By / Jun 19

Southern Baptists affirm that every life is worthy of protection, beginning with the unborn. We believe life begins at conception, and that abortion denies precious human lives both personhood and protection. Scripture is clear that every person is made in the image of God – including the unborn – and his knowledge of the unborn even precedes the creative act of conception (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13).

Southern Baptists affirm that every human is created in the image of God. As stated in a 2021 resolution of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Bible “clearly and unequivocally affirms the sanctity of every human life made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27; 9:6), a truth to which Christians in every century have testified and are called to bear witness in every age and in every sphere of life; and Further, the Convention’s Baptist Faith & Message affirms that “children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord” and calls us to “speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.”

The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2023 removes all restrictions and limits on abortion, provides federal protection for pharmaceutical abortion, and allows for abortion up to the point of birth. Additionally, this bill removes all pro-life protections at the federal and state levels and eliminates a state’s ability to legislate on abortion by preventing government officials from interfering with any person providing or receiving abortion services. This bill also fails to protect American consciences and would force taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.

Abortion is not healthcare. If human dignity is given to each person when created in the womb, then abortion is not only an assault on the image of God but also irreparable harm on a vulnerable life. We believe abortion denies precious human lives both personhood and protection, and therefore cannot be considered as healthcare.

The ERLC strongly opposed the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2023. This is one of the most pro-abortion bills to ever be considered, and we urge Congress to reject this harmful bill. It would put thousands of vulnerable, preborn lives at risk and steamroll over the consciences of millions of Americans who do not wish to be compelled to provide or pay for abortions.

By / May 9

Southern Baptists affirm that every life is worthy of protection, beginning with the unborn. We believe life begins at conception and that abortion denies precious human lives both personhood and protection. Scripture is clear that every person is made in the image of God — including the unborn — and his knowledge of the unborn even precedes the creative act of conception (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13).

Southern Baptists affirm that every human is created in the image of God. As stated in a 2021 resolution of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Bible “clearly and unequivocally affirms the sanctity of every human life made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27; 9:6), a truth to which Christians in every century have testified and are called to bear witness in every age and in every sphere of life; and Further, the Convention’s Baptist Faith & Message affirms that “children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord” and calls us to “speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.”

The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 removes all restrictions and limits on abortion and allows for abortion up to the point of birth. Additionally, this bill removes all pro-life protections at the federal and state levels and eliminates a state’s ability to legislate on abortion. This bill also fails to protect the consciences of American taxpayers and would force taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.

Abortion is not healthcare. If human dignity is given to each person when created in the womb, then abortion is not only an assault on the image of God but also irreparable harm on a vulnerable life. We believe abortion denies precious human lives both personhood and protection, and therefore cannot be considered as healthcare.

The ERLC strongly opposed the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022. This is one of the most pro-abortion bills to ever pass the U.S. House of Representatives, and we urge the Senate not to pass this harmful bill. It would put thousands of vulnerable, preborn lives at risk and steamroll over the the consciences of millions of Americans who do not wish to pay for or be compelled to provide abortions.

By / Dec 22

Standing for life has always been a core part of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. 

The Psalm 139 Project is our most tangible life initiative, designed to make people aware of the life-saving potential of ultrasound technology in crisis pregnancy situations and to provide pregnancy centers with ultrasound equipment and training as they minister to abortion-vulnerable women. 

Since the inception of the Psalm 139 Project, we have placed 30 machines, and we are already well on our way to our goal of placing 50 ultrasound machines by January 2023 — the moment marking 50 years since the disastrous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was handed down.

During the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in June 2021, the Psalm 139 Project was the focal point of our booth in the Exhibition Hall. We were able to bring the same ultrasound machines, approved through an extensive vetting process, that we place in health clinics. Our manufacturing partner even sent a representative to our exhibit to demonstrate both a 3D ultrasound machine and a mobile ultrasound machine. This allowed messengers and other attendees at SBC to experience what women see on the machines when viewing their child for the first time. Studies show — and our own clinics’ data proves — women in crisis pregnancy centers are far more likely to choose life when they see their baby on an ultrasound machine. That result is why we believe so deeply in the work of the Psalm 139 Project. 

