All across Mississippi, pro-life advocates are ramping up efforts to help mothers and babies in need.

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Dobbs v. Jackson, Mississippi and 13 other states now protect unborn babies by banning or strictly limiting abortions, and more are trying to do the same. As a result, researchers estimate tens of thousands of unborn babies are being saved from abortion.

In Mississippi alone, approximately 5,000 more babies are expected to be born this year, according to Christianity Today. But the state also has a high poverty rate and low access to maternal and infant health care, and pro-life advocates have made those needs a big focus of their work post-Roe.

“We’re going to take a state like Mississippi—a state that gets picked on by the media and pop culture—and we’re going to make it the champion of hope and life, hospitality and generosity,” Anja Baker told Christianity Today.

Baker leads Her Plan in Mississippi, an organization that works to meet the needs of pregnant mothers who are considering abortions and help them choose life for their babies. A project of SBA Pro-Life America, Her Plan connects women with local organizations and churches that provide everything from financial support to legal assistance to child care.

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A 27-year-old mother to a child with special needs, Baker told the magazine that she understands life is not easy, and pregnant mothers are facing very real challenges. But she said she also feels encouraged to see so many pro-lifers stepping up to help families.

“There are so many people doing so many things,” she said. “It’s a completely opposite narrative from the one that ‘there’s nobody and there’s nothing.’ I think the Enemy wants us to feel isolated when we’re in crisis.”

In Mississippi alone, Baker said there are at least 140 churches and organizations that provide support for pregnant mothers in need.

Betty Hodge, who works at a Center for Pregnancy Choices in Jackson, told Christianity Today that churches are getting more involved, too.

Hodge runs a chapter of Embrace Grace, an organization that helps churches support and encourage pregnant and parenting families, often by organizing baby showers and offering child care and other services to mentor and surround the family with love.

“It’s really to come alongside women and see where they’re at and do a mentorship and just invite them into your life,” she explained.

Here’s more from the interview:

At the same time, Christians have to learn to put aside middle-class concerns about respectability that they’re used to, Hodge said, if they’re going to be pro-life like this.

“You have to be ready for the f-bomb to come out of a mouth,” Hodge tells the women she meets at evangelical churches. “You’ve got to be ready for someone to come in here in a short, short skirt.”

But by loving and supporting these women, she said churches can truly help change and save lives.

“We can help women keep their babies,” Hodge said. “We can really help women and help children.”

Mississippi is not alone. Pro-life advocates all across the country are working to expand support for pregnant and parenting families, both through legislative and community-based initiatives.

Some are working to expand Medicaid for new mothers, create tax credits for unborn babies and expand workplace accommodations (paid parental leave, flexible hours) for parents. Others are opening and expanding pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and other community-based charities that walk alongside struggling women and babies locally, providing material support, information, counseling and more.

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