The Church has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to collaboration with pregnancy resource centers, according to a recent study from Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The study, conducted by Lifeway Research, indicated that increased church attendance correlates with pro-life perspectives, but those who attend say they don’t often hear about abortion on Sunday mornings. The Land Center study revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans agreed churches and religious organizations have a responsibility to increase support for women who have unwanted pregnancies if their state restricts access to abortion.

“According to those who attend, the majority of Protestant churches in the U.S. are not supporting a pregnancy resource center that exists either separately or as part of their church,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.

Other key indicators in the Lifeway study also indicate a low level of support for pregnancy centers among churches. A low percentage of those surveyed say their church has financially helped a local pregnancy resource center (16%), encouraged those in the congregation to support a center financially (14%), or encouraged the congregation to refer those with unplanned pregnancies to the center (14%); Another 11% say their church has encouraged the congregation to volunteer at a local pregnancy resource center, and 7% say the church has had a leader from the center speak at the church.

Adam W. Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the survey “clearly demonstrates how evangelical beliefs and practices, especially church attendance, translate into pro-life views.”

“This underscores the truth that the ultimate solution to this moral problem, like all moral problems, is spiritual transformation of the gospel of Jesus Christ among individuals that will eventually translate into societal changes.”

In a recent CareCast, Roland Warren and Vincent DiCaro echoed the sentiment offered by Greenway—that the ultimate solution to abortion is more church engagement; On the podcast, they discussed how abortions have actually increased since Roe was overturned and the limitations to what can be accomplished through legislation.

Discipleship through a local church was stressed as one of the key factors in reducing abortion, even making it unthinkable.

“The focus needs to be on building God’s kingdom and the great commission,” said Warren, President and CEO of Care Net.

“The church needs to mobilize to provide compassion, hope, help, and discipleship to women and men who are at risk for choosing abortion,” stated DiCaro, Care Net’s Chief Outreach Officer. “Churches can be beacons of light in their communities. Churches can be hands and feet of Christ to provide the kind of support that women and men need to choose life and then form strong God-honoring families…”

In regards to the Lifeway survey, McConnell noted that changes in abortion laws do not change the reality that a large number of women and couples (4 in 10) are not planning for the positive tests they receive. But they do not turn to the church for help.

“There is equal opportunity for all churches to point those with unintended pregnancies to help if there is a Christian pregnancy resource center nearby. Yet few churches are doing so in a way their congregation notices,” he said.

According to Lifeway, 31% of Protestant churchgoers have seen at least one type of congregational connection with those local centers since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Through its Making Life Disciples curriculum, Care Net has had remarkable success in helping churches and pregnancy centers work together in ministering to women and men considering abortion. Making Life Disciples is an easy-to-access basic training that allows churches to begin a holistic, gospel-centered approach to caring for the abortion-vulnerable.

Care Net’s perspective focuses on God’s design for family and God’s call to discipleship. If the church is successfully engaged, Roland Warren says, demand for abortion can be decreased.

“We have significant power to stem the tide of abortion,” Warren said. “[A Pro Abundant Life Movement] is our framework for making abortion unthinkable, even though it might be legal. That’s the work of the church. That’s the work of disciple makers helping people frame the life issue through the lens of discipleship.”