to get involved, and support those who do.

We place a high value on going deep to change the trajectory of a child’s life. We do this by how we relationally engage with the families, churches, and partners we serve. We try to listen well and understand where they’ve been and where they currently are. We build relational equity and lean into opportunities to develop trust, moving at the pace of relationship instead of outcome.

EP: Your three areas of focus are adoption, foster care, and children’s homes. What does it look like practically for your organization to serve in these three areas? 

AJF: We partner with and support five Children’s Homes in El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ukraine, India and Brown County, Indiana. Each partner is carefully vetted. Through our Children’s Homes sponsorships, over 150 children are provided with safe and loving environments in which they receive necessities like food, education, and medical care. The children we support are victims of poverty, abuse, and/or disease.

As mentioned above, we hold monthly adoption informational meetings for those wanting to know more about or considering adoption. We also provide financial support to hopeful adoptive parents through our matching grant program.

Lastly, our largest area of focus is foster care. We act as a bridge organization, linking the various needs of Indiana foster care with those that want to help. This includes support and providing county Department of Children’s Services offices with basic necessities like diapers or belonging bags for children when they first enter care, real-time needs for at-risk biological families, and community wraparound for foster and adoptive families among other things.

EP: In what specific ways does Hands of Hope educate the church on God’s heart for orphans and vulnerable children?

AJF: Multiple times a year, we offer a virtual clinic to train and equip church leaders and advocates on how to implement Family Advocacy Ministries (FAM). Churches are often full of people that want to impact the lives of vulnerable children, but don’t know where to begin. FAMs provide practical and concise onboarding in order to recruit and equip families to care for children in their homes, serve families in crisis, and advocate for and minister to these families by meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

We work to mobilize and resource the Church to teach on what Scripture says about caring for orphans and vulnerable children as well as organize and/or host other awareness events to empower people to understand the need. Nationally, 50% of foster families quit fostering after the first year because they do not feel they have the support they need. However, when these families are surrounded by a FAM’s wraparound support model called Care Communities, we see that statistic drastically improve. With Care Communities, we’re able to retain 90% of foster families, helping them foster longer and stronger. 

EP: What are some of the greatest needs you see in families that you serve through Hands of Hope? 

AJF: The greatest needs for the families we serve is summed up in one word: support. They need the support of the Church and their community. Whether it’s a hurting biological family in need of tangible assistance in order to preserve their home or a weary foster family in need of a mentor for their child who is struggling, families in crisis need to know they’re not alone. It’s sometimes easy for us to get stuck in the “they signed up for it” mentality and assume we’re not responsible if we aren’t able to actually bring children into our home through foster care or adoption. These kids are OUR kids, this is OUR problem, these families are OUR responsibility. 

EP: Are there misconceptions about adoption, foster care, and children’s homes that hinder Christians from serving well in these areas? 

AJF: One misconception we often see is around foster care. Many times, people care about child welfare but since they aren’t able to physically take children into their home, they assume there’s nothing they can really do to help. That’s simply not true! Every single one of us can do something.

EP: What are some practical ways that the church can get more involved with organizations like Hands of Hope in serving vulnerable children? And if there aren’t organizations like yours in our states, how can Christians meet the needs of those in foster care? 

AJF: CarePortal or Care Communities are two nationwide programs that give churches practical ways to serve vulnerable children and families. There are also many other next steps like hosting a support group, organizing a foster supply closet, blessing foster children at Christmas, etc.

EP: How can Christians around our country be praying for those involved in or thinking about being involved in caring for this vulnerable population?  

AJF: Pray for everyone to find their specific purpose in how they can help vulnerable children and at-risk families so that every child has a family and those families have support.

By / Oct 5

College campuses are places full of big dreams for the future. Young men and women often go to university expectant of what doors their education will open for them. Yet, some of those women become pregnant and find themselves facing uncertainty and fear about what’s ahead. They feel as if they have to choose between life for their child or a completed college degree. That’s where Baby Steps, an organization serving pregnant women on Auburn University’s campus, enters in and enables them to parent and finish their degrees. While Baby Steps isn’t faith based, they welcome people of faith as volunteers, among others, and are an example of those whose work Christians recognize as being consistent with a biblical ethic of human dignity. A member of Baby Steps’ staff answers questions below about this unique organization that’s doing incredible work with moms and their children. 

Kadin Christian: Baby Steps is an organization with an incredible idea—serve pregnant moms on a college campus. What is the story behind how Baby Steps began? And what does the organization hope to accomplish?

Baby Steps Staff: Baby Steps was founded by Michelle Schultz (now the Executive Director) and opened our doors on Auburn’s Campus in 2017. Michelle found herself in an unplanned pregnancy her junior year at Auburn University. In a moment of uncertainty and fear that “her world had ended,” she chose to terminate her pregnancy. She thought there was no way she could be pregnant and finish school. That decision affected her life greatly for many years, and she began recognizing there was an overlooked, isolated population of people in desperate need of support. There was a need to help college women in unplanned pregnancies that wasn’t being met at Auburn University or on other campuses around the country. 

