Sanctity of Human Life

Texas Baptists are pro-life.

The churches, ministry staff, and ministry partners of the convention support a clear and biblical view upholding the sanctity of human life not only for the unborn but also for women, families and all people at all life stages.

Messengers to past annual meetings have repeatedly spoken to the issue, and the ministry staff and ministry partners of the convention continue to carry out assignments in support of their views. Past actions by messengers and present actions by ministry partners and ministry staff are grounded in and consistent with Scripture.

What follows is a brief overview of Scripture, actions taken by ministry staff, ministry partners and affiliated churches, and historical actions of messengers to annual meetings that express and support the convention’s clear and biblical view upholding the sanctity of human life.

What the Bible says

It is from the Scriptures that we derive our charge to uphold the sanctity of life from conception.

All humans are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), and therefore have inherent dignity and inestimable worth. People are described in Scripture as the work of God’s hands (Eph. 2:10; Job 34:19; Isa. 29:23; 64:8), having been formed by him within the womb (Ps. 139:13-16; Job 31:15; Isa. 44:2, 24; 49:5; Jer. 1:5). Therefore, to perform an abortion on an unborn baby is to strive to undo a new and precious work of our Creator.

The Scriptures also teach us that within the womb, life is already to be recognized and valued. The biblical narrative accounts record the active personhood of Jacob and Esau, wrestling in their mother’s womb (Gen 25:22-23), as well as John the Baptist, leaping for joy in the womb at the approach of the unborn Jesus (Luke 1:41-44). To deny the personhood of the unborn, or to say that life begins “at first breath” is to ignore the truth of Scripture in this matter.

The Old Testament law provides guidelines for the hypothetical situation in which two men are fighting and a stray blow causes a pregnant woman to give birth prematurely (Ex 21:22-25). In this scenario, the life of the mother and child are considered worth protecting by placing a penalty upon the unwitting assailant if any harm has been done. If just by accident, harm to a mother and unborn baby merits just punishment, we must consider that the performing of an elective abortion would likewise be an unrighteous act in the eyes of God.

Given the worth of the unborn and the atrocity of abortion which has as its victims both the helpless child and the often vulnerable mother, mandates in the Scripture for the church to care for the single mothers (James 1:27; 1 Tim 5:16; ) and for the righteous to seek justice and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Micah 6:8; Prov 31:8-9) compel us as believers to action. We should advocate for laws that protect the mother and child, and should consider the role of the church in providing support to mothers who are in vulnerable situations that have them contemplating abortion.

Actions of ministry staff, ministry partners and affiliated churches

Texas Baptists ministry staff work in a variety of ways to support a culture of life that reflects a comprehensive and holistic affirmation of the sanctity of human life.

The Christian Life Commission (CLC), which is assigned the role of helping Texas Baptists churches and staff think more deeply and biblically about personal and social-ethical issues, produces multiple resources on the sanctity of human life.

The CLC supports a biblical, moral, and ethical respect for life and has maintained the sanctity of human life as a public policy priority in the Texas Legislature for over 20 years. Additionally, the CLC offers Texas Baptists churches a variety of resources on the sanctity of human life, ranging from hosting celebration of life events in conjunction with Sanctity of Human Life Sunday to articles, workshops, and videos discussing ethical and biblical support for upholding a culture of life. Learn more about the ongoing pro-life work of the CLC.

Many Texas Baptists churches sponsor crisis pregnancy centers, which provide Christ-centered pregnancy testing, prenatal care and counseling in areas of finance, adoption and abortion alternatives, making referrals to residential crisis pregnancy and birthing centers where available. Texas Baptists offers affiliated churches special grant opportunities for ministries that support mothers and families and also offers networking opportunities with faith-based organizations that help local churches support women and children in need.

Texas Baptists Human Care ministry partners provide critical services supporting a culture of life across Texas. These partners serve on the front line of pro-life efforts in Texas, offering foster care and adoption services, medical support, and family resources for millions of Texans.

Historical actions of messengers to past annual meetings

1998: Messengers to the annual meeting expressed support for legislation that would require parental consent 48 hours before any abortion could be performed on a minor child. Messengers to the annual meeting also resolved that Baptists teach our children the values and biblical mandate of chastity before marriage, the sanctity of life and the tragedy and sin of elective abortion.

1997: Messengers to the annual meeting approved a motion to condemn partial birth abortion.

1996: Messengers to the annual meeting urged Texas Baptists to continue to publicly oppose any type of abortion as a means of birth control.

1991: Messengers to the annual meeting urged Texas Baptists to oppose the practice of elective abortion and to communicate effectively the biblical instructions concerning sexual responsibility and sanctity of life.

1986: Messengers to the annual meeting encouraged all Texas Baptist institutions, cooperating churches and members to work diligently to support counseling, housing, adoption placement services and appropriate health care for women in crisis pregnancy, emphasizing a reconciled relationship with Jesus Christ.

1982: Messengers to the annual meeting repeated the previous resolution and also resolved to support legislation that would prohibit the practice of infanticide.

1980: Messengers to the annual meeting reaffirmed the view of Scripture on the sacredness and dignity of all human life, both born and unborn, and supported legislation prohibiting abortion except to save the life of the mother or in cases of incest or rape.