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'No Low-Lights, Only Highlights' at 2017 Conference

Interesting how opposition to our work tends to backfire, isn’t it?

Planned several years in advance for Chicago, Heartbeat International’s 2017 Annual Conference gathered over 1,200 life-affirming leaders in the heart of a state that is leading the way in chilling the conscience rights of its pro-life citizens.

Yes, states like Illinois, California and Hawaii are trying to squelch life-affirming options to abortion through the legislature. But no, their effort doesn’t seem to be having its desired effect.

The largest-ever pregnancy help conference, this year’s four-day event featured a star-studded cast of keynote speakers highlighted by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, as well as pro-life leaders Anne Pierson, Jill Stanek and Ryan Bomberger.

Dr. William Lyle—a member of Heartbeat’s medical advisory council—also took the stage to tell his tremendous story, and attendees were treated to inspiring appearances on our main stage by the Benham Brothers and comedienne Anita Renfroe.

Add to this year’s keynotes 90 workshops, plus 15 in-depth-day opportunities and worship led by Matt Hammitt, and you start to get a snapshot of a movement that’s adding more momentum every day.

As one attendee said about this year’s conference, “There were no low-lights. Only highlights.”

Whether or not you came to this year’s event, you can download recordings of each keynote and workshop session (here).

And, mark your calendar for April 10-12, 2018, when Heartbeat International’s Annual Conference comes to Anaheim, Calif. 

 

7 Moms to Tell D.C. Lawmakers Why They Chose Life

"This is one event Planned Parenthood could never dream of pulling off."

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday | December 12, 2016
Contact: Jay Hobbs, Director of Communications and Marketing
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COLUMBUS, OHIO – In what it hails as the most powerful pro-life event on Capitol Hill, Heartbeat International is bringing seven mothers—and their children—to Washington, D.C. this January to tell elected officials how they chose life with the help of a community-funded pregnancy center.

The event, “Babies Go to Congress,” takes place Jan. 26, the morning prior to the annual March for Life, and is Heartbeat International’s 15th such visit to the nation’s capitol since 2009. In the previous trips, 113 mothers and their children have visited a total of 265 offices—including those of both Democrats and Republicans.

In each visit, a mother who has rejected abortion with the help of a pregnancy help organization has the opportunity to tell her story, alongside both her child and the staff from the center that helped her choose life.

“This is one event Planned Parenthood could never dream of pulling off,” Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said. “Pregnancy help centers empower women to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy. This is a powerful platform for us to both show and tell the truth that pregnancy help centers are good for America.”

The group this year is made up of two mothers from Ohio, as well as one each from North Carolina, Missouri, Arizona, Texas and Wyoming. Though six of the mothers are bringing with them children 4 years old and younger, one mother—Nikki Pinkley from Branson, Mo.—is bringing her 14-year-old daughter to the event.

Together, Nikki and her daughter, Alexis, illustrate the positive life-long impact of that nation’s 2,600 pregnancy help centers.

Nikki was raised in the church and had recently graduated high school when she found out she was pregnant. Finding help at Options Pregnancy Clinic in Branson, she not only chose life for Alexis, but the staff at Options encouraged her to keep pursuing her education and career goals.

Today, Nikki is a closing in on a decade as a licensed professional counselor and is working on her doctoral degree in psychology.

“My hope is that every young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy will find the help she needs to face the challenges of being a single mom,” Nikki, who later married, said. “It’s not easy, but I am living proof that the future is what you make of it. Sometimes you just need someone to believe in you. I found the help I needed, plus a lot of inspiration at Options Pregnancy Clinic.”

About Heartbeat International

Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and the largest network in the world. With 2,100 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. For more information, see www.HeartbeatInternational.org.

