Displaying items by tag: babies go to congress

Anahi and Elias


Elias — Born October 2022


When I was 19, I found out I was pregnant. I was already working two jobs and working long hours each day while attending college. I escaped from my abusive parents at 17 and have been couch-hopping ever since with no real sense of stability. At the time I found out I was pregnant, I was sharing a bed with a friend and her dog, lacking the stability and space I so desperately needed for my baby.

In my desperation, I turned to my son's father despite the toxic nature of our relationship. It felt like my only option, leaving me feeling more trapped than ever. I desperately wanted a family for my son, so I stayed even when everything told me to leave. Things took a turn for the worse when he started physically hurting me.

The months that followed were filled with more ups and downs, and when it was time for me to give birth, the situation was so bad that security had to kick him out of the hospital. I had to go through the process of giving birth alone.

It was torture being at that apartment, continuing to endure the physical and emotional abuse. Anahi and Elias FL

It broke my heart knowing my innocent baby was on his way to the path that I was on as a child. I felt like such a failure.

Amid this darkness, a glimmer of hope emerged when a friend told me about Thrive. Without hesitation, I applied. Thrive provided a sanctuary where I could reclaim my education and create a safe and stable environment for my son. Because of the unwavering love and care of everyone at Thrive, I have begun to truly heal in the present and from the scars of my past.

When I think of how much I have grown from my past, it has opened my eyes to the stark reality that the absence of resources for women in situations like mine not only creates hopelessness but also continues the mindset that abuse is acceptable and for that, I am grateful that Thrive exists. It has played a pivotal role in breaking the toxic cycle that once enslaved my son and me.

Thrive gave me hope for a better future and the strength and support to break free from abuse, and it has empowered me to help others who are going through similar situations. Thrive is more than just a shelter; it's a lifeline that transforms lives and shows the incredible resilience of the human spirit.



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Kendra and Ella


Ella — Born September 2022 Kendra and Ella KS

Kendra Morgan, a freshman in college, discovered she was pregnant but initially kept it a secret, grappling with the decision of abortion due to a past assault. Despite her resolve to handle it alone, her mother intervened upon learning the truth from a friend. Reluctantly, Kendra agreed to visit a pregnancy center where she met a compassionate mentor.

Despite remaining abortion-minded, she attended an ultrasound at 8 weeks and witnessed the tiny form of her unborn child. Despite her reservations, Kendra found herself gradually deciding to keep the baby, buoyed by the support of her loved ones and the encouragement from Open Door.

Throughout her pregnancy, Kendra struggled with fear and shame, concealing her situation from others. However, the unwavering support she received allowed her to navigate the challenges and embrace motherhood when her daughter, Ella, was born. Contrary to her initial worries, Kendra was overwhelmed with love and joy upon holding Ella for the first time.

Balancing motherhood with her ambitions, Kendra joined the college cheer team when Ella was just 10 months old, concurrently pursuing her education and embarking on a career as a daycare teacher. Reflecting on her journey, Kendra expressed deep gratitude for the assistance and guidance provided by Open Door, acknowledging that without their support, she might have struggled profoundly. Ultimately, Kendra found fulfillment in being Ella's mother, believing that her daughter has a profound purpose and eagerly anticipating the ongoing transformation she brings into her life.

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Kayla and Maverick


Kayla and Maverick TXMaverick — Born May 2022

In Boerne, at the Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center, Kayla Sunny found the vital support she needed to navigate her journey as a mother to Maverick. From the moment she walked through the center's doors, Kayla was met with compassion and guidance.

Initially unsure of her options, Kayla found reassurance through the caring staff who provided invaluable information and support, allowing Kayla to make informed choices about her pregnancy. Their prayers and unwavering presence offered Kayla comfort and strength during uncertain times. 

As Kayla prepared for Maverick's arrival, the center's programs, notably the Earn While You Learn initiative, became invaluable resources. Through this program, Kayla earned baby bucks, which she used to acquire essential items for Maverick's care, ensuring he had everything he needed from the very beginning.

Despite the challenges of Maverick's premature birth, Kayla remained resilient, supported by the center's prayers and encouragement. Through it all, the Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center stood as a pillar of support, providing Kayla with the tools and resources she needed to care for Maverick and navigate the early days of motherhood with confidence.

