By / Jan 24

WASHINGTON (BP) – A trio of pro-life bills, endorsed by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, were either introduced, reintroduced or passed on Thursday, Jan. 18.

The Pregnancy Center Support Act was introduced to the Senate on Thursday, while the Unborn Child Support Act was reintroduced the same day. Additionally, the previously introduced Pregnant Students’ Rights Act passed the House on Thursday.

These updates took place one day before the annual March for Life, and three days before Sanctity of Life Sunday on the SBC Calendar.

Hannah Daniel, ERLC public policy director, praised the work of the lawmakers involved with the bills.

“At a time when lawmakers have been timid to voice pro-life convictions, I was encouraged to see legislative activity pushing forward the cause of life last week,” Daniel said.

At the ERLC, we are celebrating the passage of the Pregnant Students’ Rights Act along with the introduction of the Pregnancy Center Support Act and the Unborn Child Support Act. These bills recognize the dignity and personhood of the preborn and also tangibly assist new mothers and families to choose life.

Hannah Daniel

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

By / Jan 18

A year ago, anti-abortion activists from across the U.S. gathered for their annual March for Life with reason to celebrate: It was their first march since the Supreme Court, seven months earlier, had overturned the nationwide right to abortion.

At this year’s march, on Friday, the mood will be very different — reflecting formidable challenges that lie ahead in this election year.

The key consequence of Dobbs was to return decision-making on abortion policy to individual states. Some Democratic-governed states — such as California, New York and New Jersey — have strengthened protections for abortion access. Roughly 20 states with Republican-controlled legislatures have either banned abortion or sought to impose new restrictions.

After Dobbs, “I didn’t want anyone to get the false sense that we were at the end of our work,” said Brent Leatherwood, an abortion opponent who heads the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy wing.

We’ve gone from a focal point at the federal level to 50 different focal points. It may be another 50 years before we truly establish a culture of life, where preborn lives are saved and mothers are supported.

Brent Leatherwood

Read the full Associated Press article here.

By / Jan 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brent Leatherwood

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

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

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

Brent Leatherwood

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

By / Jul 14

In June, the pro-life movement celebrated the one-year anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. But in ​​the wake of that significant victory, the fight to protect preborn life and care for vulnerable mothers has continued at the state and federal level. Here are four recent events related to abortion you should know about. 

Iowa lawmakers approve ban on most abortions after about 6 weeks

The Iowa House has approved a new law that bans most abortions after approximately six weeks of pregnancy. Currently, abortion is legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. But this law prohibits almost all abortions once cardiac activity can be detected, which typically occurs around six weeks of pregnancy. The new legislation will take immediate effect once it is signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Abortions after six weeks would be allowed only in such cases as:

  • rape, if reported to law enforcement or a health provider within 45 days;
  • incest, if reported within 145 days;
  • if the fetus has a fetal abnormality “incompatible with life;”
  • and if the pregnancy is endangering the life of the pregnant woman.

This bill also does not hold a woman criminally or civilly liable for having an abortion.

Iowa will join 11 other states that ban abortion as early as six weeks: Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. 

Idaho sued over abortion trafficking ban that makes it a crime to help minors get abortions without parental consent

A lawsuit has been filed against the state of Idaho over its new law that restricts some out-of-state travel for abortions. Abortion is already banned in Idaho at all stages of pregnancy. But the new law makes it illegal for an adult to help a minor get an abortion without parental consent, and anyone who helps a pregnant minor get an abortion in another state can be punished by two to five years in prison. 

The law is the first to expressly criminalize assisting with an out-of-state abortion. It attempts to sidestep violating a constitutional right to travel between states by making illegal only the portion of the trip that takes place in Idaho.

The lawsuit claims that the law infringes on the right to interstate travel and on First Amendment rights to speak about abortion and provide support for pregnant minors traveling within and outside of Idaho. Abortion remains legal in the neighboring states of Washington, where no parental consent is required, and Oregon, where people over age 15 can get abortions without parental consent.

Pro-abortion advocates in Ohio push to codify abortion in the state’s constitution 

Ohio is poised to become the next major battleground in the pro-life fight to prevent the expansion of abortion. Pro-abortion rights groups submitted more than 700,000 signatures for a ballot initiative that would codify the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution. The initiative, known as Issue 1, would amend the Ohio Constitution to state that “every person has the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization” and “every person has the fundamental right to choose to have an abortion.” The initiative is expected to be on the ballot in November 2023. 