People visiting our booth at SBC were not only able to see an ultrasound machine but were encouraged to offer a message of hope and encouragement directly to a woman in a crisis pregnancy situation through the use of handwritten notes. Over 1,500 people stopped by our booth to write touching messages that will be given to women in pregnancy resource centers where we place ultrasound machines.

The motivation behind our life work comes from the gospel. In fact, one of the most effective ways we appeal to consciences is by explaining the imago Dei and the inherent worth that truth gives to every preborn child. We do this both here at home and abroad.

In 2019, we announced our intentions to place the first-ever privately controlled ultrasound machine in Northern Ireland –– a region in the United Kingdom that has been one of the most pro-life areas in the world –– after an effort was made by their national government to decriminalize abortion services. 

After being delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, the Psalm 139 Project placed its first international ultrasound machine in October 2021 with Hope House, a Christian ministry seeking to love both lives of the mother and baby in pregnancy and beyond. A group from the ERLC, including Elizabeth Graham, ERLC vice president of operations and life initiatives, personally delivered the ultrasound machine to Hope House to begin training their staff for this life-saving work. 

Similarly, we have sought to draw attention to other contexts where the abortion industry is gaining ground. For example, we pointed out Argentina has become the first Latin American country to legalize abortion. President Fernández, in explaining his support for the law, referred to abortion as a mere “interruption” of a pregnancy –– an appallingly simple description of ending a child’s life. 

Catherine Parks, in an article for the ERLC, states it well, “​​There is nothing caring about telling a woman in a difficult situation that ending her child’s life is the way to ensure her survival and that of any other children she may have. We must seek to protect life at every stage.”

As we look ahead to 2022 and then to the 50 year anniversary of Roe, we are more committed than ever to standing for life. And that means, by God’s grace, seeking to save preborn lives, caring for vulnerable mothers, and proclaiming in the public square the unswerving proclamation of the dignity of life found in God’s Word. 


Pro-life pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) are often the only thing standing between a vulnerable woman and an abortion. Thanks to your support and the ongoing generosity of Southern Baptists, the ERLC is able to place lifesaving ultrasound machines in PRCs, which allow them to serve vulnerable women who would otherwise go to Planned Parenthood. We’ve already placed 25 lifesaving machines, and we’re working to place 25 more by January 2023.

Will you help us reach our goal of placing 25 more machines in the next year? Requests for these lifesaving machines continue to pour in from around the country, and our team can’t keep up without your help.

Click here to learn how you can partner with us in this work.

By / Dec 3

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case centers on an abortion restriction passed within the state of Mississippi that prohibits the procedure after 15 weeks. However, briefs and arguments before the court have focused not just on the 15-week ban, but the constitutionality of the court cases that currently govern abortion jurisprudence: Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvannia v. Casey (1992). The court could decide to uphold the Mississippi restriction, and in effect change the standard set by Roe and Casey. It could also go further and overturn both, ending almost half a century of federally sanctioned holocaust against the unborn.

Abortion access at the time Roe was decided

At the time that Roe v. Wade was decided, abortion was largely prohibited across the country. It was legalized in four states, and allowed in limited circumstances in 16 others such as rape, incest, or the life of the mother. In the remaining 30 states, abortion was outlawed without exception. For those who desired an abortion, it often required travel to a state (or country) which permitted the procedure. For example, in 1972 there were over 580,000 legal abortions in the United States. Historian Daniel Williams has shown that even with a majority of states banning abortion pre-Roe, certain states were able to provide enough hospital abortion services for hundreds of thousands of abortions. Thus, while abortion was largely illegal, it was not unthinkable.

What happens in various states if Roe is overturned?

While overturning Roe would return the question of abortion access to the states, the country is in a much different place than it was when Roe was decided. If Roe is overturned, a wide disparity would exist between different states, with some automatically protecting or prohibiting abortion access. Others would almost certainly become contested battlegrounds for control of state legislatures and the governorship so as to pass measures in either direction.  

Whereas before only four states gave women the right to seek an abortion, currently 15 states and the District of Columbia protect that access: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Maine, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. 

Another 12 would immediately ban or severely restrict abortion access: Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. There are also a number of states that have enacted laws which are currently blocked by the federal courts, but which could be easily reinstated to restrict access: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, and South Carolina. There are also states that would likely move to ban or restrict abortion based on the makeup of their state legislatures: Florida, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming. 

