Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. and the largest and most expansive in the world. Since 1971, Heartbeat has supported, strengthened and started pregnancy help organizations, including pregnancy medical clinics, pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies all over the world. Currently, Heartbeat serves over 2,500 affiliate locations on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion.
We are a nonprofit, interdenominational Christian association of faith-based pregnancy resource centers, medical clinics, maternity homes, and nonprofit adoption agencies endorsed by Christian leaders nationwide.
...is to make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations.
...is to Reach and Rescue as many lives as possible, around the world, through an effective network of life-affirming pregnancy help, to Renew communities for LIFE.
To achieve our mission, we do the following:
We REACH those who are abortion-vulnerable through Option Line's® 24-hour call center and cutting-edge website, www.OptionLine.org.
"Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me..." - Psalm 144:7
We RESCUE those who are reached through our life-support network of pregnancy centers providing true reproductive health care, ministry, education, and social services where lives are saved and changed.
"Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; protect me from men of violence. " - Psalm 140:1
We RENEW broken cities around the world, by developing pregnancy centers where abortion clinics are the only alternative for abortion-vulnerable women.
"He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor... They will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations." - Isaiah 61:1-4
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by Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., President of Heartbeat International
The common names used for a pregnancy help center during the last 30 plus years tell a lot about where we’ve been and where we are going. The earliest names used were Birthright and EPS (Emergency Pregnancy Services), and then came PPC’s (Problem Pregnancy Centers), then CPC’s (Crisis Pregnancy Centers), and then PRC’s (Pregnancy Resource Centers). Now we also have “A Woman’s Concern Health Centers” and “Life Choices Medical Clinics” among a host of other medical and professional-sounding names.
The burgeoning numbers and types of alternatives to abortion services and affiliating organizations also tell much about our history. The first printed (i.e. mimeographed) directory of contact names and semi-organized centers in the United States contained about 75 entries. The latest Heartbeat International Directory contains about 3,400 entries in the US. Approximately 2,300 are pregnancy centers (about 350 of which have added medical services), and about 80% of those are members of one or more of 10 affiliating organizations. The rest of the entries are professional social service agencies, such as Catholic Charities, also known for providing alternatives to abortion (about 500), Christian maternity homes (about 350), non-profit, Christian adoption agencies (about 160), some hotlines (about 30), and some freestanding post abortion programs (about 50).
The names and types of organizations reflect our response to the women, girls, and families who have been coming to us for help for over 30 years, the clients who are, in a sense, “products” of a decaying culture, sometimes now called a Culture of Death. In the late 60’s and 70’s we presumed these women were in short term crisis (hence the name EPS). Now we recognize them as the walking wounded who need much more than simple crisis intervention. In the 70’s, we thought our culture was in a short-term memory lapse and would soon return to our Judeo-Christian values. Now we realize we need to teach those values anew to a generation that has hardly heard of them, a generation with the scars to prove it.
The Original Vision: Mother-and-Baby-Centered Service
The birth of pregnancy centers in the U.S. was not a result of Roe v. Wade but of the earlier movement to liberalize abortion laws state by state. Concerned people realized that with the carefully crafted message that abortion was sometimes the reluctant, humane, even loving choice; some women would be influenced to abort their babies unless they had help and support. (At that time, most pro-life people did not fully comprehend that the movement to liberalize abortion laws was an integral part of a well-orchestrated strategy to break down traditional family and religious values and replace them with hedonistic and atheistic ones.)
Catholics, especially medical professionals and mothers, with their firm tradition of welcoming children and consistent teaching on the sanctity of human life, were in the forefront of a movement to start alternatives to abortion services, although they rarely saw this as a Catholic issue, or even a uniquely Christian mission. It was simply part of who they were. The work was generally seen as service, a humanitarian effort, an outreach of one caring individual to another, although the motive was from deeply held religious values and beliefs.
The first formal alternatives to abortion service organization was Birthright, founded in Canada in 1968. Centers using the Birthright name soon spread to the United States. A strict Charter, established in 1971, is still followed by all Birthrights. Their vision was that you could not save the baby without “saving” (or serving) the mother, and vise versa.
A similar woman-and-baby-centered vision was held by the Alternatives to Abortion, formed in 1971 (soon renamed Alternatives to Abortion International and called AAI) in the United States. The founders established a loose federation of independent organizations that could network with and learn from each other, rather than a “franchise” model. This seemed right for the entrepreneurial United States, where a variety of small organizations had already sprung up, starting in the late 60’s, from California to New York, some operating out of pro-life doctors’ offices, churches, or even homes. (Interestingly, both the loose federation and the franchise model still exist among the 10 pregnancy center membership organizations 30 years later.)
While AAI often called itself the “service arm of the pro-life movement,” they and Birthright considered themselves quite distinct from Right to Life, the lobbying and educational arm. The service organizations seemed cautious about losing their coveted 501(c)(3) status, so they shied away from any lobbying. Their role was primarily “crisis intervention.” Once the woman knew she had a friend and could be connected, by referral, to a variety of services in the community (medical care, housing, material aid, and social services), the presumption was that their work had been a “success.” The mother was safe, and therefore the baby would be safe.
Both Right to Life and the service organizations agreed on one thing: the pro-life issue should be presented as a civil rights issue (for AAI, a “humanitarian” or “service” one), not a religious issue. The theory was that this would gain wider acceptance of the tenet that each human life is valuable, and pro-life would not be marginalized as a “Catholic issue.” The presumption also was that our religious beliefs and Judeo-Christian values were a “given,” shared by most of America, so they did not need to be explicitly stated within our centers.