Her first of many affirmations that Baby Steps was needed at Auburn was when she met Kaitlyn Willing, now Director of Operations, in the spring of 2013. In a moment of doubt that Baby Steps was really what Michelle was being called to do, Kaitlyn came into her life. Kaitlyn discovered that she was unexpectedly pregnant in August 2011, also as a junior at Auburn University. She shared the same fear Michelle had experienced almost 30 years ago—the fear that her life was over. While Kaitlyn decided to parent her child and finish her degree, the lack of support at Auburn University made graduating almost impossible.

Once she was presented with the idea of helping build Baby Steps, those past experiences lit a fire within her to see to it that no woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy on Auburn’s campus did it alone. She did not have the support that Baby Steps currently provides student-moms and confidently claims, “I couldn’t think of anything else I could’ve possibly needed or wanted more than Baby Steps.” 

Although very different, Kaitlyn’s and Michelle’s journeys continue to be the inspiration that fuels Baby Steps’ desire to create a place where young women can thrive, having their baby and their education.

KC: Is your organization considered a pregnancy resource center? If not, what are the differences? 

BSS: Baby Steps is not a pregnancy resource center. PRCs offer women pregnancy confirmation and resources on their options. Baby Steps does not provide any medical care or pregnancy decision counseling. Student-moms that reach out to us have typically already decided they want to parent their baby and stay in school, and they need our help in order to succeed in that.

KC: What are some of the unique aspects of serving college women and a specific university campus? Do you have any insights between the correlation of unplanned pregnancy and completing a college degree? 

BSS: Twelve percent of college students report either experiencing or being involved in an unplanned pregnancy. Some experts say that this number may be closer to 23%. According to these statistics, it should be much more common to see pregnant students walking their campus halls and concourses. Why is this not the case? Judgment and stigma leave them feeling isolated and unsupported with no safe place to turn. They do not believe they can have both their baby and their education. We are here to change that culture on college campuses. Baby Steps is the safe place where student-moms are not defined by their circumstances but are empowered to thrive in all areas of their lives, especially as students and mothers.

KC: What are the specific services that Baby Steps provides? And how many women and children are you typically serving at any given time?

BSS: Baby Steps serves two types of student-moms. Some of them actually live on Baby Steps’ property, and others are just a part of our social community.

Resident student-moms:

Baby Steps provides the following for pregnant and parenting college women living in the Baby Steps home at no cost to them

  • Housing & utilities
  • Childcare
  • Groceries & meals
  • Immediate and personal access to medical professionals (including, but not limited to, an OB-GYN and pediatrician)
  • Professional counseling
  • 24/7 access to staff support
  • Weekly & monthly gatherings 
  • Academic advising & tutoring
  • Resources for education grants & scholarships
  • Access to The Baby Steps Boutique (supplies including, but not limited to: diapers, wipes, car seats, bassinets, and baby clothing)  
  • Education on relevant topics including, but not limited to, childbirth, child development, sleep training, nutrition, mental health, financial planning, and many other pertinent life skills
  • Support and community that instill confidence to persevere and excel as Student-Moms and future graduates.

Community student-moms:

Baby Steps provides the following for pregnant and parenting college women not living in the Baby Steps home at no cost to them

  • Weekly & monthly gatherings which include meals
  • Academic advising & tutoring
  • Resources for education grants & scholarships
  • Access to The Baby Steps Boutique
  • Education on relevant topics including, but not limited to, childbirth, child development, sleep training, nutrition, mental health, financial planning, and many other pertinent life skills
  • Support and community that instill confidence to persevere and excel as student-moms and future graduates.

We typically serve anywhere from 8-15 student-moms and their “Tiny Tigers” at a time.

KC: With the historic overturning of Roe and the question of abortion returning to each individual state, how do you anticipate organizations like yours will be affected? And how do you expect the women and children you serve to be affected? 

BSS: Baby Steps is a non faith-based 501C3 nonprofit that is not affiliated with any religious or political agenda, so for us what we do is not political. Our mission is strictly to serve the student-mom and baby that is in front of us, giving her all the tools necessary to graduate from college and succeed in life. Our goal is to change the culture of our response as a society to unplanned pregnancies on college campuses. 

In this day in time, politics and religion can be seen as very divisive. We don’t want to add to that division in any way, so Baby Steps steers clear of putting ourselves in any boxes that might cause people to think we have intentions other than empowering student-moms to have their education and their babies. We’re proud to be an organization that can bring people together who while potentially having many different opinions and views, can say as a collective voice, “We stand behind student-moms pursuing their education.”

Our doors are open wide to students experiencing unplanned pregnancies, no matter what their background or personal views are. 

KC: Has Baby Steps been negatively affected or targeted since the Dobbs decision? And has it changed how you go about providing your services? 