During the last election season, similar pro-abortion measures passed in six states that had similar ballot initiatives. Other ballot campaigns to expand or codify a right to abortion are being pushed in several other states including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, and South Dakota.

U.S. government ordered to pay $2.2 million in fees to religious non-profit in abortion lawsuit

A federal judge in Texas has ordered the U.S. government to pay $2.2 million in legal fees to the non-profit Becket Law. The fees were awarded for the organization’s work in leading a lawsuit against the Health and Human Services Department. The lawsuit was related to issues of abortion and gender identity.

Becket Law, formerly the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has been involved in various legal cases involving religious freedom and abortion including Whole Woman’s Health v. Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, which was a lawsuit over a Texas law requiring abortion facilities to meet certain standards.

Reimbursement is sometimes ordered by the courts when laws that violate civil rights are successfully challenged. Becket Law played a leading role in representing the non-profit in this lawsuit. 

By / Jun 27

The thought of sitting across the room from a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy strikes fear in the hearts of many. Visions of a quiet room, hushed tones, heartbreaking stories, positive tests, and difficult decisions may cause anxiety or discomfort. To be honest, this fear isn’t unwarranted. As a woman who has worked in the pregnancy resource center (PRC) world in a variety of capacities for the past 10 years, I’ve seen firsthand how serious and intense the frontlines of a PRC can be. 

Staff and volunteers willingly walk into a difficult but essential ministry every day, committed to speaking truth in love to women who are either desperate to hear it or determined to reject it. These workers stand in the gap to advocate for life within the womb and for the mothers who carry those lives. Make no mistake: what’s happening behind those closed doors is life and death.

But in an attempt to paint an accurate picture of the life-changing work happening at PRCs, churches unwillingly—perhaps, unknowingly—may be discouraging their members from connecting with pregnancy centers at all.

Your congregation is filled with women who would go weak in the knees at the thought of closing themselves in a room with a mother who is considering abortion. Their hearts may be burdened to stand for life, but the knee-knocking, white-knuckled anxiety of what “could” or “might” happen keeps them glued to the sidelines.

Meanwhile, the other half of your congregation may believe this is a ministry in which they have no place. After all, what could men possibly have to offer in this woman-focused mission field?

The beauty of the Church of Christ is that there are many parts, but one body (1 Cor. 12:12). Every member of the body has a unique, purposeful, and invaluable role to fill. Because abortion is a gospel issue, the Church must rise up to address it at all costs.

Not only is there room for everyone in the pro-life movement, but there is a desperate need for everyone—male, female, young, old, confident, fearful—to step off the sidelines and find their place within this movement. 

And at The Pregnancy Network (TPN) in North Carolina, people are rushing off the sidelines in droves.

“For many years, we struggled to have volunteer involvement beyond the core group who served as peer advocates,” said Allison Herrington, director of partnerships. “Peer advocates” refers to the trained volunteers who meet with women during their appointments to discuss options and offer the hope of the gospel message.

Herrington noted, “It wasn’t until we changed the narrative about what it means to get involved and make a difference in the pro-life movement that we started to see a shift.”

“We recognized that there was a complete subset of untapped potential within the church,” said Hope Earwood, director of development and communications. “When we started talking about how everyone has a part to play in this story—about how we needed people from all skill sets and backgrounds—we realized just how creative partners and volunteers could be.” 

Women and men who previously had written off their abilities to connect with the mission of a pregnancy resource center now found themselves using their unique talents and abilities to serve. 

Practical ways to serve

What does this look like on a practical level? 

Herrington pointed out they have a volunteers doing a variety of things including: 

  • setting up classrooms, 
  • preparing food, 
  • organizing
  • sorting baby items and donations, 
  • writing notes of encouragement for mothers, 
  • distributing class incentives, 
  • cleaning offices, 
  • and greeting clients

In addition, they have:

  • “women who use their time in school carlines to make phone calls to potential event sponsors; 
  • men with infant CPR and other professional certifications teaching sessions for our parenting classes; 
  • partners who donate funds to cover costs of billboards and other marketing tools to reach more clients; 
  • women who serve as mentors, make baby blankets, assist with mailings; 
  • and men who help set up and break down at events, and mobilize their small groups to assist with special projects.”

