This past Sunday, Jan 22, 2023, would have been the 50th anniversary of the Roe decision. This anniversary, however, never came to be because of June 24, 2022 and the reversal of the Roe decision. I have spent the past month visiting churches, attending meetings in DC, and discussing a post-Roe US with life-affirming leaders in and around our state, and I continue to be amazed at the tireless work of so many to get us to this place and their commitment to continue to serve and stand in the days and years to come.   

I am blessed, in my work at HOPE, to witness story after story of moms choosing life in and around difficult circumstances. I get to witness, challenge, and encourage young men to make the choice to stand up and man up to be the dad they need to be in and around difficult circumstances. These stories populate HOPE’s history as moms and dads choose their baby and their dreams. We have seen it often over the past 26 years as we provide free medical and material care for women in need. It is these stories that sustain our work, motivate us to continue on, and compel us to speak. This is why I believe the genesis of our movement and our work for life is driven and founded in what we are for…not what we are against. We are often characterized in today’s culture by what we oppose, but this characterization misses the mark as I know from firsthand experience that this movement, in fact, regardless of what our culture or detractors might argue, is grounded in the “I’m for’s” that have us speaking and advocating for life today. 

If our motivations are prompted by what we are against we will surely flame out, fail, or tire. However, when we are prompted by the “I’m for’s” we will find a movement that sustains, inspires, and succeeds. That is what we witnessed over the past 50 years here in Knoxville, across Tennessee, and all over the country. We came together to march, speak out, lobby, and call for life to be celebrated. This found its culmination on June 24 with the overturning of Roe, but this celebration never would have happened without the “I’m for’s!” 

So…how is this “I’m for” mindset put in practice? Might I suggest a simple exercise for you? I recently spent some time pondering this question and my mind was flooded with a host of “I’m for’s.” This exercise was freeing, motivating, and encouraging as I contemplated our work in this next chapter of the life movement. I hope the list below will encourage and challenge you as you think through your own list of “I’m for’s.”

I’m for erring on the side of life

I’m for women

I’m for men

I’m for moms and dads

I’m for babies pre-birth and post-birth

I’m for laws that are just and provide protection for the most vulnerable in our society

I’m for life

I’m for abundant life

I’m for that young family in Knoxville that came here from another country searching for an education and a better life and find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy

I’m for that young man scared out of his mind about being a dad but is stepping up anyway and attending dad’s class

I’m for that young lady that felt pressured by the abortion lobby to end her pregnancy, but relief when Roe fell and she found freedom and chose life

I’m for that mom that chose adoption for her child

I’m for that mom that realizes she can, in fact, have her baby and her dreams

I’m for a robust life ethic that doesn’t pit a mom against her baby

I’m for that business owner that celebrates family and prioritizes resources that allows for families to flourish

I’m for the Church that promotes and participates in adoption and fostering

I’m for adoptive families

I’m for birth moms

I’m for pregnancy centers that serve moms in need

I’m for doctors and nurses that give of their time to serve those same moms in need

I’m for businessmen and women that mentor moms and dads in our community

I’m for communities that foster environments that celebrate families

I’m for a foster care system that works

I’m for laws that do the same

I’m for legislators that stay true to their word and stand firm on life

I’m for political leaders that choose to do the right thing no matter what 

I’m for politicians that are driven by conviction and not the next election

I’m for legislators being held accountable for promises made on the campaign trail

I’m for laws that protect life and don’t get watered down 

I’m for life from womb to tomb

I’m for a society where abortion is unthinkable

I’m for revival 

I’m for families

I’m for a culture that promotes life, a Knoxville that prioritizes life, and a Tennessee that isn’t afraid to lead on the issue of life

I could go on and on, but I will stop here. I pray we choose to lead in this moment and in this time. When is the right time to do the right thing? Well, the answer is pretty simple…right now; yesterday, today, and forever! I pray that the “I’m for’s” will drive us, our leaders, and ultimately our country to a place that would place the proper value and protection around life and the unborn…the most vulnerable in our society. 

posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director