By the 1980’s and certainly in the 1990’s, as abortions continued and affected not only women but everyone connected with them, as the culture became more accepting of “sex for recreation,” as sexually transmitted diseases surged and AIDS emerged, as marriage declined and the disintegration of the two-parent family continued, and as our culture became more obviously hedonistic and amoral, the “disconnect” between the original theory and reality was evident. In response, new values and visions within the pregnancy center movement emerged.
The Baby-Centered Vision
The first influence was the baby-centered approach. It soon brought centers, in general, into disrepute, but eventually led to a movement from within toward real credibility. In the late 1970’s, perhaps due to frustration that the lobbying and educational branch had not passed a Human Life Amendment and abortion numbers were skyrocketing, a more pro-active influence came into the pregnancy center movement. Centers were urged to advertise alongside abortion clinics in the yellow pages (the phone book indexes referred readers to the same headings, such as Clinics and Birth Control Information, for both abortion services and abortion alternatives), show slides to clients of fetal development and aborted babies, and, in general, use every possible method to save the baby at risk for abortion. A small number of “Problem Pregnancy Centers” influenced by this approach emerged.
In 1987, an orchestrated effort by Planned Parenthood resulted in television and magazine exposes on these centers. Stories, written by undercover reporters posing as clients and using hidden cameras and tape recorders, ironically faulted the centers for not being totally “upfront” and transparent.
Congressional hearings were held, but pregnancy centers were forbidden from testifying in their own defense, so, in the public arena, pregnancy centers had a “black eye.” Many involved in centers felt the embarrassment and shame, and supporters began to wonder if their own center was operating unethically. Centers began to be suspicious of each other. The boomerang effect even caused some to think they needed to “warn” potential clients, in ads and on the phone, of their pro-life values. Client numbers decreased in many areas.
Legal attacks also resulted from this public relations effort to discredit centers. State Attorneys General tried to dictate center advertising and phone scripts. Individuals, organized by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) filed suits against some centers. Court findings often went against these centers and some were forced to pay damages and even close.
The attacks resulted not in the end of pregnancy help centers, the intention of our opponents, but eventually in strengthening of the centers. In 1993, NIFLA, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, was founded specifically to provide legal education and training to help centers become more professional and protect themselves from frivolous tort claims (such as assault and battery for touching a client without her permission), and NIFLA spearheaded the development of the first insurance program to protect centers for “counselor liability.”
The Medical Vision
Some centers in California had been accused of “practicing medicine without a license” for providing urine pregnancy tests, and pro-choice wordsmiths began to label all centers “fake clinics.” Meanwhile, in the medical field, ultrasound was emerging as a new diagnostic tool for pregnancy. NIFLA soon envisioned real clinics not only doing pregnancy testing but also using ultrasound to diagnose pregnancy, and pioneered a medical model for centers either licensed by the state or working under the license of a private physician. The potential of ultrasound to help abortion-vulnerable mothers bond with their babies was clear.
More and more centers today are adding ultrasound services for abortion-vulnerable clients. True to their entrepreneurial nature, centers are taking the original model even further, with some adding STD testing, pap smears, natural family planning, prenatal care, birthing centers, and even well baby care. Some are becoming “hub” medical clinics and encouraging other centers to refer clients to them for ultrasound and other medical services. We are beginning to see a ripple effect, influencing the medical community in contact with our pregnancy centers, as we partner to bring a more pro-life and holistic approach to the care of women.
Predictably, our new strength has led to a second NARAL effort, starting in 2000, to close down pregnancy centers, fourteen years after the first. This new attack accelerated the growing unity among pregnancy centers, and the national affiliating organizations quickly responded. A united legal and public relations strategy, orchestrated by the Christian Legal Society, resulted in the withdrawal of subpoenas filed by the New York Attorney General against eight pregnancy centers, an attack that followed the strategy outlined by NARAL. Again, attack has led to strengthening, but the ultimate outcome of this new wave to discredit our centers has yet to be seen.
Ironically, the original baby-centered approach, that provided ammunition to discredit centers, eventually led to more professionalism and credibility. Ironically too, our opponents certainly hoped to eliminate all baby pictures. Instead, still pictures have been replaced by images of “live action” ultrasound provided by licensed medical personnel that allows women not only to have an accurate diagnosis of pregnancy at a very early stage (thereby helping their decision-making process), but also to bond with their babies in utero.
The Christian Vision
In the early 1980’s, Evangelical Christians came into the pro-life movement in large numbers, and they were a “breath of fresh air” to those who had been carrying the ball since the late 60’s. Christian Action Council (CAC) had been formed in 1975, primarily as a pro-life educational and lobbying organization, and it soon saw the need for pregnancy centers. Their first pregnancy center was opened in 1980. CAC’s “crisis pregnancy centers” had a mission to evangelize the woman with a crisis pregnancy. Thus, their vision was woman centered and baby centered, but primarily Christ centered.
For Evangelical Christians, abortion was and is, first and foremost, a religious issue (rather than a civil rights or humanitarian one) and a call to action for Christians. In 1984, CAC launched Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on the Sunday closest to January 22, in an effort to educate and motivate Evangelical churches nationwide.
The service arm of this organization eventually took priority, the education and lobbying arm of CAC was eliminated, and CAC was renamed Care Net to emphasize their network of renamed Pregnancy Care Centers.
The value of the work of pregnancy centers as ministries has been enhanced by the involvement of Focus on the Family, which, in the 1990’s, developed a program to support pregnancy centers with educational materials and a ministry office.
The mix of Catholics and Protestants of various denominations has strengthened centers nationally. Most now seem to consider their Christianity a part of their work in some way. This could be entirely through “service” (the root vision), sometimes called “being Christ” to a client, and/or through direct evangelization, “sharing Christ” with a client, or a combination of both. The former take their inspiration from the Biblical directive, “Whatever you do for one of these the least of my brethren, you do it unto Me.” The latter from the Great Commission, “Go forth, therefore, and teach all nations.”
