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 650 calls, emails, text messages and live chats every day, 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 2,500 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!
Bingo! C’mon, you know the game. As the letters and numbers are called, you mark them on your grid until you have five in a row horizontally, vertically or even diagonally.
Here’s a variation you can enjoy with your leadership team.
Instead of B-I-N-G-O letters and numbers, we’re going to use common things you’ve seen on bumpers!
Get your 5 x 5 grid ready. To use ours, click here. Better yet, make your own grid. Across the top, give each of the five columns a heading: 1) fish symbol, 2) family stickers (stick figures with mom, dad, assorted kids, etc.), 3) Christian school, 4) church or denomination, and 5) minivan or SUV. (Okay, minivan is not a sticker but it is attached to the bumper and simply screams middle class, family values.)
Now down the side, head the rows with five common words found on life-minded bumper stickers. Start with “life or pro-life,” then “baby,” next “heart” (either as a word or a symbol), “unborn,” and finish with “vote.” (Note on vote: an especially “right-wing,” pro-life political candidate could qualify here. Never mind if that same candidate was on the ballot three elections ago.)
There’s one last detail. In the center, just like the “free” spot in regular BINGO marked with a star, you get a free spot corresponding with “minivan” and “heart.” Include that and you only need four more to win the game!
Pass the grid around to all the players. This is best done when you have most of your staff and/or board on hand. Head off to the parking lot of your center with grids and markers. Work as teams for more excitement. Look around. What do you see?
If you‘re like my center you are looking at a flock of minivans and SUVs. No, there’s nothing inherently wrong with minivans and SUV’s, but they are not the type of vehicle our target client audience is buying. The odds are high that there’s a car seat inside. (Minivans or SUV’s that were new on the lot in the past 48 months give you a bonus mark!)
When you find a fish symbol and “I vote pro-life,” mark your card twice! You’ll probably see family stickers and “Baby on Board” for another mark. Look a little more. The first one to find five in a row shouts “B-I-N-G-O”!
Do your clients walk through or by these cars to get to the door of your center? If so, what are these bumper stickers telling them in advance? Are they getting a picture of who you are and what your center is about that will slant their answers during intake? Will they be more inclined to tell you what they think you want to hear or what is really on their heart? Or will such positions so obviously opposite their own thoughts even turn them away?
Bumper Sticker Bingo, real or imagined, shows that interaction with clients begins even in the parking lot of our pregnancy help center. Not only is it important for your reception area and counseling rooms to be warm and inviting to even the most abortion-minded, so should the exterior of your center.
One way to help staff cooperate with image building is to print up your own center’s bumper sticker and make them available to staff and supporters. You can then encourage staff to use your bumper sticker instead of the ones that could turn off potential clients.
It might be quite surprising to you, but one of MTV’s most popular shows is one that can be used to help the young women walking into our centers. Considering that much of what MTV produces doesn’t fit very well with the Christian values in the pregnancy help movement, MTV’s hit show 16 & Pregnant is one that shows the authentic challenges and drama associated with teen pregnancy. Through a documentary-style format, MTV deserves credit for bringing to light the physical, social, and emotional difficulties of having a child as a teenager.
As the show is wildly popular and seen by literally millions of young people each week, it’s a great connection point for pregnancy center staff and volunteers to talk the language of the clients walking in our doors. We at Bethany Christian Services have had the opportunity to work with MTV on several episodes of 16 & Pregnant and another spin-off show on MTV called Teen Moms. While the shows don’t directly advocate a specific pro-life or pro-choice perspective, each episode shows young women choosing life through either parenting or adoption.
During the first season of 16 & Pregnant, the season’s final episode was “Catelynn.” The episode followed 16-year-olds Catelynn and Tyler from Michigan as they worked with Bethany Christian Services to make an adoption plan with a Christian adoptive couple from North Carolina. The episode shows the raw challenges of Catelynn and Tyler growing up in very difficult broken families and not having much support from their parents. Catelynn and Tyler display the maturity of wanting a better life for their daughter than they could provide and end up following through with the adoption. The emotion and tears during the show will make you want to have a box of tissues by your side when watching it!
Some pregnancy centers have been contacted by MTV when they’re casting for future episodes and looking for pregnant teens. While it’s important to be cautious, if you have a young client who’s confident, well spoken, and interested in sharing her pregnant journey with the world, she can be a great witness to the world through the show. MTV has been professional and respectful of the expertise that we bring about the adoption process. While the filming process can include long, grueling days, the reward of sharing a positive view of caring for young women through their pregnancy with such a large audience is tremendous.
