Pro-Life Ministries Have Been Caring For Women And Babies For Generations
OPINION–The idea that pro-lifers don’t care for babies after they are born has been a convenient slander hurled against pro-life Christians. To cite just one example, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank once said pro-lifers believe “life begins at conception and ends at birth.”
The biggest problem with that clever line is that it is simply not true.
More than 2500 pro-life Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) are a compassionate army of staff, donors, and volunteers that number in the hundreds of thousands. They are committed to helping women make life-giving choices, and they often support these women for years after their babies are born. The total amount of money these organizations spend in support of women and babies is not known, but it likely exceeds $1 billion annually.
We should also note that the vast majority of adoptions in this country are done by Christian families and through Christian adoption agencies. MinistryWatch lists 35 such organizations in its database, and we include only the largest ones. Hundreds more local ministries operate out of churches and storefronts around the country. Just the ministries in the MinistryWatch database spend more than $500-million a year on adoption and foster-care related activities.
These big numbers might cause our eyes to glaze over, so consider a recent story coming from the ministry Youth For Christ. Most people, including Christians who might have heard of the ministry where Billy Graham got his start, likely think of it as an evangelistic ministry. But YFC’s Parent Life ministry “seeks to connect with expectant and parenting teens and their children through intentional relationships with caring adults and community partnerships.”
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YFC says its aim “is to empower teens to thrive in every aspect of life and to encourage them to further their education and move toward becoming life-long followers of Jesus Christ. YFC facilitates life-giving mentoring relationships by supporting young parents in their pivotal moments and inspiring them by uncovering God’s story of hope in their lives.”
Following The Science
It is also important to note that Christian ministries have been in the forefront of getting the latest scientific information related to abortion to the American public. The science related to abortion and most other aspects of medicine have changed dramatically since the 1973 Roe decision.
Focus on the Family has, for example, spent millions in grants so that Pregnancy Resource Centers can have ultrasound machines that help expectant mothers make informed choices about their babies. It began its Option Ultrasound Program in 2004, and has placed more than 500 ultrasound machines in PRCs around the country. Advocates of abortion often talk about “choice,” but pro-life ministries – equipped with ultrasound machines and the training to use them — have quietly been giving millions of women the opportunity to make truly informed choices for decades.
Progressives often use phrases such as “follow the science” to demean those who disagree with them, and to suggest that their position is the only rational position in any public policy debate. However, if Americans “follow the science” related to abortion, they would learn that, according to Dr. Tara Sander Lee, senior fellow and director of life sciences at Charlotte Lozier Institute, that: “Major scientific advancements have revolutionized ultrasound technology, fetal diagnosis, and the science of fetal pain. Doctors are now treating babies in utero before birth. There have also been miraculous advancements in our ability to care for extremely premature babies, and all of this has occurred since Roe.”
The bottom line: The notion that Christians and Christian ministries care only about children when they are in the womb is patently false. Evangelicals have protested Roe, sure. Abortion-on-demand is a great evil and it is right and just that we should resist this terrible tragedy. It’s a tragedy that has taken such a toll on babies, on their mothers, and on all Americans.
But when the marches end, the marchers have gone home and become the arms and legs of Jesus, the Body of Christ, in local communities all across America. Is there more to do? Yes. Will there be even more to do if Roe is overturned? Absolutely.
However, when the true history of the Roe era is written, I’m confident that the heroic and compassionate work of Christian ministries in the pro-life movement will have its own chapter. And that history gives me confidence that Christian ministries will rise to the challenges and opportunities of the post-Roe era.