Excerpted from The Power of Pregnancy Help, a book telling the story of the first 50 years of Heartbeat International and the pregnancy help movement. The Power of Pregnancy Help will be available soon wherever books are sold.
Each of our three co-founders, Dr. John Hillabrand, Lore Maier, and Sister Paula Vandegaer, brought special gifts to the establishment of AAI, and they incorporated into our work the values, purposes, and principles that characterized not only AAI’s first twenty years, but also have become the foundation for the growth and development of Heartbeat International over the last thirty years. In the previous three chapters we have tried to capture some of their special gifts and the life experiences and expertise that have left clear marks on the pregnancy help movement both then and now.
The name founders carries with it the concept that these first leaders laid down the foundations for the organization they started, Alternative to Abortion International. And today, that organization, now Heartbeat International, is indeed built on those foundations. However, our founders believed, and Heartbeat believes today, that they were building for the entire pregnancy help movement, then and now – not just for those that became or would become official affiliates. Anyone who provided life-affirming pregnancy help was and is welcome, all learn and contribute, all work together to advance the mission of saving and changing lives. So, the foundations were built and are maintained now for the entire pregnancy help movement.
. . .
Always More Than Saving Babies
All three of our co-founders had a view of our work that encompassed more than saving babies. Those who describe the mission of pregnancy help centers as “saving babies” are only describing a part of our founders’ vision and mission and part of the movement’s vision today.
Our founders focused on both mother and baby, and, in fact, on the family and the entire culture. They saw that we were involved in this work to serve women in need and help them so they could save their babies, but also (especially in the work of Sister Paula) that we were in a position to help women understand their true womanhood. Dr. John and Lore’s writings and talks also show that they viewed an attack on the sanctity of human life in the womb as an attack on society as a whole and on all humanity that would have profound ramifications. Lore tried to warn of the effect of abortion not only on women themselves and the family, but also on the perpetrators (the abortionists), and even on those who merely stood by and observed (the general public).
The first logo that was chosen for AAI, used in the very first communications in early 1972, was called “Hearts of Gold.” It is not a baby, nor is it a mother and child. The logo features two larger gold hearts (with some lines and markings, the result of life’s scars, experience, maturity, and wisdom) surrounding a tiny, unmarked, pure golden heart that represents the innocent human child. The logo shows that we need to protect, shelter, and nurture that child, born and unborn. The hearts of gold represent the family as God intended it. With the family relationships disrupted and in need of healing, the larger, sheltering hearts could be those of us in this movement protecting the child. Heartbeat’s logo has changed to the “Heart of the Future,” but Heartbeat International still features our “Hearts of Gold” on our premier Legacy Award since God’s plan for the family is still at the heart of our mission. One of the amazing things about the early AAI Academies (Conferences) was the diversity of expertise represented in the “Faculty” or conference presenters. To help the emerging centers with program development were marriage and family experts, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, doctors and nurses (with expertise on pregnancy and maternity care, fetal development, labor and delivery, nursing, sexually transmitted diseases, infertility and more), early childhood education experts, researchers, social workers, mothers, fathers, and more.
Programs developing then within the first centers (despite the early term EPS or Emergency Pregnancy Services) and first maternity homes were focused not just on the crisis intervention need for women coming in for a pregnancy test, but on parenting and family unification. For the “negative test client,” programs were developing to help her understand the risks of sexual intimacy outside of marriage. Centers were developing referral networks in their own community and finding like-minded potential partners who could amplify these messages – for example, in schools and in the culture at large.
Today, if you attend a Heartbeat International Conference or any other gathering of pregnancy help organizations around the world, you will find the same. We are about much more than saving babies. Our foundation stones are motherhood, fatherhood, healthy families, and a pro-family culture.
January is Sanctity of Human Life Month, and this year Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is celebrated on either January 16th or 23rd, which is a time we set aside every year to focus on the value of each and every human life. It is celebrated every year on the Sundays closest to the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
We want to make sure that you are equipped with the resources you need when connecting with your local churches to build relationships and raise awareness for the incredible work you are doing to reach women in your community.
