Pregnancy Center Volunteers Honored with President’s Volunteer Service Award


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" data-mce-href=""> 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" data-mce-href="">

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.

Unlearning the Unthinkable

girl ashamedOur 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.”


The Best of Practices

By Jor-El Godsey

Remember when calling a center “Crisis Pregnancy Center” represented a widely accepted “best practice”?

Best practices, as defined at, are “methods and techniques that have consistently shown results superior than those achieved with other means, and which are used as benchmarks to strive for.”  PRC’s have adopted varied practices over the years.  Some flowed from moral or ethical considerations, others were informed by results or intuition.  Hopefully, positive results followed all these practices.  But have all these practices been subjected to rigorous comparison to “other means”?  That is a critical step to specifically defining a best practice.

Any packaged “best practice” should be evaluated in light of the overall mission. This should include understanding the client who is the mission’s target, as well as the vision of the organization and its own definition of success.  Variations between organizations, even programs within organizations, suggest that some, perhaps, many practices can’t be applied in the same way from organization to organization with the same effectiveness.

Best practice is more often a high-sounding buzzword for promotional material than an objective, empirical reality.  It’s vital to analyze the foundation of any claim involving a best practice.  For example in focus testing of the name “Crisis Pregnancy Center,” our target clients’ responses were weak.  As a result, the term “crisis” has largely been eliminated from elements of client marketing in favor of new language with broader appeal.

Practices can certainly be good, effective, productive, healthy and even excellent. In time, these may even prove to be best!  Until that time, some practices are really just common sense, conventional wisdom, and even basic standards.


Lean, Not Necessarily Mean

By Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat Vice-President, Ministry Services

From Take Heart | Vol. 2, Issue 6

Pre-2009 celebration at Heartbeat.  Even the birthday cakes for staff fell to cost-cutting measures.  Counter clockwise, starting with birthday girl:  Peggy Hartshorn, Joe Young, Deb Schirtzinger, John Ensor, Betty McDowell, Virginia Cline, Jor-El Godsey.

The water cooler is long gone.  Paper plates, plastic-ware, coffee and creamer are strictly by contribution only.  Even the birthday cakes for Heartbeat staff have been reduced to a simple card and a group sing.  (Seriously, picture a dozen people standing near your desk belting out the familiar tune!)  Expenses for office supplies have been cut dramatically.  Many such ideas came from staff brain-storming sessions during some very lean months.

Cost-cutting measures for Heartbeat turned really serious beginning with the summer of 2008.  The pregnancy help movement felt the economic downturn earlier than most non-profits.  As you well know, cost cutting is hard to do when you’re a non-profit and already operating on somewhat of a shoestring.  We took even more stringent measures.  We trimmed budgeted expenses, reduced benefits, and the whole staff even took two sacrificial, week-long furloughs.

While cutting expenses dramatically, we also put the word out that we needed help.  The first and (fortunately) only emergency plea for funds went out to donors and affiliates alike.  In addition, special, one-on-one asks to major donors helped us close the gap between income and outflow.  As we began to understand the extent of the crisis we took an additional step...

Two years of fasting and praying. . .   Boy are we hungry!

Yep, you read that right.  Fasting for two years!  Well okay, it wasn’t every single day for two years.  Actually, it wasn’t even every week.  But one day each month since July of 2008, the Heartbeat staff has set aside a day of fasting with specific times throughout that day to gather in prayer for the needs of Heartbeat.  Okay, that’s not nearly as impressive sounding as fasting for two years, but still that’s how long we’ve been practicing the discipline as a staff.  (Fasting is optional, but almost everyone fasts on our special day. Even board members, intercessors and other close friends join us.)

Prayer is hardly foreign to us at Heartbeat.  We gather each and every day around 9:15 a.m. to pray for our affiliates, staff needs, upcoming events, faithful and generous donors, our partners and the mission and pregnancy help movement.  So, if you’re calling our office between 9:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., you might not reach us directly because we’ve gathered to pray.  It’s not mandatory but everyone’s usually there if they can be.

Setting a specific time to fast and pray clearly has been vital in getting us through some tough times.  Focusing on God in the midst of our crisis and working diligently to do what we could saw us through a very difficult time.  In the waning hours of 2008, we watched the Lord work a miracle where the year-end giving closed the year’s expense gap!  In gratitude, we rejoiced!  We partied!  And then we went to work implementing our newer, leaner budget for 2009.

I’m glad to report that in 2009 we finished in the black.  In 2010, things are challenging but not at crisis level.  God is faithful.  And we’ve continued to fast and pray one day each month. And yes, we’re hungry.  Hungry for God as He leads and provides for the mission and vision that He’s firmly planted in our hearts.

Prayer helped us in many ways cope with the crisis we experienced. Prayer served to calm our fears and to put our trust in the best source – God.  Prayer helped us unite as a staff even as we faced significant threats to our work and vocation. Prayer helped us not to get “mean” even as we were getting lean.