“Every volunteer is so flexible and willing to do whatever we need,” said Kimberly Gay, client services coordinator. “No matter what the task, people come faithfully and serve. And I believe it’s because we all want the same thing: to glorify God, love women, and protect life.”  

“Our message to our community is simple,” said Earwood. “No matter where you serve, every person makes an impact on the life of another. You have a vital role to play in this mission. And there is a place for you here.”

Steps your church can take 

So if your church wants to get more involved in the pro-life movement but isn’t sure where to start, what is the first step? 

If your community has a local PRC (and it probably does), I guarantee they would welcome your involvement with open arms. Take the initiative to invite a representative from that PRC to speak with you and your church leaders about their needs. 

Consider the unique strengths of the individuals in your church. Is your church filled with stay-at-home mothers? Empty nesters? IT gurus? Graphic designers? Writers? Businessmen and women? Event planners? The answer is almost certainly “yes” to all of these, and every last person in your congregation can serve in some capacity.

Something beautiful happens when a wave of individuals from different backgrounds, skill sets, and comfort zones unites around a common mission and purpose. When the body of Christ refuses to remain passive and complacent about putting the Word into action, and instead rallies around women in unplanned pregnancies by mobilizing every possible resource they possess, well—that’s when mothers will believe us when we say we value all life.

That’s when we live out our conviction that abortion is a gospel issue. And that’s when abortion can truly become unthinkable.


To find out more about how your church can build a healthy relationship with your local pregnancy resource center, contact The Pregnancy Network’s Associate Executive Director Luke Rosenberger at [email protected].

By / Jun 22

On the morning of June 24, 2022, the abortion landscape in the United States changed dramatically with the release of the final opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. This decision overturned the horrific precedents in both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and sent the fight for life in the United States into a new chapter.

The majority of the effects of the Dobbs decision have been on the state level. By returning the issue of abortion back to the people, each state had the opportunity to decide for itself what type of laws and environment it would establish. Over the last year we’ve seen 14 states completely ban abortion and six states pass laws severely restricting it, but at the same time, we’ve seen other states become abortion “destinations” passing incredibly extreme laws and incentivizing women to travel to their states to have an abortion. 

Alongside these efforts to restrict abortion, we’ve seen many states adopt robust funding and resources to assist new families and women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. For example, in North Carolina, a recently passed bill that prohibits abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy also makes $20 million available over the next two years to fund paid parental leave for state employees and expands access to healthcare for women and children.

Though we rejoice at the progress many states have made toward establishing a culture of life, the Dobbs decision did not rid federal legislators of their ability or responsibility to act on this issue. The federal government still has a role to play in ending abortion. 

Over the last year, the ERLC has advocated in numerous ways to push back on attempts from both the executive and legislative branches to expand abortion access following Dobbs and to urge our lawmakers to move forward policies that protect life. This article provides a brief look back at how our federal officials have responded to this monumental decision

Congress

Following the Dobbs decision, congressional Democrats wasted no time in putting forward pro-abortion measures for a vote in both the House of Representatives and Senate. Once again, the misnamed Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify a right to abortion up until the moment of birth, was brought to the floor for a vote. This is the most pro-abortion bill to ever pass the House, and the ERLC remains strongly opposed to this piece of legislation. In addition to the Women’s Health Protection Act, we continue to see efforts from congressional Democrats to: 

  • label the work of pregnancy resource centers as “misinformation,” 
  • expand coverage of abortion travel, 
  • and punish states that have adopted pro-life laws.

The Dobbs decision also spurred on the House to pass legislation codifying a right to contraception, including many abortifacients, and stripping away important religious liberty protections. Though this bill did not move forward in the Senate, a related bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, did move forward, eventually becoming law late last year. The Respect for Marriage Act codified and expanded the right to same-sex marriage, amidst fears that the 2015 Obergefell decision, like Roe, could be overturned. The ERLC strongly opposed both of these bills and worked for many months against the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. 

This flurry of activity around abortion also made the annual hard-fought fight to maintain long standing pro-life policy riders in our government’s appropriations bills such as the Hyde amendment more difficult. Despite intense opposition, these riders, which prevent the use of government funding for abortion—saving innumerable lives and protecting the consciences of millions of American taxpayers—were preserved.

As we entered into a new Congress this January, we began to see some positive steps toward protecting life with the passage of the Born Alive Survivors Protection Act in the House. Unfortunately, other pro-life pieces of legislation such as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion or the SAVE Moms and Babies Act, which would significantly restrict chemical abortion, have stalled in Congress. 

