by Melissa Heiland, Founder, Beautiful Feet International
The story of Esther is a story of faithfulness and betrayal, of honor and disgrace. It is a real-life Cinderella story, and it speaks loudly to us as pro-life servants. It is a story of a battle of good vs. evil, not unlike the battle we are fighting of life vs. death. There are many virtues in the story of Esther that we must pursue as we fight for life.
Esther experienced deep sorrow early in life. The Word says that she had “neither a father nor a mother.” (Esther 2:7) This serves as an encouragement to those of us who have experienced devasting loss and great sorrow. It reminds us that God’s hand is still upon us and He can and will still use us for great things in His Kingdom.
Esther is a woman who treats others with respect. Throughout the story, we see her treating her adopted father, Mordecai, with great respect. Even when she is queen, she still submits to his will. She shows respect to Hegai, the eunuch, by following his suggestions. She shows great respect for the king. As God’s children, we are to treat others with the respect they deserve as image-bearers. It is one of the ways we honor life.
Esther is humble. When Mordecai uncovers the plot to kill the king, she tells the king and gives credit to her adopted father, not herself. As she continues to obey Mordecai as an adult, she shows humility.
As pro-life leaders, our lives should be characterized by humility.
Esther is a woman of prayer. When faced with a seemingly impossible situation, she fasted and prayed and asked others to do the same. This is an example we need to follow in our personal lives, as well as in ministry.
Esther is brave. She knows she might lose her life as she stands up for what is right, and she is willing to risk her life. Fighting for life is not a job for the faint of heart. The Lord has called us to speak without fear.
Esther is patient. When she goes before the king, she does not rush to make her requests known. She prays and waits for the right time to ask for her people’s lives to be spared. As pro-life leaders, we must be patient, knowing that God will work on our behalf and on behalf of the unborn at just the right time.
Esther is passionate. She begs the king to spare the Jews. She pleads for their lives. We, too, are passionate as we speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The story of Esther is a story of faithfulness: Esther’s faithfulness and God’s faithfulness. It serves as a reminder and encouragement to us that we must be faithful to God’s call on our lives, and He will be faithful to spare His people – the ones we are advocating for. Just as God spared the Jews because of Esther’s faithfulness, God is sparing the lives of countless unborn children because of the courage and faithfulness of pro-life servants around the world. Esther took great risks to protect the lives of others and we know that our work is not without risk. But, like Esther, we trust our lives to a faithful God, who lovingly guides us.
Esther means “star.” God has called us to shine like stars holding forth the Word of life.
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, '“children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”' Philippians 2:14-16
He has called each of us for such a time as this. What an exciting time to be serving in pro-life ministry!
Andrea Trudden, Vice President of Communications and Marketing of Heartbeat International, shares three valuable resources for Pregnancy Help Organizations (PHOs):
Pregnancy Center Truth – Pregnancycentertruth.com
A resource created to refute claims made against pregnancy centers “in an effort to ditch the rhetoric and stick to the facts..."
Pregnancy Help News – Pregnancyhelpnews.com
A website that reports on “current events, happenings, and milestones,” as well as inspirational stories within the pregnancy help community for PHOs around the world.
Pregnancy Help Podcast – Pregnancyhelppodcast.com
A collection of conversations and interviews with prominent pregnancy help experts around the world.
Save and subscribe!
Save Pregnancy Help Podcast as your favorite podcast.
Subscribe for Pregnancy Help News updates.
by Andrea Trudden, Vice President of Communications & MarketingHeartbeat International
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” – Romans 12:12
As we begin a new year, we begin a new era—the post-Roe world as we choose to make it.
The dust continues to settle after the Dobbs decision on June 24, and it will continue to do so. And we continue to open our doors and welcome women and families in order to serve them with the same dignity and respect we always have. Because that is what pregnancy help is. That is what we were called into this mighty mission to do.
Since May, we have seen pregnancy help organizations in the news more than ever before. Politicians make up stories and shout baseless claims against the good work provided through pregnancy centers at no cost to communities worldwide simply because it is a cause they don’t believe in.
Major corporations proudly proclaim they will compensate employees who travel out of state to obtain an abortion, circumventing their states’ laws on the issue.
Technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Yelp suppress or outright ban advertising of life-affirming options like Abortion Pill ReversalTM, labeling it “misinformation” all while expanding the promotion of mail-order abortion pills.