So take heart in your situation. Set aside time to pray.  Consider a time of fasting.  Always remember to look upward as well as inward in any time of crisis.

Back to Take Heart | Vol. 2, Issue 6


Better Together is God's Idea

by Betty McDowell, Heartbeat Director of Affiliate Services

From Take Heart | Vol. 2, Issue 6

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly.  You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

But that doesn't mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.  The text for this is,

  • He climbed the high mountain,
  • He captured the enemy and seized the booty,
  • He handed it all out in gifts to the people.

Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ (Ephesians 4:4-13 The Message).

It is awe inspiring to think about how this scripture points out how much we have in common and how we are so much better together.  We are not to be a threat to each other.  But what a threat we can be to the Father of Lies when we are united in heart and purpose!

Each of us has but one Master who has given us many gifts and callings.  What a blessing and an honor to grant each other the freedom to be who God made us to be, to develop our talents in ministry, and to recognize the calling on each other’s lives.

Today you have a choice.  You can  look around and feel threatened or insecure about your position or future in ministry or you can bless and acknowledge those around you who have the same heart, who serve the same God, who are part of the same body, who desire, like you, to be fully alive in Christ.  We are better together because this is God’s idea and He desires unity for us and with us.

Back to Take Heart | Vol. 2, Issue 6

Fresh from Washington D.C.

Fresh from Washington D.C.

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

Return to Take Heart Volume 2, Issue 2.

Surprised by God

When Mike and Dinah Monahan left for a Mission trip to Ethiopia, little did they know that God was starting them on an unimaginable journey.

Mike, who runs the family pro-life business, Heritage House 76, and Dinah, who had recently retired from her role of founding and leading Living Hope Women’s Centers and Hope House Maternity Home in Arizona, were headed to Ethiopia to visit orphanages and street children’s homes run by YWAM (Youth With a Mission.) They even questioned why they were going. But God knew.

After a difficult 15 hour journey through the interior of Ethiopia, their hearts were moved by the precious orphans they met, but they were shaken by the stories they heard of unwed mothers, many of whom were working as domestic servants and were raped by a stranger or their employer. In that culture, if a girl has a baby outside of marriage most likely no man will ever marry her.

Regardless of whether they are victims of rape or incest, they are often cast out of their homes and livelihood to survive on their own. Young women rarely attend school since schooling is neither free nor mandatory,

“There is a razor thin line between survival and starvation in this country,” says Dinah.

Confronted with all this misery, Dinah and Mike were convinced that God was calling them to action. But what? How? Then God began to open unexpected doors. By walking through them, in faith, they eventually realized they were called to open a maternity home in Ethiopia. Through the YWAM staff, they were introduced to Meseret Seyoum, a college educated Ethiopian Christian woman with years of experience Non-Government Organizations.

Two years earlier, Meseret began feeling called by God to start helping the women and children in her country. And now He provided this connection to the Monahans. Other key connections followed, Ebise Berri as accountant and Muluwork Tefera as nurse. Barbara Mwansa, Heartbeat affiliate in Zambia (Silent Voices), provided the training needed to start the home.

Just eight months later, Living Hope Ministries in Adama, Ethiopia opened as the first maternity home in Ethiopia. It offers security, shelter, love, education, healthy food, and training in job skills that the twenty residents will need to survive. Each woman learns jewelry making, sewing, and other skills that make it possible for her to start a small business and provide for herself and her child.

Says Dinah, “I am in awe of what God is doing here. We couldn’t have kicked the doors down that God has so graciously opened. This isn’t what I expected from retirement…it’s way better!”

Reflections from Auschwitz

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. 

  1. The value of  life must be championed in every arena. We must lift up the value of life in the family, community, government, academia and the market place.  The obvious horrors perpetrated by Nazi Germany upon “inferior” peoples didn’t spring up suddenly. The abominations took root over many years and in different environs.

    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.”

  2. We need champions. We need individuals and groups who will stand for life in all the arenas of our society.  We need people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This German pastor sounded the warning as his fellow countrymen slipped into an idolatrous cult of the Führer (leader) and as two highly popular Nazi “ideals” joined forces: a militarized state and the deluded vision of a utopia peopled by the Aryan "super race." These two popular forces led to the murder of millions of people, brought about vast devastation upon a continent, and carved a deep, wide scar in our collective history. 

    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. 

  3. All are necessary to combat this evil. The confluence of social, politic, economic, legal, and militaristic forces precipitated the horrors of Auschwitz. Today only violence is, and should be, absent from the forces that we use to combat abortion.  We need progress on every front – expanding a culture of life, creating political and legislative gains, addressing economic realities, and intervening where lives are endangered.  We cannot abandon those who are in the valley of decision today and whose decision will not wait for the unfolding of big political and legal victories.

    “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!


In-kind gifts from Planned Parenthood

final logo(9/21/2011)

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?

God is in the Pregnancy Help Ministry!

Guest commentary by Dr. David Whitaker, CEO of Pregnancy Choices Clinic in Union City, CA

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.

Light at the end of the TunnelIn 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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