There is currently an effort to unite Christians within our movement, especially Catholics and Evangelicals, by developing materials, conferences, and other gatherings that focus on what we have in common, rather than on the theological differences that have divided Christians for centuries. Mutual respect is developing within and among very different organizations, evidenced at the national, state, and city levels.
The Healing Vision
In the early 70’s, we had begun to see clients who had already had one or more abortion and were thinking of another, and we had begun to be approached by post abortive women who wanted to help other women avoid the tragic mistake they had made. The term “post abortion syndrome” had not yet even been coined. When we consulted professional counselors for help, they either denied that abortion had any ill effects or they cautioned us, as volunteers and nonprofessionals, not to get involved for fear that post abortive women might become suicidal.
Early attempts were made in some AAI centers to create post abortion programs that were “nondenominational and nonsectarian.” Remember, the early concept had been that the centers were not ministries, but rather “service” centers for mothers and babies. However, when centers were confronted with the need for post abortion healing programs, many moved from the service model to a ministry model, realizing that they had to choose a basis for their “counseling” and the obvious choice was a Biblical one.
So, pregnancy centers have been pioneers in developing post abortion programs for men and women, most of which take the form of support groups, Bible studies, or one-on-one counseling. Organizations have formed whose sole mission is to provide and promote post abortion programs, many of which have their roots in pregnancy centers.
We have also come to realize in pregnancy centers that almost all of our clients have broken sexual integrity. They are wounded by casual sex and broken trust, sexual abuse, incest, date rape, and/or abortion. By the 1980’s and certainly by the 90’s, most of our clients had grown up in a post Christian era (certainly, most were born in the “quaint” time when abortion was illegal and marriage was the default option if there was a crisis pregnancy). Crisis intervention alone is sometimes effective in keeping such clients from jumping off a cliff (i.e. not choosing an abortion), but they are still left with broken limbs and severely damaged internal organs, like broken hearts and souls. Life change and healing are necessary. Our centers have sometimes become “revolving doors,” where clients come back time and again for pregnancy tests. Providing on-going support, education, and healing is becoming a priority in our movement, and new programs are being introduced in an effort to provide healing and restoration so clients can actually regain their sexual integrity.
The Prevention Vision
Abstinence education, like post abortion healing, also had its beginnings in pregnancy centers, since we had to develop a counseling approach when the client had a negative test, a more common result than the positive test. In the 1980’s, as we witness more and more clients with multiple sexual partners and sexually transmitted diseases, it became clear that we needed to move the abstinence message outside the counseling room, and especially into the schools, to counter Planned Parenthood’s dangerous sex education messages. All over the country, entrepreneurial center volunteers who had a heart for prevention began to give classroom presentations and inspirational assemblies. Abstinence curricula and speakers began to proliferate and many centers started abstinence education programs in schools and in the community and consider “prevention” a major part of their mission.
A boon came in the early ‘80’s when a small amount of federal dollars was appropriated through Title XX in the Department of Health and Human Services to develop national “model prevention programs” based on abstinence. During the current Bush administration, federal funding has grown dramatically for abstinence until marriage education through Title V, the welfare reform bill, and SPRANS grants (Special Programs of Regional and National Significance). As a result, tax-funded abstinence education programs, including at least 40 based within pregnancy centers, have expanded dramatically and reached more and more schools and communities (and teen pregnancy and sexual activity rates have declined!). Federal funding for programs that do not “prostelitize” has helped participating centers “grow up” quickly and develop stronger infrastructures. Some centers, on the other hand, have refused all federal funding, either because they are afraid of “strings” or because they believe it will weaken testimony that the church, not the government (in the form of tax supported programs), was ultimately responsible for turning the tide on abortion and sexual promiscuity.
So, pregnancy centers have also been pioneers in the abstinence field. Many centers now have a prevention program that is equal to or even greater in scope and funding than their crisis intervention program, and some of the best national abstinence education programs have their roots in our centers.
The Marriage Vision
We have not ignored the growing evidence, placed before our eyes in the person of our client, that the deterioration of marriage in our culture over the past 30 years has led to a dangerous situation for single mothers and their children. The statistics are overwhelmingly convincing that children raised with both biological (or adoptive) parents do best in terms of economics, education, physical and mental health, and many other factors related to security and happiness. Children do the least well in all of these measures when raised by single mothers.While we have always upheld the value of adoption and marriage, many of our centers fell, through the years, into complacency about promoting them, being happy, at least, that a client chose not to abort her baby. The result is that few of our clients choose marriage or adoption. A recent study by Family Research Council, Adoption: The Missing Piece, has challenged pregnancy centers to examine our attitudes and programs (where only about 1-2% of clients choose infant adoption, about the same as in the general population) and make needed changes so that we can make adoption a core value in our centers. We are just now starting to examine how we can encourage our clients to consider marriage. For many of them, raised in an era in which divorce is rampant and co-habitation is common, marriage is a foreign concept. At least, many centers are experimenting with programs and materials to get the fathers committed to being involved during the pregnancy and after the baby is born. We are taking “baby steps” at this point in our history, but we are committed to trying to help turn the tide back toward marriage (or adoption) and more security for children.
The Future Vision
So, where is the alternatives to abortion movement now? What have we learned in the past 30 years, and where should we be headed in the future?
We have grown tremendously in terms of numbers and kinds of centers, of professionalism, of breadth and depth of programs (prevention, intervention, healing). But, in a sense, that’s the bad news. Our growth has been only partly in response to attacks from our opposition and bigger vision from within. It has mainly been due to the increasingly devastating effects of abortion (and related sexual mores) in our culture, as more and more wounded and scarred women (men and children) seek us out for help and we respond to the needs. The entire pro-life movement has been unsuccessful in winning the war against abortion on demand, and we are seeing more and more casualties in our pregnancy centers.
