by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
In journalism, reporters are taught, “Never bury the lede,” a reminder to focus first on the most important aspects of the story (defined as “the lede”) instead of spending several opening paragraphs on less vital details.
During this emergency, many pregnancy help organizations must close the doors of our offices. This is disappointing news, but this is not the “lede” to our story, for two reasons:
First, closing our offices is not news, because businesses everywhere are doing the same. Announcing to our supporters, “We’ve closed our offices for the foreseeable future” is, in journalistic terms, a “Dog Bites Man” story. There’s nothing “new” in our “news.”
This year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is asking Catholic churches in the US to intensify their focus on the needs of women facing pregnancies in challenging circumstances. All U.S. bishops are encouraged to invite their parishes to join the nationwide effort from March 25, 2020 to March 25, 2021 entitled “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service.”
Individual parishes are asked to complete an inventory of the resources currently available in their local area, assess the results and identify gaps, and plan and implement a parish response based on their findings.
During the inventory process, (May-September of 2020) parishes are being encouraged develop relationships with their local pregnancy help center. With well over 17,000 Catholic parishes in the United States, and over 2,700 pregnancy help centers, there is great opportunity for collaboration. The intent of this effort is not to turn parishes into pregnancy centers, but to have parishes better connect women in need to the local resources, and to encourage parish support of local pregnancy help efforts.
Once a bishop invites his parishes to join the Year of Service, parish teams would begin to survey local resources, especially pregnancy help centers. Pregnancy help centers are welcome to proactively contact the Catholic parishes in their area to share the wonderful help they are already providing to mothers in need.
To find out more about Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service, visit www.walkingwithmoms.com. To connect with the local Respect Life contact for the diocese in your region, click here.
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat President
There’s an old adage, “May you live in interesting times.” Whether it’s a curse, a warning, or a call to adventure, depends on how you read it, receive it, or respond to it.
The brazen political ploy to secure abortion rights, even over other constitutional rights, that just happened in the New York state assembly, followed by several other states, points to the fact that these are, at the least, “interesting times.” The politics of Big Abortion haven’t been this overtly obvious to the nation than since the 1970s and early 80s as the wicked reality of the Roe v. Wade decision. Held at bay for years, the New York politicos beholding to Big Abortion for a big win last November wasted no time in legitimizing the very things that the lead to the conviction of the abortionist, Kermit Gosnell (Philadelphia, PA).
There are three things this tells us about pro-abortion forces.
They’re scared. The recent changes at the Supreme Court of the United States, namely new justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, and decisions highlighting protections of liberties, suggest that Roe v. Wade is truly in danger of being reversed for the failed legal framework it is. This is the core reason advanced by Governor Cuomo in order to ensure abortion rights in New York state.
They’re serious. They wasted no time ramming this major constitutional change through. They seized upon the increasing polarization by implementing the far left reality of abortion on demand for any reason, at any age. This is a stark reality that Roe currently protects. And even a simple reversal of Roe, will likely not provide the legal footing to address the egregious moves by the Big Abortion allies in New York and other blue states.
They’re stealing. In elevating abortion so radically they are actually stealing rights not just from the unborn who are obviously “viable” (have the ability to survive outside the womb), but also from women by gutting protections for women from domestic violence. They are stealing the protections provided by previous, and some long-standing, laws that carried these protections.
There is much to be disappointed about. But that misses the larger story in our nation.
When politics, and politicians, fail us (as they inevitably seem to do), the practical remains our primary impact area. The practical manifests in the faithful actions of the pregnancy help movement. From pregnancy centers to maternity homes, from pregnancy tests to parenting classes, we have many practical methods to reach at-risk women and men. New York politicians didn’t inspire the mission field created by abortion—but they did expand it.
In the wake of New York, what do we do?
Get busy. Or more precisely, busier. We need to examine our own service capacity to ensure that we’re optimizing our ministry outreach and impact. Do we have unfilled counseling rooms during current business hours? Do we have under-utilized ultrasound services? Quick gains can be made by getting busy filling unused capacity with more life-saving impact. That likely means looking more closely at our marketing effectiveness in reaching those at-risk for abortions in our community.
