As spring turned to summer, it was time for the annual Pan-African Conference, hosted by Association for Life of Africa (AFLA). This year's event was held in Livingstone, Zambia—a fitting place for trail-blazing missionaries to meet.
Heartbeat International was on site, standing alongside our brothers and sisters for life in every corner of the globe.
This year's conference, "Breaking New Grounds in the Kingdom of God," included missionaries for life from 12 countries and was keynoted by former Heartbeat International board member, Rev. John Tabor.
The represented countries were Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana, Ecuador, Brazil, and the U.S.
"It's an exciting time for AFLA as we continue to grow and adapt," AFLA President Barbra Nalavwe Mwanza said to open the five-day conference. "We must remain always adaptable, motivated, responsive, and client-focused."
Topics of focus for the conference included, "Where is the Church and the Theology of Life?", "Abortion in Africa," "Counseling Toolbox," "Healing the Wounds," "The Boardmanship," "How to Start a Centre," Natural Family Planning, Sexual Integrity, and Fundraising. But Africa, as Barbra pointed out to lead off the conference, could not hope to solve these problems without addressing the underlying life-and-death issue of the sanctity of human life.
Heartbeat International Director of Marketing and Communications Debora R. Myles brought her expertise to the conference, presenting a keynote entitled, "The ABCs of Marketing with Emphasis on Websites," and a workshop called "Fundraising Essentials."
In addition to Myles and Rev. Tabor, Lorraine Gariboldi, author and founding member of Heartbeat International affiliate Life Center of Long Island, spoke at the event, drawing from her leadership experience in a three-location setting.
Find out more about Heartbeat's International partners here.
Brian Fisher, president of Online for Life, joined Real Choices Pregnancy Medical Clinic Executive Director Mia Green on the stage of the Real Choices Spring Gala, announcing his organization's acquisition of the Grapevine, Texas-based pregnancy help center.
This new chapter of Online for Life's efforts has been super-charged with a $3.4 million gift that has transitioned the small volunteer effort to a large office staff, including statisticians, developers, and marketing experts.
Identifying as more than merely online marketing specialists, Fisher's announcement included his goal to increase Real Choices' "effective rate" in encounters with abortion-minded clients. Fisher noted that the practices Online for Life will refine in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will then be taken to the "super centers" in other major metropolitan areas, likely as future acquisitions, franchises, or start-ups.
Online for Life's most recent acquisition signals another local entity with plans to go regional/national, as Real Choices joins Women's Care Center (South Bend, IN), BirthChoice (Orange County, CA), Thrive! (St. Louis, MO), and Stanton Medical Clinic (Boise, ID) in promoting a common-brand/franchise model.
For more than a decade, our friends at Care Net have encouraged affiliates to utilize their national brand, which today numbers just over 140 locations. Meanwhile, Women's Care Center has experienced great success at spreading a true brand/franchise model across multiple states, with 22 locations in seven states.
Each of these brands follows in the footsteps of a key innovator of pregnancy help outreach – Birthright International. Birthright has nearly 300 individual pregnancy support service locations across North America (and a few in Africa as well) bearing its brand. Birthright, originally founded in Toronto, was part of the inspiration for Heartbeat International (then known as Alternatives to Abortion International), which began in 1971 to serve and strengthen the pregnancy help effort.
Difference of approach, philosophy, and focus has led both organizations to grow and develop along separate paths in the past four and a half decades. For the same reasons, it remains to be seen if one brand/franchise will eventually dominate the pregnancy help movement much in the same way as Planned Parenthood, a name that dominates the abortion market with a one-third share in the United States.
Evaluating the Franchise Approach
There are many strategic questions about a national brand/franchise. Online for Life's new "laboratory" center, Real Choices, plans to contribute great insight into "effective rates" that may serve other communities. But will what works in Texas translate to New York City or vice versa? Can processes that work in the Bible Belt leave the same footprint in the Pacific Northwest?
Further, is a monolithic brand an easier target for the opposition? NARAL continues to refer to pregnancy help ministries as "crisis pregnancy centers," a common term from an era before the Internet, the late 1980's. The billion-dollar abortion industry, unrestrained by our "best practices," would likely relish the thought of marshaling their powerful political and media allies on an obviously connected, monochromatic brand.
