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SBC leaders react to historic decision overturning Roe v. Wade


NASHVILLE (BP) – Southern Baptist leaders are responding to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Reactions range from jubilation to resolve to protect life on a state level.

“More lives are now protected today than yesterday. The release of the Dobbs decision marks a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates, and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years,” said Brent Leatherwood, acting president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

Leatherwood said the focus of protecting human life now shifts to the state level.

“The issue of abortion has now been turned over to the states, many of which have either implemented or are considering some of the most abhorrently permissive pro-abortion proposals ever,” he said.

In an email to students, Danny Akin, president of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave thanks for the decision, but pointed out that North Carolina is a state where abortion remains legal.

“In North Carolina, abortion is still legal, and we must continue the fight to see it outlawed in our state and other states. North Carolina has the potential of becoming a destination state for abortions. This decision makes the work of organizations like Gateway Women’s Care, Human Coalition, and others incredibly important to serve as places where women can get the right counsel and care that they need to decide to preserve life rather than end it,” Akin wrote.

Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of the Woman’s Missionary Union, reflected on the joy her family experienced in adoption and called on Southern Baptists to be more vigilant in serving pregnancy support centers in their communities.

“I have 8,499 reasons to celebrate today’s ruling. Exactly 8,499 days ago an adoption agency placed a sleeping baby in my arms. I have had 8,499 days of profound gratitude a birth mother chose life. All are image-bearers of our Creator God and are of infinite value and worth. Let us stand ready to minister to vulnerable women and children. This very day contact your Baptist Children’s Home or local crisis pregnancy center and ask, “How may I help?” she wrote in a statement to BP.

Many leaders were reminiscent of the many years of work that have been invested in the overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

“My generation was the first generation of American kids impacted by the court’s 1973 ruling. By some estimates, 20 percent of my generation and the generations to follow have been aborted. But for nearly 50 years Southern Baptists have remained united in our affirmation of the sanctity of life and in our efforts to see Roe overturned,” wrote Paul Chitwood, IMB president.

Willie McLaurin, interim SBC EC president/CEO said, “I am incredibly thankful for the steadfastness of Southern Baptist churches in holding to the Biblical value of life.”

“The Dobbs decision gets right what Roe and Casey got wrong–that there is no constitutional right to abortion,” wrote Jason Allen, president of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“This monumental victory is on par with Brown v. Board of Education as it overturns a clearly unjust ruling. Now, we must seize this opportunity to enact just laws that protect unborn human life,” said Adam W. Greenway, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president.

NAMB President Kevin Ezell called on Southern Baptists to focus on caring for families and children, “…we need to redouble our efforts to encourage adoption and foster parenting and support those who are doing that.”

Through SendRelief, Southern Baptists can provide resources for orphans and children in foster care.

The ERLC has released resources to help churches as they process the Supreme Court decision. In addition, it continues its work on the Psalm 139 Project to provide pregnancy support centers with ultrasound machines.

Newly elected SBC President Bart Barber pointed to the many years of resolutions passed at the SBC annual meeting by messengers. “These principles have motivated both our consistent support of the pro-life movement and our consistent support of crisis pregnancy centers, ministries to low-income families, foster care and adoption agencies, and other ministries of mercy to people in need,” he wrote.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, released a special edition of his daily podcast The Briefing to commemorate the historic decision.

Full statements from some SBC entity leaders and SBC President Bart Barber are below:


“More lives are now protected today than yesterday. The release of the Dobbs decision marks a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates, and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. Their commitment to uphold human dignity and justice has achieved the most significant victory in the history of the pro-life movement. 

“As this chapter comes to a close, we must understand this is not the end of our important work. The issue of abortion has now been turned over to the states, many of which have either implemented or are considering some of the most abhorrently permissive pro-abortion proposals ever. A consistent, convictional pro-life witness is needed now more than ever in state legislatures and local communities. So let us rejoice that we live in a nation where past injustices can still be corrected, as we also roll our sleeves up to save pre-born lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities.”

Brent Leatherwood
ERLC acting president


“Today is a historic day as the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs. Wade. The decision by the court in 1973 has led to the killing of almost 64,000,000 babies made in the image of God. I am incredibly thankful that the Lord has allowed this decision to happen.

This decision does not mean the end of the practice of abortion. The Court’s decision does not ban abortion but returns it to voters in each state. Therefore, the fight to see abortion come to an end is entering a new phase.

In North Carolina, abortion is still legal, and we must continue the fight to see it outlawed in our state and other states. North Carolina has the potential of becoming a destination state for abortions. This decision makes the work of organizations like Gateway Women’s Care, Human Coalition, and others incredibly important to serve as places where women can get the right counsel and care that they need to decide to preserve life rather than end it. Please pray for and support organizations like these in their vital work. One of our Trustees, Melinda Delahoyde, is the President of Gateway Women’s Care here in the RDU area and has been on the front lines for decades in the fight to see abortion come to an end.

