Evangelical leaders hail Roe’s overthrow, urge support for pregnant women
Many evangelical leaders hailed the Supreme Court’s historic decision to overturn Roe vs. Wadewhile urging faith communities to provide more support to pregnant women.
In a 6-3 decision today, the Supreme Court overturned both Roe’s 1973 decision and a 1992 decision in Family planning c. Casey, which reaffirmed a constitutional right to abortion. The decision came in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationwho challenged a Mississippi law imposing strict abortion restrictions.
“Abortion raises a deep moral question,” the Supreme Court said. “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority to themselves. We are now reversing those decisions and returning that authority to the people and their elected representatives. »
The Dobbs The decision has been expected since May, when an early draft of the ruling was leaked to Politico. Friday’s decision to strike down the constitutional right to abortion was met with both joy and dismay by religious leaders, who have been vocal on both sides of the abortion debate since before Roe.
Evangelicals, who widely oppose abortion, responded positively to today’s decision. According to Pew Research, 74% of white evangelicals say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. More than half of Americans (61%) say abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
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Texas pastor Bart Barber, newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said Southern Baptists welcome today’s decision and support laws that would ban abortion “except in when the mother’s life is endangered by carrying the baby to term. ”
Barber also said that “mothers-to-be facing difficult circumstances deserve the love and support of church, community and society.”
Many evangelical churches have for years made pregnancy care a key part of their outreach programs. Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of the multi-site Free Chapel megachurch in Gainesville, Georgia, which helps support a local pregnancy care center, called the decision “a remarkable answer to the prayers of millions for decades.”
He continued: “We neither gloat nor dare to say anything but praise to our God for this courageous and just decision by the Supreme Court. Now we must support, love, and demonstrate God’s grace and goodness to expectant mothers and the precious children this decision has saved.
Rolland Slade, senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, Calif., and outgoing chairman of the SBC executive committee, said the Dobbs decision is “a call to the Church to care”.
He explained: “As I celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision, I heed the words of Micah 6:8. We are to humbly enter this space of care with loving kindness and compassion as we walk in the power of our faith in God.He stressed the importance of “meaningful and tangible” outreach to families in need and partnerships with local pregnancy care clinics that must continue for “months and years”.
Likewise, Karen Swallow Prior, evangelical author and life advocate, urged believers to think about the circumstances an unexpectedly pregnant woman faces and what she might need.
Prior said: ‘We can’t assume that a woman or girl who is scared and uncertain won’t feel too scared and uncertain to ask for help. She needs to know in advance that such help and love is there for her. So while many churches, like mine, provide housing and other means of support to mothers in crisis, it is crucial to build visible bridges to this help. We must be able to imagine together, before a crisis occurs, what the choice of living together will look like.
Known for speaking out often on life and abortion issues, Prior concluded: “The church should also re-examine how we can support pro-life policies more broadly through our tax dollars, ensuring access health care and support systems for families in need. We can help those whose lives come into contact with the church. But we must also help those we have not yet reached.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Heartbeat International helps resource more than 2,250 Pregnancy Centers nationwide, most supported by local churches. The group’s vice president of mission advancement, Cindi Boston, is a graduate of Evangel University affiliated with the Assemblies of God.
“Our work is not finished and, in fact, in many ways, it is just beginning,” Boston said in a statement. “Women still need compassionate care and support, and we continue to be here to offer practical resources and life-saving options through our Pregnancy Help Network, as we have for over 50 years. “
The National Association of Evangelicals, which filed a brief in the Dobbs case, welcomed the news that Roe had been overthrown.
“God is the author of life, and every human life, from conception to death, is priceless,” said NAE President Walter Kim. “Under Roe c. Wade, our ability to consider policies that protect life at its most vulnerable stage was severely limited. While the Dobbs decision does not resolve all questions about abortion policy, it removes a barrier to the consideration of pro-life concerns.
Other evangelical pastors who take a public pro-life stance have urged substantive action on political messages.
Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, pastor of New Season Church in Sacramento, Calif., and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said, “The Church must accompany mothers and provide the necessary economic support that the government cannot. provide.
“While we celebrate this victory, we must also redouble our efforts to provide compassionate, close and supportive services to mother and child, not only in the womb, but after the birth of a baby. “, he added.
Similarly, Ron Citlau, senior pastor of Calvary Church in Orland Park, Illinois, said, “The calling of the church is not to bring about political change and the overthrow of roe deer don’t change that; we are called to love.
“Now we have a chance to shine and break stereotypes,” he continued. “We must do all we can to love and support pregnant women in crisis and those who have had abortions seeking grace.”
As the leader of a network of about 60 evangelical churches across the country, Pastor Mike Hayes of Churches in Covenant said it was an “opportunity to provide spiritual and practical help.”
“If every church responds with love in action, we can bring healing to many,” Hayes said. “Now is the time to be creative and motivated with mother and child programs for love, support, care and guidance to meet the challenge of giving birth and caring for the mother and of the child.”
The Texas-based nonprofit ecumenical group 40 Days for Life is mobilizing thousands of Christians — from a cross-section of Catholic and Protestant churches — who pray outside abortion centers during vigils. pray. Volunteers offer to pray with the women they meet.
Group President Shawn Carney said in response to Dobbs“Churches are more important than ever as we prepare for an outpouring of mercy for those who have had and regret abortion. This decision will have a very deep impact on many hearts and souls who have experienced the tragedy of an abortion.
Some prominent evangelical voices have urged Christians to consider their public witness.
Scott Sauls, author and pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, posted a 3,500-word article on the sanctity of life and abortion issues on his popular blog for pastors. He included some statistics rarely discussed in pro-life circles: “Over 60% of women who seek voluntary abortions live alone and below the poverty line. Some are afraid because they lack adequate health care, lack support from spouses, partners or loved ones, or face a risky pregnancy that threatens the viability of the mother. , the child or both.
He added: “If pro-life people seem ambivalent about coming forward and helping with these complicated forms of pregnancy crisis distress, their advocacy for unborn life loses credibility. in the eyes of many.”
Lina Abujamra, author, Bible teacher and longtime pediatric emergency physician, said, “I am extremely happy because this decision will save lives, especially the lives of those without a voice.
In response to choice advocates, she cautioned, “What is needed is compassion and patience with those who might see the decision as the worst thing that can happen to our culture.
As a medical professional, Abujamra added that it is “tough work” to save lives. She called the end of roe deer “A bit like resuscitation. It’s exciting to see that life has been saved, but the real work of saving lives happens in the aftermath, in the ICU, and requires the help of every member of the team. It’s expensive work, but if we really believe in saving lives, it’s compulsory work. Each of us who calls himself “pro-life” must ask himself the questions: What is my role now? What can I do to contribute to the ongoing process of saving lives? »
Nashville pastor Sauls concluded that faith communities must become places “where any mother, married or not, would feel welcomed and loved and know that her needs and those of her child would be taken care of. If the Church does what she is called to do, then there will be no poor, ignored or humiliated among us.
Bob Smietana contributed to this report.
Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes about faith, culture and public policy for multiple outlets electrical outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, DC area with their two children.