As Maverick grew and thrived, Kayla's gratitude for the center's services only deepened. With each milestone, from Maverick's first steps to his first birthday, Kayla found herself surrounded by the love and support of the Pregnancy Care Center community, a testament to the profound impact of their care and services on her journey as a mother.

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Elizabeth and Evelyn


Evelyn — Born January 2024

Elizabeth found herself unexpectedly pregnant with Evelyn after a brief reunion with Ben, her ex-partner. With Ben already moved out and their relationship strained, Elizabeth faced the daunting prospect of single motherhood. Despite her initial excitement, doubts from family and friends left her feeling unsupported and unsure.

Seeking guidance, Elizabeth turned to Planned Parenthood but found little solace there. Pressured into a pill abortion, she regretted her decision immediately upon receiving a text from Ben expressing his desire to keep the baby. Frantically searching for hope, she discovered abortion pill reversal (APR) and reached out for help.

With the support of Ben and a network of compassionate individuals, including the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, Elizabeth embarked on the journey of reversing the abortion. Through this process, she witnessed the resilience of her unborn child and the unwavering support of her community.

Elizabeth Benjamin and Evelyn

As weeks passed, Elizabeth and Ben embraced parenthood, attending counseling sessions together and witnessing the miracle of their daughter's life unfold through regular sonograms at their local pregnancy center. The experience not only strengthened their bond but also reaffirmed Elizabeth's belief in the importance of APR in providing second chances to women facing similar crises.

On January 18th, 2024, Elizabeth gave birth to Evelyn, a vibrant testament to love and resilience. With their daughter in their arms, Elizabeth and Ben found solace in their newfound family unit, planning a future together filled with love and commitment with a fall wedding in the works.

Elizabeth's journey underscored the profound impact of APR in preserving life and offering hope to families in crisis. With a newfound sense of purpose, she vowed to advocate for the preservation of programs like APR, ensuring that every woman facing a difficult decision receives the support and resources she needs to choose life.


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Evalynn and Hezekiah


Hezekiah — Born October 2021

Born to a crack-addicted and alcoholic mother, Evalynn was removed from her mother’s custody at the age of only 10. She had her first abortion at 19 and at 24 she almost died from a second abortion that led to her having an emergency D&C three days later.

At the age of 30, she found herself pregnant out of wedlock again.

“I was already a single mother of a 3-year-old and I was attempting to finish my Bachelor’s degree. I had no idea how I was going to support myself, two children, and finish college.”

Evalynn felt alone as the father of her baby was encouraging her to have an abortion and she had no one else to support her. Not knowing if she was going to choose to have an abortion or keep the baby, she reached out to the Women's Center of Ohio for an ultrasound.

That ultrasound changed her entire life, as it made the pregnancy real to her and empowered her to choose life for her baby! That choice also led to choosing life for herself as two months after that she surrendered her life to Jesus Christ.

Today, baby Hezekiah is a year old. Evalynn earned her bachelor’s degree and then married shortly after!

“In this age, the world tells women that to be happy and to have a successful life we must abort our unborn babies. That is the furthest thing from the truth! I have never lived a life that is so fulfilled physically, mentally, and spiritually. God used this baby's life to save mine and I am forever grateful!”

Support the efforts of pregnancy help organizations today so that moms like Evalynn are encouraged and equipped to choose life for their little ones.

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Baby Hezekiah


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Danielle and Lei’Lani


At 20 years old, Danielle was terrified to find herself staring at two pink lines on a pregnancy test. She was immersed in a world of drugs, alcohol and risky behavior that she used to numb the pain of years of abuse and assault.

“I knew that I was carrying life - that it wasn’t just me anymore,” she said, “but I had no money, and my family refused to support me.”

That is when found a local maternity home, the Paul Stefan Foundation. It was here when she was welcomed with open arms and spent the next five years learning valuable life skills and gaining the education needed to get a good job for herself and her growing baby girl.

Danielle describes those years as the “hardest of my entire life, but they transformed me and my future in an incredible way.” She has remained involved with the home ever since, and today she serves her community as a foster care social worker in the Virginia Department of Social Services.

“So many women resort to abortion because they think it’s their only option, or that their baby will hinder their goals. I wish I could comfort those women, and tell them how keeping my baby motivated me to achieve every single goal that I set my mind on. I’d tell them that I named my daughter Lei’Lani, which means royal child of heaven. Why? I tell anyone who will listen – God sent her to me to save my life.”

