What happens behind the scenes at Option Line?
We know that Option Line is ready to answer that call for help (or text, or chat, or email) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but have you ever wondered what exactly that looks like? Petra, one of our professional, compassionate consultants walked through how she used The LOVE Approach in a phone call with a nervous father who wanted to know how to convince his girlfriend to get an abortion. While the technology has changed and improved over the last 20 years, the way we love and offer life-affirming help hasn't.
Established in 2003 and celebrating 20 years of life-saving help, Option Line is the only fully staffed, bilingual pro-life contact center in the U.S. Since we first answered the call, we’ve served more than 5 million people who are desperate for answers in an unexpected pregnancy. Option Line makes these critical connections with women at-risk for abortion and in turn connects women to a local pregnancy help organization in their area. We provide calm, reassuring guidance as we introduce the various true options women have available to them.
Our primary goal through Option Line is to encourage and empower those who reach out to us by offering trustworthy guidance through personalized care. We accomplish this goal by communicating directly with over 1,000 men and women each day at our contact center via phone, live chat, texting, and email.
If you're wondering, this video isn't an isolated event at Option Line. Just check out below some responses to post-chat surveys from our contacts. As we celebrate Option Line turning 20 this February, we reflect on the good that comes when we love well those reaching out for help.
"Dalia* was very kind and helped calm some of my nerves about my situation."
"I really needed to know the facts and this is the first person to explain things to me clearly! THANK YOU!!!"
"Athena* was amazing she really helped me see what I need to do and what’s the best option for me."
"Rose* answered everything I wanted to know! I was so scared, but Rose* changed my mind on things!!!"
"Ashley* was lovely to chat to. Helped me to not feel so worried."
"This site is extremely helpful it put my mind at ease and Ana* was such a nice women she answered my questions right away."
"I`ve been on other sites and they charge you for an answer which [Option Line doesn’t] and is very understanding if someone is not used to this or has difficulties/disabilities."
Option Line is a valuable asset for every Pregnancy Help Organization, bringing years of experience in pregnancy help to every call, text, chat, or email they answer. Here are some of the many ways that your center can take advantage of the expertise that Option Line provides.
Tune in to the Pregnancy Help Podcast for information on how Option Line can help you reach women in need. Topics with pregnancy help experts include:
Option Line is committed to reaching those who are either facing an unplanned pregnancy, think they might be pregnant, or are close to someone who is through our 24/7 pregnancy help contact center.
Established in 2003, Option Line is the only fully staffed, bilingual pro-life contact center in the U.S. Since we first answered the call, we’ve spoken with over 4 million people who are desperate for answers in an unexpected pregnancy.
Option Line makes these critical connections with abortion-vulnerable women and in turn, connects women to a local pregnancy help center in their area. Our primary goal is to encourage and empower those who reach out to us by offering trustworthy guidance through personalized care. We accomplish this goal by communicating directly with over 1,000 men and women each day at our contact center via phone, live chat, texting, and email.
As the parent brand, Heartbeat International seeks to reach pregnant women, rescue them from a scarcity mindset in which abortion is the only option, and renew entire communities; one woman at a time.
Heartbeat International’s mission focus pillars are Reach, Rescue, and Renew. Option Line lives in the REACH pillar.
Our Option Line symbol conveys a deep, beautiful story with a litany of messages, beginning with the concept that Option Line is a central hub; both reaching out and gently guiding.
The design of the pattern within the circle spells out “Reach” in Morse code communicating our desire to offer empathetic, compassionate guidance through open and honest communications as we provide the full story and options. The colors convey warmth, hope, and approachability. Everything we are and strive to be to those who call us.
All our work points to our vision to make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations. Option Line helps us reach that vision through its mission to reach those who are abortion-vulnerable through a 24/7 contact center.
From the very first call answered, Option Line consultants, caring women trained by Heartbeat International, have been able to speak hope into panicked moments of confusion. Four million calls later, our consultants continue to treat each and every point of contact with a caller with the compassionate care she deserves. To each woman calling in, this is the hardest moment she has ever had to face in her life.
