By Joseph Schmidt
Roe vs Wade has been overturned, and across the country churches are unsure of what comes next and how they can be best prepared.
The reversing of Roe vs Wade doesn’t put an end to people getting pregnant unexpectedly.
Taking the following three steps will ensure that your church is prepared to serve in this new, post-Roe era.
#1: Speak with empathy
Your congregation needs you to say something. I’m not talking about taking a political stance or telling your congregation how to vote. I’m asking you to talk about the issue in an empathetic way, and letting your church know that it is a safe, supportive place for women in an unplanned pregnancy.
There are myriad reasons that women choose abortion, from socio-economic reasons to pressure from a boyfriend or parents, all the way to the unspoken pressure they feel from their church community. In fact, according to Care Net, 4 out of 10 abortions take place with women who were regularly attending church. These aren’t people who show up on Easter and Christmas; the study shows that they were attending weekly, but they felt like the church wasn’t a safe place to talk about their situation.
Your church needs you to acknowledge unplanned pregnancies. They need to know that your church is a safe place to talk about any of life’s issues, and they need to know that despite the circumstances, babies will always be celebrated and showered in love at your church.
Also, remember that those statistics mean that there are people in your church who have had abortions, and are living in shame. They need to know that God’s forgiveness applies to them and their abortion, and that there is hope and healing available to them.
Want to preach on this issue and you’re not sure where to start? Check out this Quick Reference Guide on Abortion and the Church for help getting started.
#2: Be the solution
Now is the time for your church to be known for its love and service to your community! Overwhelmingly, women choose abortion because of three things:
- Financial crisis
- They are pressured into the decision by others
- They don’t want to change their lifestyle
How can your church be the solution in one or several of these areas? How can you help alleviate her fears, and offer hope and real support? Think about how you can highlight families in your community who are adoptive or foster parents, and how you can inspire other families to do the same.
There are myriad reasons that women choose abortion, from socio-economic reasons to pressure from a boyfriend or parents, all the way to the unspoken pressure they feel from their church community. In fact, according to Care Net, 4 out of 10 abortions take place with women who were regularly attending church.
One helpful resource is the Start Course from Save the Storks. This 2 ½ hour video course is like a CPR course for pro-life ministry, and it trains your congregation on the reasons women facing an unplanned pregnancy choose abortion, and how they can effectively alleviate her fears and connect her to the help that she needs. The Start Course is launching in September 2022, and you can sign up at www.startcourse.org/ce.
#3: Connect with local resources
Here’s some good news: your church doesn’t need to be the answer for everything.
Chances are good that there are local resources you can connect with that serve women in an unplanned pregnancy, like your local Pregnancy Resource Center. Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs), formerly called crisis pregnancy centers, help supply women in an unplanned pregnancy with free counseling, healthcare services, and free parenting resources like formula and diapers so she feels equipped to make a healthy, life-affirming decision.
There are more than 3,000 PRCs across the country. If a simple Google search doesn’t yield results, you can check the databases at HeartbeatInternational.org or Care-net.org to find one close to you. PRCs often work on a shoe-string budget; they need support, prayers and donations to continue to supply life-saving resources free of charge.
This is a moment like we have never experienced in our lifetime, and the church needs to be ready to serve like never before. Let’s use this moment to rise up and be known by our love!
Joseph Schmidt is the Director of Church Programs & Partnerships at Save the Storks. Over the past 17 years, Schmidt has served in several capacities across the Church, including Worship Pastor, Church Administrator, and even Finance Manager. He now loves helping equip and inspire the church to reach and serve women in an unplanned pregnancy with Save the Storks.
Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and organization represented.