For just two dollars each at Bethany’s online store (http://store.bethany.org), you can order copies of Catelynn and Tyler’s Adoption Journey DVD which shows 12 minutes of highlights from the “Catelynn” episode. This 12-minute DVD has several short chapters showing clips of the show including Catelynn and Tyler choosing an adoptive family, talking with a Bethany pregnancy counselor, literally placing their daughter into the arms of an adoptive family, and visiting their daughter and adoptive family a year later. These clips are a wonderful way to show young women that adoption is a real possibility. Catelynn and Tyler’s witness on MTV may lead a client to say, like many others, “If Catelynn can do it, so can I.”
You can also order the full Season 1 series of six episodes for $5.
by Laura Strietmann, Associate Director, Pregnancy Center East, Cincinnati, Ohio
When I began serving clients in crisis at Pregnancy Center East in Cincinnati, Ohio over 7 years ago, I noticed that besides time, love, and an ultrasound, there was another powerful tool in assisting a woman in the choice of life for her unborn baby.
This was an outdated grainy VHS tape, entitled Abortion Techniques. Non-graphic in content, but real and compassionate, each
time this tape was viewed by a client considering abortion, she left with a different mindset. The client usually moved from being abortion-vulnerable to choosing life for her baby.
Carol Everett, a former abortion
clinic owner and operator, turned pro-life warrior, had filmed Abortion Techniques in 1993. It was a 25-minute video showing abortion through illustrations, actual tools, and Carol’s personal testimony. Many centers throughout the country use this video in teaching pregnant women the realities of abortion. Today, abortion has been made to seem as if it is equivalent to having a mole removed, as a “necessary” aspect of healthcare. Abortion Techniques showed how far these perceptions are from reality. One day several years ago, while working at PCE, our copy of the video broke. After searching for an updated replacement for this worn tape, I discovered that the industry lacked a current video with the most recent abortion methods sensitively presented in such an effective manner.
I decided to contact Carol Everett, now very busy as an internationally known pro-life author, speaker, and lobbyist for the state of Texas. Had she thought of making a more updated version of the video? Did she realize the number of babies’ lives saved by this tape? Would she see it was time to make a new film? Several months of persistent emails, Facebook inbox messages, and finally a phone conversation before Carol conditionally agreed to the project.
Having never met
in person, only through internet and phone lines, Carol promised that if I could secure funding for the project, she would journey to PCE and make a new video. She would generously assign PCE the rights to the video as a means for fundraising. Through the generosity of the Ruth J. and Robert A. Conway Foundation, PCE was able to secure the funds to film the new version. This was not the answer I thought I would receive in my initial inquiries, but it was an incredible opportunity to affect the lives of the babies at PCE and now throughout the country.
Carol traveled to Cincinnati and Greg Schlueter, a Catholic moviemaker, and staff member for the Diocese of Toledo, OH filmed the video. On the afternoon of February 15, 2013 just as filming was wrapping up at PCE our doorbell rang. With a CLOSED sign on the door, two women still rang our bell desperate for help. As I opened the door and they noticed all of the filming equipment, the client begged for assistance. Stepping inside the Center, the client shared she was already well into her second trimester, but had finally just told her sister, who then found the Center and brought her for help. The situation was sensitive and the expecting mom was also post abortive.
As the young pregnant client and her sister described the crisis, Carol rounded the corner and heard the story. Right there in the lobby of PCE Carol listened to this young client and through a beautiful conversation offered so much understanding and hope. Carol counseled the client with sincerity and love. This client stayed in PCE’s care throughout her pregnancy and a perfect baby was delivered this summer. Mom is overjoyed with how everything has worked out. This was the first miracle of life from the updated video being brought to reality.
An Informed Look at Abortion Techniques is the new 14-minute modern life-saving tool. Using modern colors and graphics Mertz Design Studios completed this version to also include information on Plan B as well as RU-486 abortions. The initial launch of the video took place in April 2013 at the Heartbeat International Conference, selling over 100 copies to centers as far away as Alaska, Africa, Austria, and Germany.
After viewing the video in Dallas at the Conference, Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life, shared, “Every pregnancy center should be showing this movie to clients.” Reviews from center directors throughout the country are calling it “powerful,” the “best tool next to an ultrasound in reaching hearts and minds in the decision for life.”