The service arm has almost always considered itself “separate,” but we must find ways to work with the other arms of our movement (political, legislative, educational, research, etc.); if each branch continues to function independently, without a unified strategy, we will continue to win some skirmishes, but the war will continue and the carnage will grow. To do this means, at least, giving up issues of pride or ownership for the “greater good.”
We should remain diverse, entrepreneurial, and, therefore, creative. We have constantly reinvented ourselves as we perceived and responded to the challenges. Centers in the future may be anywhere on the continuums of woman centered, baby centered, medical centered, healing centered, prevention centered, evangelization centered, and family centered. But we must guard our developing unity and be more passionate than ever about our life-affirming missions. Pregnancy center affiliating organizations need to work even more closely together, for example, sharing statistics and research, and bringing all centers under one or more “umbrella” so that we can stay “on the cutting edge” and to protect ourselves from outside efforts to close us down.
But unity, worldly wisdom, and professionalism will not, in and of themselves, protect us. We need to pray for the continuing protection of God upon our work. We must acknowledge that we are fundamentally Christian (although some centers describe themselves as “non-denominational and non-sectarian” and sometimes think of that as “secular”). We must acknowledge that we are being used mightily, at the beginning of this millennium, in the struggle of good vs. evil that has gone since sin entered the world.
Heartbeat International sees it as part of our mission to help pregnancy centers develop around the world, and we hope to export the Christian model and the model of unity within diversity. I see forming around the world (especially in Africa and Eastern Europe) strong networks of service providers mirroring the kinds of organizations we have in our US network: faith based, life-affirming resource centers, medical clinics, maternity homes, and adoption agencies. We must share resources even more generously with centers overseas and work with them to end abortion in their countries. While abortions number about 1.2 million per year in the U.S., an estimated 55-60 million abortions occur annually worldwide.
Government funding is a blessing and a temptation. We should learn how to benefit from new government funds that are becoming ever more available to faith-based organizations, but we must be careful to use them wisely, only for the social service and public school portions of our mission, so we can be free to truly minister and share the Gospel in other programs. Let us not become like some of the early faith-based organizations that now cannot be distinguished from secular ones (like the Red Cross) or that have even become leaders in secularizing our culture (does anyone remember that Harvard University was founded by Christians?).
I see our movement beginning a “paradigm shift.” Our prime service has been the free pregnancy test. With home tests and now abortion by pill, some wonder if we may become irrelevant. But, we have constantly responded to challenges and we will continue. Our medical clinics may transcend Planned Parenthood clinics to become centers for women’s true reproductive health. To our STD testing, prenatal care, natural family planning, abuse recovery, and post abortion programs, we may begin to add other services such as pap smears and infertility treatment (thus adding to the healing programs needed as a result of the effects of STD’s and abortion), and even well-baby care. Medical services may combine with counseling and spiritual healing in certain centers, or we may have stronger networks of centers each having a specialized mission (some medical, some counseling, some support, some healing, some spiritual).
I see our centers as places that can retrain and re-envision the medical, counseling, and social services professions (maybe even churches!). Professionals are working more closely than ever with us. When their training clashes with what they see in the lives of our clients (e.g. in the effect of casual sex), there is often cognitive dissonance that leads to transformation. More of what we know needs to influence academic coursework and professional continuing education programs.
What ties all of the diverse centers together in the alternatives to abortion movement is sexual integrity (whose absence is the root of abortion). God’s plan is that sexual relationship, unconditional love, marriage between man and woman, children, and God to all go together. If we try to remove one of these from the equation we have almost all the modern social ills (abortion, but also rampant divorce, co-habitation, fatherlessness, gay sub-culture, STD’s, loveless marriages, promiscuity, child abuse, and more). Sexual integrity is what all pregnancy centers are all about: prevention (so sexual integrity is protected and valued), intervention (when crisis occurs because sexual integrity is not being lived out), and healing and restoration (so sexual integrity can be restored). If and when the right to life is restored to the unborn (and our elderly and sick are protected), our centers will still need to exist to help re-teach and restore value of sexual integrity.
Heartbeat International, formerly Alternatives to Abortion International (AAI), has published an annual Directory of life-affirming service providers since 1971, to help those in need find services and to facilitate networking worldwide.The Directory is available from Heartbeat International, Columbus, OH, 1-888-550-7577, and on the web at www.heartbeatinternational.org.
Baptists for Life, Grand Rapids, MI; Birthright, Atlanta, GA; Care Net, Sterling, VA; Christian Life Resources, Milwaukee, WI; Heartbeat International, Columbus, OH; International Life Services, Los Angeles, CA; National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, Fredericksburg. VA; National Life Center, Woodbury, NJ; Sav-A-Life, Birmingham, AL; and North American Mission Board, Alternatives for Life, Alpharetta, GA.
Birthright was founded by the late Louise Summerhill in Toronto, Canada.The Birthright USA central office is located in Atlanta, Georgia.
AAI was founded in Toledo, Ohio, by the late John Hillabrand, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist, and Mrs. Lore Maier, an immigrant from Germany who had served as a court reporter at the Nuremburg Trials following World War II.Now called Heartbeat International, the central office is in Columbus, Ohio.
Identifying pro-life as solely a “Catholic issue” was an early tactic of the pro-abortion effort. RCAR, Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, lobbied almost every major Protestant denomination to sign statements depicting abortion as sometimes necessary and even the “Christian” response to a woman with a difficult pregnancy.Most early speakers on abortion could be discredited with the rhetorical question, “You’re a Catholic, aren’t you?”
