The year 2020 was a crazy one that brought grief and heartache to so many. We saw the tragic deaths of individuals like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor sparking race riots and protests all over the country. The presidential election was one of the most tumultuous in our nation’s history, and COVID-19 brought the world to its knees. This was a historic year indeed.
But 2020 also launched an incredible blessing for those faithfully fighting for the lives of the unborn amid all the chaos. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission graciously committed to donate ten ultrasound machines within six months to pro-life centers in need. I was honored to get to see one of those machines donated to a new location of my local center, conveniently placed next door to (and sharing a driveway with) the Planned Parenthood in town. Every day, the clients are literally faced with the choice between life and death as they turn into that driveway.
An ultrasound machine is truly one of the most effective tools available to a pro-life ministry. I have personally been in counseling rooms with pregnant women who cannot begin to fathom how or why they should continue their pregnancy when it would be so simple to just head to the nearest Planned Parenthood or other local abortion center and “be done with it.”
Thankfully my local pregnancy center had an ultrasound machine at their main campus, and I was able to watch hardened expressions melt into tears when these women (and many times the father of the baby as well!) were able to walk across the hall and see their precious unborn baby in real time. Just seeing a blinking heartbeat is enough to reveal to these parents that an actual human life is growing in the womb by the grace of God. About 80% of the time, this critical information is enough to change their minds about initially seeking an abortion. Instead, they begin to make a plan for how she can carry this baby and either parent the child or place the baby for adoption.
For the Least of These
We are told in Matthew 25 that when we care for “the least of these,” when we stand up for and stand with the most vulnerable, meeting their needs in the name of Jesus, it is as though we are doing it for Jesus Himself. I can think of no one more vulnerable than an unborn child.
Fighting for the life of the unborn is something we do as Christians because God made them (Psalm 139:13-16). Each and every one of us are created as image bearers, and we reflect what God is like. Each life is highly valued and precious to God, whether in the womb or out, and therefore each life should be highly valued and precious to us. Regardless of size, ability, education, or “usefulness,” each life matters and should be protected.
When we are shaky on abortion issues or unwilling to stand for the unborn, we don’t really have a leg to stand on when fighting for all human dignity. We stand against all forms of racism because we believe every life matters. We are grieved by the COVID-19 pandemic and do what we can to protect those who are part of vulnerable populations because every life matters. We care about issues addressed in politics, such as poverty and immigration, because we know God cares for the poor and the immigrant. But we must consistently stand for life in the womb, before a person even has the chance to face racism, illness, poverty, or injustice.
What now? It is not enough to simply talk about the issue of abortion. James 2:15-17 tells us talk is cheap unless accompanied by action. While it seems daunting to go up against an industry that has murdered over 59 million children in their mothers’ wombs since 1973, there are steps each of us can take.
1. Support your local pregnancy center financially.
Crisis pregnancy centers are meeting a unique need that most churches and ministries are unequipped to meet. Crisis pregnancy centers have trained counselors and, in many cases, medical staff, providing pregnancy care, resources for further needs, and the hope of Jesus Christ. Most do it free of charge or at an incredibly low cost. Our local center has determined that all the resources required to save just one baby (tests, ultrasound, staff, rent, etc.) costs $1,200. What an incredible place to pour our resources! If you have a local pregnancy center, I encourage you right now to begin giving your financial support.
Whether you are folding maternity and baby clothes, counseling young moms, or cutting the grass at your local center, get involved. Find out their needs and see what you can do to help.
3. Educate others.
Most churches that aren’t involved in supporting their local pregnancy center aren’t opposed to it; they just may not see the work that it is doing. Most pregnancy centers quietly go about their business of faithfully serving the women who walk in their doors each day, and it’s easy for those who are not in that world to go about their own business. However, if people can see the incredible need that these centers are meeting, they may try to find a way to get involved as well. Speak to the director and schedule a tour at your local center. Attend their fundraising events. Get the word out to others in your church, including your pastor.
I’m excited to see what 2021 has in store for the pro-life movement as more pregnancy centers receive the incredible gift of an ultrasound machine from the ERLC. While the road may be uphill and long, it’s the small, simple steps that make the biggest difference. Pray for your center, get involved, and encourage others to do so as well.