After failed pro-life ballot measures in several states and recent attempts to make pro-life measures seem electorally harmful, some lawmakers have tried to step away from pro-life legislation, insisting that only state governments, rather than federal legislatures, have a role to play. The ERLC has, and will continue to urge lawmakers that Congressional action is needed to further protect life across all 50 states. Though Dobbs did send the issue of abortion to the states, it did not prohibit Congress from also taking action. 

The Biden administration

After the Dobbs decision, President Biden asserted his commitment to federally protected abortion access in place of the precedent established by Roe. Following the decision, through his power of executive orders, Biden signed the “Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services” order, mandating the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to secure abortion access. This order has been used by federal agencies to push forward pro-abortion policies that expanded access to the abortion pill, paid for abortion travel, and used taxpayer resources to fund “education” efforts around how to access abortion.

Following that executive order, a number of agencies made drastic policy changes, in violation of federal pro-life protections, to expand abortion access. Last fall, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced an Interim Final Rule expanding access to abortion by amending current regulations and removing an exclusion on abortion counseling and abortions in the medical benefits package for veterans and eligible family members. This change in rules creates taxpayer-funded abortions by the VA. Similarly, the Department of Defense changed its policies to cover time off and travel expenses for service members seeking abortions. 

Most recently, HHS has adapted HIPPA to limit sharing of personal “reproductive health” information. This new rule establishes that healthcare providers and other related entities may violate HIPAA if they comply with investigations into illegal abortion and gender transition procedures. The rule compromises important protections for those who have been abused in order to expand abortion access.

Additional moves from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the last year have also made chemical abortion drugs more accessible than ever before. Despite the fact that 1 in 5 women who take these drugs experience a complication requiring further medical treatment, the FDA has now permanently moved to allow the abortion pill to be obtained through the mail or at local pharmacies. 

As the Biden administration has used every lever of power available to them since the Dobbs decision, the ERLC has pushed back on each of these initiatives and continues to advocate for their reversal. 

The courts

While the abortion debate has largely moved away from what was once the centerpiece of advocacy—the courts—a challenge to mifepristone, one of the two major chemical abortion drugs, is forcing the courts to once again take up questions of abortion. 

Recently, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard this case which both challenges the initial approval of mifepristone in 2000 and the subsequent removal of important safety measures that have been involved in its prescribing. The suit claims that the FDA “failed America’s women and girls when it chose politics over science and approved chemical abortion drugs for use in the United States. And it has continued to fail them by repeatedly removing even the most basic precautionary requirements associated with their use.” 

This case could result in mifepristone being entirely removed from the market for elective abortions or severely restricted. A decision in this important case is expected in the coming days and will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court. The ERLC is closely watching this case and will continue to advocate for the court to rule in favor of life.

This past year has seen incredible victories for life, but it has also shown us how much work remains to be done. New estimates suggest that as many as 94,000 lives have been saved because of the Dobbs decision between July 2022 and March 2023. We celebrate that each of these precious ones made in God’s image have been granted life, and the ERLC will continue to advocate at both the state and federal level for each and every life to be protected and valued. 

ERLC interns Sam Haymore, Jared Smith, and Tim Mackall contributed to this article.

By / Jun 22

Ten years ago, I was visiting Shelter Yetu, an orphanage in Naivasha, Kenya. A young boy stood alone at the chalkboard, wiping away the day’s lessons with an old rag. The child—an orphan, I was told—sang quietly as he worked. I watched him from the doorway for a few minutes before greeting him in Swahili.

After some small talk about the day’s activities, I asked Boniface how long he had been at the orphanage. “One year,” he told me. Quietly, I asked him the last time he saw his family. I didn’t know—perhaps both his parents had passed away. “Last weekend,” he said with a smile. Boniface proceeded to tell me that his mother worked at a nearby farm and often came to visit him and his brother on the weekends.

So why was Boniface, who was obviously not an orphan, at an orphanage? I learned later that Boniface is the sixth of eight children. His family was displaced during Kenya’s 2008 post-election violence. They spent two years living in an IDP (internally displaced persons) camp before his father left. Eventually, Boniface’s mother found work at a local farm but couldn’t afford to send all of her children to school. So she found help the only way she could—she placed them in orphanages.

