The Evangelical Environmental Network, an organization dedicated to fighting for pro-life causes, has launched a set of new television spots urging Senators in key states to help combat the problem of mercury pollution – an issue that affects almost a million unborn babies each year.
The mercury problem stems from coal burning power plants that pollute surrounding bodies of water by raising the mercury levels in them. Mercury affects the fish in the water, and it endangers the unborn child she is carrying when eaten by pregnant women. This type of mercury is otherwise known as methylmercury and can cause serious birth defects.
“Methylmercury exposure in the womb, which can result from a mother’s consumption of fish and shellfish that contain methylmercury, can adversely affect a baby’s growing brain and nervous system,” wrote the Environmental Protection Agency on its site. “Impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills have been seen in children exposed to methylmercury in the womb.”
The Evangelical Environmental Network is looking to raise the awareness of Senators of states that are either pro-life, or sensitive to pro-life issues. To them, this is a serious matter and a calling from Jesus Christ himself to protect the lives of the unborn.
“We’re called as Christians to defend the sacredness of life,” Mitchell Hescox, the president of EEN told The Christian Post. “As a pro-life community we have a biblical responsibility to protect the unborn and infants from pollutants that will prevent them from reaching their full potential.”
He added, “There is no known safe levels of mercury which cause neurological damage to the unborn. Jesus’ tells us to do nothing that would hinder our children. Mercury poisoning from their mothers eating contaminated fish threaten our children from such an abundant life.”
The current standard for running power plants seems to cause large amounts of mercury pollution in the local bodies of water, according to the EEN. Hescox and the organization hope to influence the government to begin to regulate the plants causing the problem. “We want our pro-life Senators to do everything in their power to support a national standard that would reduce the mercury from coal fired power plants which in turn finds its way into our fresh waters and becomes toxic for our unborn through fish consumption,” Hescox said.
With the TV ads, EEN hopes to reach Senators Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), Snowe (R-ME), Pryor (D-AR), Boozman (R-AR), Hagan (D-NC), Alexander (R-TN), and Ayotte (R-NH). The ads will also air regularly in the Washington, D.C. market and will urge President Barack Obama and all the Senate to protect unborn children from mercury poisoning.
The TV ads employ Rev. Tracey Bianchi, an evangelical mom and pastor who described the effects of mercury poisoning on the unborn in a recent press release. “I believe every life is a precious gift from God. I expect members of Congress to protect the unborn,” she said. “And coal-burning power plants in our region have helped raise mercury levels in our waters threatening the unborn with permanent brain damage.”
According to EEN, combating mercury pollution is battle that has become more prevalent amongst pro-lifers. “Many pro-life leaders have come out and spoken up for the unborn being impacted by mercury,” said Hescox. “We think those who still haven’t spoken out have not fully realized the extent to which toxins like mercury impact the unborn.”
The TV spots follow up on radio ads that ran on Christian, Country and News/Talk stations in various states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Arizona and Massachusetts. Some of these states even included billboards that featured an image of an unborn child, saying that support for the EPA regulations on mercury pollution is support for the unborn.
The EEN has also reached out to pro-life evangelical leaders and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as well, having them sign a letter that follows a previously issued statement titled, “An Evangelical Call to Stop the Mercury Poisoning of the Unborn.” This letter has been signed by over 120 evangelical pastors and leaders.
Local churches can play their part by engaging public officials and educating themselves on the dangers of mercury poisoning. “First off become aware about the impacts of mercury on the unborn and infants,” said Hescox referring to steps to local church can take or order to combat this issue.
“Second, know which sort of fish pregnant women should avoid. Third, become engaged in protecting public health by working with our state and federally elected officials,” he added.
More resources for the EEN’s fight against mercury pollution can be found at creationcare.org/mercury.