by Andrea Trudden, Vice President of Communications & MarketingHeartbeat International
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” – Romans 12:12
As we begin a new year, we begin a new era—the post-Roe world as we choose to make it.
The dust continues to settle after the Dobbs decision on June 24, and it will continue to do so. And we continue to open our doors and welcome women and families in order to serve them with the same dignity and respect we always have. Because that is what pregnancy help is. That is what we were called into this mighty mission to do.
Since May, we have seen pregnancy help organizations in the news more than ever before. Politicians make up stories and shout baseless claims against the good work provided through pregnancy centers at no cost to communities worldwide simply because it is a cause they don’t believe in.
Major corporations proudly proclaim they will compensate employees who travel out of state to obtain an abortion, circumventing their states’ laws on the issue.
Technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Yelp suppress or outright ban advertising of life-affirming options like Abortion Pill ReversalTM, labeling it “misinformation” all while expanding the promotion of mail-order abortion pills.
We have seen attacks against our work as abortion extremists spray paint, break windows, and set fire to our buildings. And we have witnessed with admiration as our brothers and sisters pick up the pieces, paint the doors, and go back to business as usual.
The poise of the pregnancy help movement is one of class and grace.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12
God gives us reminders of His provision through times of trial. While we have been viciously attacked from various sides, we have great reasons to celebrate!
More women contacted Option Line last year and were connected to local pregnancy help than in the past couple of years, and, as we know, the best alternative to abortion is another person offering compassionate support. We know that more than 4,000 women have now saved their babies’ lives through the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network, and more pregnancy help medical clinics are providing this life-saving service. In addition, new pregnancy help organizations are opening their doors in underserved areas, reaching women with the life-saving support they need at a very difficult time.
This is the truth. These are the facts. So, while some may not like what we do, we will not stop. The risk is too great. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
And so, we endure.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…” Romans 5:3
And while I don’t always remember to rejoice in the suffering, this year has given us many chances to rejoice!
Think of the woman who entered your door with tear-filled eyes as she feared a pregnancy would permanently halt all her life’s plans. And how, with just a listening ear and a bit of encouragement, she left that same door confident that she could accomplish her dreams while being a good mom.
Picture the young mom who is so grateful for the parenting support she received at your building years ago that she still sends you pictures of her growing little one, in school now and getting so big!
Now, hear the sound of the mother who gasps when seeing her baby’s heartbeat for the first time as she squeezes her boyfriend’s hand tightly, accepting the love that God has blessed them with.
These moments – these women – are our “why.” They give us the strength and perseverance to press forward through any opposition because we know the work we do is righteous.
And so we will continue to serve with class and grace in order to serve a loving God and help families within our communities thrive.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10
by Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., Board Chair
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
As we end the 5 decades when the Roe v. Wade decision “ruled” how abortion would be dealt with in our country – both on a personal level and in our laws, society, and culture – we’d like to take this moment to look back on that Roe-world. My husband and I were witnesses of it all.
I reflect here at those fifty years and the damage left behind, but also reflect on how God has brought forth good out of the evil. Because He has, we can all Take Heart!
In hindsight, we can all see the carnage left by Roe, probably at least 50 million abortions (an average of about 1 million per year) in the US, with not only the babies as victims but also their mothers, fathers, and families, plus all those who were complicit either through participating some way in the abortion or by standing by and doing nothing. Abortion became, and still is, a big, money-making business.
The carnage spread around the world as the US exported, through the United Nations and through our popular culture, the “abortion mentality.” We funded, with our tax dollars, population control and abortion worldwide, and we still do.
However, at the same time, God’s people stepped up in every area of life in our society and worked unceasingly to fight the abortion juggernaut and “overturn Roe.” That was finally accomplished, of course, in the Dobbs decision on June 24, 2022, through the grace of God and the work of the amazingly creative “movement” that also grew and developed over these 50 years.