I wish I could say Boniface’s story is uncommon. But as many as 80% of children living in orphanages around the world have at least one living parent, and the vast majority have other family members who could be able to care for them if given the support to do so. The underlying reason children end up in orphanages is not because they are orphans—it is poverty. When a family is unable to meet the needs of their children, like education in Boniface’s case, an orphanage is considered a possible solution. 

Setting orphans in families

Does your church support an orphanage? Have you ever taken a short-term mission trip to serve at an orphanage? Does your family sponsor an orphan? If not, have you ever wondered how you or your church could help orphans? 

There is a clear biblical mandate for churches and believers to care for widows and orphans. James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” However, our generous and sacrificial efforts to support children through orphanages and children’s homes is not producing the kind of results we have hoped for.

A growing body of research shows that orphanages are not the best place for children. 

  • Research shows orphanages harm children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.
  • Institutionalization of very young children has a similar impact on early brain development to severe malnutrition or maternal drug use during pregnancy.
  • Young adults raised in institutions are 10 times more likely to fall into sex work than their peers and 500 times more likely to take their own lives.
  • Placing a child in an orphanage quadruples the risk of sexual violence.

Families are vital for the development of children. They need the connection, belonging, and identity of a family to thrive into adulthood. Research shows significant improved outcomes for children who are cared for in their families, foster families, or adoptive families, compared to orphanages and children’s homes.

For these reasons, many countries and organizations are moving away from traditional institutional care (orphanages) to family and community-based care.  Organizations are working to strengthen families so they never need to consider an orphanage as a solution to their challenges. When a child is unable to be cared for in their own families, a foster or adoptive family allows children the opportunity stay in the community and receive the individualized support of a family.

Psalm 68 tells us that “God sets the lonely in families.” Orphans don’t just need food, shelter and education. Orphans need a safe, loving family. 

Today, Boniface and his brother are at home with their family, and Shelter Yetu is no longer an orphanage. Instead, it serves as a rescue center, helping children living on the streets, providing them with rehabilitation services reuniting them with safe, loving families and then working to empower their families. Shelter Yetu is also helping other orphanages transition to a family-based care model, resulting in more children going home. 

As part of my work as the International Orphan Care Consultant for Send Relief, one of my primary objectives is to help advise local churches in the United States on how to best care for orphans and vulnerable children based on biblical principles and emerging research in the field. We want to provide Southern Baptist churches with the tools, training, and advice needed to help you care for orphans in their affliction. Together, we can labor to see more orphans and vulnerable children know Christ’s love through placement in safe, loving families.

By / Feb 28

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on “The Equal Rights Amendment: How Congress Can Recognize Ratification and Enshrine Equality in Our Constitution.” This is the first time the Senate has held a hearing on the ERA since 1984. It is anticipated that during March the full Senate will hold a vote on a joint resolution that would remove the ratification deadline and recognize the ERA as a valid constitutional amendment.

What is the Equal Rights Amendment?

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would clarify that men and women have “equal rights” throughout the United States. The amendment was first introduced into Congress in 1923 and an amended version passed in 1972.

Why is it problematic?

Though it has long been advertised as an amendment focused solely on women’s equality, the ERA has many implications for life, religious liberty, and human dignity.

  • The ERA could eliminate any federal or state restrictions on abortion, even partial-birth or third-trimester abortions. Protecting vulnerable life should be a top priority of any just government. The United States is one of only a handful of countries that provide late-term abortions. Government’s basic duty is to protect human life from bodily harm and provide justice for victims of violence. Now, in a post-Roe world, this amendment could prohibit pro-life states from enacting their own laws that protect life.
  • The ERA could require taxpayer funding for abortions by eliminating the Hyde Amendment. Americans are divided on abortion policy, and many object to the use of their tax dollars for such a great moral wrong. In 1976, Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde proposed an amendment to an Appropriations bill to prohibit the use of federal funds for abortion. Since then, the Hyde Amendment passed every Congress for over forty years.
  • The ERA could eliminate conscience protections for medical professionals. No healthcare worker should be forced to participate in abortions or other medical procedures which conflict with their religiously informed conscience. Every American ought to be able to legally defend their inalienable right to freedom of conscience.
  • The ERA could eliminate distinctions based on sex, and effectively erase sex-segregated spaces, leaving women vulnerable. Spaces segregated on the basis of sex for reasons of safety and privacy, such as women’s shelters and prisons, could be viewed as discriminatory and opened to biological men. This loss of equal protection would make women and girls vulnerable. 

