. . . . .
Special Message from Anne Pierson
Ashley Bratcher - You are the real heroes
David Bereit - I appreciate you
Kristan Hawkins - I want to truly thank you for being on the frontlines
Jeanne Mancini - We are praying for you
Jay Hobbs - Every day, you are doing the work that God has called you to do
Like these? Check out videos from past Pregnancy Help Appreciation Weeks. You are loved. And the work you do, admired.
And don't forget to check out the deals of the day and share the love on social media!
Pregnancy Help Appreciation Week was designed by Heartbeat International to honor those working within the pregnancy help movement. Through their work, women and men receive the compassionate support they need when facing a life-changing decision. They walk alongside families throughout the pregnancy and beyond, blessing them with pregnancy tests, emotional support, ultrasounds, parenting classes, and so much more at no cost.
From volunteers to executive directors, nurses to receptionists, each person working in a pregnancy help organization has been gifted with the passion to advance the culture of LIFE! And for that, we thank you!
This year's Pregnancy Help Appreciation Week is November 8-12, 2021.
If you haven't heard of Pregnancy Help Appreciation Week before, you should expect special deals, thank-you messages, and extra prayers this week.
Plus! We'll be holding a drawing at the end of the week where one lucky winner will get a fun gift basket from us at Heartbeat!
Click any of the images below to share on Facebook, Instagram or tweet and show your love for the pregnancy help movement using the hashtag #ThankAPregnancyCenter
by Mary Peterson, Housing Specialist
Early in the three-day meeting, the question was posed: "Has the maternity housing movement, as a whole, strayed from its core mission?" Gulp. Big question.
All present were quick to defend the good work that currently happens in the approximately 400 maternity homes across the United States. There is no doubt of the important role that maternity homes play within the pregnancy help movement. But the question lingered.
Historically, maternity homes developed to support women through an adoption plan, first as large institutional programs often staffed by Catholic religious orders. Trying to protect the confidentiality of the women coming to the program, these early homes were often shrouded in secrecy and silence. Many of the reforms in adoption began from the heartache of women who experienced adoption not as an empowering choice, but rather as a decision they felt was forced upon them without sensitive acknowledgment of the pain involved.
From these roots, as movement toward open adoptions began, the host or shepherding home model developed as families began welcoming a pregnant woman into their homes. And, in recent history, as the needs and challenging circumstances of the pregnant women in need of housing support have increased, a variety of models have developed that allow for increased expertise in supporting women in situations related to addiction, violence, abuse, and trauma. As this progression has happened, the number of adoptions in maternity homes has dramatically decreased.
The 10 housing leaders who serve as the Leadership Council for the National Maternity Housing Coalition (NMHC), a joint-affiliate of Heartbeat International, gathered to think deeply about why this has happened and how maternity homes might restore their heritage as a safe refuge for women considering adoption. It is not as if maternity homes are not supportive of adoption.
Homes, generally, are delighted to walk with a women pursuing an adoption plan. And, several homes, especially those with over 30 years of experience, have deep organizational ties to adoption agencies. Even so, the NMHC Leadership Council collectively wondered, "Can we be doing more? Why do we continue to see declining numbers? Is there something that we, as maternity homes, can do better?"
Shawn Stevenson, the Executive Director of Life Services in Spokane, Wash., raised the question of an organization's "null curriculum". Based on his training in the education field, Shawn asked, "It makes me wonder about our programs. Specifically, What are we teaching by what we are not teaching?"
He continued, "Is there something in the way that we handle adoption that inadvertently communicates a bias we don't intend?" The statement raised a great conversation about the strategies used by homes to introduce adoption.
Through discussion, five major strategies surfaced. All are currently being used by homes to incorporate an adoption message:
While these strategies are a solid starting point, the challenge was raised on how to re-think and re-craft the strategies used to present the beauty of adoption in new and creative ways within the home environment.
Summing up the conversation, Jeannine Floores, a birth mom and adoptive mom who leads Breath of Life in Austin, Texas spoke of the need to create an adoption-positive culture throughout the organization.
"Moms need to know that you aren't focused on WHAT decision she makes," she said, "only that she makes an informed, prayerful, thought-out decision."
The National Maternity Housing Coalition took this message to heart and renewed its commitment to pregnancy decision making as the place of excellence for maternity housing programs.
"It is this decision-making process that makes maternity homes different than any other housing programs for women," Callie Neff of House of His Creation asserted, "In addition to all the other ways that maternity homes support women, we must support her in thinking about her options around how her child will be parented."