Just to clarify, the Roe v. Wade decision, handed down by the Supreme Court on Jan. 22, 1973, essentially said that abortion as a choice was somehow covered in a “right to privacy” (that was not written down in our Constitution). It said that abortion was “between a woman and her doctor.” It could only be regulated somewhat, but only for the woman’s health in the second trimester, and, in the third trimester it had to be allowed for the “health” of the mother. A companion decision, Doe v. Bolton, extended that to “mental health” so, essentially, abortion was legal during all 9 months of pregnancy.
At first, pro-lifers who had begun to form into groups and get involved in educational and political efforts during the 5 years prior to Roe (when activists were trying to pass laws legalizing abortion state by state) were devastated. It seemed that we could do nothing to stop abortions. The number of abortions surged, and infant adoptions (the primary choice in an unexpected pregnancy for unmarried women before Roe) dropped dramatically.
But the good news is that the pro-life movement began to develop dramatically after Roe. My husband and I joined the movement with a phone call to our local Right to Life chapter, found in the phone book, on January 22, 1973. Apparently, thousands of other people were motivated to do the same, year after year!
The first strategy proposed to “overturn Roe” was to amend the Constitution with a Human Life Amendment but that proved divisive (even with the growing pro-life movement) and never gained traction in the first two decades after Roe.
Amazingly, creative legal minds (in cities, counties, and states) also began trying to “chip away” at what was at first thought to be a “right” with no restrictions. The first effort that I remember was the Akron (Ohio) Ordinance, passed by a city council in 1978. It included parental notification, a waiting period, rules on fetal remains, and other common-sense provisions. Although it was finally declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1982, it pioneered other examples of the “incremental approach” to fighting and limiting abortions, including the 15-week limit to abortions in Mississippi (because the unborn child can feel pain then) that eventually was the basis of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that brought us into the post-Roe era.
Meanwhile, during the five decades of Roe, other “arms” or branches of the pro-life movement, developed a laser focus on many other priorities: on prayer, especially in front of abortion clinics, on civil disobedience, on regulating abortion clinics, on education – debates at first, then entire programs and curricula for schools and churches, on websites, social media, and other vehicles of popular culture -- film, music, art, literature, and more!
And I have saved the “best” (in my opinion) for last – the pregnancy help movement! The five Roe decades brought to life all of YOU reading Take Heart! You are an essential part of one of the 3,000 pregnancy help centers across our nation that are now saving thousands of babies and mothers per week from abortion, offering love and support, offering hope and healing to those who have had abortions, providing for the health and safety of new families, providing pro-life medical care on many levels, housing homeless pregnant women and helping them get “on their feet” again, providing help to trafficking victims, sharing the Gospel, linking to churches, social services, businesses, and “movers and shakers” in your community, and doing even more!!!
Between 1968 and 1973, before Roe, a couple hundred (at the most) pregnancy help centers existed in the USA, thanks to the Lord working through our pioneers – especially through Heartbeat (then called Alternatives to Abortion, founded in 1971 to link and grow this network).
The original housing services were limited (girls were housed in private homes and then small group homes). The centers were small, all volunteer, many operating out of the offices of pro-life OB/GYNs (who had to send urine test samples to laboratories and get back the results in a few days!). Some volunteers manned hotlines and met with girls and women who thought they might be pregnant on park benches and at restaurants. From these small seeds, a mighty network has grown! (Read much more about our growth over these 50 years in The Power of Pregnancy Help: The First Fifty Years)
One of the best fruits of the Roe era, in my opinion, has been the unity developed among Christians called to this work, especially among Catholics (the first to “answer the call” in the late 1960’s and 70’s) and Evangelicals (who joined the movement in massive numbers in the 1980’s). We experience it within Heartbeat and see that we are always better together!
God’s people never gave up and never gave in over the last 5 decades. Some of God’s pro-life warriors have passed into eternity already, but so many others have taken their places, and the work goes on!
Our battlefield has changed post-Roe. Once focused on a national field, we now must include all 50 states, plus our cities, counties, townships, and neighborhoods. We are back to where we were, in one sense, when the battle was raging in the states from 1968-73, right at the grassroots level.