BSS: Since the Dobbs decision, Baby Steps has seen an increase of involvement on both sides of the political spectrum, wanting to support what Baby Steps does, not only locally on Auburn’s campus but on future campuses around the nation. This momentum has been key to helping us launch our National Initiative that is working on bringing Baby Steps to as many college campuses as possible. We are excited to announce our next campus will be Baby Steps at University of Central Florida.

KC: Christians, who we represent, are known as a pro-life people who value all of life because we believe God created us in his image. How can individual Christians and local churches help support the work of places like Baby Steps?

BSS: One of the most beautiful parts of Baby Steps is our wide array of supporters. Our mission and vision clearly align with many different views and backgrounds people possess. There is such beauty in being a part of a movement that is supported by groups of people that may not have the same beliefs but can find solace in supporting student-moms and their babies. If our mission aligns with your views, we would love you to join us in changing history! Please visit our website babysteps.org to find ways you can get plugged in, or simply stay in touch with our movement on social media “Baby Steps at Auburn University”.

By / Jan 28

Pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) are local, nonprofit organizations that provide support and information to women and men faced with making decisions about an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy. The history of the modern pregnancy resource center movement began in the the late 1960s, as several states began to remove legal restrictions on abortion. 

How pregnancy resource centers began 

In response to this shift toward legalization, Robert J. Pearson, a building contractor and Catholic pro-life advocate, established a foundation in 1969 to assist in the opening of volunteer-run Pregnancy Problem Centers across Hawaii. The centers offered free pregnancy testing, counseling, and some emergency and financial help for women considering abortion. 

Pearson also wrote and published a 93-page manual called, How to Start and Operate Your Own Pro-Life Outreach Crisis Pregnancy Center. While well-intended, the manual has been used to discredit the PRC movement because of its use of deceptive practices, such as providing misleading answers that give the impression such centers provide abortions. 

The first network of pregnancy centers was founded in 1968 in Toronto, Ontario, under the name Birthright in Canada. These centers soon spread to the United States as Birthright International. Other groups sprung up, and some of the first modern crisis pregnancy centers began helping women in California in 1968. Within three years there were 70 centers, many of which joined together to form Alternatives to Abortion (later known as Heartbeat International). In 1975, two years after the nationwide legalization of abortion, theologian Harold O. J. Brown formed the Christian Action Council, a group which would later adopt the name Care Net. Care Net opened its first PRC in 1983. 

In 1994 the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) was established to provide legal counsel to PRCs. Today, Heartbeat International, Care Net, and NIFLA are the three major PRC networks, operating nearly 2,000 pregnancy centers.

The use of ultrasound machines

Ultrasound machines were invented in the 1960s, but became more widespread for obstetrical use in the 1980s. NIFLA was the first of the national pregnancy center organizations to promote acquisition of ultrasound technology by the centers and to provide trainings in its use by certified and qualified personnel. Since the launch of its Institute in Limited Obstetric Ultrasound in 1998, NIFLA has trained over 4,500 pregnancy center healthcare professionals and administrators in the legal and medical “how to’s” of obstetric ultrasound. 

Today, about half of PRCs in America offer ultrasound services to the women they serve at little or no cost. In 2010 alone, close to 230,000 ultrasounds were performed at PRCs. The use of ultrasounds helps to provide confirmation of pregnancy, verifies the developing baby’s gestational age, and provides essential information that can provide a new perspective for women thinking about having an abortion. As Barbara Shoun says, “Ultrasound technology is proving to be the most convincing piece of evidence the pro-life community has to offer young women who think their unborn children aren’t babies.”

(Through the Psalm 139 Project, the ERLC seeks to save lives by donating ultrasound machines to PRCs.)

Sources of funding 

Although most PRCs have been funded through donations, additional sources began in the 1990s. 

In 1996, Choose Life, Inc. was formed in Florida with the idea to use license plate sales to fund PRCs. By 2018, the Choose Life license plate was available in 32 states and Washington, D.C., and the plates had raised over $28 million in those states for the causes of life and adoption. 

During this same period, President George W. Bush included support of pregnancy resource centers as part of his administration’s pro-life agenda. In 2002, President Bush told March for Life participants, “A generous society values all human life . . .  and that is why my administration opposes partial-birth abortion and public funding for abortion; why we support teen abstinence and crisis pregnancy programs . . .” 

Prior to the Bush administration, only a few PRCs received federal funding. However, between 2001 through 2005, over $30 million in federal funds was provided to more than 50 PRCs across the country. This funding was discontinued under President Obama, but President Trump awarded a $1.7 million family planning grant to a group that runs PRCs. 

Spreading the gospel

PRCs serve more than 2.3 million people each year, providing such services as pregnancy tests, ultrasound and medical services, abstinence education, options consulting and education, and parenting and childbirth classes. But many also aim to share the gospel with their clients. For instance, Care Net reports that over the past seven years, more than 1.2 million people heard the gospel at one of their centers. 

By / Aug 14

In this episode, Josh, Lindsay, and Brent discuss the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Taliban taking over major portions of Afghanistan, the CDC’s new data about vaccines and pregnant women. Lindsay gives a rundown of this week’s ERLC content. And the gang celebrates Josh’s final episode as he wraps his time serving on staff at the ERLC.