Between these opposing groups of states would be those that would become highly contested for control of the government. For example, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina have a governor who is a Democrat and state houses that are controlled by the Republicans. As the push for pro-life causes moves to the state level, these local races would become more crucial in electing pro-life supporters.

New challenges at that state level

If the Supreme Court chooses to overturn Roe, the pro-life movement will need to focus on a number of new challenges that are likely to occur at the level of state policy. First, it is likely that the limiting of abortion in one state will not stop individuals from traveling to obtain it. After Texas passed a 6-week abortion ban, the neighboring state of Oklahoma reported an increase in individuals from Texas seeking an abortion. And while overturning Roe would increase the distance that individuals would have to travel on average to over 125 miles to reach the nearest abortion provider, it would still be an option for those who have the resources and are capable of traveling. 

However, the more likely result will be an increase in the use of abortion medication. Currently, over 40% of abortions are obtained through the use of the abortion pills. With the pandemic and the loosening of restrictions on telemedicine, it has become easier to obtain the pills online and have them shipped directly to abortion-vulnerable women. Though there are some state regulations that limit the use of these pills and obtaining them through the mail, their prevalence is expected to rise because the cost of the medication is cheaper than a surgical abortion. 

Another consideration that the pro-life movement will face is elected officials who refuse to enforce bans and restrictions, especially in states with divided governments. For example, Michigan’s attorney general has stated previously that she would not enforce the state’s ban on abortion if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe. Even if the pro-life movement is able to help pass legislation further restricting abortion, it will require government officials willing to enforce it.

Importance of state-by-state action for pro-life movement

With the shift from a national to state-level emphasis, the pro-life movement will need to adapt even as it continues doing what it has done for years. In the states where abortion is permitted, the pro-life movement will need to learn how to mobilize at the local level to pass ordinances, advocate for legislation, and help promote officials who stand for the dignity of the unborn. This will look different from state to state, and in some places it may be possible to only achieve partial measures in the short term — a ban on abortion at 20 weeks rather than a heartbeat bill — but in all it will look like advancing toward the goal where abortion is illegal and unthinkable, and every life is protected.

In those states where abortion becomes illegal, the pro-life movement should not cease to work toward making abortion unthinkable. Just because abortion is illegal does not mean that women will not face unexpected pregnancies and the difficulties that might make them consider abortion. The number one reason that people seek abortions are for economic issues, and these concerns — poverty, job insecurity, the cost of healthcare — will still exist once Roe is overturned. If Roe is overturned, Christians will have the opportunity to refute the claim by pro-abortion advocates that those in the pro-life movement only care about the baby and mother up to the point of birth. We will be able to showcase that being pro-life is a womb-to-tomb ethic, and that the church, in the name of Jesus, seeks to serve and love the most vulnerable.

By / Dec 2

The eyes of the nation are turned toward the Supreme Court this week as the Justices heard the oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This is a pivotal moment regarding abortion rights in America. Never before has the Court seemed more likely to overturn Roe v. Wade than it does at this moment, and it could be decades before another chance like this arrives. Many articles will be able to better explain the legalities of this case. While it is important to consider what the Constitution says about abortion, it is even more important to consider what God says. Below is a brief overview of the Bible’s teaching on early human life.

What the Bible says about life

John and Jesus

The Bible is clear that all human beings are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26), that the wanton shedding human blood is deeply sinful (Gen. 9:6), and that life even at the earliest stages is precious (Ps. 139:13-16).  In the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we read of Mary, the mother of Jesus, going to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Luke tell us, 

In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she exclaimed with a loud cry: “Blessed are you among women, and your child will be blessed! How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me” (Luke 1:39-44). 

This text tells us a few things. First, Elizabeth speaks of her child in terms indicating he is at that moment, in her womb, alive and worthy of being spoken of as a baby, not simply a potential life. He was a prophet from the womb as he was declaring that this was the Christ. Gabriel even tells Zechariah, John’s father, earlier in the chapter that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). 

The Greek word for “baby” in 1:41, 44 is brefoß (brephos). Luke (who, if you will recall, is a doctor) uses the same word to describe the infant, Jesus, in the next chapter during the narrative about the shepherds. He writes, “This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby (brefoß) wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger” (2:12). It is also the same word Luke uses in 18:15 to describe the infants (brefoß) that the people tried to bring to Jesus when the disciples sought to prevent them, and Jesus rebuked them.