Get better. Just like the call to grow in Christ, the call to be better is one of intentional examination and evaluation. We need to be better in reaching those at-risk, stronger in serving those we can, and deepening our commitment to intervention impact. We won’t achieve new results by only doing what we’ve always done. Remember, the manual typewriter and the buggy whip were, at one time, deemed “best practices.” Actively re-think processes and programs for greater effectiveness.
Get bolder. Despite the false accusations that we “only care about the unborn baby,” the pregnancy help movement is positively impacting millions of people each year. We need to be bold about engaging the “mushy middle” that has been reminded that Roe’s full effect is not something to be “moderate” about. Every Christ-follower should be involved in overcoming Roe. Whether directly ministering to clients in the “valley of decision,” supporting those who do, or voting our values, there is something every believer can do. And let’s be bold to invite greater involvement for current supporters. We can, and must, do more. Let’s boldly proclaim the great work of pregnancy help!
In all of this we should not let our “hearts be troubled.” But, instead, we should take heart that where sin does abound, grace that much more abounds. It is that abundant grace that this ministry is built upon, and will thrive upon.
by Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., Heartbeat International Chairman of the Board
We can all take heart from the findings of the latest report on the amazing work of pregnancy help centers, clinics, and maternity homes across the USA, A Half Century of Hope, A Legacy of Life & Love: Pregnancy Center Service Report, Third Edition, which notes that pregnancy help centers trace their beginnings to 1968, 50 years ago.
Having discovered our local Birthright in 1973 and Heartbeat International in 1978, I have been an eyewitness to the growth of this movement for 45 years. What a privilege to experience what God is doing through ordinary people who can accomplish the extraordinary when He is calling and equipping.
I want to reflect briefly on three things this report highlights.
First of all, the heroism of the mothers who are choosing life over abortion, despite the incessant marketing and promotion of abortion in American culture and organized attempts to stifle the voices for life, especially in pregnancy help centers.
We do not save babies – mothers do, once they have the love, support, care, knowledge, and new vision they need to overcome the pressures leading them toward abortion. We are woman-centered, and women are choosing life over abortion at higher rates than ever since 1973.
As the pregnancy center report shows, the abortion rate in this country in 2014 (the latest year for which numbers are available) has gone down to 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women from a high of 29.3 eight years after the Roe v. Wade decision (according to Guttmacher Institute).
Additional research underway now is looking at the hypothesis that even more than state laws, clinic closures, or political changes the major factor in this decline in the abortion ratio could well be the work of pregnancy help organizations! We will not rest from our labors until every woman who needs help can find it at her local life-affirming pregnancy help organization.
Just one more reason our Life Launch Grant to help start pregnancy centers in areas primed for more life-saving outreach is such an important recent initiative.
Second, the Footsoldiers Armed with LOVE – those working in pregnancy help organizations, and their supporters, throughout the USA (and the world) who provide the love, support, and help so women can choose life for their babies.
From the handful of volunteers that started, supported, and worked in each of the original pregnancy help centers (there were about 100 locations in 1971 when Heartbeat published our first Worldwide Directory), God has raised a mighty army!
In 2017, in 2,600 pregnancy help locations, there were 67,400 volunteers, along with a much smaller number of dedicated staff members, who served 2 Million people!
The tools available for this army have multiplied in the last 50 years, as the pregnancy center report illustrates. Centers are utilizing valuable tools that are becoming more and more available and prevalent. Just look at how many centers are expanding their services: 70% offer ultrasounds, 41% provide sexual integrity and sexual risk avoidance education with evidence-based curricula and materials, 97% offer material aid, 87% provide prenatal and parenting support and education, and 75% host after abortion support and healing programs.
Life affirming crisis intervention, prevention services (sexual integrity), support, and after abortion healing ALL save lives. Each provides, at some point in a woman’s life, a life-affirming vision, a hope, and perhaps some practical help, so some women will never be faced with a difficult pregnancy, and those who are know that abortion is NOT their only alternative.
To me, this continues to prove that the best alternative to abortion is another person – armed with the love of Christ, offering women a new vision of hope and life.
My third thought – my passion for the vision and mission of Heartbeat – the network of centers, clinics, and housing ministries that make up Heartbeat International, plus the programs and services of “Heartbeat Central” (our headquarters).