Click any of the images below to download and share them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using the hashtag #SOHL
By now, you have probably seen that Google has banned any and all advertising efforts promoting Abortion Pill Reversal. This life-saving protocol has been pulled down under a new Google policy that bans "unreliable claims."
Unfortunately, Google is wrong. Time and again, we have seen the power of Abortion Pill Reversal in the mothers' gratitude and the babies' smiles. Statistics show more than 2,500 lives have been saved so far thanks to Abortion Pill Reversal and you, those on the frontlines meeting with women and offering true choice.
Thankfully, in spite of the ads being pulled, women are still finding the APRN for help. Through sidewalk advocates, pregnancy centers, word of mouth, and organic search results, we are still seeing reversal starts!
Women who find our Network do so out of an inherent motherly instinct to save her baby's life in a way that, sadly, Google would rather they never know about. These women find our Abortion Pill Rescue Network primarily through Google searches. More than 90% of our contacts come from online referrals - both paid and organic.
Big Tech's censorship of Abortion Pill Reversal denies women the right to try to save their pregnancies. It makes completing the chemical abortion the only option for them.
We know the truth. Reversal works for 2 out of 3 women. While Google claims Abortion Pill Reversal is an "unreliable claim," we get to see in the flutter of the heartbeat on our ultrasound machines; the tears of happiness on the mom's face; and the relief in her voice when we get to tell her that she was able to save her baby's life.
In fact, just this past Friday, the Charlotte Lozier Institute published a report showing the efficacy of Abortion Pill Reversal.
Heartbeat International and our pro-life friends are working hard to fight this attack by Big Tech and will continue to do so. Every woman deserves to know the whole truth about abortion; that includes the facts about her unborn child, and the choices she can make every step of the way.
If your organization is experiencing issues having your digital ads approved, read What You Can Do Right Now About "Unreliable Claims"
Keep fighting the good fight! We're here for you.
Brent Boles, M.D.APRN Medical Director
. . . . .
Ashley Bratcher - You are the real heroes
David Bereit - I appreciate you
Kristan Hawkins - I want to truly thank you for being on the frontlines
Jeanne Mancini - We are praying for you
Special Message from Anne Pierson
Jay Hobbs - Every day, you are doing the work that God has called you to do
Like these? Check out videos from past Pregnancy Help Appreciation Weeks. You are loved. And the work you do, admired.
And don't forget to check out the deals of the day and share the love on social media!
Pregnancy Help Appreciation Week was designed by Heartbeat International to honor those working within the pregnancy help movement. Through their work, women and men receive the compassionate support they need when facing a life-changing decision. They walk alongside families throughout the pregnancy and beyond, blessing them with pregnancy tests, emotional support, ultrasounds, parenting classes, and so much more at no cost. In this, our 50th year serving the pregnancy help movement, we'd love to keep up the celebration with you! (Learn more about our 50 year celebration by clicking here.)
From volunteers to executive directors, nurses to receptionists, each person working in a pregnancy help organization has been gifted with the passion to advance the culture of LIFE! And for that, we thank you!
This year's Pregnancy Help Appreciation Week is November 8-12, 2021.
If you haven't heard of Pregnancy Help Appreciation Week before, you should expect special deals, thank-you messages, and extra prayers this week.
Plus! We'll be holding a drawing at the end of the week where one lucky winner will get a fun gift basket from us at Heartbeat!
Download any of the images below to share on Facebook, Instagram or tweet and show your love for the pregnancy help movement using the hashtag #ThankAPregnancyCenter
Today, we've added the 2021 Conference Keynote by Nicole C. Mullen as a free source of inspiration. We're also highlighting Raising the Standard, our training on the Commitment of Care and Confidence. If you missed any deals from earlier in the week, make sure you take a second look because they're all available again through the end of the weekend!
by Mary Peterson, Housing Specialist
Early in the three-day meeting, the question was posed: "Has the maternity housing movement, as a whole, strayed from its core mission?" Gulp. Big question.