ERLC Content

Culture

  1. Cuomo resigns over sexual harassment
  2. Taliban take over Afghanistan
  3. Pregnant women and the COVID vaccines

Lunchroom

  • A final Q&A with Josh

Connect with us on Twitter

Sponsors

By / Jun 11

The ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project has had the privilege of funding the placement of ultrasound machines in 22 different pregnancy resource centers, including the Sanchez Center, a Baptist Community Health Services (BCHS) clinic in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana; Liberty Women’s Clinic in Liberty, Missouri; and Care Net Pregnancy Center near Las Cruces, New Mexico. 

Launched in 2014, the Sanchez Center is operated by BCHS, which runs five clinics delivering a range of services from prenatal and elderly care to behavioral and mental health care. Its mission is to demonstrate the love of Christ by delivering high-quality healthcare services in medically underserved communities. 

Since 2002, Liberty Women’s Clinic (LWC) has sought to minister with the love of Christ by empowering people to make informed, life-affirming choices about pregnancy, sexual health, and relationships. 

Likewise, Care Net Pregnancy Center is a ministry that seeks to partner with its clients by confirming pregnancy, extending comprehensive support, and cultivating healthy relationships to help them flourish. 

Through the donation of ultrasound machines by the ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project, these and other centers have had a notable effect on their surrounding communities, offering life-saving ultrasounds and influencing numerous pregnancy decisions every year. We talked to the leaders of these incredible organizations about their ministry and the people they get to serve.

ERLC: What type of community do you serve?

Carol Graham, Liberty Women’s Clinic: Liberty is a community of approximately 60,000 which includes Kansas City addresses. Because of our location, we serve women from urban, suburban, and surrounding smaller towns. During COVID-19 closures, we actually provided virtual services to women in every single county surrounding Kansas City.

Jamie Dickerson, Care Net Pregnancy Center: The community we serve is diverse. We see a large percentage of Hispanic women and men, some of whom are undocumented immigrants. This reflects the population of our wider community. We also serve from high school students up to women in their 40s. The most common age range of women we serve is from 20-30. In addition, we have the opportunity to serve college students from New Mexico State University, including many international students.

Shawn Powers, BCHS: BCHS clinics are located in medically underserved communities, where we engage with patients of all backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses at little to no cost. 

ERLC: How has the Psalm 139 Project affected your pregnancy resource center? 

CG: The Psalm 139 project provided our clinic with a second ultrasound machine, offering the opportunity to double the number of scans within the current facility and hours.

JD: The Psalm 139 Project made it possible for us to start providing life-saving ultrasounds. We transitioned to being a medical pregnancy center this year with trained nurse sonographers. Now, in addition to providing free pregnancy tests, we are able to share images of unborn babies with their parents.

SP: With the ultrasound machine provided by the Psalm 139 Project, BCHS is able to convey the miracle of God-given life in the womb and develop relationships between parents and their children. The free ultrasounds help mothers understand the dignity and value of all life.

ERLC: How has the Lord used the sonogram machines to influence Kingdom work? 

CG: A woman who is in the valley of despair between choosing life or death for her unborn child will change her mind almost 80% of the time after viewing her baby on an ultrasound. She is shown mercy, grace, truth, and the love of Christ during her interaction with staff and volunteers, perhaps affecting her entire future.

JD: We believe that providing women and men information about their options is a powerful tool in both saving and transforming lives. The sonogram machine adds a valuable layer in providing parents full information about the implications of their pregnancy decision. Though we have only been providing ultrasounds for a few short months, we have had the opportunity to see women choose life after viewing their baby on an ultrasound. 

SP: The machine has helped communicate the dignity and value of human life, setting in motion a relationship in which BCHS gets to walk with mothers and their children long after delivery to build community trust and long-term flourishing. With the machine, we’re able to provide a service to patients who may not otherwise receive it, giving us the opportunity to minister to those in need. 

ERLC: What usually happens after a woman sees her baby through an ultrasound? 

CG: Typically, we see clients in their first stages of pregnancy. During those early weeks, the signs of pregnancy are usually morning sickness and a missed period. For the client, those symptoms are not enough to make the pregnancy real. When a woman sees her baby in the ultrasound, a shift in thinking takes place. The client no longer sees her conditions as symptoms to be diagnosed but as signs of life growing in her womb, and a relationship is established. With the ultrasound, the client can make a truly informed decision about her pregnancy. 

One of our first expecting moms who came in for an ultrasound had been to our center for a previous pregnancy and was fairly set on abortion. This time, she was unsure about how far along she was. She stated that seeing the images and the heartbeat on the ultrasound made a difference for her in making a pregnancy decision for life.

ERLC: How many women or couples come for advice, resources, and other services? 