Heartbeat International was founded in 1971 by a diverse group of the original pregnancy help organizations (from California, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and other states). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, these centers were starting up all over the USA because of the push to de-criminalize abortion state by state. The founders knew that, once abortion became legal, women would need help and support to withstand the pressure for abortion.
These centers were diverse, influenced by local needs and the vision of their founders – entrepreneurial and creative. And they still are!
There never was one Heartbeat model – there were MANY models. And there still are, as the pregnancy center services report makes clear! It highlights the continuing diversity and creativity, the local, personal, and God-led nature of pregnancy help, while it is, at the same time, professional and sophisticated in the most positive senses of those words.
Heartbeat Central – your team at the Heartbeat headquarters – also remains entrepreneurial and creative plus professional and sophisticated as we lead and equip this dynamic movement. Starting like most pregnancy centers do, as “all volunteer” in 1971, we now have over 50 dedicated staff members with diverse expertise.
Let me highlight just 3 areas, mentioned in the pregnancy center services report, where Heartbeat International is advancing the pregnancy help movement, areas that I am personally passionate about.
Reaching women, particularly minorities who are targets of abortionists. Heartbeat’s original 1971 vision for a toll free number (called a Watts Line in ancient times!) is now our Option Line, answering more than 1,000 calls for help EVERY DAY and sending these people to the amazing network of local pregnancy help.
We know that women search for help primarily online, and Option Line is the only web-based helpline – “answering the call” via text, email, live chat, and phones. As the pregnancy center services report notes, Planned Parenthood and other abortionists target minority and immigrant women for abortions. Option Line is staffed by loving and caring bilingual consultants, fluent in English and Spanish, 24/7, 365 days per year.
In the not too distant future, the number of calls for help answered by Option Line yearly in the USA will surpass the number of abortions!
Rescuing women and their children from the Abortion Pill. With perhaps 1/3 of abortions now done by the “abortion pill,” according to the pregnancy center services report, Heartbeat is countering with our APR network – Abortion Pill Rescue. Option Line is answering calls from women who change their minds after taking the first pill of the two-pill chemical abortion process.
These women are desperately seeking help. Heartbeat is growing the present network of over 450 physicians who use the APR protocol to save babies (over 500 born so far!) and the centers that refer to this network in an effort to help even more women save their babies and themselves from the effects of abortion.
Renewing training and service efforts with the latest technology. From a handful of training pamphlets that we could provide by snail mail in the 70’s – the first and only training materials available to all centers – Heartbeat International now uses the latest distance-learning technology in our online Academy to provide APR training as well as over 200 different courses and webinars, any place and any time to more than 4,300 registered students in the pregnancy help movement.
To advance the medical emphasis in pregnancy centers, as noted in the pregnancy center services report, our Academy provides CEU’s for nurses and even a full ultrasound training course online. For staff and for volunteers, still the heart of the movement, we also provide a Life-Affirming Specialist (LAS) certification to help keep up crucial skills and learn best practices. LAS continuing education credits can be earned online through our advanced online class ConCERT, online webinars, or in-person training opportunities such as the Heartbeat International Annual Conference.
In fact, almost the only technology employed by Heartbeat’s first pregnancy help affiliates in the 70’s – and by Heartbeat International too – was the telephone (even pregnancy tests had to be done by cooperating doctor’s offices)! Now, Heartbeat leads with a variety of technology training and solutions for centers – from Option Line (to schedule appointments within cooperating centers), to website design and local search marketing from Extend Web Services, to a complete center management system, Next Level.
All of this, Heartbeat makes available to serve the broader pregnancy help movement, not just to our affiliated network.
We see Lord’s hand here – in the way He has provided the vision and resources for us at Heartbeat to serve the pregnancy help movement over these many decades – and in the amazing success story of pregnancy help in the USA, so well documented in A Half Century of Hope, A Legacy of Life & Love: Pregnancy Center Service Report, Third Edition.
THANK YOU – to all of YOU whom God has called to be part of this story, and Praise be to God – from whom all these blessings flow! Let us all Take Heart.
Interesting how opposition to our work tends to backfire, isn’t it?
Planned several years in advance for Chicago, Heartbeat International’s 2017 Annual Conference gathered over 1,200 life-affirming leaders in the heart of a state that is leading the way in chilling the conscience rights of its pro-life citizens.