Yet Planned Parenthood has made its brand work for the better part of the past century... Until recently, that is, in the wake of concentrated scrutiny by conservative state legislators and a small, gutsy group of undercover investigators from Live Action, led by Lila Rose. Alliance Defending Freedom is now leading a specific effort to topple Planned Parenthood's brand image, exposing it for what it really is. Such efforts on various pro-life fronts have damaged Planned Parenthood's single brand, especially in conservative states.
Moving Forward in Confidence
Whether or not a single brand is in your pregnancy help organization's future, what is most important is that we continue to be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord is constantly moving us as His people, toward the Promised Land. This calls us, each day, to learn to be more effective in who, where, and how we serve.
Brand us, hopeful that the Lord, in His wisdom and power, will guide each and every organization and leader.
by Ellen Foell, Legal Counsel
Throughout the month of May, states and local jurisdictions will be holding elections at a polling booth near you.
Some of those elections will be primary elections, which, of course, narrow the field of candidates before an election for office. Primary elections are those in which political parties nominate candidates for an upcoming general election or by-election. Ohio, Georgia, Nebraska, and West Virginia are all holding primaries this May.
General elections, elections in which final results will send winners directly to elective office, are being held in—among other states—Montana, New York, Texas, and Virginia. Additionally, many states and local jurisdictions are having ballot issues, such as levies, school issues, tax issues, as well as issues as significant as marriage amendments. It goes without saying that all citizens, including those who work for nonprofits, even issues-oriented nonprofits, have the right to and should vote.
History is replete with instances of the importance of one vote. And though Snopes.com tells me most of the commonly cited instances are urban legends, there is one example, which many of us lived through, that is no myth.
In 2000, the difference in the total vote in the state of Florida in the presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore was less than one-half of one percent. A recount and ensuing controversy ended in Mr. Bush receiving Florida’s electoral votes, and he won the election by one electoral vote.
With the ballot booth coming to a public gathering place near you, here’s a quick list of why your pro-life vote is important:
1. Every vote charts a courseVoting is our chance to have a say in setting the direction of our city, country and culture.
2. Every vote expresses a convictionVoting is our chance to make our choice about the future of our government—or express our opinion about the present one.
3. Every vote countsJust ask our 43rd President—or his former opponent.
4. Because vote exercises equalityEach and every vote is worth just as much as anyone else’s, regardless of wealth, gender, color, ethnicity or religion.
5. Because the clock may be tickingIf we don’t exercise this blood-earned right to vote, we may eventually lose it. This may seem alarmist, but not when our nation’s two and a half centuries of existence within the larger scope of world history is considered.
In addition to these considerations, each election season tends to raise questions in the collective and individual minds of nonprofit leaders and organizations. Is it legal to put up a sign on nonprofit property for or against particular legislation? Is it advisable for our executive director to run for city council? Can we publish or distribute a voter’s guide?
These, and similar questions, lurk in the frontal cortex of those who care about the issues, are constantly told to be wary of trespassing in forbidden waters, and yet feel a compulsion not only to vote, but to encourage others to vote.
While the answers are not always clear, Heartbeat International has already answered some of these questions.
Check out the following links for more information:
I just returned from two weeks in Ethiopia, one of my many trips to that ancient, fascinating country. My time was spent working in the maternity home my husband and I founded five years ago.
The Ethiopian culture is made up of over 80 different ethnic groups and languages. It is diverse both in geography and culture. But there is a common thread ... it is the belief that abortion is wrong. In fact, in nearly all of these groups, abortion is anathema. There is an instinctive understanding that when a woman’s body swells with pregnancy, she has a life inside of her that is not to be cut short. They know this without the visual impact of ultrasound clearly showing a baby sucking his/her thumb, yawning, playing with his/her umbilical cord or sleeping. In their culture, they believe that abortion is a shameful thing.
