Friends of Life initiative to unite Ky. Baptists in efforts to end elective abortion

By TESSA REDMOND, Kentucky Today

The Kentucky Baptist Convention is launching an initiative to mobilize Kentucky Baptists to support pregnant women and speak up for the unborn.

“We stand behind the Bible’s affirmation that all human life is created in the image of God, and as God’s people, we are called to stand up for the sanctity of life,” said Jim Ewing, pastor of First Baptist Church Calvert City. “This includes the unborn, their parents and the support systems that provide physical and spiritual care for those dealing with unplanned pregnancies and those who are dealing with the aftermath of past abortions.” 

The KBC’s Public Affairs Committee began work on the initiative during the summer of 2020.

A resolution of the 2020 KBC Annual Meeting came from the committee’s discussion, and after it was passed at the meeting in November, the formation of the Friends of Life Kentucky Advisory Council began.

The council is composed of pregnancy care center directors, public health care professionals, Kentucky Baptist leaders and local pastors like Ewing,  many of whom have experience working as advocates for life.

Months of prayerful strategizing birthed the Friends of Life Kentucky initiative, which aims to raise awareness of the issues that threaten the sanctity of life, develop ways for believers to advocate on behalf of the unborn and provide opportunities for churches and individuals to take action in promoting the welfare and protection of the unborn.

“Unborn children are unable to speak for themselves so we must use our voice to defend their life,” said Todd Gray, executive director-treasurer of the KBC. “While we are defending the unborn, we also want to care well for those who are considering abortion or who have participated in an abortion.”

While Friends of Life Kentucky will focus on awareness, advocacy and action in KBC churches, the ultimate goal is an end to elective abortion in the state.

Crisis pregnancy care centers play an instrumental role in this effort.

“It’s exciting to me, as an executive director of a pregnancy/family care center, to hear those in leadership realize there is a gap on the issue of abortion, crisis pregnancy and the church’s involvement,” said Nicole Farley, executive director of Hope Unlimited Family Care Center—one of nearly 50 crisis pregnancy centers that partner with the KBC. “When the KBC brings life issues into the light, we are able to put action to our mission and truly shine bright into a very dark world.” 

Ewing said more study is needed as the initative unfolds.

“We’re in the initial stages of creating an attitudes and perspectives survey that will help us better understand the issues and concerns among Kentucky Baptists,” he said. “We’re looking at an initiative to create stronger partnerships between pregnancy care centers and local churches and the development of a training resource to deal with both fact and fiction regarding the issue of abortion that we hope to make available to all Kentucky Baptist churches.” 

Friends of Life Kentucky is also planning to provide regional conferences where participants can learn more about issues related to the sanctity of life. Another initiative is the active support of House Bill 91, a proposed Kentucky constitutional amendment stating that there would be no constitutional right to abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade were overturned. The amendment will be on the general election ballot in November 2022.

Though these efforts are still in the early planning stages, KBC churches can take steps to advocate and act right now, Gray said.

“Pray daily for legalized abortion to be abolished in Kentucky, in America and in the world,” he said. “Advocate for the unborn by letting the elected leaders in your area know that you support them when they stand for the unborn. Extend grace and compassion to those who have made this choice by sharing the hope of forgiveness found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Ewing said his prayer is that these efforts lead to the end of abortion.

“Looking forward to the days ahead, it’s our prayer that God will not only bless our efforts but that He might let us be a part of an effort that will one day see abortion ended throughout the nation,” he said.

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