PRCs form the “front line in this battle,” Carol Everett told BP in a phone interview. “I would really like to see the Baptist church come to the forefront and every church get involved with a pregnancy resource center. That doesn’t mean they have to start one. They can get involved with their local one, and then they can have volunteers in there that serve as local missionaries. It’s a wonderful place for us to act as missionaries without going to a foreign mission field.”
The Heidi Group, which Everett founded in 1995, is working to open PRCs in unserved locations, such as the 21 counties in central and west Texas without one, said Everett, a member of a Southern Baptist church.
PRCs in Texas have already experienced what ministry will be like when abortion is prohibited during much of pregnancy. The state’s ban on abortion when a preborn child’s heartbeat can be detected – which can be as early as five to six weeks into pregnancy – took effect in September 2021.
That ban produced an increase of 50 percent “in girls and women walking through the doors of our pregnancy centers in Texas, almost across the board” and eventually up to 90 percent in some cities, Everett told BP. Now that Roe has been reversed and “people start thinking that [abortion is] wrong, we expect another rush,” she said.
One way Southern Baptists have supported the work of PRCs is through the Psalm 139 Project, the ERLC’s ministry to help provide ultrasound technology to pregnancy centers and train staff members in its use.
The ERLC has nearly reached its goal of 50 ultrasound placements between December 2020 and January 2023, which would have been the 50th anniversary of the Roe ruling had it not been overturned. The Psalm 139 Project has 49 machines placed or committed to be placed by January and funding for machines to surpass that goal. Since 2004, Psalm 139 has helped place ultrasound equipment at centers in 16 states and one other country, Northern Ireland.
Lisa Cathcart, executive director of the Pregnancy Care Center (PCC) in Old Hickory, Tenn., for more than 13 years, told BP advocating for and financially supporting PRCs is a way churches can conduct pro-life ministry. Other ways churches can be pro-life in a post-Roe era, Cathcart said, include:
- Teaching a “whole-life, pro-life view of human dignity” to their members.
- Ministering in a Gospel-based way to the congregation, which includes post-abortive women and men.
PCC has “always worked for the dignity and welfare of BOTH [mother and child], and our work starts with her – the woman who needs compassion, hope and practical help to consider alternatives to abortion,” Cathcart said in a written statement after Roe was overturned. “Our work will continue, even increase, and we are prepared to meet this moment.”
Pro-life ministry also includes Christian families welcoming children born to vulnerable women into their homes in a post-Roe world, pro-life advocates say. Newell testified before committees of lawmakers in both Alabama houses in support of legislation to prohibit abortion.
In both chambers, Newell said, Democrats on the committees asked him, “If we ban abortion in our state, there will be more kids in foster care and there will be more kids that need to be adopted. Are there enough families?”
“And I unequivocally looked them in the face and I said, ‘If you take this bold step and you dignify life, we will be ready and there will be families for these children.’ And I wholeheartedly believe it.”
This article originally appeared on BaptistPress.com.