Yes, states like Illinois, California and Hawaii are trying to squelch life-affirming options to abortion through the legislature. But no, their effort doesn’t seem to be having its desired effect.
The largest-ever pregnancy help conference, this year’s four-day event featured a star-studded cast of keynote speakers highlighted by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, as well as pro-life leaders Anne Pierson, Jill Stanek and Ryan Bomberger.
Dr. William Lyle—a member of Heartbeat’s medical advisory council—also took the stage to tell his tremendous story, and attendees were treated to inspiring appearances on our main stage by the Benham Brothers and comedienne Anita Renfroe.
Add to this year’s keynotes 90 workshops, plus 15 in-depth-day opportunities and worship led by Matt Hammitt, and you start to get a snapshot of a movement that’s adding more momentum every day.
As one attendee said about this year’s conference, “There were no low-lights. Only highlights.”
Whether or not you came to this year’s event, you can download recordings of each keynote and workshop session (here).
And, mark your calendar for April 10-12, 2018, when Heartbeat International’s Annual Conference comes to Anaheim, Calif.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – In what it hails as the most powerful pro-life event on Capitol Hill, Heartbeat International is bringing seven mothers—and their children—to Washington, D.C. this January to tell elected officials how they chose life with the help of a community-funded pregnancy center.
The event, “Babies Go to Congress,” takes place Jan. 26, the morning prior to the annual March for Life, and is Heartbeat International’s 15th such visit to the nation’s capitol since 2009. In the previous trips, 113 mothers and their children have visited a total of 265 offices—including those of both Democrats and Republicans.
In each visit, a mother who has rejected abortion with the help of a pregnancy help organization has the opportunity to tell her story, alongside both her child and the staff from the center that helped her choose life.
“This is one event Planned Parenthood could never dream of pulling off,” Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said. “Pregnancy help centers empower women to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy. This is a powerful platform for us to both show and tell the truth that pregnancy help centers are good for America.”
The group this year is made up of two mothers from Ohio, as well as one each from North Carolina, Missouri, Arizona, Texas and Wyoming. Though six of the mothers are bringing with them children 4 years old and younger, one mother—Nikki Pinkley from Branson, Mo.—is bringing her 14-year-old daughter to the event.
Together, Nikki and her daughter, Alexis, illustrate the positive life-long impact of that nation’s 2,600 pregnancy help centers.
Nikki was raised in the church and had recently graduated high school when she found out she was pregnant. Finding help at Options Pregnancy Clinic in Branson, she not only chose life for Alexis, but the staff at Options encouraged her to keep pursuing her education and career goals.
Today, Nikki is a closing in on a decade as a licensed professional counselor and is working on her doctoral degree in psychology.
“My hope is that every young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy will find the help she needs to face the challenges of being a single mom,” Nikki, who later married, said. “It’s not easy, but I am living proof that the future is what you make of it. Sometimes you just need someone to believe in you. I found the help I needed, plus a lot of inspiration at Options Pregnancy Clinic.”
About Heartbeat International
Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and the largest network in the world. With 2,100 affiliated pregnancy help locations—including pregnancy help medical clinics (with ultrasound), resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies—Heartbeat serves on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion. For more information, see www.HeartbeatInternational.org.
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President
You are hated. Get used to it. Jesus knew it would be so when He said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." John 15:18 (NIV)
What NARAL really thinks about you – okay, well maybe not you, individually, but what you do and what you are about, confirms something we've long suspected. They are hell-bent to do whatever they can to diminish your effectiveness, even when you're operating under "best practices."
In the words of the NARAL attorney "...It does not matter if [crisis pregnancy centers] hire doctors or house state-of-the-art equipment: they are still manipulating women with lies and misleading information." This supports our long held understanding that no amount of "medicalization" will steer them from their attack. NARAL defiantly admit that medical services "conveys a seal of approval that we never want to be complicit in allowing [crisis pregnancy centers] to claim." (Emphasis added.)
So, in effect, they will never admit that the good medical practices you deploy will be enough. Ever. At all. Because they simply can't allow that kind of "seal of approval" for what you do.