For research on the decline of the family and marriage, with attendant social problems, see a variety of papers by The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC,www.heritage.org.For statistics on the rise of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, see studies by The Medical Institute, Austin, TX,www.medinstitute.org.
A manual, written by Bob Pearson over 20 years ago, which promoted this baby-centered vision, is still quoted extensively by NARAL on its web-site to discredit pregnancy centers, even though most people in the movement have never even seen the manual.
See “The Making of a Controversy: The History of the Conspiracy Against Pregnancy-Help Centers,” a Special Report (vol. Iii, no. 3) by Life Decisions International, Washington, DC.Also available on their web site atwww.interlife.org.
Thomas Glessner, J.D. (chairman of the Board of the Seattle pregnancy center, victimized by the NARAL smear campaign of the 1980’s) founded and still leads NIFLA, which has also published newsletters detailing the court cases brought against pregnancy centers.
NARAL published theChoice Action Kit: A Step-by-Step Guide to Unmasking Fake Clinics, also outlined on their web sitewww.naral.org,in December of 2000.The pregnancy center affiliating organizations responded quickly with their own guide,Serving Clients with Care and Integrity, to outline policies and procedures to help centers avoid attack.The guide also containsOur Commitment of Care, outlining our ethical policies relating to advertising and client services, adopted officially by nine of the ten affiliating organizations.(Birthright declined to sign because they do not participate in coalitions.)A copy ofOur Commitment of Careis available from any of the affiliating organizations.
CAC was founded by a number of concerned Christians, including Dr. and Mrs. Harold O.J. Brown, Dr. C Everett Koop (later U.S. Surgeon General), with the encouragement of the late Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer.
Alternatives to Abortion International changed its name to Heartbeat International in 1993 and now explicitly describes itself as a Christian association of service providers.
Within the Catholic Church, there are a variety of diocesan post abortion programs, loosely called “Project Rachel.”This list is available in the web side of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops,www.usccb.org.Post abortion programs that have their roots in pregnancy centers include those published and available from Care Net and Heartbeat International.National organizations that specialize in post abortion training and programs include Ramah International, Englewood, FL; PAM (Post Abortion Ministries), Memphis, TN; Rachel’s Vineyard, Bridgeport, PA; National Memorial for the Unborn, Chattanooga, TN; National Office of Post Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, Milwaukee, WI; and Hope Alive USA, Bella Vista, AR.
The pioneer in “negative test counseling” is Sister Paula Vandegaer, one of the founders of AAI, now President of International Life Services.In the 1970’s, before we became fully aware of the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS, early pregnancy centers focused their approach on the emotional and spiritual damage caused by sexual relationships outside the marriage bond, a “heroic” stand given the strength of feminism at the time.Physical health became the major focus of negative test counseling during the 80’s, but we are returning to a more holistic approach focusing on “sexual integrity.”
For example, Abstinence Clearinghouse, the only national organization that tracks and evaluates all abstinence until marriage programs (and also publishes a Directory of these programs and holds annual conferences for abstinence education providers) was founded in 1997 by Leslee Unruh, also founder of the pregnancy center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Heartbeat International is beginning this effort with a distance learning program through the Heartbeat Institute, designed to reach those “in the field,” as well as those in colleges and universities.
Book by Kirk Walden
Review by Jor-El Godsey, Vice President
It’s all too easy to get so close to the trees that you miss the forest.
In our world, we can be so focused on the “trees”—day-to-day tasks needed to accomplish our mission—we miss the “forest” that our movement represents.
Kirk Walden, in his freshly printed book, The Wall: Building a Culture of Life in American and Ending Abortion as We Know It, shows us the big picture of how far we’ve come in the pregnancy help movement over our first 40-plus years. Kirk pictures pro-life Americans—specifically those in the pregnancy help movement—as the figurative wall of Nehemiah built to half its height (Nehemiah 4:6).
Moreover, Kirk challenges us all to remember there is half the wall—more of us doing what we do—yet to build!
The Wall is a short, but invigorating read. Kirk, a seasoned advocate for pregnancy help work, deftly weaves the biblical narrative together with a vision for victory!
Click here to read more.
What better way to advance the pregnancy help movement worldwide than for one Heartbeat affiliate to link arms with another Heartbeat affiliate for the sake of women, babies, and families all over the world?
A new mother cradles her child in Immokalee.
The moment Diane Hanson stopped by for a meeting in Immokalee, Florida, an hour’s drive from the affluent town of Naples, she knew God was calling her family to serve the women and families of this impoverished community for the next season in life.
The year was 2007, two years after Hurricane Wilma whipped through the agricultural-dependent migrant community with winds over 120 miles per hour, and at the peak of the U.S. economic downturn, leaving nearly 40 percent of Immokalee’s residents below the federal poverty line.
Then serving as a pregnancy help center executive director at a center in Naples, Diane was asked by local leaders to take the reins at Immokalee Pregnancy Center, which had been destroyed by Hurricane Wilma. Soon, she and her husband, Dave, were on their way to their new mission field.
With so much work to do, and so little in the way of material and financial resources, the Hansons connected to an old friend and ministry partner named Phil Holsinger.
A veteran pregnancy help leader since the early 1990s, Phil was in the process of transitioning to a role as president and CEO of Heartbeat affiliate Blue Ridge Women’s Center in Roanoke, Virginia, where he had been struck by a parable of sorts, told by a friend who’d become a Christian during a stint in a federal penitentiary.
The parable went something like this: Several prisoners were sat down in a room and given a handful of puzzle pieces, then told they must learn to work with others without the benefit of speaking in order to complete the puzzle. These small groups of prisoners could only accomplish their work by cooperatively capitalizing on their shared resources.
To Phil, the application of this parable was simple. Every pregnancy help organization simultaneously has abundant resources and abundant need. Rather than expending the bulk of efforts compensating for areas of need, Phil realized, organizations could flourish by sharing from their areas of abundance with others.
