Evangelicals to Host First-Ever Pro-Life Conference Ahead of 2016 Elections

March for Life
Pro-life activists parade in front of the U.S. Supreme Court during the annual March for Life in Washington, January 22, 2014. Pope Francis used Twitter to back the annual anti-abortion rally, which was expected to draw hundreds of thousands to Washington on Wednesday. |

Pro-life Evangelical leaders are hoping to build upon the success of the annual March for Life by hosting their first-ever pro-life conference in the nation's capital.

Scheduled to be held Jan. 21-22, the "Evangelicals for Life" event will be hosted by Focus on the Family and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Evangelicals owe "an incalculable debt" to Roman Catholics who created the March for Life, said ERLC President Russell Moore during an on-the-record conference call Tuesday that included Focus on the Family Community Outreach Vice President Kelly Rosati.

"They were there before we were there. They understood the stakes of Roe v. Wade before most Evangelicals did," Moore said.

Russell Moore
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. |

Rosati explained during the call that Focus on the Family wanted to build upon the March for Life's success in establishing a strong presence in Washington, D.C. every Jan. 22.

"The ability of the March for Life to gather some half a million people to continue to bear witness … to the dignity of every human life is just an extraordinary event," Rosati added.

"We know so many people who are passionate about the dignity of life, who are grieved by the fact that we have done such a terrible job as a nation respecting the dignity of every human life."

Moore told The Christian Post that he believes "many Evangelicals are simply unaware" of opportunities like March for Life to campaign on a national scale for the pro-life cause.

"Our Catholic friends have done a very good job of organizing churches and loading up vans full of people to be here in a way that many Evangelicals haven't," Moore asserted.

"Evangelicals are very active at the local level on the pro-life issue, manning pregnancy resource centers and ministering in every other sort of way. But we really haven't made it a priority to get Evangelicals here until now."

Scheduled to take place at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, Evangelicals for Life will feature a host of speakers and talks related to involvement in the pro-life movement.

In addition to Moore and Rosati, other speakers will include Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family; David Platt, president of the SBC's International Mission Board; and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Phillip Bethancourt, executive vice president of the ERLC who moderated the conference call, noted that the event will also feature issues related to human trafficking and elderly care, which are seen as part of a more "comprehensive" pro-life worldview.

With Evangelicals for Life set to take place at the beginning of an election year, Moore told CP that politics "will be a crucial part of our pro-life witness" at the event.

"So much of this has to do with the political system and with the responsibility of government to care for the vulnerable," Moore said. "We believe this is about more than politics. It's also about culture, it's about ministry, but it's not about anything less than politics."

Rosati added in comments to CP that political activism was going to be part of the event, as "politics leads directly to public policy."

"The purpose and the aim of public policy needs to be to protect the most vulnerable, and so I think that is another reason why there will be a connection," she said.

"This won't be a political event, but we will be equipping people to know how to be a comprehensive pro-life voice where they're at, which will include politics and policy."

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