How is the ERLC advocating?

The ERLC affirms that God created every person—male and female—in his own image and endowed them with equal value and dignity. We also affirm that every life, including the preborn, is worthy of protection. Unfortunately, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) debate is tainted with abortion politics. Abortion denies precious lives, both boys and girls, personhood and protection. The ERLC has communicated these concerns with lawmakers and is actively advocating against adding this harmful amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

More about the ERA

After passing both houses of Congress, the ERA was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification. For the amendment to be adopted, the Constitution required that it be ratified by three-fourths of the states by March 22, 1979. Between 1972 and 1977, 35 states had ratified the amendment. However, five states rescinded their earlier ratification: Nebraska (1973), Tennessee (1974), Idaho (1977), Kentucky (1978), and South Dakota (1979). 

By the time of the 1979 ratification deadline, the amendment was still three states short of the required number needed for passage, so Congress extended the deadline to June 30, 1982. The Southern Baptist Convention, in a 1978 resolution, opposed this decision to extend the deadline and “any amendment or any substitute bills which would provide for extension of the time for states to ratify the ERA.”

Since then, the ERA has been reintroduced in Congress every session as advocates have argued that the ratification deadline could be changed or discarded. The status of this amendment has been the subject of decades of litigation and debate with current proponents arguing that the ERA “was ratified by three-fourths of the states and is therefore a valid constitutional amendment, regardless of any time limit that was in the original proposal.”

By / Feb 22

Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 22, 2023—The Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, in partnership with the State Baptist Convention of North Carolina, has donated ultrasound machines to two North Carolina  pregnancy resource centers, Hand of Hope Pregnancy Centers and Life Choices of Roxboro.

Todd Unzicker, chief executive officer of the State Baptist Convention of North Carolina commented on the dedications:

“North Carolina Baptists have rejoiced since the Dobbs decision, but we grieve that our state has become an abortion destination. If North Carolina can become a place where the sanctity of life is embraced, it must start with us. That is why NC Baptists celebrate our partnership with the Psalm 139 Project to offer expectant mothers and fathers the opportunity to see the image of God represented in those little noses and toes. These life-saving ultrasound machines are strategic tools to help build a culture of life as we live on mission together.”

Details for dedication ceremonies are below:

Hand of Hope Pregnancy Centers has three locations, serving 1,500 clients in Fuquay Varina, Raleigh and Fayetteville. 

  • Dedication date & time: Friday, Feb. 24, 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. EST 
  • Location: 1522 Jones Franklin Road, Raleigh, NC 27606
  • Attendees: Bobby Reed (ERLC’s chief financial officer); Traci Griggs (ERLC trustee); Todd Unzicker (chief executive officer of the State Baptist Convention of North Carolina)

Hand of Hope Pregnancy Centers provides services such as:

  • Physician quality pregnancy testing;
  • Ultrasounds;
  • Abortion pill reversal;
  • Life Skills programs; and
  • STI testing.

“Introducing moms and dads to their preborn children through the ultrasound is an absolute life-saving opportunity,” said Tonya Baker Nelson, executive director of Hand of Hope Pregnancy Centers. “Since our pregnancy center is right beside the second largest privately owned abortion clinic in the southeast, the ability to immediately introduce those parents to their children is of utmost importance. We have witnessed the power that technology plays in opening minds and tendering hearts and softening ears to the truth that God has a plan for every single person He creates. The ultrasound is truly a witnessing tool for his truth to be revealed right before their very eyes. Lives will be saved and changed thanks to the placement of this machine through the Psalm 139 Project. A lifetime of thanks would never be enough.”


Life Choices of Roxboro is celebrating 25 years of operating in Person County and serves 225 clients annually. 

  • Dedication date & time: Friday, Feb. 24, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST 
  • Location: 750 Martin St, Roxboro, NC 27573.
  • Attendees: Bobby Reed (ERLC’s chief financial officer) and Todd Unzicker (chief executive officer of the State Baptist Convention of North Carolina)

Life Choices of Roxboro provide services such as:

  • Pregnancy testing;
  • Ultrasounds; 
  • Pregnancy classes;
  • Post-abortion and grief counseling; and
  • Parenting courses.

“Receiving this brand new machine is so exciting for us at Life Choices,” said Susan Bailey, executive director of Life Choices. “We want to thank the Psalm 139 Project, the SBC and NC State Convention for providing this invaluable resource. We know how important ultrasound is in the decision making process and that is why we are thrilled to be able to offer this service to our clients. To God be the glory.”