Aside from what this text tells us about John, it says a great deal about the Lord as well. Both John and Elizabeth recognize that Jesus is, at this specific point in time, the Messiah. Luke 1:26 says Elizabeth conceived six months before Mary. Even if Elizabeth were nine months pregnant when this meeting took place, the furthest along that Mary could have been is around 12 weeks. This is well before the US Supreme Court’s litmus test of viability. When Roe v. Wade was handed down, this was believed to be around 28 weeks.

Job and David 

In Job 3, after seven days of sitting quietly on the ground in mourning with his friends, Job speaks and curses the day he was born because of the unthinkable suffering he had endured. He says, “May the day I was born perish, and the night that said, “A boy is conceived” (3:3). Job does not view the beginning of his existence from viability or from the moment he passed through the birth canal. He views the beginning of his life from the moment he was conceived, which has direct bearing on the abortion debate today. 

David says something similar in Psalm 51 when speaking to the depth of his sinfulness. He said, “Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me” (51:5). David and Job did not see their own lives as coming after that which was conceived in the wombs of their mothers. Rather, they identify their beginning from the moment of their conception. 

Furthermore, David speaks of God’s work in fashioning him in his mother’s womb in Psalm 139. He says, 

For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began (139:13-16).

David is not speaking of his potential self in these verses. Clearly, he believes that what was in his mother’s womb was not merely a “product of conception” but rather himself as a formless, immature baby. He also indicates in 139:16 that while his days began at birth (that would be the counting of them as one would count a birthday) that his life and existence had already begun. 

Conclusion

Ultimately, human life is valuable because man is made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26). Man does not derive his own worth from inside himself but from his Creator. Abortion is such an egregious evil because the destruction of life made in his image is a destruction of the image of the holy, almighty, infinitely glorious, and eternally valuable God.

Abortion has caused the destruction of countless lives — inside and outside of the womb. Women who have had an abortion should not suffer alone. These women or those who believe that their only hope is to have an abortion should find safety, not ridicule, from those in the pro-life movement. Loving both mother and baby is the only acceptable option. Stopping the death of unborn babies is but one part of a holistic worldview that churches who promote life must have. This issue is one piece of a larger framework for creating healthy marriages and families and enabling the society around us to flourish.

Believers everywhere should pray for this week’s events at the Supreme Court. Pray that God will have mercy on our nation. Pray that the scourge of abortion will end. Pray that the sun will finally set on the great human rights crisis of our time. Pray that those made in God’s image will no longer have to be subject to instruments in the hands of abortion doctors. Pray that moms would be encouraged to embrace the unborn life inside of them. And pray that the right to life will prevail. 

By / Dec 1

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 1, 2021—Brent Leatherwood, acting president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, commented on today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s oral arguments for the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.

“After listening to today’s proceedings, I’m left asking a simple question: What good is precedent if it is bad? At multiple points, whether it was, for example, the faulty reasoning of Justice Harry Blackmun in his Roe opinion or the irrelevance of the viability standard, it should be abundantly clear that the precedent in the area of abortion is completely unmoored from the Constitution itself. Furthermore, it completely disregards the individual whose rights are most affected: the preborn child. That cannot continue. Denying the dignity of our most vulnerable neighbors should not be a hallmark of American jurisprudence.

“While it is difficult to predict the ultimate outcome in any case by simply listening to oral arguments, the Court has before it a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dismantle the abortion framework that has built up following the decisions in both Roe and Casey. The Court should not hesitate to do so.”

The ERLC and other pro-life organizations filed an amicus brief in the Dobbs case earlier this year. Additionally, the ERLC has created an explainer on the case.

The ERLC will host a special online event, Monday, Dec. 6 at 10:00 a.m. EST, to further discuss Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and how the case could affect the future of the prolife movement.

By / Oct 1

Last year, the ERLC made a commitment to expanding its pro-life efforts internationally by partnering with other groups to oppose abortion, save preborn lives, and serve mothers in Northern Ireland. This week, the Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the ERLC, placed its first international ultrasound machine with Hope House, a Christian ministry seeking to love both lives of the mother and baby in pregnancy and beyond. A group from the ERLC, including Elizabeth Graham, ERLC vice president of operations and life initiatives, personally delivered the ultrasound machine to Hope House to begin training their staff for this life-saving work. 

