Pregnancy resource centers (PRC) in Kentucky are requesting prayer as numerous pro-life ministries across the United States have become victims of vandalism and arson after a Supreme Court draft decision leaked in May indicated the high court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Pregnancy centers in New York, Virginia, Texas, Oregon and Maryland, a Catholic church in Colorado and a pro-life, pro-family advocacy group in Wisconsin were among those targeted.
For Jared Marshall, executive director of Marsha’s Place in Henderson, recent spikes in violence and vandalism towards pro-life ministries is hitting close to home. A pregnancy resource center in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina was also vandalized on the night of June 6. Assailants broke windows and spray-painted “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you!” and “NO FORCED BIRTHS” on the outside of the building.
While Marshall has only been in his position for 10 months, he said safety “was never a concern.” Now Marsha’s Place is on higher alert for the safety of their staff and the community they serve.
“We are anticipating another spike in vandalism directed toward PRC ministries when the Supreme Court issues their decision on the Dobbs (v. Jackson Women’s Health) case,” Marshall added. “We’re praying that doesn’t happen, but we’re doing what we can to be prepared.”
BSideU for Life in Louisville has been targeted before and addressed security issues long before the leaked Dobbs draft stirred up abortion supporters.
“At a prior location, all phone lines coming into our building were cut one afternoon and after the repair we installed a security camera near that location as a deterrent to further vandalism,” said Monica Henderson, BSideU’s executive director.
“We have implemented other safety measures that some pregnancy centers are just now implementing in response to the attacks around the country in recent weeks,” she added.
Henderson also noted that the hope of the Gospel helps in times like these.
“Jesus spelled out in Matthew 5:11-12 that we are blessed when persecuted, when folks lie about us, or revile us, for our faith,” Henderson said. “The hope of the Gospel also reminds us that our battle is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6), and that we were not given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and discipline (2 Tim. 1:7).”
Marshall pointed to 1 Corinthians 15:58, which states: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
“The hope that we have through Christ’s death and resurrection means we’re going to continue ministering to families,” said Marshall. “We truly believe this is a work that is pleasing to the Lord, so we continue to serve, trusting that our labors will not be in vain.”
“We have to remind ourselves that our mission to the unborn, their mothers, and their fathers is based on their status as image bearers of God, and our attitude about potential (or actual) attackers, vandals, and activists is that they are image bearers, too,” Henderson added. “We don’t wish them ill; we pray for their salvation and that they would not act physically out of anger and frustration.”
Jackson Greer, who serves Hope Center in Mayfield as executive director, noted that the world of darkness hates the hope and light that the Gospel brings.
“I think we are seeing a picture of that conflict in these events,” Greer said. “We have a hope through the Gospel that Christ has won the battle and we are to stand firm and proclaim that salvation and victory.”
Greer, Henderson and Marshall shared several ways local churches can be praying for nearby pregnancy centers:
— Pray for the physical and spiritual protection of pregnancy center staff and volunteers, as well as their property.
— Pray for women facing unplanned pregnancies who call upon pregnancy centers for assistance.
— Pray that God would give staff and volunteers guidance and peace as they serve clients every day.
— Pray that the truth about pregnancy centers would be known in local communities, and that lies which claim the ministries are “anti-woman,” “judgmental,” or “fake clinics” would be ignored.
— Pray that the Supreme Court would affirm the leaked opinion and overturn Roe v. Wade.
— Pray about how your church can partner with a nearby pregnancy center to support women and their families.
Greer, Henderson and Marshall agreed that ongoing partnerships between pregnancy centers and local churches will continue to be crucial long after the Dobbs decision.
Marshall said that even if the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, thereby banning abortion in Kentucky, “the work of cultivating communities that affirm and celebrate the value of every human life as a gift from God will continue.”
“Pregnancy resource centers will be highly needed still, regardless of the outcome,” Greer added.