The current pro-abortion leadership in America gives lip service to multiculturalism. Yet they are forcing abortion on this culture. In partnership with the U.N. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they are using money, dangling at the end of a stick like a carrot, to “buy” the Ethiopian government’s acquiescence.
In October, the Third Global International Council on Family Planning was held in Addis Ababa. Bill and Melinda Gates are two of the underwriters of this event. Their goal is to make abortion available to every woman in Ethiopia. They want clinics across the landscape, in every city and town. They cannot get enough doctors to perform abortions so they plan to train nurses and midwives.
This is appalling. Nurses there are not like their American counterparts in schooling and ability. Midwives are even less qualified. Already many of the clinics are primitive. I can’t imagine the carnage on the women, much less the unborn babies, when this goes into effect. But to abortion peddlers, the women are simply collateral damage in their war on the unborn.
Dr. Seyoum and his wife, both Ethiopians, speak all over Africa. He quit his practice and together they have dedicated their lives and resources to educating people on the humanity of the unborn and the reality of abortion, hoping to stop this evil. We sat in on one of his speeches. Part of his PowerPoint presentation was photos of aborted babies and baby parts from dumpsters and waste buckets from American abortion clinics. I have seen these pictures many times here in the states, but they always shake me. That day in Ethiopia, I saw them through Ethiopian eyes. The horror, the recoil and then the tears. There is something horrific about tearing a baby limb from limb and wrenching it out of the mother’s womb. Or partially delivering a third trimester baby, who with one push could be born and live, and killing it in the most unspeakable way. Isn’t it ironic? America is forcing the most barbaric practice on Africa and Africans are recoiling in the face of it!
Millions are being poured into this bloody business. Imagine if that money was used instead to help better mothers’ lives in Third World countries. Train them. Educate them. Help them set up small businesses. It would revolutionize this continent! These women don’t want to kill their babies. They don’t want to go against their culture and their conscience. They don’t even want a handout. They want a hand up.
Obianuju Edeocha, an African woman, penned this statement in response to the ICFP Conference: “We are thirsty and they give us condoms! We are hungry and they offer us contraceptive pills! We are sick and they offer us the most modern techniques of abortion! We are naked and they lead us into the arms of sexual hedonism! We are imprisoned by poverty and they offer us sexual liberation! Silent tears roll down for Africa in a modern world that can neither see our pain nor hear our cry for help. We mourn deeply for the destructive seeds of sexual revolution which were sown last week in Addis Ababa.”
How tragic that America, once the exporter of progress and hope to Third World countries, is now the exporter of death.
Dinah Monahan is the founder and former executive director of Living Hope Women’s Centers in the White Mountains and a national pro-life speaker and author. She is currently involved in Living Hope Maternity Home in Adama, Ethiopia, in Africa, which she and her husband founded.
Originally published January 31, 2014 in the White Mountain Independent. Reprinted with permission.
“Because Defendants have failed to demonstrate an actual problem in need of solving, it is unnecessary to reach the narrow tailoring prong of the strict scrutiny test.”1
Those are the words footnoted on the last page of last Friday’s opinion by Judge Deborah Chasanow in the case Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County, et al., Case 8:10-cv-01259 (D. Maryland 3/7/2014).
Imagine that… Montgomery County was unable to demonstrate to the Court that pregnancy help centers pose a problem in need of solving. What’s just as telling is what the Court also stated in the body of the opinion:
Quite simply, the County has put no evidence into the record to demonstrate that [limited service pregnancy resource centers’] failure clearly to state that no doctors are on premises has led to any negative health outcomes. Id., at 52.
The County, in the words of the pregnancy help centers, was searching for a problem to fit their Resolution (Id., at 42). The problem with the County’s problem, however, is that in the end, Montgomery County’s pregnancy centers don’t actually pose a problem to the County’s residents.
The case before the Court was a Resolution attempting to force Montgomery County’s pregnancy help centers, including Heartbeat affiliate Centro Tepeyac, to make specific disclosures stating what services they did—and did not offer.
The Resolution, Number 16-1252, originally passed Feb. 2, 2010, and required Montgomery County pregnancy help centers to post notices in specific languages and in specific locations on-site. The notices were to state that licensed medical professionals were not on the premises and that the County recommended pregnant women see a physician for a medical diagnosis of pregnancy.
Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, Centro Tepeyac challenged the Resolution on the grounds that it violated the freedoms guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Now several years into the process, Judge Chasanow, a District of Maryland justice, clearly and cogently determined that the Resolution imposed an unconstitutional burden on the rights guaranteed to centers.
The opinion, issued Friday, March 7, 2014, was actually the District Court’s revisit to the Resolution, which was most recently reviewed July 2013 in a decision by the 4th Circuit.
Throughout its long and convoluted procedural journey, the Resolution has been analyzed and reanalyzed. The flow of the County’s argument was as follows:
In Friday’s ruling, Judge Chasanow found that the County did indeed demonstrate a compelling interest in protecting the health of women (point 1 above). The Court also assumed, for the sake of argument, that the pregnancy help centers did not make any of the statements required to be made (points 2).
However, the flaw in the County’s argument, the Court reasoned, was between points 2 and 3, where the County failed to demonstrate the connection between the pregnancy help centers’ actions (or assumed inactions) and any evidence-based harm to pregnant women.
Commenting on the County’s evidence, the Court stated:
The County attempts to elide this distinction by providing no evidence for the effect, only the alleged cause. The Waxman and NARAL reports focus on the misinformation problem. So too do all of the comments made to the County Council in support of the Resolution. These commenters – who were universally volunteers from a pro-choice organization sent to investigate LSPRCs’ practices – discussed the alleged misinformation they were provided and that that the LSPRCs were not forthcoming with the fact that they are not a medical center and that they do not provide referrals for abortions. But even assuming all that is true - that LSPRC are presenting themselves as medical providers and thus pregnant women are accepting their misinformation as sound medical advice, the County must still demonstrate the next supposition on the logical chain: that these practices are having the effect of harming the health of pregnant women. The County has failed this task.
With the County’s failure to connect the link at the earlier points, the Court never had to consider the analysis of whether the County’s Resolution passed the strict scrutiny least restrictive means test typically employed by the United States Supreme Court in such cases.
This case is a clear victory for pregnancy help centers, not only in Maryland, but across the nation.
The Court attacks the very heart of the evidence, its legitimacy and its sources. Further, the Court logically and reasonably requires the County to demonstrate in court what it should have considered at the legislative level: Does the (mis)information justify the legislation?
Though the case is likely to be appealed by the County, the strength and logic of the decision should serve as a guide for other judges considering such legislation.
Stay tuned, but in the meantime, congratulations to the Montgomery County pregnancy help centers, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the other attorneys representing and standing for life.
1. Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County, et al.Case 8:10-cv-01259 (D. Maryland 3/7/2014)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (9/19/08) – The President’s Volunteer Service Award was conferred on 32 Heartbeat International affiliated pregnancy resource centers and 55 volunteers who serve Heartbeat affiliated centers on September 19, 2008. Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Joxel Garcia, M.D., M.B.A., bestowed the honors on Heartbeat’s affiliates and volunteers for the significant contributions they have made to their communities.
“Heartbeat International is an effective network of more than 1,000 faith-based community organizations aided by more than 25,000 volunteers. We are thrilled to see our volunteers honored by the Administration,” said Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D. “We are very proud to carry on the American tradition of volunteerism and community service especially in a way that helps women and strengthens families.”
In concert with the White House USA Freedom Corps, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Public Health and Science honored 150 “exemplary volunteers” who serve pregnancy centers around the country along with 56 pregnancy resource centers at a White House ceremony on September 19, 2008. Pregnancy center representatives and volunteers participated in the White House awards ceremony from 10 am-noon in the Indian Treaty room of the Old Executive Office Building connected to the White House.
“Uplifting the lives of women and families around the world is Heartbeat’s mission. We are compassionate people and passionate for life. If you feel called to give back to your community and want to volunteer you can visit http://www.pregnancycenters.org/" data-mce-href="http://heartbeatinternational.org/eNewsletter/2008/enews_Annual_Review-4-08-full.htm">PregnancyCenters.org and use the center locator system to find your local pregnancy center,” said Hartshorn. “Pregnancy center volunteers include doctors, lawyers, nurses, concerned parents, social workers, educators, and many others. They provide healthy alternatives to abortion for girls and women faced with an untimely pregnancy. Many of our volunteers have had personal experience with an unplanned pregnancy, adoption, and abortion.”