“These machines have proven to be life-saving tools for organizations dedicated to serving both vulnerable mothers and preborn children,” said Graham. “My prayer is that many women would be helped and babies saved through the ministry of Hope House and that abortion would become unthinkable and unnecessary not only in Northern Ireland, but across the globe.”

Brent Leatherwood, acting president of the ERLC, commented on the importance of the ERLC’s international pro-life work. 

“While our American pro-life work continues apace, the ERLC also recognizes this urgent and heartbreaking need that cannot be ignored in Northern Ireland,” said Leatherwood. “Just as the Supreme Court forced an abortion regime on our nation back in 1973, Parliament has done the same in Northern Ireland. As they face their own Roe moment, it is imperative that we stand for life with our brothers and sisters in this part of the world, equip them with life-saving technology, and pray for them as they provide hope to those in crisis so they may choose life.”

Abortion history in Northern Ireland 

Abortion was illegal throughout the United Kingdom — which is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — before the 1967 Abortion Act. Because governmental power is distributed between the UK parliament and the national parliaments, the abortion laws have been applied differently in Northern Ireland than in the other parts of the U.K.

Until 2019, abortion had been illegal in Northern Ireland for more than 150 years. A law in 1861 made it a criminal offense to procure a miscarriage, and an exception was added in 1945 to say abortion could be permitted to preserve the mother’s life. No exceptions were made for rape, incest, or diagnoses of fatal fetal abnormality. However, women from Northern Ireland could have free abortions in other areas of the U.K. (England, Scotland, and Wales).

However, in October 2019, the U.K. parliament decriminalized abortion. At the time, the U.K. parliament gave the Northern Ireland government until the end of March to come up with regulations for the provision of abortion services. Medical abortions began to be provided at two hospitals in Northern Ireland in April 2020. The Department of Health funds such abortions, and doctors who have qualified in the past eight years are required to train to perform abortions.

The opposition to abortion has been driven largely by the religious nature of the country. Northern Ireland is about equally split between Catholics (41%) and Protestants (42%). In the Protestant Christian community, the reformed Presbyterians have some of the strongest support. Anglicans, Baptists, and Methodists also have strong presences, as well as non-denominational churches.

How you can get involved

ERLC has partnered with two local organizations in Northern Ireland to equip Christians to navigate the abortion crisis taking place there. The partnering pro-life entities include:

  • Both Lives Matter, a campaign that advocates for both the mother and unborn child;
  • Evangelical Alliance, an organization which unites Christians from across the wider United Kingdom on issues important to believers.

The ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project is able to serve pregnancy resource centers like Hope House by securing ultrasound machines and providing training for their use. The centers use the machines in their life-saving work to support women and families in crisis pregnancy situations, helping many to make the choice for life. 

You can help us save lives by getting involved with the Psalm 139 Project. One hundred percent of financial contributions designated to Psalm 139 go toward purchasing ultrasound machines and providing training for workers. No Cooperative Program resources are used for these machines. Tax-deductible gifts may be made online to The Psalm 139 Project, or via check to ERLC, 901 Commerce Street, Nashville, Tennessee, 37203. Learn more at psalm139project.com.

By / Sep 30

According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, around 119 million unplanned pregnancies occurred each year between 2015 and 2019. Of those pregnancies, around 61%, or 73 million, ended in abortion. These numbers represent 73 million precious lives lovingly created in the image of God. The fight to save preborn lives like these and see an end to the atrocity of abortion continues around the world, even as several countries are moving to legalize abortion for the first time.

This week, three ERLC staff members traveled to Northern Ireland to deliver a life-saving ultrasound machine to one of the country’s only pregnancy resource centers, an effort made possible by the Psalm 139 Project. While abortion was legalized in Great Britain in the 1967 Abortion Act, this law was not extended to Northern Ireland. Abortions were only allowed in Northern Ireland if a woman’s life was at risk or her physical or mental health were greatly endangered. However, a vote in Parliament in October 2019 decriminalized abortion in the area for the first time. Now, ongoing disagreement has stalled the full roll-out of abortion services, but it is a matter of time before it is widely available in Northern Ireland. 

