GRAPEVINE, Texas — Nearly three decades ago, engaged couple Jeff and Tricia Bradford found out they were unexpectedly pregnant. Unsure of what to do, the couple turned to their families — professing Christians — for counsel and received what Jeff Bradford now painfully realizes was “very bad advice.”
“We ended up at a Planned Parenthood,” he recalled. “We took the life of our daughter.”
That decision, Bradford said, haunted his family for decades. Though active in their church, the couple felt unable to talk about the abortion “because we believed we’d committed the unforgivable sin.”
“But talking about it was actually worse because of the stigma that it brings,” he said.
Through biblical counseling and prayer, the Bradfords, now parents of four, were able to find healing. Today, Jeff Bradford serves as president of Human Coalition — one of the largest pro-life organizations in the United States — and is on a mission to make abortion “unthinkable” in all spheres of life.
“There’s no sin greater than the cross of Christ,” Bradford said. “God can use our filthy rags and make something beautiful out of it."
Based in Dallas, Human Coalition operates a growing network of Telecare and Brick-and-Mortar Women’s Care Clinics across the U.S., casting a wide vision of what it means to be pro-life. By partnering with local churches and organizations in abortion-dense areas, the nonprofit organization not only advocates for preborn babies in the womb but offers assistance for women, men and families who find themselves in precarious situations.
“We come alongside women in their darkest hour of need,” Bradford explained. “Studies show that 76% of the women who are planning to abort would say that they would prefer to parent if their life circumstances were different. We look at, how can we lock arms with them? How can we stand in the gap and give them the tangible needs and get out of the situation that brought them to this desperate idea that they can't have a child?”
Bradford noted that over the last three decades, the LGBT community has successfully moved every cultural mountain of influence, from government and the Church to education and entertainment. The pro-life community, he said, would do well to similarly shift public perceptions of abortion.
“We have to start educating the culture of why abortion should be unthinkable in the same way slavery is unthinkable. We have to move the culture to think that way as well,” he said. “Laws follow culture; we have abortion because half of the culture thinks we should have laws that allow abortion.”
“If we can move this organization and bring a true national rescue system to bear with what already is built, I think we can make incredible strides. When a woman chooses life, not only does she save her child, but she saves herself and even generations of future families because they become advocates for life,” he said.
Former NFL star Benjamin Watson serves as the vice president of strategic relationships for Human Coalition. The father of seven told CP that he views his role at the organization as that of a “bridge-builder,” uniting people of political bents, socioeconomic status and religious backgrounds over the shared desire to support life.
“I’ve found that so many people say, ‘I may look at politics a little differently, but when it comes down to it, I love life. I believe people are stamped with the image of their Creator. And I want to stand with you on that,’” he shared.
Watson highlighted the role of the Christian community when it comes to advocating for the unborn, offering the reminder that “Satan always comes to pervert the truth.”
“From the very beginning, he’s perverted the truth. Human beings are the crown of creation — we know that and even people who agree with abortion know that — but yet when it comes to who we want to preserve, who we want to advocate for, the pandas or whales seem to be more important. As image-bearers of God and with inherent dignity and value, we should be protecting all life.”
The organization also seeks to end abortion by pushing pro-life policies through its public policy advocacy arm, Human Coalition Action. The group aids legislators in passing pro-life policies like the bi-partisan Every Mother Matters Act (“EMMA”). Already passed in Arkansas, the legislation works to support mothers and stabilize their families.
HCA also backed the recently passed Texas Heartbeat Bill, which prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
“These women seeking abortion — we serve them, we love them, we care about them, and we have all this knowledge about them that we want to translate into meaningful policy reform, Chelsey Youman, National Director of Public Policy for Human Coalition, told CP.
She added that while the last few months under the Biden administration have been “tough for the unborn” — “they’re as extreme as possible on this issue,” she said — Human Coalition has nevertheless made positive strides for the unborn. Since 2010, the organization has saved thousands of babies and assisted numerous families previously determined to abort.
Still, Watson stressed that the pro-life community “cannot become complacent," adding: "This is urgent. We need to act. There has to be a sense of now, not later. If we really do care about preborn children and think they're valuable, the time is now."
Coming off a contentious election year, the athlete urged pastors to be bold on the issue and “be willing to de-couple any issue — especially abortion — from politics.”
“A lot of pastors are really leery of getting into an issue or speaking about an issue from the pulpit that is tied directly to politics in some way. A lot of pastors don't want to talk about things like abortion in a biblical context because there are such political implications,” he contended.
“The truth of the matter is that issue does not have to be political. These are issues that need to be talked about,” Watson continued. He cited Micah 6:8, which instructs believers to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
“This is an issue that falls right in line with those things,” the athlete emphasized. “It's important for pastors to really consider crafting their message in a way that is apolitical but is Gospel and truth centric. That, in my opinion, is their role as shepherds to their flock.”