On the day I write this article one absolutely abortion determined mom sat in PCE with a volunteer and viewed An Informed Look. The decision for life was made then and there while watching the video, even before the ultrasound. The client was astounded by the reality of abortion procedures. What happens to her body as well as the unborn baby’s was shocking to say the least. Even in a non-graphic manner, seeing how an abortion is performed is devastating enough. When making the biggest decision of her life a woman deserves to have complete information. Carol’s testimony is riveting.
Hearing the sorrow of a post-abortive women provides another enormous window to the reality of abortion. Viewing this film allows a woman, in the words of Carol “To make her decision fully informed.”
We hope to get this tool in the hands
of thousands, including pregnancy resource centers, high school educators, and politicians. We will be distributing the video at future Catholic and pro-life conferences. Please visit us in Washington, D.C. during The March for Life convention. The video will continue to be sold through www.HeritageHouse.com, as well as directly through the Center, at 513-321-3100.
By Mary Peterson, Housing Consultant
Ever tossed a coin into the air, caught it, and cupped it on the back of your hand to see if it's "heads" or "tails?"
It's a classic way of making simple decisions. The two sides of the coin are unique, each with distinguishing marks, but together, they make one coin.
In the context of our maternity homes, we face a wide variety of challenging situations. We know we must always respond in love, that's a given. But just as there are two sides to a coin, there are two sides to the love we live out in our homes: tough and unconditional.
Rather than the random response of a coin toss, though, we get to choose which side of the “love coin” to apply in any given situation.
Tough love is the love of coaches, teachers, and mentors. It’s the love that says, "I know there’s more in you, and I want you to challenge you to make the most of it." It’s the love of accountability and direct feedback.
Tough love involves rules, structures, and consequences. It’s the type of love God expresses when He prunes and judges, when He commands us how to live, and when He allows consequences to unfold.
Unconditional love is the love of friends and family. It’s the love that says, "No matter what, I am going to love you." It’s the love of second chances, leniency, and forgiveness. Unconditional love involves overlooking things said in anger, or giving the benefit of the doubt when another isn't at their best.
Unconditional love is expressed in those special moments when a mother gazes at her child. Mercy and forgiveness are expressions of the unconditional nature of God’s love.
As a people defined by love, we are not called to become merely hard-nosed rule-enforcers nor feeble doormats. Love is not an either-or proposition. Love requires the both-and virtue of fierce tenderness, unconditional-yet-expectant.
We are called to live out both dimensions of love— tough and unconditional—in the context of relationship as we face daily life in our maternity homes. But we need the Holy Spirit’s help to know when and how to rightly apply love in each situation, and so we pray:
Come Holy Spirit! Make us more capable of perfect love!
As the phone center manager for Pregnancy Resource Center of Gwinnett, Georgia, Lana Duffell has very little time to call her own.
Without the persistent effort put forth by Lana and her co-laborers, the call from a local woman or girl facing the desperate circumstance of an unexpected pregnancy might fall through the cracks, and cause her to choose abortion as the only option she can see at the moment.
So most days, Lana keeps her nose to the grindstone and her ear to the phone.
But when Lana and her staff decided to take time off during this Christmas season, she had no concerns about the calls and contacts that were sure to come in. Lana and her staff had full confidence that, even if they wouldn’t be there to answer the phone, Heartbeat International’s Option Line® would.
While Lana and her staff rested and reenergized for the coming year, the staff at Option Line routed a total of 39 calls and contacts to Pregnancy Resource Center, ensuring that not one woman seeking help fell through the cracks.
“Option Line has been there for us on a 24/7 basis, when we are in meetings and also when our phone lines are overwhelming,” Lana says. “With Option Line, we are at peace, knowing that our callers will get a live person who can offer them information about abortion alternatives or set an appointment so that we can do further counseling.
“Option Line answers our calls when we are not available, making the difference between losing a life and saving it.”
Since it opened shop in 2003, Option Line has answered the call more than 1.5 million times, in addition to 2.5 million unique visitors to its website, www.OptionLine.org.
That translates to a staggering amount of birthdays, which otherwise would never have been. For now, we’ll celebrate just one: Happy 10th Birthday, Option Line!
Since answerering its first phone call in early 2003, Heartbeat International's Option Line® has responded to over 1.5 million calls, text messages, emails and instant chats from women and familes facing unexpected pregnancies. Option Line staff are available 24/7, 365 days per year to answer callers' questions and connect them to pregnancy help organizations within their local communities, utlizing Heartbeat's Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help.
In their own words...
"I worked at Option Line for five years, and during that time, I watched it grow to become a premiere resource for women and men in pregnancy crisis. It was a great pleasure for me to work for an organization that believed in the strength and courage of women."