All present were quick to defend the good work that currently happens in the approximately 400 maternity homes across the United States. There is no doubt of the important role that maternity homes play within the pregnancy help movement. But the question lingered.
Historically, maternity homes developed to support women through an adoption plan, first as large institutional programs often staffed by Catholic religious orders. Trying to protect the confidentiality of the women coming to the program, these early homes were often shrouded in secrecy and silence. Many of the reforms in adoption began from the heartache of women who experienced adoption not as an empowering choice, but rather as a decision they felt was forced upon them without sensitive acknowledgment of the pain involved.
From these roots, as movement toward open adoptions began, the host or shepherding home model developed as families began welcoming a pregnant woman into their homes. And, in recent history, as the needs and challenging circumstances of the pregnant women in need of housing support have increased, a variety of models have developed that allow for increased expertise in supporting women in situations related to addiction, violence, abuse, and trauma. As this progression has happened, the number of adoptions in maternity homes has dramatically decreased.
The 10 housing leaders who serve as the Leadership Council for the National Maternity Housing Coalition (NMHC), a joint-affiliate of Heartbeat International, gathered to think deeply about why this has happened and how maternity homes might restore their heritage as a safe refuge for women considering adoption. It is not as if maternity homes are not supportive of adoption.
Homes, generally, are delighted to walk with a women pursuing an adoption plan. And, several homes, especially those with over 30 years of experience, have deep organizational ties to adoption agencies. Even so, the NMHC Leadership Council collectively wondered, "Can we be doing more? Why do we continue to see declining numbers? Is there something that we, as maternity homes, can do better?"
Shawn Stevenson, the Executive Director of Life Services in Spokane, Wash., raised the question of an organization's "null curriculum". Based on his training in the education field, Shawn asked, "It makes me wonder about our programs. Specifically, What are we teaching by what we are not teaching?"
He continued, "Is there something in the way that we handle adoption that inadvertently communicates a bias we don't intend?" The statement raised a great conversation about the strategies used by homes to introduce adoption.
Through discussion, five major strategies surfaced. All are currently being used by homes to incorporate an adoption message:
While these strategies are a solid starting point, the challenge was raised on how to re-think and re-craft the strategies used to present the beauty of adoption in new and creative ways within the home environment.
Summing up the conversation, Jeannine Floores, a birth mom and adoptive mom who leads Breath of Life in Austin, Texas spoke of the need to create an adoption-positive culture throughout the organization.
"Moms need to know that you aren't focused on WHAT decision she makes," she said, "only that she makes an informed, prayerful, thought-out decision."
The National Maternity Housing Coalition took this message to heart and renewed its commitment to pregnancy decision making as the place of excellence for maternity housing programs.
"It is this decision-making process that makes maternity homes different than any other housing programs for women," Callie Neff of House of His Creation asserted, "In addition to all the other ways that maternity homes support women, we must support her in thinking about her options around how her child will be parented."
A re-examination of our past as a maternity housing movement allowed us to remember our role in championing the adoption message. As such, the NMHC is inviting homes to re-engage the adoption message in a new way this year and keep decision-making during pregnancy at the heart of their mission. You can anticipate dynamic trainings and conversations on how to achieve that goal within the upcoming year.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Following on the heels of two undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in what appears to be the for-profit procurement and sale of body parts from aborted babies, The Center for Medical Progress released a new video Tuesday morning, “Human Capital – Episode 1: Planned Parenthood’s Black Market in Baby Parts.”
The latest video centers around the testimony of Holly O’Donnell, identified as an “Ex-Procurement Technician for StemExpress, LLC,” the Northern California-based company whose marketing material promised Planned Parenthood affiliates “Financially Profitable” benefits of selling body parts harvested from aborted babies.
