Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission to Place 7 Ultrasound Machines at Pregnancy Resource Centers in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (BP) — 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 Monday (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.

The grant 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.”

Elizabeth Graham, the ERLC’s vice president of operations and life initiatives, said Psalm 139 permits the entity “the honor of aiding pregnancy resource centers by securing ultrasound machines and providing training for their staff. For us, as Christians, we do this work because we believe, as the Psalmist writes, that every person is fearfully and wonderfully made and known by God from the very beginning.”

The grant to the Psalm 139 Project was one of several made to non-profit organizations that provide support to individuals including women considering abortion, victims of human trafficking, children in the foster-care system and vulnerable families. In a news release, Lee’s office said the budget, which takes effect July 1, contains “strategic investments in public-private partnerships, non-profit organizations, and external partners to support Tennesseans’ top priorities without growing government.”

Other non-profits that received grants in Tennessee’s budget included the pro-life outreach Human Coalition ($3 million); the anti-trafficking groups End Slavery Tennessee ($3.5 million), Her Song ($1.2 million) and Tennessee Anti-slavery Alliance ($600,000); and the pro-family, pro-child organizations Agape Child and Family Services ($500,000), Families Free Inc. ($250,000) and Isaiah 117 House ($50,000).

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Source: Baptist Press