After a focused effort utilizing taxpayer funds, even the County (meaning the government guy) divulges , "I doubt my colleagues or the County Attorney will be interested in pursuing a truth-in-advertising statute...[these centers] are clearly very artful at devising strategies to avoid violating the law."
What was that? Oh, that's political speak for "they are following the law."
But wait there's more. Don't miss it.
NARAL goes on to encourage the County to drop their current legal attack in favor of a list of other ways they intend to attack PHOs.
[Read about NARAL and Montgomery County's planned attack on pregnancy help organizations here.]
Let's be clear. While in the midst of an orchestrated attack that is failing, they point to other attacks that they feel might work.
Tweet this! We need to understand that NARAL's new attack list is not fool-proof.
We need to understand that NARAL's new attack list is not fool-proof. The NARAL-inspired local ordinance attack waged on several fronts - Montgomery County, City of Baltimore, State of Maryland, NYC, Austin, etc. - have not survived legal scrutiny.
Certainly, NARAL's attack strategies reminds us to sharpen our policy and procedure, retrain on key practices and remain vigilant about upholding our Commitment of Care and Competence. But let us be careful not to over-react to them or over-state the threat to PHOs. Just like Jesus forging ahead in His mission despite the world hating him, we need to have confidence in our mission and our Master.
In addition, this whole episode reminds us not to be afraid of lawsuits. As is often the case in God's economy, He turned the attack against the attacker of God's people. Their own lawsuit to denigrate the work of PHOs resulted in revealing the failing of their strategy and the wonderful news that we know how "to avoid violating the law" (meaning we are doing things lawfully).
For more about why NARAL hates PHOs, read Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn's article on LifeSiteNews.com.
The recent news out of Maryland—and the Centro Tepeyac Silver Spring Women's Center—sends us a strong message: Pregnancy Help Organizations are becoming much more effective, and those who wish to protect abortion-on-demand at all costs are getting frantic.
LifeSite News covered the story. In short, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland worked with the Montgomery County Council to create a 2010 law forcing Centro Tepeyac to post signs declaring when medical personnel were not on site. The law of course, was designed to slow down; even stop, Centro Tepeyac from reaching out to women.
The good news? After four years of fighting, Centro Tepeyac won. Big.
At different stages, three judges struck down the law, with the final ruling coming from a Bill Clinton-appointed judge who fined Montgomery County $375,000 for violating the rights of Centro Tepeyac.
NARAL's president in Maryland didn't give up however, and private emails show both she and the president of the Montgomery County council attempting to collude on other ways to shut down Centro Tepeyac.
What does this tell us? The abortion lobby and its clinics are afraid. They are losing business while pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics are gaining ground. (Check out Peggy Hartshorn's argument to that effect here.)
In essence, just like Nehemiah built a wall of hope for the people of Israel in the Old Testament, we are building a pro-life Wall of Hope today, and just like Nehemiah, opposition is everywhere, trying every tactic imaginable.
Our modern day Wall of Hope is composed of thousands of pregnancy help organizations and ministries, places where moms, dads and children can come for safety, away from the deception of the abortion industry.
Tweet this: The Maryland case leaves no doubt – our Wall is rising.
Nehemiah faced incredible opposition, just as we do. Men like Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were constant thorns of criticism, mocking, and scorn. They tried every avenue to shut down the work on a wall that would protect the Jewish people.
Nehemiah would have none of it. At one point Nehemiah was asked to come down off of the wall for a "meeting" with his enemies. Nehemiah knew the meeting was nothing but a plot to kill him, so he gave his detractors a terse response: "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" (Neh 6:3)
We—all of us in the pregnancy help community—are involved in a great work. The detractors will continue with their lobbying, their public relations campaigns against us, and their collusion with politicians to enact laws to stop us.
But friends, we are building a Wall of Hope. We will not come down off of our wall until we are finished.
And if the news out of Maryland is any indication, we may be closer to completing our Wall of Hope than we can imagine.
Get Kirk's new book, The Wall at amazon.com today!
At a time when our social and political structure is aligned against the most innocent among us, The Wall brings tremendous hope and vision. Though we’ve experienced a generation of tragedy following the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, The Wall reminds us that it is often when hope seems lost that God orchestrates extraordinary victory through ordinary people. In addition, The Wall shows that surprisingly, today is the perfect time for creating a new culture of life in America. Get ready to be inspired; and be prepared to take your place building The Wall.