At least one other thing has clearly changed – while pregnancy help centers have been under “attack” since the 1980’s (in the media, by local and national legislators and courts), the attacks have now become more angry and more physical, fueled by fear of the loss of a “right” to abortion and the woundedness of those who have experienced abortion or are part of Big Abortion. And in the midst of it, we should rejoice. It is our effectiveness that makes us a target, and the enemy has certainly taken notice.
So Take Heart as we continue to serve those taken in by the lie of abortion because in many ways, our work is beginning again.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
by Julie Stepp
I can’t believe Roe v. Wade has been overturned. My whole life, abortion has been a thing, and Christians around me have been praying for the reversal of this landmark decision, made 22 years before I was born. I occasionally prayed that God would overturn Roe, but I did it kind of out of obligation, without thinking about it (or abortion for that matter) very much. Abortion to me was a distant and abhorrent evil only the “outsiders” dealt with, outsiders being people who were outside my circle, and outside my sphere of influence. My only hope to make any difference was to offer a feeble prayer that one day the decision that had made abortion legal in my country could be overturned…or so I thought.
One Sunday when I was 17, I was walking out of church and saw some baby bottles sitting on a table. Nobody had told me why they were there, and out of curiosity and my overwhelming desire to have a baby of my own (we’re talking about secretly climbing up to the attic to hold a baby doll to imagine what it would be like type of desire here) I walked up to the table and read the pamphlet, slipping a bottle or two out of the building to fill for the fundraiser. I read the pamphlet over and over about how the pregnancy center helped women and babies vulnerable to abortion, and I thought about how much I would like to save two lives – the mama and the baby – from destruction. I filled out a volunteer application, and the center accepted it, shy and slightly awkward as I was. I spent hours in the back room folding donated baby clothes, peeking my head around the corner every now and then to smile at the clients walking down the hallway. I thought they were “other,” “different,” “not like me,” and I wondered in the secret places of my heart if they would accept me because I was different. They were here because they were struggling with motherhood, and what did I have to offer anyway? Was I really able to help, despite my very sheltered background and lack of motherhood? I wondered…
Then off I went to college, dropping into the center to say hi every Christmas or spring break. When I graduated, I heard they needed an assistant manager for one of their locations, so I thought I’d apply. They accepted my application (now much less awkward and much less shy), and put me to work doing all kinds of things – fundraising, counseling, record-keeping. They decided to leave me home while the rest of the staff went to the Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Dallas (boy, they raved about Heartbeat conferences!), and while I was alone in the office preparing for a baby bottle fundraiser speech, the Lord spoke to me very powerfully about Esther and how she spoke up for her people to save them from death.
This verse in particular stood out to me: “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, emphasis mine). I felt like this passage hit me in the chest with its weight, and so I started speaking at the churches who would allow me about what God had laid on my heart. I told fellow believers in the pews that now was a significant moment in history - the heartbeat bill had just been written into law in Ohio - and it wasn’t time to give up or turn the other way. It was time to speak up and bring that relief and deliverance to moms, dads, and babies in our community. If we didn’t, the results for us and our posterity could be very grim. Then I would close my speech with a call to action – “please pick up a baby bottle in the back and check out our mobile ultrasound unit in the parking lot.” I laugh as I write this – the pastors probably weren’t expecting such a hard-hitting prelude!
The executive director heard about my Esther speech and invited me to give it at the center’s biggest event of the year. We worked and reworked my speech to make it exactly what we wanted, and I added a little something to it this time. I remember standing there, looking out over the donors and friends seated at the many tables, and telling them that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the only way we were going to make abortion unthinkable and unwanted. I told them how no one who truly understood their value bestowed by their Creator would knowingly take the life of their own unborn child, another of God’s creation, and that we needed to take this Good News to our community because we had a chance in history to defeat this evil and save a generation. That night was one of my last at Elizabeth’s Hope Pregnancy Resources. The next week I moved to a new city and started my new job at Heartbeat International.
I kept thinking about what I had said. My own voice kept ringing in my ears. Now is the time. It’s only the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People around me would bring up the phrase “for such a time as this” and I would just smile. They had no idea what was going on in my head and heart.