By / Feb 16

In 2022, the Psalm 139 Project placed or committed to place 27 ultrasound machines across nine different states that are serving a wide variety of demographics within their communities. 

Some centers are located in major metropolitan areas, while others are in small towns with limited prenatal care and pregnancy support. Rural areas requesting mobile units were a focus, as well clinics that were located near Planned Parenthood facilities.

These life-saving placements represent the successful completion of our goal to place 50 machines by January 2023.

The following list of centers have had ultrasound machines placed or are in the process of placement through financial gifts contributed to the Psalm 139 Project:

Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center

  • Smoky Mountain PCC in North Carolina sees over 200 clients a year with over 90% of appointments utilizing the ultrasound machine. There are two locations and a medical mobile unit. This unit also travels to Asheville and Bryson City, North Carolina, numerous times per month.
  • “We had a 2014 Esaote Ultrasound Machine onboard and our nurse doing the scans said this new [ultrasound] machine opens up the window to the womb for this new mom to see her baby and the beating heart,” said the executive director.  “These parents thank us for showing them the flicker on the screen and seeing these babies moving around when they cannot feel it. Showing itself off by turning around, sucking their thumbs, and raising their sweet arms up in the air waving at them.”
  • This placement was made possible through the partnership with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Albemarle Pregnancy Resource Center

  • Albemarle Pregnancy Resource Center sees about 600 clients annually. 92% of clients with a positive pregnancy test receive ultrasound services.
  • The center is located in North Carolina, but also has a medical mobile unit that serves six surrounding counties. They received a portable machine for the Mobile Medical Unit.
  • This placement was funded by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and was the second machine NC Baptists contributed to this year.

Coweta Pregnancy Services

  • Coweta Pregnancy Services in Georgia sees 1,500 clients a year. 95% of clients with a positive pregnancy test receive ultrasound services.
  • The executive director shared, “This new ultrasound machine will allow us to show families facing an unplanned pregnancy that their tiny baby that God has created and is knitting together in the mother’s womb, has a beating heart and is indeed a human being. More than 80% of women considering abortion choose LIFE for their baby after their ultrasound exam.”

Care Net Pregnancy Center of Houston

  • Care Net Pregnancy Center of Houston sees over 2,000 clients annually at their two locations and is expecting to open a third center. The Cypress location is where the new machine was placed and is expected to serve over 300 clients for ultrasound services per year.
  • This placement was made possible through the partnership with Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.

First Choice Reproductive Health

  • This center in Texas sees over 1,800 clients annually. They operate three facilities: First Choice Reproductive Health, a free medical clinic; Mobile Medical Clinic that takes medical services to the six surrounding counties; and The Parenting Resource Center.
  • This placement was made possible through the partnership with Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.

TruCare Women’s Clinic

  • TruCare Women’s Clinic in Texas sees over 2,000 clients a year with over 50% of appointments utilizing the ultrasound machine. The clinic is located just 600 feet from a location of Planned Parenthood.
  • This placement was made possible through the partnership with Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.

FirstLook Sexual Health and Pregnancy Center

  • FirstLook Sexual Health and Pregnancy Center in Texas sees 800 clients a year with 85% of appointments utilizing the ultrasound machine. They moved into a new facility in June 2021 to expand services with two ultrasound rooms. The new machine replaced an old one that was 12 years old.
  • This placement was made possible through the partnership with Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.

Community Pregnancy Center

  • Community Pregnancy Center in Texas sees over 1,200 clients a year with about 35% of appointments utilizing the ultrasound machine due to limited availability of sonographers.
  • The mobile ultrasound was placed on their new Save the Storks mobile unit that was received in the fall of 2022.
  • This placement was made possible through the partnership with Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.

Women’s Resource Center

  • Women’s Resource Center in Alabama sees 4,000 clients annually with over 70% of appointments utilizing the ultrasound services. There are three locations serving the region. 