~April, Heartbeat International Ministry Services Specialist, former Option Line employee
"I love being a part of Option Line, and I feel honored to be in a position to reach so many young girls, women, and men from all over the world. I truly enjoy talking with callers and being able to help and support them by showing Jesus' love. Hearing that I've helped someone makes my day!"
~Julie, Option Line employee for 4 years
"Working at Option Line is an adventure! The job is never the same one day to the next, and knowing that what we do here reaches people in more than 100 countries every month never stops amazing me. Sometimes the calls are funny, and sometimes they're heart-breaking, but my favorite kind of call is when we hear back from someone who wants to tell us about their new baby and thank us for being there when they needed help."
~Bri, Director of Option Line Operations, Option Line employee for 10 years
~Chris, Option Line employee for 3 years
Listen to the positive impact Option Line has:
Young Lady: Hi...i talked with you yesterday. I took a pregnancy test...and I’m not! I just wanted to thank you for your advice about faith and family. I learned a HUGE lesson.
OptionLine: You're welcome and I am glad!
Young Lady: You guys are doing something amazing for young women. That's great. Thank you! God bless.
One Monday, a Tallahassee center answered the phone to hear a young woman ask about an abortion in the third trimester. The volunteer Karen spoke with the caller for a long time in hopes of changing the young woman’s mind. Before hanging up, Karen prayed with the caller. On Thursday, Option Line connected a caller who had questions regarding a late-term abortion, to the Tallahassee center. This scared young woman was pleading for help. Soon, this young woman realized that she was talking to the same center she had called 3 days earlier. She asked if Karen was available, and the Executive Director explained that Karen was out of the office. As they concluded their conversation, she asked the caller to please consider what they had discussed and encouraged her to call back on Monday to speak with Karen.
Well, she did call back on Monday, but she said that she was at the hospital delivering her baby. The center was thrilled that she was giving birth to a healthy baby instead of aborting! Since the woman didn’t have much support, the center scrambled to find all the resources she needed including a labor coach, information on adoption, and even a donut! The birthmother called before leaving the hospital to thank the center for all of their encouragement.
This story has a very happy ending. Not only was a life saved, but a woman was saved from the effects of abortion, and a baby was given a new home with a very happy adoptive family.
Option Line is proud to connect callers to centers so they can receive the help they truly need. Option Line consultants rarely get to hear the outcome of their calls, but each time we send a caller to a center, we pray for the center’s availability and resourcefulness. We understand how hard it is to “wo-man” your 24-hour hotlines and staff your centers and keep up with current resources and information – but we need you and women need you. Thank you for all of your hard work and preparation!
The Option Line® that you know and trust is going strong, now fully managed by Heartbeat International®.
Since Option Line took its first call in 2003, more than 1.5 million women and their friends have used this valuable service to connect with their local pregnancy help organizations. Heartbeat International’s goal is to connect every person who contacts our Option Line to the nearest help center that can meet her needs.
Nothing can replace the face-to-face support that local pregnancy help organizations provide to those involved in an unexpected pregnancy. By partnering with the pregnancy help network and other life-affirming efforts, we offer help to those who need it most.
Heartbeat’s Option Line is committed not only to women who need help, but also to highly personalized service to the pregnancy help network.
Using the technology of Heartbeat’s Plus Link program for web-based appointment setting, Option Line consultants can set appointments for at risk women in participating help organizations. Scheduling these callers immediately increases the likelihood that women will keep their appointments and choose to carry their babies to term, increasing the number of lives saved.
The Extend Web Services program develops and manages engaging websites for pregnancy help organizations at an affordable cost. This effective web presence allows centers to compete online with abortion providers. Centers that take advantage of Extend gain the confidence that the content supplied to their site by Heartbeat is legally and medically accurate.
Every day women in crisis are being helped and connected to their local pregnancy help centers to receive even more life-saving support.
Option Line story as told by one of our consultants:
Monday I received a chat from a 19-year-old girl. She was scheduled to have an abortion on Wednesday. However, I could tell that she was extremely conflicted about the appointment. She openly shared with me that she viewed abortion as killing a life. I knew she did not truly want to go through with the abortion.
As we chatted, I discovered that her boyfriend had made the appointment for her. He was very controlling and threatened to abandon her. The girl had no intention of staying with her boyfriend long term but feared that she could not stay in college or make it financially on her own.
When I asked her what her mom would say about her decision, she said her mom would tell her to keep the baby. At that point we had a breakthrough! The girl decided to cancel her abortion appointment that day and I helped her make an appointment with her local pregnancy help center!
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