We have seen attacks against our work as abortion extremists spray paint, break windows, and set fire to our buildings. And we have witnessed with admiration as our brothers and sisters pick up the pieces, paint the doors, and go back to business as usual.
The poise of the pregnancy help movement is one of class and grace.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12
God gives us reminders of His provision through times of trial. While we have been viciously attacked from various sides, we have great reasons to celebrate!
More women contacted Option Line last year and were connected to local pregnancy help than in the past couple of years, and, as we know, the best alternative to abortion is another person offering compassionate support. We know that more than 4,000 women have now saved their babies’ lives through the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network, and more pregnancy help medical clinics are providing this life-saving service. In addition, new pregnancy help organizations are opening their doors in underserved areas, reaching women with the life-saving support they need at a very difficult time.
This is the truth. These are the facts. So, while some may not like what we do, we will not stop. The risk is too great. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
And so, we endure.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…” Romans 5:3
And while I don’t always remember to rejoice in the suffering, this year has given us many chances to rejoice!
Think of the woman who entered your door with tear-filled eyes as she feared a pregnancy would permanently halt all her life’s plans. And how, with just a listening ear and a bit of encouragement, she left that same door confident that she could accomplish her dreams while being a good mom.
Picture the young mom who is so grateful for the parenting support she received at your building years ago that she still sends you pictures of her growing little one, in school now and getting so big!
Now, hear the sound of the mother who gasps when seeing her baby’s heartbeat for the first time as she squeezes her boyfriend’s hand tightly, accepting the love that God has blessed them with.
These moments – these women – are our “why.” They give us the strength and perseverance to press forward through any opposition because we know the work we do is righteous.
And so we will continue to serve with class and grace in order to serve a loving God and help families within our communities thrive.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10
by Jennifer Wright, Editor/Writer
On Monday evening, September 19, we received a letter from Senator Warren (and six others) fraught with bizarre accusations and demanding answers to a number of questions by October 3. Here’s the thing though, this letter is nothing more than a political stunt. While it makes demands, it invokes no authority. It throws wild accusations, but never points to an actual situation that has actually happened, and only postulates hypothetical future situations. And of course, TIME Magazine was aware of this letter at almost the same moment we were and reached out to us for comment.
And yet, we’re going to respond. We’ve already released a statement, as you may have seen at Fox News, Catholic News Agency, Life News, or in our own email announcement earlier this week.
Why? Because this is what we do – and this is an opportunity.
We know that your work is on the frontline. You’re serving clients, changing hearts, saving lives, and transforming communities. If something like this came directly to your office, the best move might not be to take time away from that front-line service. But we have those resources, and we’re here to represent you, our affiliates, so you don’t have to take time away from your mission.
And honestly, this is an opportunity for the pregnancy help movement. We can speak to the reality and share your good work because of this letter.
We don’t have anything to hide, and this gives us the opportunity to tout the great work of our Next Level CMS team and the high security standards we’ve set for any data we maintain in order to serve women. In fact, Next Level maintains the same security standards (and the same software platforms) of any hospital records system. Our Sample Policies & Procedures and Sample Medical Policies & Procedures manuals include policies surrounding document retention and security standards for client records. These policies have been reviewed by legal counsel inside and outside of Heartbeat, and we stand by them.
Neither Heartbeat, Option Line, nor Next Level have ever had a security breach related to client information (or of any kind). Any data we collect has always been secure, safe, and legal.
So look out for our final response to this letter. We’ve been sharing with reporters and media contacts for months about your support and care for women in unexpected pregnancies. We’ve been making sure we address data privacy concerns, counter accusations with truth, and provide statistics on the impact of the pregnancy help movement. This letter shines light on these statements more than any of our previous interviews have allowed for.
Thank you, Senators, for this PR opportunity.
In this chaotic world, we thank God for your spiritual leadership and guidance.
The post-Roe opinion offers unique opportunities for us to speak about Life, offer the compassionate hand of Life, and unite with Heartbeat and our network to bring pregnancy options and support to pregnant moms. This is our time, and we can help you educate and motivate your church family!
