by Lisa Bourne, Pregnancy Help News Managing Editor
Heartbeat International's Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help has surpassed 7,000 listings, boosting the celebration of the pregnancy help network’s half-century of service. The inaugural directory consisted of just under 200 entries, highlighting the massive growth of the movement over the last 50 years.
This resource is used by pregnancy help organizations globally to refer clients for help outside their own service area when needed or for specific help that they do not provide themselves (such as housing). Centers also use it to connect with other pregnancy help organizations for networking. Heartbeat affiliates receive a complimentary print copy of the annually updated pregnancy help ministry reference.
The Worldwide Directory, available in both print and online, is the leading comprehensive list of pregnancy help. We publish the Directory each year to be the most complete list of life-affirming pregnancy help, including provider locations across the globe whether Heartbeat affiliates or not, to connect those looking for help with those who provide it. Heartbeat has identified life-affirming programs in more than half of the countries of the world.
The Directory has its origins with Heartbeat’s founding and its value as a means of connecting pregnancy help organizations has been a component in the pregnancy help movement’s progress over 50 years.
Heartbeat’s founders had a worldwide vision of the pregnancy help movement back at the pregnancy help network’s beginning. Co-founder Lore Maier wrote hundreds of letters to contacts around the world as the first executive director, in the process sharing this vision of a connected movement.
She and co-founder Dr. John Hillabrand traveled widely at personal expense inviting others to start pregnancy help centers in their own countries and become part of the federation of Alternatives to Abortion International (AAI - now Heartbeat International).
It became a priority for AAI to keep track of all the emerging service centers, whether or not they officially became affiliates.
This 2021 Worldwide Directory contains more than four thousand entries for the U.S. This includes traditional pregnancy centers and medical clinics, maternity support organizations, medical service providers, maternity homes and other residential programs, professional social service agencies, nonprofit adoption agencies, and abortion recovery programs. The Worldwide Directory also has 2,849 service locations in 113 other countries.
Our Option Line uses the Worldwide Directory for referrals to centers outside the U.S. and Canada when requests for help are received.
Heartbeat is the first network of pro-life pregnancy resource centers founded in the U.S. and it the most extensive network in the world, with more than 2,900 affiliated pregnancy help locations in more than 60 countries around the world working to provide alternatives to abortion.
The Worldwide Directory not only shows us the vast reach pregnancy help provides to women each and every day, but also allows us to connect those in need with the caring, compassion services they deserve.