BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) – Several years ago, when videos of Planned Parenthood selling baby parts went viral and lawmakers around the country responded with warranted shock and disgust, we began to notice a renewed mission to protect pre-born children by advocating for alternatives that support, protect and defend the sanctity of life.
Only two years ago, Alabama passed a bill that made it a felony for doctors to perform abortions. Just yesterday Texas implemented a law that bans abortion after a baby’s heartbeat is detected. And last night, in a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Texas law, thus declining to block it from implementation. Thankfully, our nation is finally taking steps to recognize the dignity and right to life of every unborn child!
However, we must ask ourselves this question: If abortion becomes illegal nationwide, is the Church prepared to respond to the needs of mothers who choose life and their children?
It is beyond encouraging to see men and women rise up to defend the lives of babies in the womb, yet, there is still much work to be done. We can sometimes forget that expectant mothers face enormous circumstances that many times leads them to abortion. However, what they need now is the same thing they needed in 1973 at the iconic Roe v. Wade decision – they need to be met with biblical truth, open arms, compassion and active concern. If we believe the fight for life has been won in legislatures and courtrooms but fail to mobilize as an army of hope to women in need, then our wins are hollow at best.
I fear that our energy and attention within the Church can be so laser-focused on ending the atrocity of abortion that we are left unprepared to respond to real women around us, in desperate need of help and hope. I am convicted that more than ever the Church must be prepared to take Gospel hope and Gospel action to vulnerable women. At Lifeline Children’s Services, we have been praying and preparing for the day when abortion is illegal, knowing that the fight for life will just be beginning.
Here are several steps the Church can take today:
Offer love and compassion to women facing unexpected pregnancies. If abortion becomes illegal, a woman will have two options: parenting or making an adoption plan. Some will choose to parent but may not feel equipped. We must open our homes to women and children needing a safe place to stay. We must come alongside these vulnerable families by providing jobs, training and other resources needed to thrive as a parent. We can journey with them by mentoring them and connecting them with quality parenting classes and resources. We want these women to flourish and thrive in their role as mothers. Ultimately, we want to point them to the Great Rescuer – Jesus Christ, in whom they can find their valued identity and hope for their future.
Cheer on women who choose adoption. Some women will courageously choose adoption instead of parenting. She is not “giving up” her baby, she is “lovingly placing” her baby for adoption, and sacrificially giving that child a better future. Praise God! Women must know that both parenting and placing for adoption are life-affirming choices, and only after exploring all the options can they make an informed decision. They must know that in adoption they have options in which family they choose. And just like with those who choose to parent, women choosing adoption will need the church to comfort and support them both before, during and after an adoption decision.
Engage through foster care. There are currently more than 400,000 children in U.S. foster care. The Church has to be ready to stand in the gap for these children and parents by providing stable interim care and by engaging birth families with Gospel-centered parenting resources designed to show them Christ and to help them parent with purpose.
By starting a foster care support ministry at your church, volunteers can assist foster and adoptive parents by coming alongside them to meet some of their tangible needs, such as providing meals, transportation and babysitting. It’s equally as important to equip your church’s childcare team to care for children from hard places. Additionally, the Church can engage with foster care by mentoring women who choose life through Lifeline’s Families Count program.
Today, abortion is still legal, but join me in praying for the day when the inherent dignity of every human life is protected by our government. Let’s pray and prepare to meet women and children with the love, care, compassion and action in the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
Herbie Newell is the President of Lifeline Children’s Services, the largest Evangelical Christian adoption agency in America, and author of “Image Bearers: Shifting from Pro-birth to Pro-Life.”