The Power of the Pregnancy Help Movement:
Learn About Life-Affirming Pregnancy Help:
More on the Pregnancy Help Movement:
Special Message from Pastor Wootton, Heartbeat Board Member
In today's climate, you are more and more likely to have the opportunity to engage with legislators and the media than ever before. Are you prepared to do so? Advocating for pregnancy help in the media - and in local government - is powerful. Find your state below for some talking points and statistics for your state to help you prepare!
Excerpted from The Power of Pregnancy Help, a book telling the story of the first 50 years of Heartbeat International and the pregnancy help movement. The Power of Pregnancy Help is available wherever books are sold.
Each of our three co-founders, Dr. John Hillabrand, Lore Maier, and Sister Paula Vandegaer, brought special gifts to the establishment of AAI, and they incorporated into our work the values, purposes, and principles that characterized not only AAI’s first twenty years, but also have become the foundation for the growth and development of Heartbeat International over the last thirty years. In the previous three chapters we have tried to capture some of their special gifts and the life experiences and expertise that have left clear marks on the pregnancy help movement both then and now.
The name founders carries with it the concept that these first leaders laid down the foundations for the organization they started, Alternative to Abortion International. And today, that organization, now Heartbeat International, is indeed built on those foundations. However, our founders believed, and Heartbeat believes today, that they were building for the entire pregnancy help movement, then and now – not just for those that became or would become official affiliates. Anyone who provided life-affirming pregnancy help was and is welcome, all learn and contribute, all work together to advance the mission of saving and changing lives. So, the foundations were built and are maintained now for the entire pregnancy help movement.
. . .
Always More Than Saving Babies
All three of our co-founders had a view of our work that encompassed more than saving babies. Those who describe the mission of pregnancy help centers as “saving babies” are only describing a part of our founders’ vision and mission and part of the movement’s vision today.
Our founders focused on both mother and baby, and, in fact, on the family and the entire culture. They saw that we were involved in this work to serve women in need and help them so they could save their babies, but also (especially in the work of Sister Paula) that we were in a position to help women understand their true womanhood. Dr. John and Lore’s writings and talks also show that they viewed an attack on the sanctity of human life in the womb as an attack on society as a whole and on all humanity that would have profound ramifications. Lore tried to warn of the effect of abortion not only on women themselves and the family, but also on the perpetrators (the abortionists), and even on those who merely stood by and observed (the general public).
The first logo that was chosen for AAI, used in the very first communications in early 1972, was called “Hearts of Gold.” It is not a baby, nor is it a mother and child. The logo features two larger gold hearts (with some lines and markings, the result of life’s scars, experience, maturity, and wisdom) surrounding a tiny, unmarked, pure golden heart that represents the innocent human child. The logo shows that we need to protect, shelter, and nurture that child, born and unborn. The hearts of gold represent the family as God intended it. With the family relationships disrupted and in need of healing, the larger, sheltering hearts could be those of us in this movement protecting the child. Heartbeat’s logo has changed to the “Heart of the Future,” but Heartbeat International still features our “Hearts of Gold” on our premier Legacy Award since God’s plan for the family is still at the heart of our mission. One of the amazing things about the early AAI Academies (Conferences) was the diversity of expertise represented in the “Faculty” or conference presenters. To help the emerging centers with program development were marriage and family experts, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, doctors and nurses (with expertise on pregnancy and maternity care, fetal development, labor and delivery, nursing, sexually transmitted diseases, infertility and more), early childhood education experts, researchers, social workers, mothers, fathers, and more.
Programs developing then within the first centers (despite the early term EPS or Emergency Pregnancy Services) and first maternity homes were focused not just on the crisis intervention need for women coming in for a pregnancy test, but on parenting and family unification. For the “negative test client,” programs were developing to help her understand the risks of sexual intimacy outside of marriage. Centers were developing referral networks in their own community and finding like-minded potential partners who could amplify these messages – for example, in schools and in the culture at large.
Today, if you attend a Heartbeat International Conference or any other gathering of pregnancy help organizations around the world, you will find the same. We are about much more than saving babies. Our foundation stones are motherhood, fatherhood, healthy families, and a pro-family culture.
January is Sanctity of Human Life Month, and this year Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (SOHLS) is celebrated on Sunday, January 21, 2024.
This is a day we set aside every year to focus on the value of every human life since President Reagan proclaimed it in 1984. SOHLS has had a great impact year after year, and its impact continues post-Roe.
We want to make sure 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, not only on this special Sunday but all through the year.
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 thousands of lives have been saved 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
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