Two years passed, and I got married and had my own baby, and then I felt a greater reason to help moms and rescue babies. Abortion must be eradicated. This was no longer something I just vaguely wanted. This was no longer a half-hearted prayer. And now I further understood how to help women. How to meet them where they were and how to offer them hope.
And then suddenly this was the moment. This was the moment that I didn’t realize how much I had been waiting for. I had found a way to help outside of what protection (or lack thereof) the law offered. I had found a way to help women. But the possibility for Roe to be overturned? We all held our breath, and waited, and wondered. Would the leaked decision of the Supreme Court hold true? Would they really overturn Roe v. Wade? And then it happened. I got the text, and I cried. It was finally official. The decision that had sent so many to their grave was finally overturned. The power to protect the gift of Life has been returned to its people.
I see God’s hand in my life personally to lead me to where I am at this moment. I see that He was intentional. I wonder why, and I am in awe that He would orchestrate for me to be in the pregnancy help movement right now. I am not on the sidelines looking at the landscape of our country and thinking “Oh that’s interesting – I wonder who I could give money to.” No, I wake up every morning and do something that actually makes a difference to moms and their babies. They are no longer “other,” “different,” and “unreachable” to me. They are real women that need help and are within my area of influence. This is what our country needs in this moment. We are the safety net for women who might believe the lie that they need abortion. It’s as if the chains of control have been broken, and Life has the freedom to reign.
When I go to the annual 4th of July festivities this year with my family and friends (on top of the hill beside my grandma’s old house), I’ll be thinking about how God truly is the one who frees the oppressed. He truly does answer prayer, and He aligns the events of history to bring forth His goodness. I’ll hold my wide-eyed son on my knee as he sees fireworks for the first time. And I’ll rejoice that for his generation, Roe will only be a story of the distant past. The oppressed have been set free. Liberty has come for the captives! Hallelujah!
Excerpted from The Power of Pregnancy Help, a book telling the story of the first 50 years of Heartbeat International and the pregnancy help movement. The Power of Pregnancy Help is available wherever books are sold.
Each of our three co-founders, Dr. John Hillabrand, Lore Maier, and Sister Paula Vandegaer, brought special gifts to the establishment of AAI, and they incorporated into our work the values, purposes, and principles that characterized not only AAI’s first twenty years, but also have become the foundation for the growth and development of Heartbeat International over the last thirty years. In the previous three chapters we have tried to capture some of their special gifts and the life experiences and expertise that have left clear marks on the pregnancy help movement both then and now.
The name founders carries with it the concept that these first leaders laid down the foundations for the organization they started, Alternative to Abortion International. And today, that organization, now Heartbeat International, is indeed built on those foundations. However, our founders believed, and Heartbeat believes today, that they were building for the entire pregnancy help movement, then and now – not just for those that became or would become official affiliates. Anyone who provided life-affirming pregnancy help was and is welcome, all learn and contribute, all work together to advance the mission of saving and changing lives. So, the foundations were built and are maintained now for the entire pregnancy help movement.
. . .
Always More Than Saving Babies
All three of our co-founders had a view of our work that encompassed more than saving babies. Those who describe the mission of pregnancy help centers as “saving babies” are only describing a part of our founders’ vision and mission and part of the movement’s vision today.
Our founders focused on both mother and baby, and, in fact, on the family and the entire culture. They saw that we were involved in this work to serve women in need and help them so they could save their babies, but also (especially in the work of Sister Paula) that we were in a position to help women understand their true womanhood. Dr. John and Lore’s writings and talks also show that they viewed an attack on the sanctity of human life in the womb as an attack on society as a whole and on all humanity that would have profound ramifications. Lore tried to warn of the effect of abortion not only on women themselves and the family, but also on the perpetrators (the abortionists), and even on those who merely stood by and observed (the general public).