“These volunteers have spent countless hours serving the most vulnerable among us. Their efforts deserve recognition and our deepest appreciation,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Joxel Garcia, M.D., M.P.H.. “Their services provide these women and their babies the opportunity for a healthier beginning.”
“Today, we recognize the service of these volunteers who are lifting lives and impacting their communities and our country for good,” said Alison Young, acting director of USA Freedom Corps, an initiative to help Americans connect with volunteer opportunities at home and abroad. “As they serve women in need, they spread the very best of the compassionate volunteer spirit that keeps America strong.”
For more information about the President’s Service Award, visit http://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov/" data-mce-href="http://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov/">PresidentialServiceAwards.gov.
Click here for interview with Dr. Ann Moell, Medical Director of Elizabeth’s New Life Center, Heartbeat affiliate in Dayton, Ohio. Ann was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Our Lady’s Inn, in St. Louis, Missouri, continues to plant the seeds of sexual wholeness as a core part of the center’s ministry.
Says Gloria Lee, Executive Director of Our Lady’s Inn, “Our nurse, Helen, does Heartbeat’s Sexual Integrity™ program with all of our women. One of them had been taught that you don’t have sex with someone unless you are going to get something in exchange, such as rent money, food, diapers, etc. This client came to the realization that what she was doing was basically prostitution in viewing sex in this way. She felt terrible about it but kept saying to herself, ‘This is what I was taught.’”
The client vowed, “I am not going to use birth control because I don’t want to be tempted to just have sex for the wrong reasons,” when she returned home from the hospital following the recent birth of her baby.
Gloria asks that we pray for Our Lady’s Inn’s ministry, “That we can continue to plant seeds that will come to fruition in the lives of all the women who come to Our Lady’s Inn.”
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President
Yes, you read that right. The President signed his very first pro-life law just last month. The administration actually said that the law is aimed at “protecting the health of the woman” from dangers associated with abortion. The President went so far as to make it illegal to promote abortion as a safe procedure.
And more than that, the New York Times reported the President’s wife taking an even bolder stand in this brand new pro-life effort. She’s gone so far as to launch a nationwide campaign called “Give Me Life!” as a “week against abortion.” How amazing that the First Couple has taken such unprecedented steps for the cause of life!
Now if only other leaders of nations besides Russia would gain the realization that they are allowing their future to be aborted. But for now, we take heart that Scripture tells us, “The king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1, NIV).
Peggy Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International, was a keynote speaker at the recent Moscow Demographic Summit, hosted by World Congress of Families. Political and spiritual leaders alike aligned their interests to address the devastation that abortion has wrought on the future generations of Russians and thus Russia itself.
What were once statistical predictions of demographic trends have become a bleak, stark reality for countries such as Russia, Japan, and nearly all of Western Europe. We salute Mr. Dmitri A. Medvedev, President of Russia, and his wife, Svetlana, for this valiant redirection of law, public influence, and resources in the former Communist nation. Their actions and those of other leaders like them reveal a broader movement of the Holy Spirit in changing the hearts of leaders and laymen alike to renew a culture of life. We truly take heart in the Giver of Life and the Gift of Life.
You can read more about Peggy’s visit to Russia in the coming issue of Pulse. Watch for Pulse in your inbox later this month.
by Peggy Hartshorn, Heartbeat International, President(from Take Heart Volume 2, Issue 2)
I’m excited to share with you our encouraging news “fresh from Washington, D.C.”! I spent almost a week in our nation’s capital for meetings with national pro-life leaders, for the annual March for Life, and for our Babies Go To Congress™ (BGTC) event. What a magnificent week! Click here for a quick picture album of our March for Life team.
