Over 1,100 leaders in the pregnancy help community were treated to a guest appearance via video from U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who thanked those involved in pro-life pregnancy help for their work at the local level.
Speaking to attendees at the Heartbeat International 2016 Annual Conference in Atlanta—the largest conference in the organization’s 45-year history—Sen. Lankford said he considers those who are part of the 2,500 pregnancy help centers and medical clinics, plus maternity homes and nonprofit adoption agencies to be “heroes in the lives of so many children and families.”
“Thank you for what you are doing to be able to stand up for life,” Lankford, who has been a member of Congress since 2011, said. “Those of us who are in the church know full well that when we speak up for life, we’re speaking up for a child who not only cannot speak up for themselves, but who also has tremendous potential.”
Lankford gained national attention for a bold speech on the U.S. Senate floor in the wake of the Center for Medical Progress’ undercover videos revealing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the buying and selling of body parts from aborted babies in the summer of 2015.
Comparing the incongruity of angst and fury over the mistreatment of animals to the nation’s relative indifference toward aborted babies, Sen. Lankford had said it was the “ultimate irony” that so much time and energy is spent on protecting animals while overlooking the violence and inhumanity of abortion.
Sen. Lankford, who boasts a National Right to Life rating of 100 percent and earned a Masters in Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (TX), thanked conference participants for serving women and families in a God-honoring way.
“You are literally preparing the way for what God is doing in the future for the lives that are being born right now,” Lankford said. “You are also doing it in a way that expresses God’s love and compassion. These moms face tough calls, but you are walking through this with them not with condemnation, but with God’s affection. Thanks for doing the right thing in the right way, and for walking alongside these families.”
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Sen. Lankford’s recent commendation of the pregnancy help community comes five months after a U.S. Senate resolution honoring the work of pregnancy centers—which he sponsored along with 25 other Senate Republicans—was blocked from receiving unanimous support by Washington state Senator Patty Murray (D).
Prior to the resolution's introduction, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the resolution's sponsor, thanked pregnancy help organizations for their work, calling pregnancy help organization staff, volunteers and supporters "heroes" and "an inspiration."
Over the past year, Sen. Lankford has also sponsored the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, and voted in favor of The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the fall of 2015.
“From all of us in the United States Senate and the United States House who try to speak out as well with you and stand beside you, I just want to say thank you for being heroes in the lives of so many children and families,” Lankford said.
Gathering participants from all around the U.S., plus 17 additional nations with representatives from every inhabited continent, Heartbeat International's Annual Conference ran from March 29-31 and featured keynote speakers Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., Jim and Joy Pinto, long-time pregnancy help leaders Rev. John Ensor, Pastor Andy Merritt and Pat Layton, as well as film producer Leo Severino.
In addition to the keynotes and Lankford's congratulatory video, national pro-life figures Alveda King—niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—and National Black Pro-Life Coalition founder Catherine Davis made guest appearances at the three-day event.