The pro-life legal landscape has rarely seen more activity. In just the past few months, the Supreme Court declined to block Texas’ abortion restrictions, heard oral arguments on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, and, depending on how they rule on that case later this year, Roe v. Wade itself could be overturned or undermined.
Indeed, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the most significant case on abortion that the Supreme Court has heard since the 1992 Casey v. Planned Parenthood decision, which upheld Roe v. Wade. Legal analysts predict that, at a minimum, Roe and Casey will likely be altered to give individual states more flexibility to pass laws that fit their states’ values.
Some estimates report that roughly half the states in the country will pass more restrictive abortion laws if Roe is overturned. With this in mind, there are two hard questions the pro-life movement must ask itself:
1. How should we prepare for a post-Roe America?
2. How do we serve women and men in a nation where abortions will be more challenging to get for millions of people?
First, we have to acknowledge that overturning Roe v. Wade would not be the end of the pro-life movement. The possible legal victory only means that ministry work becomes even more critical. Therefore, we must have a care infrastructure in place to provide compassion, help, and hope to millions of women and men every year who will need somewhere to turn when abortion becomes unavailable to them.
More than 250,000 pregnancy centers across the country are currently helping women and men make critical decisions every day during the important timeframe between conception and birth. However, the pregnancy center model alone cannot address the missing long-term support needed by those facing unplanned pregnancies. While pregnancy centers remain America’s most unsung heroes, they are not designed to provide all the care women and men need when facing a pregnancy decision.
This is where the role of the Church comes in. We as the Church are called to be His hands and feet on the earth. The Church is God’s instrument to support women, men and families while empowering them to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families.
As seen in the parable of the Good Samaritan, it is imperative for God’s people to step in and help the vulnerable. No matter the reason, the Church must be willing to help those who are hurting. Women and men facing unplanned pregnancies have spiritual and emotional wounds that have left them broken and bruised. So much so that they believe aborting their unborn child is their best and only option.
Like the Good Samaritan, we need to be prepared to intercede for those requiring help from others and to bind their wounds with the life support that the Church is uniquely equipped to provide.
A practical ministry response to the abortion crisis must offer compassion, hope, help and discipleship to women and men facing pregnancy decisions. It’s not only about politics.
When facing an unplanned pregnancy, the decision a woman makes for the life of her unborn child is often primarily based on the support she will or will not receive in the long term. This includes physical, emotional, spiritual and social support. A void in any of these areas can create critical issues for everyone involved, and they are huge factors considered in the ultimate decision.
To support women and men facing unplanned pregnancies, the Church needs to fill the gaps created by a lack of long-term resources. We need churches with groups of first responders in place who are equipped to come alongside women and men facing these decisions.
The Church needs individuals who have been trained to disciple others so they can walk alongside these individuals for the long run — introducing them to the importance of building strong families and to the transformative power of the Gospel. This includes men and women who are trained to have a sensitivity for identifying and helping those at risk for abortion.
It is important for the Church to connect with local pregnancy centers and other sources of support in their communities to ensure that those considering an abortion get the help they need to choose life. A woman facing an unplanned pregnancy needs to know that as her child ages, she will not be alone and has the support of a church body who will walk alongside her during a pregnancy decision and beyond.
As Christians, our hope should be Christ’s hope. The final thing Christ said to His disciples before ascending to Heaven was, “go and make disciples.” In this day and age, in our culture, the life issue has created the opportunity to make disciples for Jesus Christ. The Church must be willing to disciple and care for those facing unplanned pregnancies — choosing to daily apply The Great Commission to the life issue in a way we never have before.
Roland Warren is the president and CEO of Care Net. Care Net envisions a culture where women and men faced with pregnancy decisions are transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families. For more information, visit https://www.care-net.org/