Established in 2003, Option Line is the only fully staffed, bilingual pro-life contact center in the U.S. Since we first answered the call, we’ve reached over 4 million women and men, many who are desperate for answers in an unexpected pregnancy.
Every day, more than 1,100 people reach out to Option Line via phone call, live chat, texting and email for help. The number of women and men Option Line reaches continues to grow. As a result, more lives are rescued from abortion. Every call helps reduce the demand for abortion, making abortion unwanted and eventually unthinkable.
2009 - 1 Million Calls
Even before we had live chat as a way to contact Option Line (chat launched in 2010), we served over 1 million people crying out for help through phone, a website, and email. We answered each call, we helped with any immediate pregnancy need she may have, and we connected her with a local pregnancy help organization. We know that the best alternative to an abortion is another person.
2014 - 2 Millionth Call
In the wee hours of the morning, a call came in to Option Line. On the other end of the phone was a young woman seeking abortion information. She was referred to our affiliated pregnancy help organization in Warren, Ohio that could offer her so much more than abortion and empower her to make positive choices for her future.
2018 - 3 Millionth Call
On a Thursday afternoon, Jennifer contacted Option Line through our live chat feature at OptionLine.org. She told the Option Line consultant that she was 19 years old and realized she was pregnant. Jennifer said she felt caught between what was “right” and what was “easy,” and she simply wanted the whole thing behind her. Our Option Line consultant assured her she was not alone and prayed with her. Our consultant helped to calm her fears and encouraged her to get help at a local pregnancy center near her in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
2020 - 4 Millionth Call
Early on a Monday morning, a seasoned consultant working for Option Line received a chat from a woman in India. Sorting through her concerns, the consultant worked with her to find a pregnancy help organization near her through Heartbeat’s Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help. This cry for help shows the global nature of the need for pregnancy help.
As technology has improved through the years, we have embraced it and so that we can increase the number of people served through Option Line. Notice that the time period is reduced between each millionth call answered!
We continue to find and implement effective technology such as adding Live Chat options to connect and utilizing online advertising. This allows us to reach more women and better serve the movement.
As calls for help continue, we have expanded our services to answer the cries for help for not only women seeking pregnancy help, but also for the Safe Haven Alliance and the Abortion Pill Rescue Network.
When women seek pregnancy help, we are equipped to answer their questions and serve them swiftly in real-time.
As our reach expands, people from all over the world are finding Option Line. The fact that we are able to serve a woman in India to help locate a pregnancy help organization in her area from our call center in Ohio is another miracle of technology.
While not everyone is available 24/7/365 to serve those in need, Heartbeat International's Option Line is! And we will continue to serve until abortion is unthinkable.
*Names have been changed within for privacy.
On Thursday afternoon, Feb. 22, 2018, Option Line answered a live chat from “Jennifer,” a 19-year-old in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
As God would have it, Jennifer is the 3 millionth person to cry out for help since Option Line first answered the call in 2003.
We want to tell you a bit about Jennifer, and invite you to join us in praying for Jennifer, her baby and family in this time of great need. And one more thing: We want to ask you to check your listing on OptionLine.org to make sure we have the latest information, so we can connect women just like Jennifer to life-saving help.
Now, to Jennifer’s story:
Realizing she was pregnant, Jennifer had found Option Line—our 24-7, 365 helpline (1-800-712-HELP and OptionLine.org)—by searching online for help.
Even though it was well into the evening by the time Jennifer reached out, Option Line was ready to help her. In seconds, she was chatting with "Melinda," one of our professionally trained consultants who’s answered over 45,000 cries for help.
Melinda has two goals with each woman she helps:
First, she prayerfully works to calm the woman’s initial fears, as well as ask and answer any questions she can.
Second, she does everything in her power to encourage that woman to get help at a local pregnancy center.
As they chatted, Jennifer said she felt caught between the “right” thing to do and the “easy” thing to do. She just wanted to get this whole thing behind her.