Let us praise the Lord today for the wisdom that he granted the U.S. Supreme Court. Let us continue to pray for our state legislators around the country to make the right decision to preserve life. Let us continue to pray for and support our pregnancy centers around the nation as their work continues to be vital in the effort to persuade mothers and fathers to not take the path of abortion. Also, pray for those that have been through an abortion. I am thankful that in Christ there is both forgiveness and hope.

May King Jesus be glorified as we work to see abortion in our country come to an end.”

Danny Akin
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary president


“The Dobbs decision gets right what Roe and Casey got wrong–that there is no constitutional right to abortion. This is a major win for the pro-life movement, for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, most of all, for the unborn. We thank God for this ruling, even as we renew our efforts to advance the cause of life.”

Jason Allen
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president


“Southern Baptists rejoice at the ruling that the United States Supreme Court has delivered today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Since 1980, the Southern Baptist Convention has passed more than 20 resolutions on the question of abortion. We have consistently held these principles:

• That from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death all human beings are made in the image of God.

• That every human being is valuable and deserves to be loved and protected, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, socio-economic status, disability, intelligence, or utility to society.

• That elective abortion should be prohibited by law except in cases wherein the life of the mother is endangered by carrying the baby to term.

• That expectant mothers facing difficult circumstances deserve the love and support of the church, the community, and society.

These principles have motivated both our consistent support of the prolife movement and our consistent support of crisis pregnancy centers, ministries to low-income families, foster-care and adoption agencies, and other ministries of mercy to people in need.

As we stated just days ago in a resolution at our 2022 Annual Meeting, in a post-Roe United States, “We commit to stand with and pray for abortion-vulnerable women, to eliminate any perceived need for the horror of abortion, and to oppose Planned Parenthood and other predatory organizations or institutions who exploit vulnerable women for profit.” State-by-state, mother-by-mother, heart-by-heart, we will continue our sacred work toward this goal.”

Bart Barber
SBC president


“My generation was the first generation of American kids impacted by the court’s 1973 ruling. By some estimates, 20 percent of my generation and the generations to follow have been aborted. But for nearly 50 years Southern Baptists have remained united in our affirmation of the sanctity of life and in our efforts to see Roe overturned. I praise God for this ruling and pray that all 50 states follow its wisdom by outlawing abortion. And I pray the Lord will continue to use Southern Baptists to not only safeguard physical human life, but also to share the hope of eternal life through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Paul Chitwood
International Mission Board president


“Thank you Lord for the overturning of Roe v. Wade! Grateful for this day and for this decision!”

Jamie Dew (via Twitter)
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary president


“Today is a good day in America. As a historic board of the Southern Baptist Convention, GuideStone stands for life. I am thankful for the court’s decision announced today and am thankful that in many states abortion is no longer permitted. GuideStone’s health plans are designed for those in ministry and share the faith values and commitment to the sanctity of life that our participants hold dear. We are resolved to continue in our decades-long commitment to life.”

Hance Dilbeck
GuideStone Financial Resources president


“It’s a moment to celebrate because so many of us have worked for a prayed for it for so long. Still, we need to redouble our efforts to encourage adoption and foster parenting and support those who are doing that. Abortion will still be legal and common in many states. We must serve mothers generously and kindly so more will be encouraged to carry their babies to birth.”

Kevin Ezell 
North American Mission Board president 


“Today is the day for which pro-life citizens have prayed and worked since 1973. This monumental victory is on par with Brown v. Board of Education as it overturns a clearly unjust ruling. Now, we must seize this opportunity to enact just laws that protect unborn human life. More than ever, those who value all human life must demonstrate their commitment not merely with their words, but also by their deeds. We must urge legislators to protect the unborn, and we must provide compassionate support for women that will help them choose life. Joining with many other faithful Christians, I pray for the day when abortion will be an unthinkable option because our society truly values all human life.”

Adam W. Greenway
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president


“For nearly half a century Christians have waited for the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade. I have been encouraged by the renewed focus that values life from the womb to the tomb. I am incredibly thankful for the steadfastness of Southern Baptist churches in holding to the Biblical value of life. While we celebrate this day, we still have much work to do in reaching the world with the Gospel. As we cooperate together, we must continue to stand for life conceptually and spiritually. May this day be a marker in our generation that God is still on the throne.”

Willie McLaurin
SBC Executive Committee interim president/CEO


“Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.

Thankful to God for this historic day.”

Albert Mohler (via Twitter)
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president


“I have 8,499 reasons to celebrate today’s ruling. Exactly 8,499 days ago an adoption agency placed a sleeping baby in my arms. I have had 8,499 days of profound gratitude a birth mother chose life. All are image bearers of our Creator God and are of infinite value and worth. Let us stand ready to minister to vulnerable women and children. This very day contact your Baptist Children’s Home or local crisis pregnancy center and ask, “How may I help?”

Sandy Wisdom-Martin
National WMU executive director-treasurer

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  • Brandon Porter
    Brandon Porter serves as Associate Vice President for Convention News at the SBC Executive CommitteeRead All by Brandon Porter ›