"This is one more evidence that pregnancy help organizations are winning the battle for life."
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Responding to a report from LifeSiteNews.com uncovering an ongoing plan between the Maryland chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the public officials in Montgomery County, Md., to impede or eliminate pregnancy help organizations, Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., pointed to the success of pregnancy centers in her companion article at LifeSiteNews.com.
Read LifeSiteNews.com Report Here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/exclusive-e-mails-reveal-maryland-officials-collaborating-with-naral-to-shu Read Peggy Hartshorn’s Response Here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/why-do-abortionists-go-to-such-lengths-to-eliminate-us-because-we-threaten
“Heartbeat International and our worldwide network of life-affirming organizations believe no mother should feel so alone, so vulnerable, or so coerced that she ends her child’s life through abortion,” Hartshorn, who has served as Heartbeat International’s President since 1993, wrote. “These vital organizations enable a mother to make a true choice through a variety of services, including ultrasound, options counseling, maternity housing, and the ability to make an adoption plan.”
“And this is why we pose such a threat to NARAL and company. It’s not just that we are their competition. It’s that we are winning.”
Hartshorn’s comments come in the wake of the publication of an email string dating back as far as 2009, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, which capture ongoing strategy between Maryland’s NARAL chapter president Jodi Finkelstein and current Montgomery County Council president George Leventhal.
The pair discussed the County’s ongoing strategy to compel government speech from Heartbeat International affiliate Centro Tepeyac Silver Spring Women’s Center. Montgomery County first passed a city ordinance Feb. 2, 2010 requiring, “limited service pregnancy resource centers” – any facility that does not perform abortions – to post a sign in English and Spanish in its waiting room saying that “the Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff” and that “the Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider.”
A lawsuit brought by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Centro Tepeyac resulted in three separate court victories, which finally resulted in the County dropping its unconstitutional ordinance and paying Centro Tepeyac $375,000 in legal fees.
“Pregnancy help organizations like Centro Tepeyac exist so that every mother can feel loved and supported during her pregnancy,” Hartshorn said. “The only opponents to this mission are those who, like NARAL, stand to gain financially and ideologically by the intentional killing of a child within the womb.”
Tweet This: Pregnancy help organizations exist so that every mother can feel loved and supported during pregnancy.
13-year-old saved from abortion to meet with law-makers at Babies Go to Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A little child shall lead them. This well-loved statement will get plenty of airtime this Christmas season, but the phrase may end up becoming the theme of Heartbeat International's Babies Go to Congress® when the most powerful prolife effort on Capitol Hill takes place January 22-23, 2015.
An entourage of five former pregnancy help center clients and their children, rescued from the threat of abortion, will be highlighted by 12-year-old Christiana Pablo from Bowie Crofton Pregnancy Center in Bowie, Md., who is already blossoming into an outgoing champion for the life-affirming support offered by the more than 2,400 pregnancy help organizations rescuing 3,000 babies each week in the United States alone.
Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, Christiana's mother, Victoria Chan-Pablo—only 15-years-old at the time—found the support she needed to welcome Christiana into the world at Bowie Crofton Pregnancy Center. Her eldest daughter has been joyfully repaying that debt, sparking fundraising and community-building efforts for the center, which has served over 24,500 women and families since opening its doors in 1982.
"I say that Bowie Crofton Pregnancy Center saved my daughter's life because they opened up our eyes and gave us the knowledge, the strength and the encouragement to help us carry out our decision in keeping our baby," Victoria said.
Christiana and Victoria will have a chance to tell their story to their elected congressional representatives, along with centers from Ohio (Pregnancy Decision Health Centers), North Carolina (LifeLine Pregnancy Help Center), Indiana (Matrix Pregnancy Resource Center), and Arizona (Living Hope Women's Center). It is the first time in the history of the program that North Carolina will be represented.
Since beginning the program in 2009, a total of 109 women and children representing over 50 centers have visited 222 congressional offices from 23 different states.
"It's difficult to imagine a more empowering experience for a woman than Babies Go to Congress," Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., President of Heartbeat International, said. "This is an event that drives to the very heart of what life-affirming work is all about: every mother feeling loved and supported, both during her pregnancy and into parenthood."
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