fcf76f78aff9193ff56412c4e229558aJan. 22 marks the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic and horrific Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand in America. Southern Baptists won’t be celebrating, though.

Instead, they can celebrate the fact that due to hundreds of crisis (Hope) pregnancy centers across the United States supported by SBC churches, an estimated 3,500 babies were spared from abortion during 2007. Additionally, some 5,000 women accepted Christ because pregnancy center staff members shared the Gospel with them.

Through October 2007 -the period through which exact statistics were available -almost 94,000 clients had received counseling and free services from the centers; center staff had shared the Gospel with 28,000 girls and women; and almost 2,700 Southern Baptist volunteers were trained to present the Gospel to center clients.

In 2007, volunteers at the three Hope Pregnancy Centers of the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children ministered to 3,559 clients, 54 of whom made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Today, 212 infants are alive because their mothers chose life for them through the efforts of those volunteers, who donated 8,935 hours of time during the year.

“One of the most effective tools for combating the abortion clinics is the local crisis or Hope pregnancy center,” said Elaine Ham, national consultant for pregnancy care ministries for the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, Ga., and formerly a pregnancy center director in South Carolina for eight years before coming to NAMB.

“Since 1973, more than 3,000 such pregnancy centers (SBC and non-SBC) have opened to provide alternatives to abortion and to meet the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of women and men whose lives have been touched by abortion.”

Hundreds of these centers are supported by local Southern Baptist churches and 222 are affiliated with NAMB’s pregnancy care ministries.

“While crisis pregnancy centers have certainly made a difference in the number of abortions performed annually, the numbers (of abortions) are still alarmingly high,” Ham said. “Few people realize that in the United States, one out of three pregnancies ends in abortion. Most people also don’t realize that abortion is legal for the entire nine months of the pregnancy.”

Pregnancy center clients, Ham said, range from 12-year-old girls who think they might be pregnant to 50-year-old women who had abortions as teenagers and still suffer the emotional scars of post-abortion syndrome.

“Some come to the centers simply to get diapers for their newborns while others mistakenly think they are at the abortion clinic,” Ham said. “Whatever the reason for the visit, they all share a common need-the loving touch of Jesus Christ. Above all else, that’s what our pregnancy centers provide.

Jan. 20 has been designated as “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” by the Southern Baptist Convention. That Sunday is observed annually on the closest Sunday to the Jan. 22 anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, and is a day for pro-life sermons, Bible studies and promotion of adoption.

Since the Roe vs. Wade decision handed down by the Supreme Court in 1973, nearly 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States. More than a million American women and girls will have an abortion this year.

Worldwide, about 46 million abortions occur each year, or about 126,000 abortions a day, according to the pro-choice Alan Guttmacher Institute.

For more information about Hope Pregnancy Centers in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, call 405/942-4628.

For more about the Southern Baptist position on abortion, visit www.erlc.com, the Web site for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.