CG: In 2019, God worked through LWC with 3,900 services provided during 643 transformational client visits and 195 ultrasounds. We had 225 known decisions for life. At the halfway point of 2020, we were only slightly lagging behind our 2019 services provided number, even with the temporary closure of our physical clinic due to COVID-19. Despite the pandemic, we had 1095 appointments. And at our clinic, where 8 out of 10 women choose life, we received 433 abortion-seeking calls. 

We’ve seen a spike in women leveraging our virtual services plus an increase in inquiries about abortions and abortion pills. We were blessed to stay “open” during this time to assist these women and continue to carefully provide client services as we worked slowly toward a full reopening. God has been faithful to continue to grow us. 

JD: In 2019, we served 587 unique clients with 1,346 total visits. These included free pregnancy tests as well as providing emergency baby and maternity supplies. In addition, we normally provide around 20,000 diapers to our community annually. During COVID, our numbers of diaper distribution have been even higher.

We have so much to celebrate despite the difficulties that 2020 brought with it. I will remember 2020 as the year that God answered my prayer and the prayers of so many for Care Net to become a medical clinic able to provide ultrasounds and even more care to each of our clients. 

When our El Paso pregnancy center neighbors had to close because of COVID for a few weeks, we were able to see their clients who were in desperate need. We are still seeing the fruit from those weeks as we are walking with several of those clients as their babies are growing. 

We provided 99 pregnancy tests and 47 ultrasounds for clients in 2020. We also increased the number of at-risk pregnancy test clients by more than 20% in the second half of 2020 compared to 2019. We ramped up the number of supplies we offered to the community. We received calls from so many people who needed diapers and wipes due to the scarcity created by the pandemic and provided over 25,000 diapers and so many other necessities to families last year.

ERLC: Do you have any additional information you can share that highlights the importance of pregnancy resource centers? 

JD: There are 13,300 abortion-related searches online each month in the Kansas City area. Approximately 3,708 pregnancies are ended yearly in the Kansas City metro area. And from March–June 2020, LWC staff fielded 75 phone calls from abortion-minded women during our critical time of offering exclusively virtual services. This is in addition to calls and texts from non-abortion-minded women. We know of 45 life decisions and two decisions to abort made during that same time period. 

ERLC: Can you estimate how many pregnancies are saved per ultrasound machine at a pro-life pregnancy center? 

CG: There were 225 lives saved at LWC during 2019, but we do not keep statistics per machine. However, the ultrasound machine we received from the ERLC is our first choice when it is available because the technology is newer and superior.

ERLC: What else would you share with those who are passionate about saving unborn babies as well as preserving life and the human dignity of others in the name of Jesus? 

CG: Pregnancy resource centers are vital to proclaiming the dignity and right to life of preborn children, mothers, and fathers in unplanned pregnancy situations, and maybe especially so during trying times like a pandemic. LWC’s mobile services coordinator summed up best the work of these centers—and the call for every Christian as we stand for life. 

JD: The language we speak around issues of life and human dignity is as important as the actions we take. As we seek to minister to women, men, and the unborn, it is vital that we recognize the dignity of each person involved. They are each made in the image of God and deserve our love and respect no matter their circumstances. 

In the pro-life arena, women often get thrown under the bus for the choices they have made. Our hope at Care Net of Las Cruces is to meet women right where they are, love them in that space, and walk with them as they seek information and help. We also firmly believe that standing for life includes so much more than words but includes meeting physical needs. This is important in every community because abortion is often chosen due to a lack of resources. But for us in Las Cruces, we see the ability to meet such needs as a unique and incredible opportunity to minister and honor life in our borderland.

BCHS: The abortion industry exploits underserved communities. But when these communities become a priority for those intent on preserving the life and human dignity of others, not only do these free ultrasound services save lives, but in our experience, they establish a relationship of trust. Often that trust results in parents bringing their kids to the clinic, becoming long-term patients. These ultrasound machines allow us not merely to save a life but to invest in the ongoing care of entire families.

Carol Graham is the founder & CEO of Liberty Women’s Clinic.
Jamie Dickerson is the executive director of Care Net of Las Cruces. 
Shawn Powers is the CEO of Baptist Community Health Services (BCHS).

By / Apr 23

When most people think of a pregnancy resource center (PRC), they rightly think first about the babies that are saved. When women are given a chance to see their baby in the womb through ultrasound technology, most will choose to carry the baby to term. But what if I told you that many PRCs are also investing time and money in helping the mothers (and sometimes fathers) of these babies?

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting a PRC in Kansas City called Parkville Women’s Clinic. Throughout my visit, I was amazed at all this clinic is doing to serve these vulnerable women. Every single staff member at the clinic cares deeply for the women that come through their doors. They pivoted to care for women during COVID-19, demonstrating that their ability to meet these women where they are is a huge asset to their ministry.