The first logo that was chosen for AAI, used in the very first communications in early 1972, was called “Hearts of Gold.” It is not a baby, nor is it a mother and child. The logo features two larger gold hearts (with some lines and markings, the result of life’s scars, experience, maturity, and wisdom) surrounding a tiny, unmarked, pure golden heart that represents the innocent human child. The logo shows that we need to protect, shelter, and nurture that child, born and unborn. The hearts of gold represent the family as God intended it. With the family relationships disrupted and in need of healing, the larger, sheltering hearts could be those of us in this movement protecting the child. Heartbeat’s logo has changed to the “Heart of the Future,” but Heartbeat International still features our “Hearts of Gold” on our premier Legacy Award since God’s plan for the family is still at the heart of our mission. One of the amazing things about the early AAI Academies (Conferences) was the diversity of expertise represented in the “Faculty” or conference presenters. To help the emerging centers with program development were marriage and family experts, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, doctors and nurses (with expertise on pregnancy and maternity care, fetal development, labor and delivery, nursing, sexually transmitted diseases, infertility and more), early childhood education experts, researchers, social workers, mothers, fathers, and more.
Programs developing then within the first centers (despite the early term EPS or Emergency Pregnancy Services) and first maternity homes were focused not just on the crisis intervention need for women coming in for a pregnancy test, but on parenting and family unification. For the “negative test client,” programs were developing to help her understand the risks of sexual intimacy outside of marriage. Centers were developing referral networks in their own community and finding like-minded potential partners who could amplify these messages – for example, in schools and in the culture at large.
Today, if you attend a Heartbeat International Conference or any other gathering of pregnancy help organizations around the world, you will find the same. We are about much more than saving babies. Our foundation stones are motherhood, fatherhood, healthy families, and a pro-family culture.
Anne Pierson is a memorable soul – A pioneer. A founder. An author. A mentor. A mother & friend. Surrounded by housing peers, this noteworthy woman was awarded a Lifetime Legacy award on October 28 from the National Maternity Housing Coalition. “Anne has always been one of my role models since the moment I met her,” Peggy Hartshorn, Board President of Heartbeat International described, “I admire her both as an individual and as an example of ministry as a couple.”
Anne loves singing, puzzles, and striking up conversations wherever she goes. Her love takes the form of being able to focus deeply on the individual in front of her and speak to their heart. She gives “words” as a spiritual ministry to encourage and direct. She has lived a rich life of relationship, having touched many lives with her expertise and genuine love.
As an only child, Anne longed for the large extended families she saw in her childhood neighborhood. Her husband Jimmy had a deep yearning to be a father even as a youth. Both of these desires were realized in the unique extended family they created together. They wed when Anne was 18 years old and together, they had two daughters, Holly and Shelly. As youth ministers early in their marriage, Anne and Jimmy encountered a young woman who was pregnant due to rape. This encounter began a lifetime journey of service to women and children.
Anne and Jimmy welcomed over 200 pregnant women into the context of their personal home, opening their doors to women in need of support. The family life that was shared together is the source of many of Anne’s great stories and insights and Anne has stayed in touch with many of these families for years and years. Their personal efforts became formalized in the founding of a nonprofit, House of His Creation, in 1972. Following many years of direct service, the Pierson’s were publicly recognized in a speech made by President Reagan. This prompted other individuals and ministries needing help to reach out and eventually, led to the development of a new ministry.
Anne began writing materials and in 1984, founded Loving & Caring, an international ministry to provide resources, materials, and practical tools for those in the pregnancy help movement. The My Baby and Me workbook series remains a valuable tool in the pro-life movement, especially in supporting the exploration of adoption. Anne played a key role in the establishment of the National Christian Housing Conference.
As a speaker, she has brought the pro-life message to a variety of settings including conferences, churches, and retreats. A natural storyteller, Anne brings a spark of humor and light-heartedness, illustrating her teachings with tales from her life. She is passionate about the impact of fatherlessness, the beauty of adoption, and the model of family.
“Anne’s years and years of service have shaped the maternity housing community in profound ways,” Mary Peterson, facilitator of the National Maternity Housing Coalition, noted. “She introduced and gave shape to a new model of ministry which inspired many to take up the work. Her work continues in the leaders she has formed who continue to serve with great conviction and passion.”
