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Care Net Launches First-Ever Program to Address Abortion in the Church

LANSDOWNE, Va., Aug. 30, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Care Net, a nonprofit ministry that supports one of the nation’s largest network of pregnancy centers, has launched Making Life Disciples, a curriculum that will equip churches to minister to women and men considering abortion.

This first-of-its-kind program is designed to give churches the training and support they need to serve those in the church and the broader community who are facing unplanned, unexpected, or unexpectedly complicated pregnancies. The program was crafted out of Care Net’s decades of experience supporting thousands of community-based pregnancy centers across North America. Making Life Disciples takes this knowledge and applies it to the unique needs of churches.

The program originated out of empirical and anecdotal evidence that churches are not proactively engaged in ministry around abortion, even though abortions are not uncommon in the church. National data, such as that produced by the Guttmacher Institute, suggests that 54% of women who have abortions identify themselves as Christians. Care Net’s own research, released in November of 2015, found that 4 in 10 women were regularly attending church at the time of their abortion. (full report available at www.care-net.org/making-life-disciples-resources)

Given the frequency of abortion in the church and the lack of specific ministries or programs in the church to address this crisis, Care Net created Making Life Disciples.

“At Care Net, we believe that ‘life decisions need life support,’ and the church is the instrument God ordained to provide life support to women, men, and families to empower them to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families,” said Roland C. Warren, president and CEO of Care Net.

This is especially true in urban areas, where there are often high concentrations of abortions and abortion providers, but few pregnancy centers. Even though Care Net currently supports a network of over 1,100 affiliated pregnancy centers across North America, relatively few of these centers are in urban areas. However, there are 350,000 churches in the United States, including many in urban communities. Making Life Disciples will mobilize and equip these churches to become the only life-affirming entities in their communities addressing abortion.

Additionally, even in communities with pregnancy centers, Making Life Disciples will create a bridge between those centers – which are set up for short-term support – and local churches, which are designed to provide long-term discipleship.

Additionally, while pregnancy centers primarily reach women and men who are not regular church attenders, Making Life Disciples is designed to reach those inside the church who may be unable or unwilling to visit a local pregnancy center, but are still in need of help with their pregnancy decision. Through providing such help, the church can then act as a conduit to the local pregnancy centers, who can continue to provide unique services such as free ultrasounds.

Dr. Tony Evans, Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX understands the unique role the church must play in ministering to abortion-minded women and men. “The pastor of a local church must somewhat view himself as a thermostat that sets the atmosphere and the temperature for how the church functions, particularly when it relates to people who are caught in circumstances such as unplanned pregnancies,” Evans said in a video produced for the curriculum.

Making Life Disciples is a comprehensive, six-part DVD curriculum, supplemented by printed leaders’ and participants’ guides. The sessions – such as “Pregnancy: Facing the Unknown,” “Connection, Communication, and Compassion,” and “Life-Affirming Alternatives” – are delivered by seasoned professionals of the family strengthening and pregnancy center movements, such as Roland C. Warren, Linda Cochrane, Cynthia Wenz, Ryan Bomberger, Jeanneanne Maxon, and Eric Scalise, Ph.D.

Regarding the plan for the program, Mary Chapman, Care Net’s Director of Church Outreach and Engagement, said, “Care Net will work through denominations, individual churches, ministry networks, and its network of pregnancy centers with the goal of equipping 1,000 churches with Making Life Disciples by 2020.”

“Because this is an issue of life, and God is the author of life, then we must be in life-related issues. For us it’s a priority and it should be a priority for any pastor concerned about comprehensive ministry,” said Dr. Evans in another curriculum video.

More information and supporting resources are available at makinglifedisciples.org and the program can be purchased at store.care-net.org/for-churches.

Founded in 1975, Care Net supports one of the largest networks of pregnancy centers in North America and runs the nation’s only real-time call center providing pregnancy decision coaching. Acknowledging that every human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection, Care Net offers compassion, hope, and help to anyone considering abortion by presenting them with realistic alternatives and Christ-centered support through its life-affirming network of pregnancy centers, organizations, and individuals. Learn more at www.care-net.org.

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Supreme Court Sends ‘Ominous’ Religious Freedom Signal, NRB Says

WASHINGTON (NRB) – National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is deeply disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday not to grant a hearing to Stormans v. Wiesman, a case challenging pharmacy rules tailored by the state of Washington to discriminate against those with religious objections to abortion. NRB agrees with dissenting Justice Samuel Alito that “this case is an ominous sign.”

