by Ellen Foell, Esq., International Program Specialist
It is always a privilege to travel on behalf of Heartbeat International, whether it is to Arkansas or, in the most recent case, to Serbia, for the 2018 European Pregnancy Help Leaders’ Summit. A small Heartbeat team, which included as an honorary Heartbeat member, Mike Spencer from Life Training Institute, met with representatives from 16 organizations and 14 countries—from Romania to Ireland to France—to network, fellowship and share challenges, victories and current issues facing the pregnancy help movement. Topics covered in breakout sessions included a range from self-care to engaging the church and digitally reaching donors and clients.
In that kind of setting, one sees the hand of God working behind the scenes in so many instances (perhaps because one is actively looking for the intervention of God in the context of 14 languages, different alphabets and cultures, and a good dose of jetlag). Maybe one instance that this writer found most dear was the presence at the Summit of four women from Ireland, still reeling from the recent vote abolishing the eighth amendment of the Irish Constitution banning abortion just four months before.
As they face legalized abortion for the first time in their country, their attendance at the Summit was truly due to the providence of God. They needed to connect with other European pregnancy help leaders, to be encouraged and to reevaluate pregnancy help in a country committed to a path of abortion. In addition, they needed to connect with an attorney who might be able to help their centers in Ireland deal with some specific new legal challenges. They wanted to know if Heartbeat knew anyone who might be able to help.
Imagine their delight and praise to God to be told that one of the plenary speakers was an Irish barrister working with Alliance Defending Freedom who would make time during the Summit to speak with them.
That is what God is up to. That is the way God works. He is still working his purposes out day by day and year by year such that one day abortion will be unwanted throughout Europe—and the world—and unthinkable in the generations to come.
Ellen Foell, J.D., Esq., who previously served as Legal Counsel to Heartbeat International, has recently rejoined the Heartbeat Ministry Services team as International Program Specialist. Ellen’s introduction to pro-life work came as part of a team that defended peaceful, pro-life protesters. Ellen worked as a trial lawyer for many years after graduating from Case Western Reserve University. As legal counsel for Heartbeat, she was instrumental in laying the groundwork for several international initiatives, including our Europe Pregnancy Help Leaders Summit.
Ellen’s heart for the international program at Heartbeat is fueled by her family connections to Asia and Europe, and she is familiar with several languages. We’re thrilled to have Ellen working with the Heartbeat team again, so we decided to do a quick interview to share our excitement!
My last “gig” with Heartbeat was as Legal Counsel, a position now well-filled by Danielle White, Esq. I was in the position just under 5 years, and it was a wonderful experience. I had the chance to meet with lots of affiliates, do lots of legal reviews, do some teaching, and basically do all things legal for Heartbeat.
I always loved the mission and vision of Heartbeat, so when I had the chance to come back in a role with even more contact with affiliates, I was really excited. I see the pregnancy help movement across the globe is growing more and more. Look at what just happened in Ireland, a country where we never thought legalized abortion would come, and it did. Heartbeat is in a position to come alongside the pregnancy help centers where the political climate is changing. We have a lot to offer, and a lot to learn from these new organizations starting out, trying new things in new places.
I finished writing a book and started getting it ready for publication. I have been doing some work representing ministries and nonprofit organizations. I’ve also been doing some court-appointed work.
I did court-appointed work because I have such a long history of desire to help children. When you do this here, you often get appointed to represent either parents, children, or the best interests of children in abuse, neglect, and dependency cases. I really like it because you get to look at all the facts, and help the court find out what’s in the best interest of these children.
At the same time, it’s like putting band-aids on this incredible cultural systemic problem. It’s frustrating because you can put the band-aid on, but you’re not dealing with the foundational piece, which is life is sacred. God sees the life of this child as sacred, and God sees the lives of these parents, regardless of what they’re doing, as sacred.
One of the reasons I really wanted to take this position is that Heartbeat really deals with the foundational issue – that life is sacred. You can apply a billion band-aids, but if you have not addressed the foundation piece, if you’re not trying to help create and transform the pro-life gospel in a culture, you’re gonna be applying band-aids for the rest of your life. People need to do that anyway until Jesus returns, but I really want to make the years I have left count, and I think this is the way to do that.
I love being a part of a team. It’s encouraging to be with like-minded people again. It’s encouraging to be with people who have a vision to see a world in which abortion is unthinkable.
Pregnancy help heroes are championing life every day across the European landscape. The venues for such life-affirming efforts vary from telephone/email/hotline/and online to actual office space. The daily, compassionate outreach to women and men dealing with an unexpected pregnancy is affected by but far removed from the political wrangling. Those called to this work are facing great challenges in answering the call to save and defend life. We invite all pregnancy help workers, and especially leaders, to gather together to share information and understanding as well as to gain insight from others.
Who should attend? Anyone involved in life-affirming pregnancy help – direct service to women facing an unexpected pregnancy – is welcome.
