ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)—Church and pro-life ministry leaders were encouraged during a Southern Baptist-sponsored event Thursday night (March 3) not to become weary at this point in America’s nearly 50-year history of legal abortion.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) held “Stand for Life: Road to Roe50” at the headquarters of the North American Mission Board. The ERLC brought together pastors, Southern Baptist Convention leaders, heads of pro-life organizations and others to consider how Christians can serve women and their unborn children, particularly if the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide is overturned.
“[W]e especially can’t lose hope now – not now in the moment where abortion numbers have been reduced, where more people are affirming the dignity of preborn lives and not now as we stand at the precipice of what may be a new era for the legal environment of this nation,” ERLC Acting President Brent Leatherwood told the audience, according to his prepared remarks.
“No, if anything, now is the time to lean in and double down on our efforts. . . . [T]hat recommitment to this effort is what we are doing at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission,” he said. “This work is foundational for us.”
Abortion, Leatherwood said, “is an injustice. It must continue to be confronted with the truth that appeals to the consciences of those who might be tempted to look the other way. But it must be done so in a way that offers love, compassion, support and hope.”
Many pro-life and abortion-rights advocates believe the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to use a case this term out of Mississippi to reverse the Roe ruling and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey opinion. The Casey decision affirmed Roe but permitted some state regulation of abortion. The ERLC and multiple other pro-life organizations asked the high court to overrule Roe and Casey, a move that would return abortion policy to the states.
The Road to Roe50 is a collaborative, church-engagement effort in which the ERLC is playing a leading role. The initiative will include aged-based curriculum, a multi-stop tour in the fall of 2022, a Washington, D.C., event in January 2023 and a digital campaign to affirm the value of human life, as well as train and mobilize Christians to serve mothers, unborn children and families. The Roe50 page is available here.
“As we use this season to lament the lives that have been lost as a consequence of [Roe], our hope is that Southern Baptists and any Christian who cares about the dignity of the preborn would join us on the Road to Roe50,” said Elizabeth Graham, the ERLC’s vice president of operations and life initiatives, in written comments for Baptist Press Friday (March 4).
“We have several initiatives that we will be rolling out in the coming months to serve and equip the church,” she said. “The events are designed to help the church to thrive and minister in a post-Roe world.