Like Northern Ireland, other countries around the world are seeing abortion legalized for the first time, even as efforts to end abortion in the United States are growing. Here is an overview of some of the countries making moves on both sides of the abortion debate:

Countries legalizing abortion

Mexico

Earlier this month, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that prosecuting a woman for abortion is unconstitutional, a decision that serves to practically legalize abortion. Ruling on a law from Coahuila, a state on the Texas border, the Court’s decision immediately affects only that state, but it establishes a legal precedent for other judges throughout the country. In light of the decision, court President Arturo Zaldívar stated, “From now on you will not be able to, without violating the court’s criteria and the constitution, charge any woman who aborts under the circumstances this court has ruled as valid.” Those circumstances are expected to include abortions carried out within the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. 

This is a landmark decision for a country that is largely Catholic and has traditionally held strong opposition to abortion. While Texas has greatly tightened restrictions on abortion, this decision could open the door for women in Texas to seek legal abortions along the border shared with Mexico. Women already cross the border to obtain the abortion pill misoprostol from Mexican pharmacies. This decision could increase access to surgical abortion as well.

Argentina

Mexico follows in the footsteps of Argentina, another largely Catholic country, which passed a bill in December of 2020 to decriminalize abortion at up to 14 weeks of pregnancy for any reason. This makes Argentina the largest country in Latin America to legalize abortion. 

In 2018, Pope Francis, a native of Buenos Aires, was quoted as saying about abortion, “Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves.” In his recent comments to the U.N., Francis decried the view many hold of abortion as a solution to society’s complex problems, saying, “It is troubling to see how simple and convenient it has become for some to deny the existence of a human life as a solution to problems that can and must be solved for both the mother and her unborn child.”

Pro-abortion sentiment had previously been on the rise in Argentina, increasing in 2019 partly due to public outrage over the case of an 11-year-old who received a Caesarean section after being raped by her grandmother’s 65-year-old partner. The girl and her mother sought an abortion, but questions about guardianship rights stalled the process until she delivered a baby by C-section at 23 weeks. Abortion rights activists rallied around this situation, mobilizing to increase public demand for legalization.

South Korea

Abortion was decriminalized in January of 2021, enacting an April 2019 decision by the Constitutional Court. The decision ruled that the law holding women and medical professionals seeking or providing abortions criminally accountable was unconstitutional. Under the new law, abortion is legal on demand until 14 weeks, at which point it becomes illegal except in the case of rape, risk to the health of the mother, or if the preborn child shows signs of severe abnormalities. In such cases, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks. The law also allows for use of the abortion pill mifepristone. While abortion is now legal in South Korea, there are no laws guaranteeing the right to access an abortion, but pro-choice advocates seek such protections in the country

Thailand

In January, Thailand’s Parliament voted to legalize abortion in the first trimester, with the Senate voting 166 to 7 in favor of amending a law that imposed prison terms of up to three years for those having abortions and up to five years for abortion providers. After 12 weeks of pregnancy, however, a woman having an abortion is still subject to potential fines and a shorter prison sentence. There is an allowance for abortion after 12 weeks under certain conditions that have been determined by Thailand’s Medical Council. These conditions include pregnancies that result from sexual assault or pose a threat to the mother’s health, or those in which the preborn child is known to have abnormailities.

Countries working to reverse legalization

Poland

In October of 2020, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal decided in favor of increasing restrictions on abortion, a law which went into effect this January. Previously, abortion in Poland was legal in the case of fetal abnormalities, pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, and when the mother’s life is in danger. This law takes away the legal option to abort in cases of fetal abnormalities. Critics have seen the decision as a means of practically doing away with abortion in the country, since 1,074 of 1,100 abortions performed in Poland in 2020 were because of fetal abnormalities.

Slovakia

Poland’s neighbor Slovakia saw a motion to tighten abortion rules narrowly defeated in a vote of 59-58 in October 2020. While the measure would have continued to allow abortion on demand until 12 weeks, it would have required the waiting period to be 96 hours instead of the current 48-hour requirement. It would also have banned clinics from advertising their services and required women to declare their reasons for obtaining an abortion. Activists in Slovakia and Poland pushed back against the measure. Many Polish women seek abortions in Slovakia because the restrictions are much lower than at home. The proponents of the proposal, many of whom are Christians, have said they will try again to see it passed.