Melinda prayed, listened, and asked questions to help Jennifer feel empowered to make a decision for life.
Before they ended the chat, Melinda offered to connect Jennifer directly with A Hope Center—a Heartbeat International affiliate—in Fort Wayne. As she so often does, Melinda also offered to pray for Jennifer and reassured her that she’s not alone.
Will you join us in praying for Jennifer this week?
Helpful Option Line Links:
Want to reach more clients through Option Line?
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Thank you for all you do to promote life in your community!
Current affiliates of Heartbeat International can forward calls to Option Line after hours as a complimentary benefit of affiliation.
In order to take advantage of this benefit, just set your call forwarding to 1-800-712-4357. If you don't currently use call forwarding, you'll need to contact your telephone company to get that set up. Be sure to ask your telephone service provider whether setting up an auto-attendant is an option; an auto-attendant makes it possible to direct crisis calls to Option Line, while leaving callers who are not in crisis with the option of leaving a message on your center’s voicemail system.
There is no additional paperwork or permission needed on our end. But, we do ask you to simply call Option Line on our business line (614-802-2808) to let us know when you're ready to start.
We also welcome call forwarding as needed during your regular hours (for example, during staff meetings or if you are short-staffed), but we ask that you call to notify us know when you'll be available again, so we can pass that information on to your clients.
Option Line is available 24/7, including all holidays, so we can take your calls for extended periods of time as well. Once again, we ask that you notify us as to how long you'll be gone, so we can best serve your clients.
We recommend you train all staff (who are on the phones) to turn call forwarding on/off to make sure your calls always get to the right place at the right time.
Tiffany and her son, Jonathen, in 2016.
by Carrie Beliles, International Program Specialist
Last week, I received a Facebook message in the middle of the night. Most Facebook messages in the middle of the night are no big deal, but for me, this specific message was.
Why? Because God knew this message was exactly what I needed to hear at that specific moment.
I needed to wake up, to be shaken out of where I was mentally and reminded of a principle God taught me four years ago.
It is not about me. It is all about Him.
Let’s go back to four years ago, when I found myself the newly appointed executive director of a pregnancy help center in Germany. While I didn’t speak German, the center actually served a unique, English-speaking clientele. Our abortion-vulnerable clients consisted entirely of women connected to the largest U.S. military base outside of the United States.
And, I took on this role by accident. No kidding, by “accident.” Totally under-qualified, I had never worked in the pro-life world. I’d never been trained or even so much as volunteered at a pregnancy center.
I did however, have a background in the fight against human trafficking, where I worked directly with victims, so I understood there are hurting people all over the world who needed to be shown compassion. My only real qualification was God had been teaching me to love others and meet them where they were.
More importantly, I was also hurting. Having just walked through a recent trial in my own life, my marriage had weathered several years as a military wife, complete with constant separations that are part of the job description. Add to that, I was pregnant with my fourth of now five children.
Because of these—what I considered—disqualifying factors, I assumed I wasn’t ready to minister to others. After all, shouldn’t I fix myself first, then move on to help others? That’s how I was thinking, but of course, I was wrong.
Learning to Handle the “Tough Questions”
As the newly installed executive director, my board sent me to the 2012 Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Los Angeles, hopeful that a one-week training would help start me on the right foot.
In a city famous for its movie stars, dreams and miracles, I was slightly overwhelmed with the actual size of the conference. Heartbeat, I learned, is an international organization uniting over 2,000 affiliates working toward a common life-saving goal. Just walking the halls and meeting others who were doing this amazing work all over the world was an inspiration.
Though I was encouraged, I felt out of my league. Every one else at the conference seemed to be a much better director, board member or volunteer than I could hope to be. All week long, I kept thinking they all must know what they are doing. It was a humbling experience, to say the least.
The last day of conference, I attended a session titled “Answering Tough Calls” with Bri Laycock, the director of Heartbeat’s 24-7 pregnancy helpline, Option Line. Having served with Option Line since shortly after its formation in 2003, Bri was confident and it seemed she was able to answer everything thrown her way. She was professional, ready and prepared—everything I felt I wasn’t.