First, our BGTC was full of glory. We took several Heartbeat affiliates and their clients with babies – five Heartbeat teams totaling 27 people – to meet with to key Congressional representatives in 23 offices. We delivered the message that “pregnancy centers are good for America.” And our mothers were able to tell their stories as well and present to their elected officials a copy of the powerful report A Passion to Serve, A Vision for Life (researched by Family Research Council with the help of Heartbeat and other organizations in our movement). Walking the halls of Congress with our affiliates, mothers, and babies, was an honor and blessing for me personally.
Ripples, turning into currents, as a result of this trip will be many! Here are excerpts from a thank you letter to Heartbeat from just one of our mothers who came with her husband and baby:
“I wanted to thank you and Heartbeat International for the love and commitment to healthy babies and families you showed to me and every lady in attendance (and the thousands of others that benefit from all that Heartbeat does). I personally praise God for you!
Anthony and I experienced so much while in Washington, DC, I am still processing/taking all of it in… I am a counseling student and I will be obtaining my School Counselor Certification. After my professors heard of my pending trip and involvement in BGTC, they advised me to submit a proposal to present at this year's Illinois School Counselor Association Annual Conference… School Counselors in Chicago need to be able to "Connect the Dots" and know about community resources that their students may need.
I must share that before coming to Washington, DC I was not 100% committed to the pro-life movement. Although I do not believe in abortion and would never advise or financially back someone in their decision to get an abortion, I just was not comfortable in completely taking that right away from women either. However, I was challenged to really think about not only what I believe but WHO I believe in.”
I would estimate that about 350,000-400,000 people came to Washington for the March this year, probably the largest in recent history. Perhaps 50 percent of the Marchers were young people. A Washington Post columnist went to the March thinking he would see a “quaint” gathering with a hopeless cause. He admitted his surprise when he found otherwise! An excellent column by Cal Thomas (January 27), highlights the youth pro-life movement, and mentions TWICE the role of our pregnancy centers: “Thousands of pregnancy centers are winning a new generation to their views.”
I hope that each of you will experience in 2010 the personal “refreshment” I experienced during this intensely pro-pregnancy center week, feeling the Hand of God at work in the halls of Congress and at the March for Life. Clearly, our united labor, gifts, prayers, and strategic initiatives are winning our fellow Americans over to the truth and goodness of our Cause.
Learn more about BGTC at HeartbeatInternational.org.
Return to Take Heart Volume 2, Issue 2.
Another Planned Parenthood office closed its doors this week. Dozens have done so across the U.S. as the “defund Planned Parenthood” movement gains traction in states like Indiana, North Carolina, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Texas.
Actually the defunding provides cover for Planned Parenthood since it has been aggressively moving towards super-size service operations located, predominantly, in urban communities. Its own strategy has put its smaller, less profitable locations in jeopardy. Losing taxpayer monies has motivated it to speed up the consolidation process.
When Planned Parenthood (or any abortion provider) clinic closes its doors, it is a gift to the pro-life movement and to the pregnancy help centers (PHCs) in that community. One less location providing abortions means that abortion seekers will have more opportunity to find the life-affirming help we offer.
Planned Parenthood gives the gift of the ground they abandon. Several pregnancy help centers now occupy former abortion clinic locations. Along with incredible symbolism, there are enormous practical opportunities to minister to former abortion-clinic patients who return to that same location seeking help.
Planned Parenthood has even given from its own staff! Former staffers converting to the pro-life position has been a wonderful gift to our movement. Abby Johnson and others like her are powerful voices exposing how little choice is actually in the pro-choice argument and how much Planned Parenthood preys on women instead of serving them. As more such converts join us, we must welcome them as the gifts from God that they are.
Even the fallacious, Planned Parenthood-sponsored legislative attacks are turning into gifts for the pregnancy help movement. Such attacks have netted judicial rulings in favor of PHCs. These same attacks have helped mobilize many marginal pro-lifers.
Phineas T. Barnum, the 19th century American showman and circus owner, is credited with saying, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” With this in mind, Planned Parenthood has gifted the movement with enormous publicity in the past few years!
Take heart! Even our opposition is contributing to your great work. I wonder if we can consider those unwitting contributions as in-kind gifts?
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