Phil Holsinger (L) and Center for Global Strategies leaders, together with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov (head of table) in January, 2013.
And so, when Diane and Dave Hanson landed in financially strapped Immokalee, Phil knew this could be the perfect opportunity for his vision to come to reality.
Phil Holsinger (L) and Center for Global Strategies leaders, together with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov (head of table) in January, 2013.
“When Dave first brought me to the center, I had to kick chickens out of the way from the car to the building,” Phil said. “I told him, ‘This place reminds me of places I’ve been in Africa, or South America, or the Caribbean.’ I told him, ‘Anything we have is yours.’”
From that point on, Blue Ridge Women’s Center has supported Immokalee Pregnancy Center by, among other assistance, supplying one month’s overhead each year. Since Blue Ridge began this partnership, Phil’s goal has been to involve other pregnancy help organizations to pitch in and supply Immokalee with enough monthly support to power the center through an entire year.
But Phil’s vision has also expanded globally, with a similar work starting in the former Yugoslav country of Macedonia, where he and leaders from Center for Global Strategies recently met with the country’s President to discuss the good work of pregnancy centers, the first of which has been established in the bustling city of Shtip.
“We talked with the President for almost an hour about pregnancy help centers, and he was getting tears in his eyes as we told him the stories of women, babies, and families saved,” Phil said. “Then I thought, ‘Why couldn’t the same thing that’s happening with Immokalee happen here?’”
“It’s been amazing to see the lives that are being changed already in Macedonia, even with little-to-no advertising. I have just been blown away with how God is working there, and with the bulk of worldwide abortions occurring outside of the U.S., these efforts are uniquely strategic, as well as uniquely needed.”
With the pregnancy help movement advancing worldwide, the puzzle pieces are falling into place, thanks to faithful men and women like Phil Holsinger, Diane and Dave Hanson, and partners like you.
By Jor-El Godsey, President
As Lincoln’s historical heirs and as joint-heirs with Christ, we inherit this time-tested statement as we face the demonic and divisive issue of our time—abortion.
These same words should inspire those of us in the pregnancy help community to recognize how, together, we make up “a house”. Certainly, we are Christ-followers and part of His Kingdom, the House of God.
But in a parallel sense, we are part and parcel of each other, like the picture of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12, united by a uniquely common mission of compassion.
Our opponent, Satan, is as intent upon aborting our efforts as he was upon keeping an entire people group in the shackles of American slavery. This same zeal was present in the death of Christ, which Satan sought as his ultimate victory—which turned out to be his ultimate demise.
So, how do we stay united, and keep from becoming that divided house on the verge of collapse? Here are three profound things we can do, starting today:
We are much more than our “nickels and noses” (to borrow slang from church leaders/planters). Budgets, client numbers, and staff sizes are poor metrics for evaluating mission effectiveness. Subjective things like degree of professionalism, purity of mission focus, and client outcomes are also weak indicators for people setting out to participate in the Lord’s life-giving work.
We can all agree that Jesus inspires us to champion His Gift of Life and Him as the Giver of Life. With some 33,000 denominations (World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett, Kurian, Johnson (Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001), the reality of total doctrinal alignment is an illusion. But as Saint Augustine encourages, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
There are some essentials that divide us on Sunday in the pews—such as whether or not we refer to Saint Augustine or just Augustine—but these need not divide us while we seek to help those women and families who are making life and death decisions every day.
Apply the same love and grace to fellow staff members, board members, and peers as we would for clients/patients. The misty-eyed woman who can’t say which of her partners might be the father of her child needs the love of God to flow through us to her. But so does that fellow minister on our team, or across town, or on the national stage.
Love should always be our language whether we are in the counseling room, the classroom, the conference room, or at the convention.
Our pregnancy help “house” is a diverse group spanning cultures, vocations, and denominations. Abraham Lincoln saw something similar in 1858 as he addressed the crowd in Springfield, Illinois. When we look back on our victory over slavery, the moral crisis of that day, we should realize its similarities with our day.
Listen one more time to Lincoln’s eloquent words, and see if, just maybe, they can apply to us.
Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy.
Did we brave all then to falter now? -- now when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered, and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail -- if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.
Partnership with Movimento per la Vita, Heartbeat unveiled
While newly elected Pope Francis paid an unexpected visit to some 40,000 participants in Italy’s March for Life in Rome May 13, Heartbeat International was busy at the same event, signing paperwork for an official partnership with Italian pro-life organization Movimento per la Vita.
The collaborative partnership adds 398 new affiliates for Heartbeat International, bolstering its position as the largest network of pro-life pregnancy help centers in the world, with 1,800 affiliates. Heartbeat’s first official
partnership in Western Europe now gives the 42-year-old organization a presence on all six inhabited continents, with partners in Canada, Latin America, the Philippines, Australia, South Africa, and Central Africa.
Movimento per la vita President Carlo Casini (L) signs partnership agreement with former Heartbeat International board member Marie Meaney at Italy's March for Life.
“We are very pleased to announce this partnership with Movimento per la Vita,” Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., in her 21st year as president of Heartbeat International, said. “We already share so much in common with these friends, and I personally look forward to what we will learn from them as our relationship grows.”
Founded in 1975, Movimento per la Vita—much like Heartbeat International—began providing women with abortion alternatives three years prior to the procedure's legalization in its country, and now includes 338 pregnancy centers and 60 maternity homes, providing life-affirming help to women and families in need. The group is led by its founding director, Carlo Casini, a former judge who now serves as a member of the European Parliament.
