In the early 1970's the Presbyterian Church in both its northern and southern streams began to advocate actively for abortion rights. In the southern stream of the Presbyterian Church several pastors organized resistance to this change in the church's historic position on abortion and formed Presbyterians Pro-Life.
In 1983, when the northern and southern churches merged, PPL was recognized as a Special Organization under the rules of the Book of Order of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
That was also the year that the General Assembly adopted what became the position of the newly merged denomination, the policy statement and recommendations of The Covenant of Life and the Caring Community and Covenant and Creation: Theological Reflections on Contraception and Abortion. That position affirmed abortion as a stewardship responsibility; it said, "the responsible decision to choose abortion may arise from analysis of the projected resources for caregiving in a specific situation."
After several years of protest over the reversal of the church's historic stand, the General Assembly authorized a new study. In 1992 the G.A. adopted a new position which no longer affirmed abortion as a good moral choice, but found the matter so ambiguous that it said the church could offer no moral guidance, that each woman would have to decide for herself in each pregnancy whether abortion was right or wrong for her.
In the 1980's, local chapters of PPL began to form and the network grew rapidly.
In October 2013, the Board of Directors of Presbyterians Pro-Life approved changes to broaden chapter requirements to include members of the entire Reformed and Presbyterian family of churches.