At the end of the workshop, there was a Q-and-A session. An attendee raised her hand and posed a situation she recently faced. I sat back and listened, thinking, “I have no clue what I would do in that situation.”
The client, it turned out, was pregnant in the midst of a marriage that was falling apart due to infidelity. Multiple families were involved, and the baby this woman was carrying would be of a different race from the client’s husband and her other children. There was no hiding the breech of trust.
I was overwhelmed just picturing the scenario. The consensus approach from the class, and from Bri, was, “Keep her on the phone, keep the connection open, and take it one day at a time.” I remember thinking how glad I was to not be dealing with that situation.
Two weeks later. Tiffany called the hotline.
I had just closed up the center, picked up my daughter from kindergarten and was on the autobahn heading home after a long day when the phone rang.
One Day at a Time
Tiffany’s first question was whether we perform abortions and, if so, when could she make the earliest appointment. As I listened, mother-to-mother to someone desperate with fear, I offered to meet up and talk. When someone, like Tiffany, needs to talk, they just need someone to listen. I could do that.
A mother of three young boys, a married family friend had taken advantage of Tiffany while her husband was deployed in the Middle East. Now, she was pregnant. My heart sank as I realized I knew the wife whose husband was the father of Tiffany’s baby.
My thoughts went back to that session at the Heartbeat International Annual Conference. I’d only been back a couple of weeks, so the conversation—and that fleeting sense of relief that, at least I wasn’t dealing with this situation—was still fresh in my mind.
I asked myself, “What would Bri do in this situation? How would she handle this ‘Tough Question?” How on earth could I help to “fix” this?
That’s when Bri’s answer at the workshop crystalized in my mind: Keep her on the phone. Keep the connection open. Take it one day at a time.
As I got to know Tiffany and listened to her story, God began to teach me to take one step at a time, one day at a time. I wasn’t going to “fix” Tiffany’s situation. There was no formula. There were very few words of wisdom I could offer.
I only had the love of Christ, which I have seen and experienced in my own life, and which I could draw upon to share with someone who was hurting, alone and scared. Extending love was all Tiffany needed at that moment. Looking back, I’m sure that, had I tried to impart counseling methods or a fixed scenario, I may have missed an opportunity to actually love her.
The Miracle of Love
This life of love starts right where we are. I didn’t have years of training or relevant experience; it was a core principle that came to light in the “Tough Questions” workshop that set me on course. Stay on the line. Keep the connection open. Take it a day at a time.
Often, we count ourselves out even before we give ourselves the chance to see how God works through us. Whether it’s our perceived gap in our qualifications, preparation or “life-togetherness,” we need to remember that it’s God who works through us, and He’s the one who qualifies the unqualified.
Hitting my Facebook message folder four years after we first met, Tiffany’s note jarred me out of the same thought pattern to which I—and I’m guessing, you—tend to default.
Tiffany is now a homeschooling mother of five young boys. She’s going back to school to pursue a degree in crisis counseling. She reached out to let me know that, because of the way God worked through our relationship, she wants to do the same for others.
What a powerful reminder of the God who supplies our every need “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” I know He has supplied mine. What a blessing to know He’s done the same for Tiffany.
You can read Tiffany’s story here.
by Jennifer Minor, Editor/Writer
If you’ve visited our job registry lately, you know that Heartbeat International is looking for an Office Assistant right now. (By the way, please share this link with anyone who might be interested in serving the administrative needs of Heartbeat.)
We hope you’ve had the pleasure of speaking with our soon-to-be former office assistant, Hannah Sapp. While we’re sad to see Hannah move on, we are thrilled to tell you that Hannah’s move will be no further than down the hall—to our 24-7 contact center, Option Line.
“It’s all an adventure,” Hannah says. “While I’m leaving a team I love, I’m also joining a team I love.”
Hannah has been a light at Heartbeat Central. Coming with a heart for teen girls and sexual integrity, she was excited to learn more about what serving young women looks like from a nonprofit perspective when she first joined our team in early 2014.