Movimento per la Vita also operates a pregnancy helpline, SOS Vita, which connects women facing difficult situations involving unexpected pregnancies to local centers, referred to as Centri di aiuto alla Vita (CaV). The helpline operated by Movimento per la Vita distinctly parallels Heartbeat International’s Option Line ®, a 24/7 call center connecting women and men facing unexpected pregnancies with real-time help and face-to-face contact with local pregnancy help centers.
In 2012, Movimento per la Vita served 60,000 women and saw 16,000 babies born who were otherwise vulnerable to abortion. Since 1975, the network has served over 500,000 women, delivering 160,000 children.
Click here to view Movimento per la Vita's website.
by Jor-El Godsey and Jay Hobbs
In 1963, writing while in a Birmingham jail cell, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned a stirring response to local clergy leaders who had publicly criticized his part in non-violent protests against racial inequality.
King’s words spoke powerfully to the commonplace injustice of his day. But his prose echoes throughout the decades to underscore the pro-life argument today.
We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.
The greatest strength of our life-saving efforts today is to continue with “tireless efforts” and “persistent work” as we remain “co-workers with God” in the great work of championing the sanctity of life.
It’s almost as if Dr. King was speaking directly to the questions surrounding the pro-life movement as a whole, and even the pregnancy help movement in particular, as the letter progresses.
His audience was Southern clergy who, while sympathetic to desegregation to some degree, had not yet become emboldened to stand for the equality of their black brothers and sisters. It was not the infamous Ku Klux Klan or other rabidly racist groups who presented the greatest challenge, frustrations, or disappointments to Dr. King. Another group posed deeper issues:
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
Far from a mere indictment or dismissal of the church, Dr. King wrote as a minister, who proudly proclaimed himself “the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers” who spoke to the church as a loving son or brother might lovingly—but earnestly—address his parents or siblings.
What an excellent example for those of us in the pro-life movement. We want to invite our churches into the good work of ministering to women and families who are vulnerable to abortion. We do best to address our pastors, priests, leaders, and clergy from a humble—“purified” in the words of Dr. King—position.
At the same time, we also do best to follow Dr. King’s example of relentless urgency:
By their effort and example [early Christians] brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are…
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
Take some time this week and read through the Letter from the Birmingham Jail. You’ll be thankful you did.
by John T. Bruchalski, MD, FACOG
How can OBGYNs and Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) collaborate to build a healthier community where abortions are unwanted? This is the purpose of this presentation. Seeing the benefits of what we have accomplished has been inspiring, but we can do more. Based on Tepeyac Family Center’s work of serving regional pregnancy centers in Northern Virginia for the past two decades, we have a few ideas on how to make abortion unwantable.
Individually, our purpose on Earth is to love God and love our neighbors with all of our heart, mind and soul. Faith and charity go hand in hand. As Tepeyac physicians, we see medicine as an act of mercy where we care for and have compassion for the sick and vulnerable, the “least of our brothers and sisters.” There is no better way to live this vocation as an OBGYN than by serving the local PRCs in our neighborhood, community, and beyond.
Compassion means to suffer with, and we can suffer with our clients and patients and love enough by working together. Practicing merciful medicine removes the reasons for abortion and does so much more than save a baby. We are working toward Transforming Hearts Through Healthcare™ and mercy shows God’s grace.
Let us elucidate the problems that OBGYNs face today, so we can suggest some practical answers to make abortion unwantable.
Everywhere we turn, the world seems to be in crisis. With massive changes to the United States (U.S.) healthcare system, physicians today are more cynical, pessimistic, fearful and tired than I have seen in three decades of practicing medicine. The present government solution to fix healthcare decreases reimbursements to doctors and increases paperwork and overhead costs with complex regulations.
Moreover, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has ignored the entire issue of malpractice resulting in increases in liability insurance costs. Under the rhetoric of “reproductive rights” and “women’s healthcare”, the current administration has enshrined abortion and contraception as mainstream medical practices despite the stigma, the paucity of providers, and split in public opinion.
Further, the ACA dismisses personal consciences and violates religious freedoms. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has assaulted conscience rights of future doctors and is demanding that their member doctors either refer or perform abortions. ACOG knows that most physicians refuse to perform the procedures because of its barbaric nature and the number of abortionists is dwindling.
Below are my observed problems that OBGYNs face in building relationships with crisis pregnancy centers and making abortion unwantable.
The first problem is lukewarmness. Lukewarm is a problem for physicians on both sides of the abortion issue. Sadly, I know this from first hand experience. I spent the first two years of my career as an abortion provider. Thankfully, my faith and prayer life led me to a place where I am no longer forced or required to violate my conscience. By faith and sacrifice, my wife and I founded Tepeyac Family Center in Northern Virginia in 1994, and its parent company Divine Mercy Care (DMC) in 2000.
My Tepeyac colleagues and I have worked alongside and inside pregnancy resource centers as volunteer counselors, advisors, and board members. Despite many excuses, the primary, honest reason most doctors do not perform abortions is the brutality of the procedure. Over one million abortions are performed in the U.S. annually and most doctors are simply not that passionate about abortion to actually perform them. It is easier for doctors to refer abortions out to the local abortionist.
On the pro-life side, most doctors, even those identified in a Christian faith tradition, are really not that passionate about the dignity of human life to take on the added malpractice risk of seeing women with crisis pregnancies, or accept the financial burden of caring for people without insurance. Providing life-taking or life-affirming care is too much of a burden to physicians with so many other problems and responsibilities to deal with on a day to day basis.
Lukewarmness among doctors is a problem for both sides of the abortion issue.
The second problem is chasing idols. My profession has placed idols before the source of happiness and joy. Idols include making money and increasing prestige; believing abortion is an answer to social and medical problems yet being lukewarm in its practice; not searching for the root cause of unplanned pregnancies; accepting rampant promiscuity and the resultant diseases that follow; treating fertility as a disease and children as sexually transmitted infections; pitting mothers and fathers against their unborn children; and working with suffering without seeing the redemptive nature when suffering cannot be relieved.