Through care and attention to these mothers, Parkville Women’s Clinic models what it means to be holistically pro-life, valuing the life of the baby in the womb just as much as the woman carrying that baby, because all of life is sacred. Many women who come to a PRC are scared and don’t know what to do. And if a woman decides to carry the baby to term, the work doesn’t end. In fact, this is when the ministry of this clinic really shines. Here are just some of the things they do to serve parents of babies whose lives are saved through ultrasound machine technology:

Equipping and education: Mothers have access to “Bright Course Lessons” which are digital lessons that can be accessed through their phones or a computer. These courses are very practical, and many are geared toward parenting: Your first trimester, infant temperament, breastfeeding, getting your baby to sleep, etc. Others are designed to help the mother succeed in additional areas of life: Preparing for a job interview, staying out of debt, budgeting 101, domestic violence, relationships loss, and more. The women are able to earn points for products in the clinic’s “store.”

Providing products for baby: Volunteers at the clinic manage an entire room of donated baby clothes, books, diapers, and other baby gear that women can get as needed. These are things that a woman in a vulnerable situation benefits from as they prepare for and bring a newborn home. The most common product moms need are diapers and wipes. Pre-COVID, the clinic offered weekly lessons. Any who attended could shop in the store after class. I could tell the staff was thankful for the many donations they receive from the community. 

Investing into the dad: Some of the Bright Course Lessons are geared entirely to the father. Being a leader, respect for mothers, and co-parenting are just some of the classes offered to expectant dads. They also have trained staff who regularly meet with fathers to help them understand what is going on and how they can be supportive. 

To truly support a life, we must support the parents. That means coming alongside them and helping them make choices that will help the parents and baby thrive. I’m grateful that Parkville Women’s Clinic sees the innate value of both the baby and parents. 

Do you want to help save lives? Most women in a crisis pregnancy who are given a glimpse of the life within them choose life. However, this is only possible when women can go to a pregnancy center with an ultrasound machine. Sonogram machines are expensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars. Most crisis pregnancy centers do not have the funds to buy the equipment or have a medical expert on staff to read the output. When you donate to the Psalm 139 Project, 100% of your funds go to ultrasound machine placement and training PRC staff members. Will you consider giving a tax-deductible donation to Psalm 139 and help us stand for life?

By / Apr 15

Editor’s note: Because we care about championing the dignity of every individual’s life, from womb to tomb, we wanted to highlight the beauty of adoption. As you read this testimony, we pray you are gripped with compassion for every baby, mother, father, family, and pregnancy resource volunteer involved in the journey of an unplanned pregnancy. This story was given to us from Lifeline Christian Services, who is doing amazing work in the adoption space. 

When I think about the job I get to do as a pregnancy counselor, the word that comes to mind is “sacred.” Walking with a woman through pregnancy, birth, and adoption is full of a range of emotions and challenges, but mostly it is a privilege. 

For the past six months, I have worked with a birth mother named Becca. She found herself in an unplanned pregnancy, and her world flipped upside down. In desperation, she considered abortion but knew that was not the Lord’s will for her baby’s life. She reached out to Lifeline Children’s Services in May and decided to make an adoption plan for her precious baby boy. 

As I got to know Becca, I learned that her heart for the Lord was so evident in her life. She was walking through the darkest of valleys in many ways, but chose to trust the Lord and seek healing in every way she knew how. Becca faced shame, anger, abandonment, and grief, yet she could say, “I would rather walk through the pain with the Lord than make a decision not in my son’s best interest.” 

As her pregnancy counselor, I became a safe place for Becca to process her decision and feelings. I also learned a lot about God through Becca. Tears come to my eyes thinking about the way the Lord intertwined our lives and draws us to himself. Not only did Becca point me to the Lord, but she made me laugh uncontrollably and taught me more about the world.

Becca’s beautiful baby boy was born on a rainy day in late September, and in that moment, God brought an abundance of redemption into Becca’s life. Instead of feeling shame and anger, she felt a love and peace that she could not put into words. 

While at the hospital, we giggled and cried and dreamed for her son’s life. She chose to move forward with the adoption plan and, after her legal withdrawal time ended, she sent me a message saying, “Praise the Lord who has given me strength.” 

Every birth mother is incredible, but Becca has been someone special to me. Being her pregnancy counselor has been humbling, life-giving, and such an honor. I look forward to witnessing, in the years to come, how the Lord works in Becca’s life. 

Our Father proved faithful again, making what seemed hopeless, redeemed. What a privilege to be able to walk with her and allow the Lord to use me in her life and her in mine.

By / Jan 28

Lisa Cathcart, in her role as executive director at the Pregnancy Care Center (PCC) in Nashville, Tennessee, leads her team to serve women, men, and families in the greater Nashville area facing unplanned pregnancies. Their work has grown to include a special focus on the needs of those from immigrant communities. The spirit of their work and ability to adapt is an example to all of us who seek to serve our communities, as they truly are, and honor the dignity of all people. 

How did you become aware of the immigrant community in the Nashville area? From where are they coming?

