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Tampa Bay area churches recognize Supreme Court ruling by preaching compassion

Man in suit speaking to church congregation and piano player sits behind him
Idlewild Church livestream
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Ken Whitten, Senior Pastor at Tampa's Idlewild Baptist Church

Catholic and Baptist church leaders are challenging their members to respond to the Supreme Court ruling by helping women who are pregnant.

Churches have been at the forefront of the anti-abortion movement for decades. And many churches in the greater Tampa Bay region are speaking up about the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe V Wade.

Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg said in a statement that this wipes out quote "an abortion regime that made our nation one of the most liberal of Western democratic countries on abortion.” The diocese website highlights the court ruling, calling it a “major victory for life.”

Parkes said his parishes remain committed to ministries to help mothers facing difficult or unintended pregnancies.

Ken Whitten addresses his congregation

Ken Whitten is senior pastor of Tampa's Idlewild Baptist Church. Sunday morning, he challenged members to help those who are pregnant.

“This is no time for us as believers to be throwing our shoulders back and spiking some football here,” Whitten said. “This is a time for us - and it is really going to be a test for us - where we show compassion to those mothers. Will we love them through their pregnancy?”

Whiten added that for him, the question about life beginning at conception is a matter of faith.

“Life has never been politics. It's always been spiritual belief, all right,” he said. “This is a spiritual issue This is not a political issue.”

The Catholic Diocese of Venice serves parishes in Sarasota and Southwest Florida. It responded to the ruling by releasing information about their Pregnancy Help Centers in 22 locations, which includes nine residential maternity and after-birth homes.

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