With an eventual hope of starting a transitional housing project for vulnerable young women, Hannah has had a front-row seat to Heartbeat International’s burgeoning partnership with the National Maternity Housing Coalition, which started in April of 2013.
Hannah certainly has learned a lot on the Ministry Services team. Besides being one of the first to answer phone calls, she never misses a chance to ask a question and find out more about what our affiliates face, from client issues to legal issues, offering prayer and passing along prayer requests to the rest of our team.
From day one, Hannah has shown a learner’s mentality, gaining a grasp on a wide variety of issues our affiliates face every day.
But something was missing.
Hannah’s heart for teen girls inspired her to pick up a few hours a week at Option Line to serve that community with a message of hope, love, and compassion. Very quickly, it became clear that Option Line is where Hannah is being called full-time for the next season in her life.
The job of an Option Line consultant is unique and challenging. The 650 women (and sometimes men!) who reach out to Option Line every day via phone, email, text and live chat are in desperate need of another person. That’s why Hannah and her fellow consultants direct each caller to your pregnancy help organization, where they can get the in-person help they don’t always know they need.
It’s Hannah’s position at Heartbeat International—passing on encouragement and feedback, equipping pregnancy help leaders, and praying with staff and affiliates—that has brought her to a place where she can serve women at Option Line well.
“I can send callers to our affiliates because I have seen the value of their centers,” Hannah says. “I have confidence that when they go there, they will receive hope.”
So as Hannah moves down the hall, take the chance the next time you call in to say hi and thank her for all the work she's done—and will do—for you and for the women we’re serving together.
COLUMBUS, OH - Less than two months into the calendar year, 2016 is shaping up to be a major marker in Heartbeat International’s history. The network is welcoming its 2,000th affiliated pregnancy help organization and celebrating the 13th anniversary of its 24-7 pregnancy helpline, Option Line.
Called into existence by local pregnancy centers in 1971 as the first-ever network of pregnancy help, Heartbeat International’s 2,000th affiliate is First Choice Pregnancy Center, a medical center offering free ultrasound scanning, STI testing, pregnancy testing and more in Weatherford, Oklahoma, home of Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
The center’s executive director, Kathy Gibson, whose journey to pro-life work began shortly after she experienced an abortion, attended Heartbeat International’s Pregnancy Help Institute in Dec. 2015, along with her executive assistant.
“In 20 years in this work, I have never experienced anything like it,” Gibson said of the Institute. “From there, joining Heartbeat International was a no-brainer. I feel like Heartbeat is in touch with who we are and where we are, and we love the personal touch that Heartbeat offers.”
Option Line (1-800-712-HELP; OptionLine.org) represents one of the central visions of Heartbeat International’s founding generation—comprised of pro-life ob-gyns and an unsung hero of the Holocaust—of a hotline connecting callers with help near them.
Since answering its first call in 2003, Option Line has responded to over 2.35 million contacts, including phone calls, live chats, texts and emails. The helpline answered over 243,000 contacts—650 every day—in 2015. Option Line also increased its web traffic in 2015 by launching a new iteration of OptionLine.org, and has expanded its capability of connecting contacts directly to local pregnancy help to over 500 locations.
Overall, Option Line refers to 2,250 pregnancy help organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“It’s incredible to think of the children who are becoming teenagers this year who may never have been if not for Option Line,” Bri Laycock, director of operations for Option Line, said. “We are convinced now more than ever that local pregnancy help is what makes the difference between life and abortion for so many mothers. That’s why our energies have always been—and will always remain—focused on connecting callers and website visitors to pregnancy help people near them.”
At 2,000 affiliate locations worldwide, including a presence on every inhabited continent, Heartbeat International continues to be the largest network of pregnancy help.
Hosting its 45th Annual Conference March 29-31 in Atlanta, Heartbeat International announced a leadership transition in early January, as Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., the organization’s president of 22 years, took on new responsibilities as Chairman of the Board, promoting longtime vice president Jor-El Godsey as only the second president in the 45-year history of the network.
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