Over the course of their service, Jim and Anne received Heartbeat’s inaugural Servant Leader Award in 1996. Years later, they also received a 2011 Legacy Award, part of a very small community of those who have been honored with both. Following Jim’s passing in 2012, Heartbeat established a scholarship in his name to support a housing organization in attending the conference.
In recent months, Pierson has announced that the next season of her ministry will be closer to home. A resident of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Anne is involved with ministries and churches in that community. She has a rich family life including 3 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Speaking with conviction, Hartshorn summed up Anne’s legacy in this way, “Anne is an incredibly wise woman – versed in human nature, able to see what women really need, and willing to pour herself out with genuine love.”
As the Lifetime Legacy award noted, Anne Pierson has indeed “fought the good fight and finished the race.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
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.
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.
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President
I have personally stared into the crematorium at Auschwitz.
It’s a somber and sobering experience even to begin to try to digest the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis a little more than six decades ago. There are distinct connections and eerie similarities between the inhumanity of the Holocaust history and the ravages of abortion in our day. This is not an easy subject to share, but let me narrow it to three lessons that Auschwitz (and the other death camps like it) teaches us.
Ever heard of the Tiergarten 4 program? It was a 1930’s Nazi program to “deal with” the physically handicapped, disabled and mentally ill. Nazi leadership determined that the resources necessary to maintain such life could be better used elsewhere to the betterment of the overall society. Sound familiar? (Google Tiergarten 4 for more understanding.) The outcomes of this relatively small program were instrumental in the implementation of the “Final Solution.”
As Nazi Germany and imperialistic Japan gained power, champions in various disciplines also rose to oppose these regimes. Some stepped out willingly while others were thrust into leadership. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie Ten Boom, Winston Churchill, and Douglas McArthur are but a few well-known names. But countless others – from the underground and resistance forces to those in the ranks of the liberation armies – joined with the efforts of homebound citizens of many nationalities to defeat this worldwide scourge.
“Divide and conquer,” attributed to the great Roman general Julius Caesar, is a well-known battle strategy. The enemy of God has been using this tactic since the temptation in the Garden. Unfortunately, he still uses this tactic every day and every way to divide God’s people. This is an unfortunate reality in the pro-life movement as well.
Pro-life champions, whether on the stage, in public demonstrations or “in the trenches,” must recognize the necessity of standing together. We must resist divisions of denomination or method. We must walk with respect for how others are called to address this single greatest evil of our time. “But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you" (1 Corinthians 12:24-25).
It’s also important to remember the Apostle Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” This man of God addressed paupers and princes, artists and academics, the weak and the wealthy, in his effort to advance the Gospel. Can we do any less in advancing the Gospel of Life?
As one of our champions, John Ensor says, “It’s our turn.” As other generations have arisen to combat the evil of their day, we do so against the evil of our generation – abortion. We, like Corrie Ten Boom in her day, are not alone. We have millions upon millions of like-minded, life-minded friends and partners worldwide dedicated to the advancing a culture of life. Most of all, we stand rightly on the side of the Giver of Life, also known as the Lord of Hosts! In this, we can draw comfort, strength and even peace. In this, we can truly take heart!
Just like any other everyday hero, the quartet of life-savers honored as Servant Leaders at the 2013 Heartbeat International Annual Conference quietly go about their business with no expectation of being celebrated this side of heaven.
It came as no surprise, then, when the first winner—Becky Coggin Hyde—stood speechless, even flabbergasted, as Heartbeat President Dr. Peggy Hartshorn, PhD, announced the Arlington (TX) Pregnancy Centers director as the first of four recipients for Heartbeat’s most prestigious award.
Becky was joined by Beverly Kline, Ann Carruth, and Amy Jones, while Mary K. Tiller was tabbed as the inaugural “Heart of the Future Award” honoree for emerging leaders in the pregnancy help movement.
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Becky became Director of Arlington Pregnancy Centers in 1987, and has served in that capacity ever since. In her 26 years, Becky has expanded the center—now called Arlington/Mansfield Pregnancy Centers—to four locations, along with a resale store that funds much of the ministry.
“Becky’s leadership skills are excellent,” one of her co-workers said. “When the Lord lays something on her heart and there is unanimous agreement with the Board, she moves expediently. She waits on the Lord, and she doesn’t move until she is sure He is in the midst of whatever project presents itself.”