“This week the same five Supreme Court justices who yesterday rejected Texas’ common-sense health and safety regulations on abortion providers and one year ago used legal gymnastics to impose a radical understanding of marriage on the nation again show they are willing to bend or ignore the U.S. Constitution to appease liberal elites,” stated Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB. “In this case, these justices seem not to think worthy of a hearing a well-grounded case based on the Bill of Rights’ guarantee of the freedom to believe and live in accordance with deeply held religious beliefs. Justice Alito is right — the apparent takeaway here is that ‘those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.’”

In this case, Ralph’s Thriftway, a family-owned business, sought relief from a Washington state regulation that outlawed conscience-motivated referrals from one pharmacy to another for the dispensation of an abortifacient known as the “Morning After Pill.” This rule, strong-armed into effect in 2007 by then-Governor Christine Gregoire (D) with the help of Planned Parenthood, was also opposed by the American Pharmacists Association among other pharmacy groups. Notably, the state allows referrals for numerous other business and convenience reasons.

The pharmacists were victorious in the U.S. District Court on grounds that the rule violated the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision in favor of the state.

Among notable quotes from Justice Alito’s dissent, in which he was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas:

“There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for—or that they actually serve—any legitimate purpose. And there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State.”
“The dilemma this creates for the Stormans family and others like them is plain: Violate your sincerely held religious beliefs or get out of the pharmacy business.”
“The bottom line is clear: Washington would rather have no pharmacy than one that doesn’t toe the line on abortifacient emergency contraceptives. Particularly given the State’s stipulation that ‘facilitated referrals do not pose a threat to timely access’ to such drugs, … it is hard not to view its actions as exhibiting hostility toward religious objections.”

Notably, attorneys for NRB member Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) were lead counsel for the pharmacists in this case.

About NRB
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a nonpartisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to advance biblical truth; to promote media excellence; and to defend free speech. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members. Learn more at http://www.nrb.org.

About the NRB Convention
The annual NRB International Christian Media Convention is the largest nationally and internationally recognized event dedicated solely to assist those in the field of Christian communications. The dynamic Exposition consists of around 200 companies and is an active marketplace for those seeking tools and services to expand their organizations. The next Convention, Proclaim 17, will be held at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Fla., February 27-March 2, 2017. For more information, go to http://www.nrbconvention.org.

CMA Doctors Lament Supreme Court Decision Upending Women’s Health Protections in Abortion Clinics as Ensuring ‘Back-alley Abortions’

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — The 17,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA, www.cmda.org) today lamented the Supreme Court’s 5-3 decision to overturn a lower court ruling that upheld a Texas law protecting the health of women in abortion clinics.

CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens declared in a statement, “Given the shocking revelations of abysmal health and safety deficiencies in abortion clinics around the country, the Court’s disallowance of health and safety requirements just protects what amount to back-alley abortions.

“Texas had the courage to require medically appropriate measures to protect women in abortion clinics, where state investigations had uncovered gross negligence and health hazards. The Supreme Court today upended those reasonable, medically necessary safety and health protections in favor of abortion ideology.

“We hear over and over the abortion mantra, ‘safe, legal and rare.’ But with over a million abortions a year and courts preventing even modest health and safety regulations, abortion is only legal-not at all safe or rare.”

An amicus brief filed in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt for CMA by Alliance Defending Freedom highlighted the state’s interest in protecting women’s health by passing reasonable protections that rationally relate to health risks: “Texas’ law appropriately expresses Texas’s constitutional interest in safeguarding women’s health and maintaining medical standards. The Ambulatory surgical center requirements rationally relate to Texas’s legitimate interest in upholding consistent standards for outpatient abortion providers. The admitting privileges requirement rationally relates to Texas’s legitimate interest in regulating outpatient abortion.”

CMA Executive Vice President Dr. Gene Rudd, an obstetrician-gynecologist, added, “Surgical and drug-induced abortion carry significant risks to the mother that require timely care and continuity of care. The way to ensure adequate care when abortion complications occur is to require that the physician who performed the procedure that resulted in the complication be able to assure rapid treatment of the patient. That needs to be done in a medical facility properly equipped to care for these types of surgical emergencies.”