Support the efforts of pregnancy help organizations today so that moms like Danielle are encouraged and equipped to choose life for their little ones. 

danielle and lei lani

Lei'Lani and Danielle

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Kylie and Zoe


Kylie* was a mom of two and had just started a new relationship when she found out that she was pregnant. She felt that she wasn’t ready, and even though her boyfriend was excited to be a dad, Kylie decided to have an abortion.

She quickly regretted this decision, especially as she and her boyfriend struggled to get pregnant again over the following years. She was overjoyed to find out she was pregnant in the summer of 2019 with a baby boy.

And then, when her son was seven months old, she found out that she was pregnant again with twins. Kylie felt overwhelmed and that she couldn’t go through with the pregnancy as her boyfriend was out of town quite a bit. The financial strain of raising five children on her own was just too much.

Hoping to get more answers, Kylie reached out to Real Options. She was still on the fence about getting an abortion, but after discussing the many resources that were available she realized she had all the support she needed!

Sadly, one of the twins passed before birth. Real Options was there for Kylie at that time as well, so she knew that she wasn’t alone. They provided her with counseling services and a baby shower. They gave her the support that she needed and became the family that she didn’t have.

“Now that my boyfriend is temporarily away, I still don’t feel alone. I know I have my family at Real Options and they are only one call away…If I didn’t come to Real Options, I would not have chosen life for my daughter. For that, we are forever grateful!”

*Name changed for privacy

Support the efforts of pregnancy help organizations today so that moms like Kiley are encouraged and equipped to choose life for their little ones. 


Baby Zoe

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U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst to Speak at Heartbeat International's 2018 Babies Go to Congress

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Monday | Jan. 15

Contact: Jay Hobbs, Director of Communications and Marketing
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — As four mothers and their babies visit Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers how pregnancy centers changed their lives for the better Thursday, Jan. 18, they’ll also have the opportunity to hear directly from U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, at Heartbeat International’s 16th Babies Go to Congress.

A Republican from Iowa, Sen. Ernst spoke at the 2016 and 2017 March for Life and is a key sponsor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act—which ends most abortions at 20 weeks and beyond and is expected to go before the Senate the week of this year’s March for Life, Jan. 19.

Each of the four mothers participating in Babies Go to Congress overcame significant challenges to choose life in the midst of an unexpected pregnancy, thanks to the help of a locally funded and operated pregnancy center affiliated with Heartbeat International.

“We are honored to welcome Sen. Ernst to this year’s Babies Go to Congress,” Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International president, said. “Like pregnancy help leaders and volunteers at the local level, Sen. Ernst puts her pro-life beliefs into compassionate action. Every woman deserves the compassionate help and hope she needs to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy.”

Tweet This: @joniernst to headline event #PlannedParenthood could never pull off. #prolife #whywemarch @HeartbeatIntl

An event abortion industry leader Planned Parenthood would never dream of pulling off, Babies Go to Congress has brought 155 mothers and their children into congressional offices since Heartbeat International took its initial group to the nation’s Capitol in 2009. Overall, mothers with their children in tow have visited 315 congressional offices representing 25 states. 

This year’s group is made up of mothers and children from North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri and Florida. One of the mothers, Kelsey Hedges from Missouri, refused abortion when the father of her twin girls pressured her to end their lives in the womb. 

Thursday, Jan. 18, Hedges and her 15-month-old daughters will tell their story to the Senate offices of Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill, as well as the House offices of Republicans Blaine Luetkemeyer and Jason Smith. 

“I was in love from the moment I laid eyes on both of them,” Hedges writes. “They are such a blessing to my life, and bring so much joy to myself and the rest of my family. I thank God often for my girls and for Pregnancy Resource Center of Rolla who saved me and my pregnancy.”

Click here to learn more about the 2018 Babies Go to Congress participants and follow their journey to Capitol Hill. 

7 Moms to Tell D.C. Lawmakers Why They Chose Life

"This is one event Planned Parenthood could never dream of pulling off."

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Monday | December 12, 2016
Contact: Jay Hobbs, Director of Communications and Marketing
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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.

Capitol Hill, Get Ready to Meet Christiana

13-year-old saved from abortion to meet with law-makers at Babies Go to Congress

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Monday | December 22, 2014
Contact: Jay Hobbs, Director of Communications and Marketing
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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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