Along with plenary sessions that will inspire and inform, there will be breakout forums on vital topics that challenge all pregnancy help efforts – issues on leadership, fundraising, client care and the use of technology to more effectively reach clients and donors. These breakouts will be participatory in nature; as you plan which ones to attend, please come prepared to share your knowledge and experience as well.
English will be the primary language for plenary sessions and breakout facilitation.
What: Pregnancy Help Summit for anyone involved in life-affirming pregnancy help across Europe.
When: 17-19 October 2018
Where: The Crystal Hotel, Belgrade, Serbia
Click here to download a printable European Pregnancy Help Conference flyer.
Heartbeat International, the largest pregnancy help network in the world with affiliates on every populated continent, is pleased to sponsor this Europe-focused conference in recognition of the importance of growing relationships among all pregnancy help leaders. Pregnancy help leaders can find out more about Heartbeat at https://www.heartbeatservices.org.
Since last year, the left-wing party (FMLN) in El Salvador led by Congresswoman Lorena Peña (currently the majority party in Congress), attempted to legalize abortion.
Inan international campaign, they claimed that in our women’s prison there are 17 innocent girls who had spontaneous abortions with a sentence of 30 years. This is simply not true. The girls they reference were each sentenced for the homicide of a child delivered at term. The crime was discovered when these girls went to the hospital bleeding and claimed they didn’t know they had given birth. Of course, the doctors had to report them. Killing a baby is murder. Period.
The new law supported by the FMLN would allow abortion under the following conditions: 1) when the mother is at risk, 2) when the mother is pregnant through rape or “stupor” (pregnant by a family member or someone close to the family). 3) in a case of ectopic pregnancy, 4) when the mother has a terminal illness.
The FMLN was clearly hoping to gain a majority vote on this issue, but the March 4th elections proved disastrous for the party as they lost 8 seats.
When they saw that the people had voted against the governing party, Lorena Peña decided it was urgent to pass the law before May 1stwhen the right-wing party would take the majority of Congress. Not finding the other votes, Johnny Wright decided to re-write the law with only two allowable cases for abortion:1)Abortion in the first 12 weeks if the mother is a minor and she is pregnant through rape or stupor, with the consent of the parents and the doctors, and 2)when the mother is in danger and the doctor is indicating an abortion.
When individuals raised their voices to help to approve the law, the silent pro-life people started talking. In the newspaper, you could find the doctors association speaking out saying they did not need the law to try to help the women in difficult situations like pregnancy outside the womb or when the mother is sick because it is already their duty to try to save both patients. They said they were against abortion of any kind. TheGynecologist Association spoke and the Pediatricians too, defending life. Even the Private Enterprise Association spoke up! Different Pastors of all denominations came together to make a march on April 7th where Catholics and Evangelicals marched together. Different columnists wrote in the newspapers, college students also spoke up making a video in social media defending life.
Two weeks before the new members of Congress would take office, outside congress we had a party! Hundreds of pro-life people got together shouting, “Life yes, death no! Life yes, death no!” That was the day that the law was going to be discussed: April 18!
Thousands of people were praying that the law would not be discussed.
That day, a miracle happened. There was no discussion because the congressmen and women who were in doubt if they would give the vote to pass the law, talked and decided they were pro-life.
Every life is important and as our constitution says, we recognize life since the moment of conception.
April 25thwas their last day in Congress and last opportunity. The pro-life party did not want to take any chances, so, again hundreds of people went to Congress to rally against abortion. Pro-life congressman (and women) congratulated all the crowd for coming and the law was not discussed.
So for now, abortion is not legal in El Salvador and life prevails!
This past week at our 2018 Heartbeat Annual Conference, 21 countries were represented! Attendees included pregnancy help leaders from the following countries: Armenia, Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, El Salvador, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, St. Lucia, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United States, and Zambia.
The Conference included 65 workshops, 13 In-Depth Day trainings, 7 Keynote speakers, prayer and spiritual refreshment. On Monday night, our international guests had the opportunity to share about their organizations at our International Meet and Greet. On Tuesday night, the Conference opening dinner included the traditional Parade of Nations where each person was able to carry and represent their country's flag. Click here to watch the video footage from the Parade on our Facebook page. The Parade was an incredible glimpse at the wide expanse of the pregnancy help movement -- Heartbeat now has affiliates in over 60 countries!
We had the privilege to educate, encourage and empower World Changers at this year's Conference. Being able to connect with and hear from others from around the globe, our international attendees left rejuvenated and ready to get back to their life-saving work!
For our Spanish speaking friends, here is an article that Ana Lilian Munguía, Heartbeat El Salvador, wrote regarding the life issue in El Salvador.
Click here to read the article.
Click here to read the article on Pregnancy Help News.
Below is an update from CAPSS, one of Heartbeat International's Joint Affiliation Partners:
Click here to read the full article on Pregnancy Help News.
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