As doctors who have taken a vow to “do no harm” and care for all who come before us, physicians have moved away from His light and became instruments of evil in the world, subject to the worst of tyrannies. As OBGYNs, we are being asked to hold back from God and to hesitate to answer His call. Because we are fearful of the cost, the pain, the unknown, we no longer trust the Divine Physician nor do we care or serve our neighbors in need. This is the malice found in our soul.
We have become hollow, filled with emptiness and fear. Rather than turn to Christ, we grasp for more of the same: more abortion, more contraception, more sterilization and more secular, sexual education. When we attempt to follow ways other than willed by God, we find loneliness and sadness. We chase idols.
Physicians have stopped treating two patients; OBGYNs are being taught to treat a patient with a disease in her womb. No mercy and no care. Faith and love have gotten a divorce from each other and from ourselves, yet, we are called to care for women in crisis pregnancies and show her how to care for her unborn child. This is Tepeyac’s model of practicing excellent and merciful medicine. As a consequence of doctors being lukewarm and chasing idols, Heartbeat and your ministries heroically and sacrificially give of your time and expertise in meeting the needs of the woman with an unwanted pregnancy.
You are present at the time of crisis and need. But this is not enough. PRCs have to provide ultrasounds because doctors in your communities cannot meet this need.
The medical model of a pregnancy resource center was born out of necessity because we in the medical profession, for the most part, have turned our backs on caring for two patients by eliminating the humanity of the fetus and violating the dignity of the woman. Most doctors, even those of Christian faiths, only see the poor on sabbaticals and not during their daily work, when in truth, there are poor people living in our very own community that need our help. We allowed abortion to become a valid medical practice in the Affordable Care Act because we did not uniformly stand together voicing our outrage.
We abdicated the intellectual and scientific truth of when life begins.
With almost twenty years of experience, Divine Mercy Care (DMC) and Tepeyac Family Center offer a solution.
Abortion and healthcare are NOT political footballs at Divine Mercy Care and Tepeyac Family Center. DMC’s solution has seven practical principles resting on a solid three-pillar foundation of serving, inspiring and unifying when collaborating with PRCs. Nearly two decades of being on the front lines has taught Tepeyac doctors much about combating “lukewarmness” and “idols”.
Tepeyac’s doctors have found a method through sacrifice, hard work and tithing for medical practices to see all patients; those insured and those not insured or under-insured by outreaching to all pregnancy resource centers in our region. Charity, not entitlement, is at the heart of serving our community. Every PRC is different, so we do not force anything on anyone. We offer our obstetrical expertise to care for the woman and the child in the hopes of helping her see the blessing of the child. We introduce her to resources intended to build a stable and strong family and/or support system. Our fiscal approach is called the MERCY Program where we financially cover medical services that the patient cannot afford. We want to be able to do more than save a baby; we introduce them to community services for a continuum of support; we work toward turning around a life and transforming hearts.
We recognize the great work many PRCs do with their medical model of providing ultrasounds to women in crisis pregnancies. Further, Tepeyac provides immediate ultrasounds and doctor visits for PRC patients. We are applying to open Tepeyac School of Sonography (TSS) Certification Program. If approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia, State Council of Higher Education, TSS will offer a 13-week curriculum designed to train your ultrasound technicians and ready them for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography testing.
Medical care is more than a technical skill. Ultrasound technicians must meet the rigorous professional and safety standards while loving the patients, both mother and baby. This can be taught. Tepeyac shows students how to love and treat patients while fully complying with radiology standards. Additionally, Tepeyac’s standard of providing high quality ultrasound services in a supportive, life-affirming environment ensures that staff respond lovingly to patients who have an abnormal scan.
Our Kristen Anderson Perinatal Hospice Program is Tepeyac’s medical, spiritual and community approach to a woman carrying a terminally sick child. The hospice approach maximizes the time a mother spends with her preborn child and enhances the love available for the family as a whole.
By having a pro-life radiologist and OBGYNs at Tepeyac, we are able to electronically connect PRCs to a medical expert to read and interpret sonographic information. With the internet and open hearts, no distance is too far to provide excellent medicine and excellent resources.
Leading by example, DMC, through Tepeyac, can help doctors in your area realize the critical importance of not simply sitting on boards, or counseling, but actually seeing the client in need as a patient and building relationships. To transform hearts and minds, we actively attract men and women who are pursuing healthcare degrees and help them understand the importance of working with PRCs once they enter private practice. This is not on top of what we do, this is what we do. Collaborating with PRCs is a way to give back to the community in your own neighborhood.
This is not a “zero sum” game. We cannot continue to the “turf wars.” We serve a generous God. DMC can speak at annual banquets to help inspire those in the audience to give generously to this most urgent of causes. When donors and financially savvy people see the cooperative nature of PRC with a medical practice and other services, they are apt to give more generously knowing that they are not duplicating life-affirming services.
It is clear the prolife community needs to be more unified. This is easier said than done. Thankfully, Tepeyac’s approach seems to bring together doctors, PRCs, emergency rooms, maternity homes, social services, specialists, and even churches of various faith traditions. There is a way to live by example the axiom that we can love enough together to make abortion unwantable, children welcomed and families stronger.
Faith and charity is the goal of living. We can overcome the “lukewarmness” and the “idols” by working more closely together. OBGYNs and PRCs need to collaborate. The great work that Heartbeat International and Tepeyac Family Center have accomplished can be improved on, building on what we have done and making abortion unwantable. The above steps are the practical ways this can happen.
Please contact us for a conversation that can lead to the continuing transformation of hearts for our patients, clients and ourselves.
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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