Robert Jackson is a family physician in Spartanburg who, for more than 30 years, has faithfully followed his mission: to promote the sanctity of human life.
A dedicated Christian and Southern Baptist, Jackson said that during his second year of family medicine residency, “God confirmed my pro-life commitment. I realized that I needed to not only speak out against abortion, but that I needed to provide meaningful, viable alternatives to abortion.” He became the driving force behind the formation of Carolina Pregnancy Center. Throughout those 30 years, he says, the crisis pregnancy center has grown to be “one of the most influential in the Southeast, if not the entire country.” Jackson was also instrumental in the founding of three other crisis pregnancy centers.
Today, the Spartanburg center sees more than 1,200 clients and averages 100 professions of faith each year. Jackson continues to speak at crisis pregnancy fundraisers, churches and pro-life gatherings. “I perceive my responsibility as a pro-life family physician to be that of education and motivation to the Christian community,” he said.
As a medical doctor who is a believer, he also sees the importance of respecting the dignity and value of life at every stage. “As a family physician, it is my privilege to care for many of our elderly citizens who are at the end of life,” he said. “I witness firsthand elder abuse and neglect. This often occurs because people do not value the life of senior citizens. Being old or infirm does not in any way diminish the value of someone’s life. As Christian people, we have a responsibility to promote the sanctity of life for all our citizens, from birth to natural death, because we are all made in the image of God.”
For more than three decades, Jackson has been an advocate for the helpless, whether they were in the womb or near the end of life. “I committed to the Lord in 1984 that I would speak out as a pro-life advocate until the battle was won or until my last breath,” he said, “even if I was the only one protesting abortion and promoting respect for life,” he said.
The pro-life movement continues to make an impact for life in this country, Jackson said. “In the late 1970s, there were 1.5 million abortions in America annually,” he said. “Now there are between 700,000 and 800,000. There are 50 percent fewer abortion clinics in America today than there were in the 1970s. We need to pray that God will put an end to abortion.”
Jackson said that God’s people must continue to inform and educate the next generation about abortion and respect for all human life. Adoption, he said, is a viable option. “If a young woman in a problem pregnancy knew that a caring family was willing to adopt her child and provide a loving family, she might think differently about choosing abortion.”
Jackson and his wife, Carlotta, have nine children and three grandchildren. “We have two sons who are special-needs boys who have blessed us beyond all our deserving,” he said.
“Children are a blessing from the Lord, and we wanted as much blessing as He would give us. We wouldn’t give any one of them back.”
His mission for the sanctity of life is a lifetime commitment, and he is passionate about the challenge. “Whenever I see elder abuse or the selective abortion of unborn children, my initial reaction is sadness,” he said. “It grieves my heart that people would abuse those who are least able to defend themselves. The sadness quickly moves to righteousness indignation on behalf of the infirm elderly or unborn children.”
The Jacksons are members of First Baptist Church, Boiling Springs. In November, Jackson was presented the E.A. McDowell Award by the Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee of the South Carolina Baptist Convention at the 2013 SCBC annual meeting.