Nashville has been a destination for immigrant populations for quite some time. Most area residents are aware of the various immigrant populations that have come to call Nashville home. However, unless one is intentional about engaging with our new neighbors, it is fairly easy to ignore or miss the important contributions they have made to our society and the richness they bring to our communities. At the Pregnancy Care Center we have a heart for serving vulnerable and marginalized populations. As a ministry that exists to affirm the worth, dignity, and sanctity of all human life, I believe we are uniquely positioned to accept and receive newcomers to our country and community, extending the same compassion and grace to this vulnerable population as we do toward the unborn and the women and men facing a pregnancy decision. 

The Pregnancy Care Center first started serving immigrant populations about six years ago when two women from Egypt were referred to us by a Nashville health clinic where they were participating in childbirth education. These expectant moms found themselves trying to navigate not only a new life in a new place far from home, but also the role of parenting in a country with different laws and vastly different customs—all without the support of the multigenerational influences and involvement that they had been raised with. Although both women were Arabic speaking and from the same country, they came from very different backgrounds. They practiced different religions, Islam and Coptic Christianity. One was a highly educated professional and the other was from more humble circumstances. One spoke English, and the other did not. One was a first-time mom, and one had older children. 

Yet despite their differences, they had formed a friendship and found their way to the PCC together. As they began to see the value in the relationships they were forming with the staff and volunteers at the PCC and in the assistance they received, each went back to their own communities and spread the word about the Center’s services. Very quickly, the number of immigrants who were seeking our services began to grow to the extent that at one point, more than 50 percent of Parenting Support cases/visits were with immigrant families. Over the past two years 32 percent of all visits of any type have been with individuals from other countries. 

We have now served individuals and families from 38 countries of origin and at least eight unique faith backgrounds. We have ministered to individuals from the Middle East, Africa, Central America, South America, and Asia. Those who are Arabic speaking continue to represent the largest immigrant population we are serving. Among Arabic-speaking families — which include both Coptic Christians and Muslims — many share histories of war torn countries, poverty, and religious persecution.  

What are you doing to serve the immigrant community in our area? What are their needs and unique challenges? 

Serving recent immigrants has presented unique challenges for staff at the Pregnancy Care Center as we work with women and families who are at the beginning stages of acclimating to Western culture. Our ministry is committed to providing holistic care that goes beyond what can be done by simply handing someone a pack of diapers. Too many services and experiences in our lives are transactional in nature. We are more interested in transformation, which can only come about through relationship with one another and with Christ. Many of the immigrant populations initially coming to the center have been told that they can “get free diapers,” etc. We have struggled through language and cultural barriers to communicate that the material assistance we provide is only available through participation in our Parent Support initiative, which involves meeting with a PCC team member one on one, or in a group setting, to complete a prenatal or parenting lesson, mentoring session, and/or Bible study. 

While this relational approach is our goal, it is very difficult to accomplish without an interpreter. Over the past few years, we have been continually adjusting our policies and experimenting with different ways of providing care to our new neighbors, while being careful to guard against mission drift and often struggling with compassion fatigue that comes with difficult cross-cultural ministry. 

Before having to pause group class offerings due to COVID-19, we were offering two group Parent Support sessions each month, specifically for Arabic-speaking clients with the help of a paid translator. By offering group classes we are able to serve these families by building relationships, offering meaningful practical instruction and assistance, while at the same time remain focused on our mission of serving individuals facing a life-altering pregnancy decision. 

The group sessions include a devotional, practical parenting lesson, and time for sharing and prayer. Afterward, participants “shop” in our “store” where they can pick out items needed for their children using points they have earned for their participation in Parent Support. Individuals who are fluent in conversational English are also eligible to schedule one-on-one appointments outside of group offerings. In addition to the Arabic groups, we have some Spanish-speaking volunteers who come to assist on a regular basis. Over the past year as we’ve had to reimagine how we deliver services during a global pandemic. We have served the needs of these diverse populations through virtual visits and curbside material assistance. 

We are very intentional about speaking words of affirmation in order to connect people with their worth and dignity as a child of God. We’ve had meetings with community leaders who can help us understand more about the cultures our clients come from—how to speak or sit, how to interact with our body language, how to navigate some of the challenges we face, and ultimately how to build bridges between our cultures in order to minister more effectively. So, whether helping with housing needs, health insurance questions, job applications, or learning to react properly to a client who tries to barter for material aid, we are continually learning as we go. 

How do you want individuals to feel when they arrive at your center?  

It is our hope that everyone who walks through our doors will have a sense that they matter. We have intentionally and prayerfully created a space that is inviting and welcoming to all. It is our prayer that individuals feel safe and welcome, no matter where they have come from or what difficulties and fears they are currently facing. Before our staff even speaks a word, we want the environment to communicate a message that elevates someone’s sense of dignity and worth. 

Too many services and experiences in our lives are transactional in nature. We are more interested in transformation, which can only come about through relationship with one another and with Christ.

Because the lives of those we serve are often filled with chaos and uncertainty, we offer a calming reassurance that they are not alone. Some of our staff have even learned basic Arabic phrases to extend meaningful greetings and expressions of hospitality so that our Arabic-speaking clients feel seen and valued. 

