Above: Benjamin and Kirsten Watson join the ERLC’s Elizabeth Graham, left, and Cindy Coggin-Hughes, right, center director, with the ultrasound machine the Watsons donated in partnership with the Psalm 139 Project to Coweta Pregnancy Services in Newnan, Ga.
NEWNAN, Ga. (BP)—Former National Football League (NFL) player Benjamin Watson and his wife have collaborated for the third time with the Southern Baptist Convention’s ethics entity to provide an ultrasound machine for the benefit of women in crisis pregnancies.
Benjamin and Kirsten Watson attended May 27 a dedication for an ultrasound machine they donated to Coweta Pregnancy Services in Newnan, Ga., through the Psalm 139 Project, a ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). The Watsons provided funds for both the machine and the staff training required to operate it.
The Watsons partnered with Psalm 139 in the placement of an ultrasound machine during the 2018 football season at a clinic in New Orleans, where he played for the NFL’s Saints. They also donated a machine through Psalm 139 in 2020 at a pregnancy resource center in Rock Hill, S.C. Watson, who played at the University of Georgia, was a tight end for four NFL different teams from 2004 to 2019.
“After seeing our preborn children through ultrasound technology, we knew we wanted to provide this life-affirming opportunity to other expecting mothers and fathers,” the Watsons said in a written statement provided to Baptist Press (BP).
“As Georgia residents, we are excited to partner with the Psalm 139 Project once again to support men and women in our area who are making decisions for life,” they said. “We are grateful for pregnancy resource centers like this one, who provide essential services and life-saving care. It is a joy to stand with them.”
Elizabeth Graham, the ERLC’s vice president of operations and life initiatives, told BP in written comments, “Benjamin and Kirsten Watson are friends as well as pro-life allies, and I’m so thankful they continue to partner with us in this work.
“Ultrasound machines open a window to the womb, and, at the ERLC, we are so grateful that Southern Baptists give us the opportunity to place these life-saving machines in pregnancy centers across the country,” said Graham, who also participated in the dedication ceremony.
Ultrasound technology has proved to be a vital tool for pregnancy resource centers in their ministry to women considering abortion. The sonogram images of their unborn children have helped many women choose to give birth. The need for ultrasound and other services provided by pregnancy resource centers likely will increase if the U.S. Supreme Court overrules the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in an opinion expected before it adjourns this summer.
Through Psalm 139, the ERLC has now placed or committed to centers to place 36 ultrasound machines toward its goal of 50 placements between December 2020 and January 2023. The 50th anniversary of the Roe ruling that legalized abortion throughout the United States will be Jan. 22 of next year.
Since 2004, the Psalm 139 Project has helped place ultrasound equipment at centers in 17 states. In September 2021, the project made its first international placement in Northern Ireland. All gifts to the Psalm 139 Project go toward machines and training, since the ERLC’s administrative costs are covered by the Cooperative Program, the SBC’s unified giving plan.
Cindy Coggin-Hughes, director of Coweta Pregnancy Services, said in written comments, “We are so very humbled and grateful to the ERLC and the Watson family for this incredibly generous gift! This new ultrasound machine will allow us to show families facing an unplanned pregnancy that their tiny baby that God has created and is knitting together in the mother’s womb has a beating heart and is indeed a human being.
“More than 80 percent of women considering abortion choose LIFE for their baby after their ultrasound exam. To God be the glory for this invaluable tool!”
Coweta Pregnancy Services has served Newnan, which is less than 40 miles southwest of Atlanta, and a nine-county area for more than 36 years. The new ultrasound machine provided through the Watsons’ donation replaces one that had been in use for 15 years.
In addition to ultrasound testing, the center provides pregnancy tests, counseling, pregnancy and parenting classes, as well as material assistance. The center sees more than 1,500 clients each year and presents a Bible to and shares the Gospel of Jesus with each one.
Coweta Pregnancy Services is located on the campus of Newnan, Ga., First, where ERLC trustee Jimmy Patterson is minister of biblical and theological research.
Watson, who has spoken at the annual Evangelicals for Life (EFL) conference hosted by the ERLC, received EFL’s Pro-life Public Service Award in 2018.
The Watsons, who participate in multiple efforts to support vulnerable people, started the One More Foundation in 2008 to spread “the love and hope of Christ to One More soul by meeting real needs, promoting education and providing enrichment opportunities through charitable initiatives and partnerships.”
Information on the Psalm 139 Project and how to donate is available at psalm139project.org.