“Every life deserves to be protected,” Heartbeat International president Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., who has led the network of nearly 2,000 pregnancy help locations worldwide since 1994, said. “Aren’t we worth more than the sum of our parts? The life of a mother and her child are worth far more than an abortion facility’s bottom line. Every life deserves to be protected”
While Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider with over 327,166 abortions reported in its 2012-13 annual report, has denied selling body parts for profit—which would be a violation of federal law—Tuesday’s video provides continued evidence that the body parts harvested from aborted babies are done so with a for-profit motive.
“We were asked to procure certain tissues, like brain, liver, thymus, pancreas, heart, lungs, and pretty much anything on the fetus,” O’Donnell says in the video. “It’s basically human trafficking of fetal tissues.”
The Center for Medical Progress released its first in a series of undercover videos Tuesday, July 14, which captured Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing the harvesting of fetal organs, telling what she believed to be potential buyers that her national team had, “been very good at getting heart, lung, liver,” noting that abortion providers could “crush” the baby in such a way as to preserve certain body parts for resale.
Last Tuesday, July 21, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Council President, Dr. Mary Gatter, was shown in a similar video, negotiating price points for the resale of harvested baby body parts while referring to her colleagues’ ability to use “a less crunchy technique” to get more intact body parts.
“Women deserve better than abortion,” Hartshorn said. “That is why pregnancy help centers, medical clinics, maternity homes and non-profit adoption agencies offer a mother all the information she needs to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy.”
About Heartbeat InternationalHeartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and now the largest and most expansive network in the world. With nearly 2,000 affiliated pregnancy help locations—including pregnancy help medical clinics (with ultrasound), resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies—Heartbeat serves on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion.
Heartbeat International welcomes Carrie Beliles as our new part-time International Program Specialist. Carrie will now be the primary liaison and consultant for Heartbeat'sInternational Program outreach.
Originally from the U.S.A., Carrie's travels and interests have taken her far and wide. From running a pregnancy help center in Rammstein, Germany to advocating against sex-trafficking in Asia, Carrie's passion for life-affirming ministry is evident. She has 5 kids (all under the age of 8) and now makes her home in Virginia with her husband, Ben.
Carrie joins the Ministry Services Team and takes over the role from Molly Hoepfner, who will now be more focused as Heartbeat's Event Planner, especially our Annual Conference.
We are so excited to have Carrie on the team that we decided to do a quick interview so you could get to know her too.
As a Heartbeat International affiliate, your pregnancy help organization is automatically listed on Heartbeat's Option Line® (1-800-712-HELP), a 24-7 pregnancy helpline that answers over 1,100 calls, emails, text messages and live chats every day in English and Spanish, sending callers to local help organizations like yours. Our job is to help you care for her.
Here are a few of the ways we do that.
Every contact Heartbeat’s Option Line® makes costs about $4.25. We refer an average of 42 contacts a year to each of our more than 2,700 listed pregnancy help organizations. That’s a value of $178.50 per year for your organization alone!
On OptionLine.org, a client can search for a center near her. Each month in the past year, an average of over 200 searches on OptionLine.org have turned up your center. Our top-10 centers all averaged over 7,000 views in the last year, bringing women in desperate need of help face-to-face with your center’s information.
Does your center struggle to cover the phones overnight? Option Line is your answer for overnight help. You can also forward your calls to Option Line when you can't cover a shift. Rather than hearing a recording, a woman will speak to a real human being, who will answer her initial questions and connect her to help right in her area—that is, you!
Bonus! When you take advantage—at no cost—of Option Line’s Appointment Scheduling, a consultant can schedule an appointment at your center right on the spot. Click here to learn more.
As a Heartbeat affiliate, changes can be made to your Option Line listing in real-time so that women searching for you have up-to-date information about your organization at any hour of the day.
Option Line lists pregnancy help organizations affiliated with either Heartbeat International or Care Net. If your organization prefers to not become a Heartbeat affiliate, that's okay! Care Net provides us with a list of their affiliates on a quarterly basis. We update our Option Line database based on that list. Please communicate any changes to your information with Care Net and the changes will be made with the next quarterly update.
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