A re-examination of our past as a maternity housing movement allowed us to remember our role in championing the adoption message. As such, the NMHC is inviting homes to re-engage the adoption message in a new way this year and keep decision-making during pregnancy at the heart of their mission. You can anticipate dynamic trainings and conversations on how to achieve that goal within the upcoming year.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Following on the heels of two undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in what appears to be the for-profit procurement and sale of body parts from aborted babies, The Center for Medical Progress released a new video Tuesday morning, “Human Capital – Episode 1: Planned Parenthood’s Black Market in Baby Parts.”
The latest video centers around the testimony of Holly O’Donnell, identified as an “Ex-Procurement Technician for StemExpress, LLC,” the Northern California-based company whose marketing material promised Planned Parenthood affiliates “Financially Profitable” benefits of selling body parts harvested from aborted babies.
“Every life deserves to be protected,” Heartbeat International president Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., who has led the network of nearly 2,000 pregnancy help locations worldwide since 1994, said. “Aren’t we worth more than the sum of our parts? The life of a mother and her child are worth far more than an abortion facility’s bottom line. Every life deserves to be protected”
While Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider with over 327,166 abortions reported in its 2012-13 annual report, has denied selling body parts for profit—which would be a violation of federal law—Tuesday’s video provides continued evidence that the body parts harvested from aborted babies are done so with a for-profit motive.
“We were asked to procure certain tissues, like brain, liver, thymus, pancreas, heart, lungs, and pretty much anything on the fetus,” O’Donnell says in the video. “It’s basically human trafficking of fetal tissues.”
The Center for Medical Progress released its first in a series of undercover videos Tuesday, July 14, which captured Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing the harvesting of fetal organs, telling what she believed to be potential buyers that her national team had, “been very good at getting heart, lung, liver,” noting that abortion providers could “crush” the baby in such a way as to preserve certain body parts for resale.
Last Tuesday, July 21, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Council President, Dr. Mary Gatter, was shown in a similar video, negotiating price points for the resale of harvested baby body parts while referring to her colleagues’ ability to use “a less crunchy technique” to get more intact body parts.
“Women deserve better than abortion,” Hartshorn said. “That is why pregnancy help centers, medical clinics, maternity homes and non-profit adoption agencies offer a mother all the information she needs to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy.”
About Heartbeat InternationalHeartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and now the largest and most expansive network in the world. With nearly 2,000 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.
Heartbeat International welcomes Carrie Beliles as our new part-time International Program Specialist. Carrie will now be the primary liaison and consultant for Heartbeat'sInternational Program outreach.
Originally from the U.S.A., Carrie's travels and interests have taken her far and wide. From running a pregnancy help center in Rammstein, Germany to advocating against sex-trafficking in Asia, Carrie's passion for life-affirming ministry is evident. She has 5 kids (all under the age of 8) and now makes her home in Virginia with her husband, Ben.
Carrie joins the Ministry Services Team and takes over the role from Molly Hoepfner, who will now be more focused as Heartbeat's Event Planner, especially our Annual Conference.
We are so excited to have Carrie on the team that we decided to do a quick interview so you could get to know her too.
As a Heartbeat International affiliate, your pregnancy help organization is automatically listed on Heartbeat's Option Line® (1-800-712-HELP), a 24-7 pregnancy helpline that answers over 1,100 calls, emails, text messages and live chats every day in English and Spanish, sending callers to local help organizations like yours. Our job is to help you care for her.
Here are a few of the ways we do that.
Every contact Heartbeat’s Option Line® makes costs about $4.25. We refer an average of 42 contacts a year to each of our more than 2,700 listed pregnancy help organizations. That’s a value of $178.50 per year for your organization alone!
On OptionLine.org, a client can search for a center near her. Each month in the past year, an average of over 200 searches on OptionLine.org have turned up your center. Our top-10 centers all averaged over 7,000 views in the last year, bringing women in desperate need of help face-to-face with your center’s information.
Does your center struggle to cover the phones overnight? Option Line is your answer for overnight help. You can also forward your calls to Option Line when you can't cover a shift. Rather than hearing a recording, a woman will speak to a real human being, who will answer her initial questions and connect her to help right in her area—that is, you!
Bonus! When you take advantage—at no cost—of Option Line’s Appointment Scheduling, a consultant can schedule an appointment at your center right on the spot. Click here to learn more.
