Compiled by B&R staff
NASHVILLE — Tennessee’s governor and legislature have approved a grant that will enable the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission to place seven ultrasound machines at pregnancy resource centers in the state.
Gov. Bill Lee signed into law May 17 a $42.6 billion budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year that includes $182,900 for the Psalm 139 Project, the ERLC’s ministry to help provide ultrasound technology to pro-life pregnancy centers.
In addition, the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board provided its first ultrasound machine in April to Birth Choice in Trenton with funds from the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions.
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB, said the TBMB’s goal is to “see an ultrasound machine placed in every crisis pregnancy center supported by local Baptist churches across our state.”
Davis was appreciative of the grant given to the ERLC. “We believe that between this initiative of the ERLC and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, we could see brand new ultrasound machines in every pregnancy care center connected with a Baptist church or association within the next two or three years. Tennessee is a state where unborn citizens have a growing opportunity at life,” Davis said.
The grant to the ERLC calls for the Psalm 139 Project to identify pregnancy centers for the ultrasound machines and to place machines at those locations. Private gifts to the Psalm 139 Project will fund the training of staff members to use the technology at those centers.
Including the seven placements made possible by the state grant, the ERLC expects to place between 20 and 25 machines in Tennessee and beyond during 2021, which would be a record annual total for the project, which began in 2004.
The ERLC announced last December it would donate 10 ultrasound machines to centers in the next six months through the Psalm 139 Project. Since 2004, the Psalm 139 Project, which is funded by contributions from donors, has helped place ultrasound equipment for centers in 16 states.
The ERLC “has a long track record of placing life-saving ultrasound machines in centers that serve women and families,” Russell Moore, the ERLC’s president, said in a news release.
“We are humbled to be asked to identify clinics across Tennessee with this request and now that Gov. Lee has signed this legislation, we will do just that.”
Moore has since resigned as president of the SBC entity. B&R — This article includes reporting by Lonnie Wilkey for the B&R and Tom Strode for Baptist Press.