Everyday the team of staff and volunteers at the PCC begin with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to fill us and the Center with his presence so that everyone we serve will encounter the love of Christ in a meaningful, tangible way. 

From your perspective, how do the needs of an immigrant change the longer they have been in the country?

As we work with immigrants and build relationships we see how assimilation changes people. In some ways, we see amazing growth and exciting new opportunities for families to flourish. In other ways, we are disappointed by how Western culture can influence individuals. 

Initially, we may be helping to advocate for individuals as they navigate the complexities of adjusting to life here. We make phone calls to various agencies on their behalf, sit at a computer with someone to fill out an online form, explain terminology on applications and documents, and demonstrate how to use and install a car seat, etc. As our relationships grow we sometimes become aware of emotional or spiritual concerns that we can speak into such as questions about the gospel, or even how to identify abuse in a relationship. We are able to educate women on the rights they have that they may not have had access to before, and we can empower people to seek and find safety when necessary. 

When many immigrants face an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, the stakes are extremely high, especially if the relationship is outside of their faith or culture. Sadly, the more assimilated to Western culture an immigrant is, the more vulnerable to abortion they become. Some come from a culture that does not even have a word in their language for abortion, but now they are presented with an option that they have been told will allow them to avoid the shame and pain of unintended pregnancy. Where marriage is an expectation and sexual purity a priority, assimilation sometimes leads to casual and promiscuous relationships. 

How would you encourage the Christians in your community to pray for and minister to these immigrant populations? 

Whenever I think of the refugees and immigrants in our community, I think of the Golden Rule that Jesus taught us. I ask myself how I would want to be treated if I found myself separated from most of my friends and family, starting a life in a new country. I would desperately want others to show patience with me as I attempt to speak a new language. I would want caring people to gently explain practices within this new culture that do not make sense to me. I would want to be welcomed as an image-bearer of God and valued as someone who can make a positive contribution to our community. I would long for friendship! Let’s pray that we as Christians will be the example in our community of radical hospitality to the stranger and foreigner as we see modeled in the people of God from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  

By / Jan 18

Since 2002, Liberty Women’s Clinic (LWC), located in Liberty, Missouri, has sought to minister with the love of Christ by empowering people to make informed, life-affirming choices about pregnancy, sexual health, and relationships. Through the ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project ultrasound machine donation, LWC was able to expand their services and ministry.

What type of community do you serve?  

Liberty is a community of approximately 60,000 which includes Kansas City addresses. Because of our location we serve women from urban, suburban, and surrounding smaller towns. During COVID-19 closures, we actually provided virtual services to women in every single county surrounding Kansas City.

How has the Psalm 139 project affected your pregnancy resource center?  

The Psalm 139 project provided our clinic with a second ultrasound machine, offering the opportunity to double the number of scans within the current facility and hours.

How has the Lord used the sonogram machines to influence Kingdom work?  

A woman who is in the valley of despair between choosing life or death for her unborn child will change her mind almost 80% of the time after viewing her baby on an ultrasound. She is shown mercy, grace, truth, and the love of Christ during her interaction with staff and volunteers, perhaps affecting her entire future.

How many women or couples come for advice, resources, and other services?  

In 2019, God worked through LWC with 3,900 services provided during 643 transformational client visits and 195 ultrasounds. We had 225 known decisions for life. Our 2020 numbers will look different. At the halfway point of 2020, we were only slightly lagging our 2019 services provided number even with the temporary closure of our physical clinic due to COVID-19. We’ve seen a spike in women leveraging our virtual services plus an increase in inquiries about abortions and abortion pills. We were blessed to stay “open” during this time to assist these women and continue to carefully provide client services as we worked slowly toward a full reopening.

Do you have any additional information you can share that highlights the importance of pregnancy resource centers?  

There are 13,300 abortion-related searches online each month in the Kansas City area. Approximately 3,708 pregnancies are ended yearly in the Kansas City metro area.

And from March–June 2020, LWC staff fielded 75 phone calls from abortion-minded women during our critical time of offering exclusively virtual services. This is in addition to calls and texts from non-abortion minded women. We know of 45 life decisions and two decisions to abort made during that same time period. 

Can you estimate how many pregnancies are saved per ultrasound machine at a pro-life pregnancy center?  

There were 225 lives saved at LWC during 2019, but we do not keep statistics per machine. However, the ultrasound machine we received from the ERLC is our first choice when it is available because the technology newer and superior.

Pregnancy resource centers are vital to proclaiming the dignity and right to life of preborn children, mothers, and fathers in unplanned pregnancy situations, and maybe especially so during trying times like a pandemic. LWC’s mobile services coordinator summed up best the work of these centers—and the call for every Christian as we stand for life: “In this unique time of uncertainty, our clients are not only facing an unplanned pregnancy, but also the fear of COVID-19 and their futures. Because we serve a God who is sovereign, we can be the voice of hope on the other end of the phone. It is my prayer that this pandemic will open up more opportunities to share the hope that we have in the person of Jesus Christ.” 

Editor’s note: Updated 2020 numbers will be available later this year.