As a Heartbeat affiliate, changes can be made to your Option Line listing in real-time so that women searching for you have up-to-date information about your organization at any hour of the day.
Option Line lists pregnancy help organizations affiliated with either Heartbeat International or Care Net. If your organization prefers to not become a Heartbeat affiliate, that's okay! Care Net provides us with a list of their affiliates on a quarterly basis. We update our Option Line database based on that list. Please communicate any changes to your information with Care Net and the changes will be made with the next quarterly update.
Heartbeat International congratulates CAM (Centro de Ayuda para la Mujer Latinoamericana, A. C.) on reaching 25 years of lifesaving ministry.
Heartbeat President, Peggy Hartshorn, was honored to celebrate this great achievement with CAM representative in Mexico City, Mexico, saying:
"Congratulations on this very important occasion of the 25th Anniversary of CAM. God certainly laid it on the hearts of your founders, Jorge and Magdalena, that it was essential that every woman with a difficult pregnancy, finding herself perhaps alone and afraid, could find help and hope and the courage she needed to carry her pregnancy to term. This is because every person is made in the image and likeness of God, both the mother and the child!
Let us continue to lock arms around the world, pray for each other, strengthen and encourage each other, and recommit to the task ahead. Our strength and power comes from the Lord. We are responding to his call, Come follow Me. We are running the race and fighting and good fight and we look forward to our reward in heaven where, like St. Paul, we hope to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
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.
I believe God bringing my wife, son and me to the East Bay of California (near San Francisco) 24 months ago - 2,550 miles away from our other children, grand children and familiar surroundings - was not a fluke or an accident. God had a plan. On paper, the past 24 months of Pregnancy Choices Clinic (PCC) history may have read more like a failed plan to some, a miscalculation of decisions, or leadership gone bad. I often felt like we were missing what God was doing.
Following our arrival in California we experienced a number of difficulties: my bicep muscle was torn and immediate surgery was required. The weakening economy necessitated a downsizing of PCC. Circumstances required that we develop an entirely new staff and medical capability. A plummeting California economy drove us to reduce expenditures by more than 30% and negotiate a temporary 50% reduction in our monthly facility lease.
In anticipation of our annual Walk, we moved forward in faith and attempted everything we could reasonably do to raise more income throughout the first part of 2010. While our May Walk Event was a great occasion for believers of like mind to congregate over life values, we simply did not reach our financial goals. Soon thereafter, we realized that our Center was in jeopardy. We failed to make payroll several times. We were behind the previous year’s income level by a substantial amount of money.
We sent a direct letter to our supporters, staff, and volunteers to share the seriousness of our situation. Though we did not believe that it was God’s will because of the many answered prayers and touched lives, we potentially could be forced to close the Clinic. We gathered everyone for a day of fasting and prayer and God showed up. What an amazing God we serve!
In just a couple short months we completed our fiscal year in the black in contrast with last year’s deficit. We provided counseling and ultrasound services for at least four abortion minded women who decided to keep their babies in the same period. Four men accepted Christ as Lord and Savior from our men’s program, and exciting new relational opportunities have been granted to us.
God is doing something awesome with us and our Clinic and I would like to share a vision I believe He has placed on my heart.
As I was wrestling and praying concerning options for us several months ago, I began to see that there were not many good ones. While in prayer, an “outside of the box” thought came to me. It was to appeal to a church that might catch a passion for this ministry and supply a more affordable space for the clinic.
Little did I know that as I thought about this, someone else had been thinking about the same possibility. It was exciting to learn that a counselor right in our clinic had been praying that her church would support a ministry such as PCC. In fact, her church already had a stand alone facility that could be used for such a vision!
The facility is in the neighboring community of Hayward, CA where the largest percentage of our clients resides. The church has offered complete autonomy and comparable square footage at a minimal cost that will likely result in a significant increase in clientele. Additionally, this is exactly the kind of community outreach the church’s pastor and leadership team have been seeking.
God has been showing me is that He does not want us to stand still and simply survive… Our leadership team is convinced that God wants to do something huge, something grand, something that will greatly impact the East Bay Area (and likely yours as well). But many times, the only thing that stands in the way is each one of us.
Our pursuit will require faith. God has answered our prayers and in a very short period our perspective has been turned 180 degrees from survival to an expansion of the ministry. Only God can do something like this. Do we have to stand in the gap and believe? Yes. God deserves our absolute, unwavering trust. Without it, our view of God becomes small and ineffective. To be sure, that is not the case.
From Take Heart | Volume 2, Issue 7.
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