As CMA’s brief noted, “That is exactly why ambulatory surgical facilities require admitting privileges for physicians performing surgery comparable to elective abortion, and exactly why Texas needs this law to ensure the health and safety of women undergoing both medical and surgical abortion.”

Marist Poll: 57% Say Limit Abortion to Cases of Rape, Incest, or Saving a Mother’s Life

Survey shows majority of “pro-choice” supporters now favor a number of abortion restrictions

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (57 percent) say abortion should be limited to – at most – cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Even a quarter of those who identify as “pro-choice” agree. The data was included in the results of a survey by The Marist Poll released this week in Washington.

The survey also found that majorities of pro-choice Americans support substantial restrictions on abortion. Americans as a whole – and pro-life Americans –support restrictions at even higher rates.

Two-thirds of pro-choice Americans would support limiting abortion to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy. The view is shared by 8 in 10 Americans overall (81 percent). More than 6 in 10 pro-choice Americans (62 percent) and a similar number of Americans overall (61 percent) would ban abortion after 20 weeks, except to save the life of the mother. And more than half of those who identify as pro-choice would ban taxpayer funding of abortion, a view shared by 68 percent of Americans overall.

“The idea that those who say they are pro-choice believe abortion should not be substantially restricted simply doesn’t match reality. The data clearly show that there is a consensus in this country in favor of significant abortion restrictions, and that this consensus includes a majority of those who say they are pro-choice,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. “We need a conversation that reflects the reality of this unity instead of the fiction that the label means something it does not.”

Additionally, 77 percent of Americans, including 71 percent of those who are pro-choice, say that laws can protect both a mother and her unborn child.

By a 25-point margin, Americans (55 to 30 percent) say abortion ultimately does a woman more harm than good. Even about 1 in 4 who identify as pro-choice (27 percent) also share this view.

Six in 10 Americans (60 percent), say abortion is “morally wrong.” One-third of pro-choice Americans agree (33 percent).

There was almost no difference in the responses between women and men.

The survey of 1,686 adults was conducted Nov. 15-22, 2015, by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed in English and Spanish by telephone using live interviewers. Results for adults are statistically significant within ±2.4 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.

For more details about the survey results and methodology, visit kofc.org/polls.

Indiana’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program Assists Over 10,000 Women and Lowers Abortion

Jan. 21, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Since November 2014, Indiana’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program has served 11,036 clients at 24,162 support service visits in Indiana. The taxpayer-funded program exists to offer women counseling and mentoring support as an alternative to abortion.

Real Alternatives is the statewide administrator for the program. Kevin Bagatta, President and CEO of Real Alternatives said, “Thanks to this state program, Indiana women who are alone and facing an unexpected pregnancy have another person to assist them which empowers them to overcome obstacles and pressures so they can choose life for their preborn baby.” Real Alternatives uses a growing network of 19 pregnancy support centers and social service agencies in Indiana to provide caring, compassionate, and trained counselors who offer free pregnancy support and parenting education services to women.

In the program’s first fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, 8,737 women from 47 counties were provided comprehensive counseling, mentoring, education, and support services for up to nine (9) months of pregnancy and twelve (12) months after the birth of their baby. The northern regional pilot program received funding of $1.0 million that fiscal year through the Indiana State Department of Health. The Program’s administrative cost ratio, including start-up, was a very low 8.12%. Due to its rapid success, the Program has been increased to $3.5 million to provide services statewide to Indiana women.

In July 2015, the Indiana State Department of Health reported that the number of resident abortions performed in Indiana in the year 2014 rose slightly to 7,621 from the previous year. Real Alternatives Vice President, Thomas Lang pointed out, “With the difficult economic times we have experienced the last couple of years, comes increased pressure to abort. For women who come to our Program pressured by others to abort, 87% no longer consider abortion after receiving services in our Program.”

Real Alternatives has been providing life-affirming pregnancy support services for 20 years in Pennsylvania. That high performance and fiscally accountable program has assisted over 260,000 women in need who sought out the Program’s services.

Its not surprising that Real Alternatives has assisted 12 other states with starting taxpayer-funded programs to reach out to women facing unexpected pregnancies in their states. Real Alternatives administers statewide Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Programs in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan. Women in those states can receive services by going to

www.realalternatives.org/PressKit/Video-PACrowd.htm or by calling 1-888-LIFE-AID.