Sav-A-Life

  • Sav-A-Life in Alabama sees over 8,000 clients annually. 90% of clients with a positive pregnancy test receive ultrasound services. There are three clinics associated with Sav-A-Life in the area. 
  • The executive director stated, “We know the need is great to serve women and families in an unplanned pregnancy situation and ultrasound is a critical tool as it reveals life in the womb. We are so grateful to the Psalm 139 Project and the Alabama State Board of Missions for making this a reality for us.”
  • A dedication ceremony took place with representation from the center, the local association, the state convention, and two national SBC entities which was a beautiful picture of SBC cooperation at all levels.
  • Birmingham Metro Baptist Association and the North American Mission Board through SEND relief donated to this building project. They were offered property in an underserved part of town and share property with the Birmingham Metro Baptist Association.

Confidential Care Mobile Ministry, Inc

  • Confidential Care in Tennessee sees about 500 clients annually with over 95% of appointments utilizing the ultrasound machine.
  • There are three mobile units that provide counseling, pregnancy tests, and ultrasounds for clients. The mobile ministry serves eight locations within the county. This specific machine placement is for the ministry’s third mobile unit.
  • “With the overturn of Roe, we anticipate thousands of women this year in the Mid-South will be seeking a way to obtain an out-of-state abortion,” said the executive director. “The addition of our continuum-of-care vehicle, equipped with this new ultrasound machine, will enable us to go to these women and show them that a new human being is alive within their womb. Once they see the living child on the monitor, many will choose life. This gift of an ultrasound in the hands of our medical ministry team will mean life for hundreds of preborn human babies and will open the door for a clear introduction to the giver of that life.”
  • This placement was made possible through the partnership with Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB) and another donor. 

Compassion Women’s Center

  • Compassion Women’s Center in Oklahoma has seen an increase from 70 clients to 300 clients this year as they anticipate growth in going medical. This placement of an ultrasound machine will provide the opportunity to serve more clients since they moved to the county seat in recent years.

Triad Coalition for Life

  • This is a mobile-only care center in North Carolina that Save the Storks has partnered with and ERLC provided the ultrasound machine. Triad Coalition for Life is a sidewalk ministry that operates near an abortion facility.

Care Net Women’s Resource Center

  • Care Net Women’s Resource Center in California sees over 500 clients annually with roughly 25% of appointments utilizing the ultrasound machine. The county statistics report that 1 in 4 women aged 45 and under will have had an abortion. 
  • This placement was made possible through the partnership with North American Mission Board (NAMB) through Send Relief funding.

Warrenton Pregnancy Center

  • Warrenton Pregnancy Center in Virginia sees about 160 clients a year with over 60% of appointments utilizing the ultrasound machine.
  • Placement was a partnership with Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia donating toward the purchase of an ultrasound machine. 

Alight Care Center

  • Alight Care Center is a ministry name of Arise & Build Community Ministries, a New York domestic, charitable not-for-profit ministry engaged in a number of community outreaches. The pregnancy resource center has been in operation for over 22 years and began a mobile ultrasound ministry in 2017. The Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) was purchased in 2016 through an affiliation with Save The Storks. Recently, Alight has joined with CompassCare Pregnancy Services to reach more abortion-vulnerable women. 
  • Alight Care Center under CompassCare sees over 1,000 clients annually with 100% of appointments utilizing the ultrasound machine on the medical mobile unit.
  • This placement was made possible through the generous donation of a church in Nashville, Tennessee.

The purchase of the following machines was made possible through a grant from the state of Tennessee:

Full Circle Medical Center for Women

  • This is the second time this center in Tennessee has received a machine. This machine will be placed in a new medical room that will increase the number of women who will be able to receive ultrasound services.

Pregnancy Resource Center

  • This is the second time this center in Tennessee has received machines to expand services. The center opened a satellite center in a neighboring city where one machine was placed. The other two units were placed in the primary location. 

Birth Choice

  • This is the second time this center in Tennessee has received a machine and it will replace an older machine in the ultrasound room. The center has requested a portable model so that they can repurpose it on their mobile units if needed as a backup.

Hope Resource Center

  • This is the second time this center in Tennessee has received a machine and the first time through a grant from the state of Tennessee. This placement will increase the number of appointments the center will be able to offer to meet the needs in the area.

Life Choices Dyersburg

  • The ultrasound for this center in Tennessee was ordered in October 2022.

Tomorrow’s Hope Pregnancy Medical Clinic

  • The ultrasound machine for this center in Tennessee was ordered in October 2022.

Beating Hearts Help Center

  • The ultrasound machine for this center in Tennessee was ordered in November 2022.

LifeBeat Pregnancy Care Center

  • The ultrasound machine for this center in Tennessee was ordered in November 2022.

An additional placement in Tennessee is in process.