Home Christian News SBC Clarifies Pro-Life Position With Resolution on IVF

SBC Clarifies Pro-Life Position With Resolution on IVF

IVF resolution
Pictured: Resolutions Committee presents resolutions to SBC messengers (Photo courtesy of Baptist Press)

Southern Baptists voted to adopt a resolution on Wednesday (June 12) that reaffirms the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) commitment to the protection of unborn children with regard to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other reproductive technologies. 

The resolution, titled “On the Ethical Realities of Reproductive Technologies and the Dignity of the Human Embryo,” was adopted at the denomination’s annual meeting in Indianapolis, roughly three months after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos have legal standing as children.

The ruling has been controversial—even among Christians—and the reasoning behind it appears to have been explicitly theological. Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker went as far as to say that “embryos cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself.”

While some Christian leaders and organizations are vocally supportive of IVF, a number of prominent Southern Baptists have expressed concern about the fate of embryos that are frozen or otherwise discarded. 

Last month, Brent Leatherwood sent a letter to the U.S. Senate on behalf of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, urging legislators “to develop and implement a system of federal oversight that protects and informs women and ensures embryos are treated with care, even as we oppose the general practice of IVF.”

In addition to raising concerns about discarded embryos, the ERLC also published a resource in which it urged Southern Baptists to consider “the question of severing procreation from the sexual union, and the anthropological question of ‘making’ children as commodities rather than ‘begetting’ them as gifts from God.”

Similarly, Dr. Albert Mohler, who serves as president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), argued in an address to Southern Baptists at a private event in Indianapolis on Monday that addressing the issue of IVF is essential to the pro-life cause.

Mohler was the one who submitted the resolution to the Resolutions Committee alongside SBTS ethics professor Andrew T. Walker. 

“In the contemporary context, we’re about to find out how pro-life the pro-life movement is,” Mohler said on Monday. “And one of the shake-out issues of our contemporary day is that we’re about to find out how many people were riding on the pro-life movement rather than actually believing in the worldview of the pro-life movement.”

“Restricting abortion is not a pro-life victory,” Mohler continued. “It is a means towards an eventual pro-life victory.” 

RELATED: The Alabama Ruling on Embryos Claimed To Be Christian. Christians Aren’t so Sure.

In the SBC’s new resolution, Southern Baptists reaffirmed their belief that life must “be respected and protected from the moment of fertilization until natural death, without regard to developmental stage or location.”