Another of the award winners laboring in Texas, Beverly Kline, founded Living Alternatives in 1982 and still serves as executive director for the ministry that has served women and families with everything from pregnancy tests and living accommodations to life-skills training and adoption services in its 31-year history.
Originally based in Beverly’s one-bedroom apartment in Tyler, Texas, Living Alternatives now includes a pregnancy resource center, a resale ministry for teen foster girls (“Keeps Boutique”), a maternity home, and an adoption agency.
The third Texan recognized as a Heartbeat Servant Leader at her home-state Conference was Dallas-based Council for Life Founder Emeritus Ann Carruth.
One of 11 original founders of what was then known as Pregnancy Resource Council in 2001, Ms. Carruth’s vision to support a local pregnancy center began with a single banquet called “Celebrities Celebrating Life,” and has since raised $3.3 million.
Council for Life, who has partnered financially with Heartbeat, began a national affiliate program in 2011, encouraging other major pro-life donors in U.S. cities to unite for the cause of Life.
Amy Jones currently serves as Director of Servants for Life, an international ministry based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, which offers mentoring, coaching, counseling, and training to ministry leaders and boards. She began her life in ministry as a high schooler serving with Youth for Christ, and spent 22 years leading Christian Life Home, a housing ministry for young, pregnant girls.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship and as a consultant with Heartbeat International.
The founder and executive director for Expectant Heart Pregnancy Resource Center in Longview, Texas, Mary K. Tiller was given the first Heart of the Future award for younger leaders stepping into key roles in local pregnancy help organizations across the globe.
Mary K., who holds a master’s degree in Human Services, Marriage and Family from Liberty University, founded Expectant Heart in 2011, and the center began serving clients in November of 2012.
“Mary K. represents what a next-generation leader should be,” Heartbeat Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell, LAS, said. “We have witnessed firsthand that she is a servant leader and a learner, and because of that, it has been our delight to work with her.”
To view all Heartbeat Servant Leader award recipients, click here.
We serve the Giver of Life, and He Reigns.
Nothing, including political climates, cultural shifts, or even the unspeakable worldwide tragedy of abortion, can dethrone the God whose glory is set above the heavens.
This precious truth was woven throughout every aspect of the 2013 Annual Heartbeat International Conference, which included close to 1,000 friends of Heartbeat, including attendees, exhibitors, expert workshop presenters, inspiring keynote speakers, Heartbeat board members, and donors.
Fittingly, the centrality of prayer emerged as a major theme throughout the Conference, as 40 Days for Life National Director David Bereit helped set the tone for desperate dependence upon the living God as the keynote speaker during the Conference’s first evening session.
David was one of eight keynote speakers throughout the four-day event, which concluded with a closing banquet and address from Heartbeat International President Dr. Peggy Hartshorn, who is commemorating her 20th year of tireless service in that capacity, and her 40th year of active involvement in the pro-life movement.
Opportunities for prayer and worship were led in part by worship leader Greg Gober, while opportunities to participate in mass were led by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, who also keynoted at the Conference.
Conference participants were also given the opportunity to receive prayer during their time in Dallas, thanks to the generous involvement of Refuge House of Prayer and Breath of the Spirit, who volunteered their time to encourage and refresh those on the front-lines of the battle for Life.
The glorious truth that God reigns carries along with it global implications, and this was also reflected at the Conference, where a total of 20 representatives from 11 non-U.S. countries gathered.
These friends served as a great reminder that God’s reign extends to all corners of the world—from the U.S. to Zambia, Australia to South Africa, Mexico to the Philippines, Costa Rica to Austria, Canada to Liberia, and from Germany to Ethiopia.
And these friends were just a sampling of the more than 300 Heartbeat affiliates outside of the United States in over 50 countries. Two of these friends, Pastors George and Sylvester from Liberia, shared an African proverb that became a theme unto itself for the Conference:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
We hope you join us at next year’s Annual Conference, March 24-27 in Charleston, South Carolina!
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