United States

Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion organization, has called 2021 the “worst legislative year ever for U.S. abortion rights.” In the first sixth months of 2021, 90 abortion restrictions were enacted in the U.S., more than in any year since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. These restrictions include near-total abortion bans, bans on abortion after six weeks, bans on abortion in cases of fetal abnormality, and others.

On December 1 of this year, the Supreme Court will hear a case — Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — concerning a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. Mississippi’s law has never gone into effect due to lower courts ruling that the law violates Roe. Now, Mississippi is asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the two landmark rulings legalizing access to abortion in the U.S. 

As those who believe every human life is precious and made in the image of God, we should mourn the legalization of abortion in countries around the world and pray for the efforts of those pushing against laws protecting abortion. We should also pray for wisdom and discernment for the Supreme Court justices as they prepare to hear the upcoming Mississippi case. 

We should also continue to work in our local communities to see that abortion-vulnerable women are given the care they need. If Roe is overturned, there will be an even greater need for Christians to walk alongside women in crisis, being the hands and feet of Jesus to those whom he created and loves. As we eagerly anticipate and pray for that day, let’s labor to protect every preborn life possible and intentionally serve families so that abortion becomes unthinkable. 

By / Jul 16

Texas recently passed a new law that would allow citizens, rather than government officials, to enforce a new law that prohibits abortion as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.

“The Texas Heartbeat Act is novel in approach, allowing for citizens to hold abortionists accountable through private lawsuits,” says Rebecca Parma, a senior legislative associate with Texas Right to Life. “No heartbeat law passed by another state has taken this strategy. Additionally, the bill does not punish women who obtain abortions.” 

Here is what you should know about this new pro-life legislation.

What is the Texas Heartbeat Act?

The Texas Hearbeat Act is the latest in state fetal heartbeat bills, legislation that bans abortion after the point where a heartbeat can be detected. By use of an ultrasound, the heartbeat of a child in the womb can routinely be detected as early as 6-7 weeks after conception.

The Texas law requires physicians to test for a heartbeat and prevents them from knowingly performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant woman if they detect a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child or if the doctor failed to perform a test to detect a fetal heartbeat. A physician does not violate this law if they performed a test for a fetal heartbeat and did not detect a fetal heartbeat.

What is unique about the Texas law?

The Texas Heartbeat Act prohibits enforcement of the law by government officials. Instead, the law allows any private citizen — even those who do not live in Texas — to bring a civil lawsuit against any person who performs or induces an abortion in violation of this law or who knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this law. 

If the plaintiffs win their case, the court is directed to force the defendant to pay costs and attorney’s fees, pay statutory damages in an amount of not less than $10,000 for each abortion that the defendant performed or induced, and award injunctive relief sufficient to prevent the defendant from violating this law or engaging in acts that aid or abet violations of this law. 

Which states have passed fetal heartbeat legislation?

Fetal heartbeat bills have passed in five states: Arkansas, North Dakota, Iowa, Kentucky, and Texas.

They have failed to pass in 12 states: Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

They have been proposed or re-proposed after failing to pass in 13 states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

A federal Heartbeat Protection Act was also proposed in 2017.

What is the status of the legislation in the other states that passed fetal heartbeat laws?

Currently, all four fetal heartbeat laws have been blocked by the courts. A lawsuit has also been filed to block the Texas law before it takes effect on Sep. 1, 2021.

However, the the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case involving a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Pro-life activists are hopeful the ruling in that case could limit or oveturn Roe v. Wade

By / Jun 11

Close to 62 million babies are missing from our society today.1https://www.texasrighttolife.com/more-than-61-million-babies-killed-in-47-years-of-legal-abortion/ The Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 set into motion a literal death sentence for these little girls and boys. We should mourn that tragic reality. But we must not stop there. And we haven’t. 

God has raised up a movement of Christians from all denominations and traditions, as well as other people committed to life, in order to become a voice in the public square for those robbed of their voice. We wanted to feature some of the brave individuals, families, and organizations who are boldly standing for the lives of our smallest neighbors. We hope you will be inspired by their testimonies and tireless efforts.