According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 619,591 abortions occurred in 2018 from the 49 reporting areas of the United States, with the total number of abortions and abortion rate increasing by 1% and abortion ratio increasing by 2% from 2017 to 2018. Furthermore, the Charlotte Lozier Institute analyzed 38 states and reported in 2018 that the “increase in abortions was concentrated in states that tend to be permissive of abortion,” with a 4% increase in 13 permissive states.
The Guttmacher Institute announced Arkansas represents 0.4% of abortions in the U.S. with 3,200 abortions performed in 2017 and a 30% decline in the abortion rate from 2014 to 2017. Although the conversation of abortion continues to grow in U.S. politics, one new ministry seeks to turn the partisan subject into an opportunity to share the gospel and empower single mothers.
Embrace is a new Christian Ambassadors United for Service and Evangelism (CAUSE) ministry at John Brown University that seeks to “lov[e] women and the unborn by sharing the truth about abortion educate and equip students on the pro-life view [while] keeping the gospel at the center.” The ministry wants to aid young mothers by providing them resources and volunteering to take care of their children. Ultimately, “Embrace seeks to provide truth and love,” through their activities, awareness and prayer groups.
Leah Scott, sophomore elementary education major, is the leader of Embrace. Scott always wanted to become more knowledgeable about the pro-life movement, create awareness for this cause and defend the view properly. She explained that her desire to learn more came from learning about Apologetics in high school, then joining a prayer group in the Spring 2020 semester, which inspired her to create a ministry. Scott repeated the ministry’s mantra of remaining “gospel centered,” and “being [able] to defend your view with truth and love.”
In a meeting held on Wednesday, Scott explained the ministry as aiding women with their babies, raising awareness, scheduling speakers and hosting events about the topic. She stated that Embrace plans to hold prayer groups, volunteer at pregnancy homes, donate and fundraise for these centers and host informational sessions about the pro-life movement.
Emerson Turner, sophomore biology major at JBU, believes this ministry will help greater awareness on campus about the topic of abortion and excited to attend pregnancy centers to help, comfort and love women who are considering an abortion.
Jesse Huisjen, sophomore biology major at JBU, stated this ministry is a “good thing,” for JBU and he looks forward to raising awareness and fostering discussion about this topic.
Lilly Flowers, freshman Spanish and business management major, grew up in a secular community and did not know enough to defend the pro-life argument when she was confronted with it. “I am just really interested because I want to be better informed about [the topic],” she said.
“Pursuing this movement as a ministry is going to help with [the integration of faith and politics],” Abigail Lawler, freshman communications and psychology major, stated, “being able to work in that way to glorify God, in that way, is beautiful.”
Sarah Grace Cornell, sophomore political science major, co-founded this ministry through conversation and creating the initial prayer group in Spring 2020, which Scott joined and sparked their inspiration to create a CAUSE ministry behind this movement. Overall, Cornell proudly said she is excited for “all of it.”
James Patrick, sophomore outdoor leadership ministries, stated, “this is an important topic that is not talked about as much in a university setting [and] I’m looking forward to learn more about this personally also spreading awareness.”
Although Scott acknowledges this topic is heavily related to politics and been approached by some organizations to collaborate, she states, “I want people to come and see it not as a Republican [issue] … I don’t want it to be attached that way.” She continued, “As a ministry, my intentions with this … is to stay out of that … it is to empower people about this … [and] see God’s heart through that.” Scott understands the partisan approach many will have when hearing about Embrace, yet she states “I want people to join and not feel hindered to a political party … [but] more about truth and … finding justice for what God holds.”
To learn more information about the ministry, go follow Embrace on Instagram @embrace_jbu.
Photo courtesy of Embrace JBU