BREAKING: You Won’t Ever Make NARAL Happy… So Stop Trying

by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice PresidentBreaking

You are hated. Get used to it. Jesus knew it would be so when He said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." John 15:18 (NIV)

What NARAL really thinks about you – okay, well maybe not you, individually, but what you do and what you are about, confirms something we've long suspected. They are hell-bent to do whatever they can to diminish your effectiveness, even when you're operating under "best practices."

In the words of the NARAL attorney "...It does not matter if [crisis pregnancy centers] hire doctors or house state-of-the-art equipment: they are still manipulating women with lies and misleading information." This supports our long held understanding that no amount of "medicalization" will steer them from their attack. NARAL defiantly admit that medical services "conveys a seal of approval that we never want to be complicit in allowing [crisis pregnancy centers] to claim." (Emphasis added.)

So, in effect, they will never admit that the good medical practices you deploy will be enough. Ever. At all. Because they simply can't allow that kind of "seal of approval" for what you do.

After a focused effort utilizing taxpayer funds, even the County (meaning the government guy) divulges , "I doubt my colleagues or the County Attorney will be interested in pursuing a truth-in-advertising statute...[these centers] are clearly very artful at devising strategies to avoid violating the law."

What was that? Oh, that's political speak for "they are following the law."

But wait there's more. Don't miss it.

NARAL goes on to encourage the County to drop their current legal attack in favor of a list of other ways they intend to attack PHOs.

[Read about NARAL and Montgomery County's planned attack on pregnancy help organizations here.]

Let's be clear. While in the midst of an orchestrated attack that is failing, they point to other attacks that they feel might work.

Tweet this! We need to understand that NARAL's new attack list is not fool-proof.

We need to understand that NARAL's new attack list is not fool-proof. The NARAL-inspired local ordinance attack waged on several fronts - Montgomery County, City of Baltimore, State of Maryland, NYC, Austin, etc. - have not survived legal scrutiny.

Certainly, NARAL's attack strategies reminds us to sharpen our policy and procedure, retrain on key practices and remain vigilant about upholding our Commitment of Care and Competence. But let us be careful not to over-react to them or over-state the threat to PHOs. Just like Jesus forging ahead in His mission despite the world hating him, we need to have confidence in our mission and our Master.

In addition, this whole episode reminds us not to be afraid of lawsuits. As is often the case in God's economy, He turned the attack against the attacker of God's people. Their own lawsuit to denigrate the work of PHOs resulted in revealing the failing of their strategy and the wonderful news that we know how "to avoid violating the law" (meaning we are doing things lawfully).

For more about why NARAL hates PHOs, read Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn's article on LifeSiteNews.com.

We are on the move—and those opposed to us are afraid. Very afraid.

by Kirk Walden, Advancement SpecialistWall

The recent news out of Maryland—and the Centro Tepeyac Silver Spring Women's Center—sends us a strong message: Pregnancy Help Organizations are becoming much more effective, and those who wish to protect abortion-on-demand at all costs are getting frantic.

LifeSite News covered the story. In short, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland worked with the Montgomery County Council to create a 2010 law forcing Centro Tepeyac to post signs declaring when medical personnel were not on site. The law of course, was designed to slow down; even stop, Centro Tepeyac from reaching out to women.

The good news? After four years of fighting, Centro Tepeyac won. Big.

At different stages, three judges struck down the law, with the final ruling coming from a Bill Clinton-appointed judge who fined Montgomery County $375,000 for violating the rights of Centro Tepeyac.

NARAL's president in Maryland didn't give up however, and private emails show both she and the president of the Montgomery County council attempting to collude on other ways to shut down Centro Tepeyac.

What does this tell us? The abortion lobby and its clinics are afraid. They are losing business while pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics are gaining ground. (Check out Peggy Hartshorn's argument to that effect here.)

In essence, just like Nehemiah built a wall of hope for the people of Israel in the Old Testament, we are building a pro-life Wall of Hope today, and just like Nehemiah, opposition is everywhere, trying every tactic imaginable.

Our modern day Wall of Hope is composed of thousands of pregnancy help organizations and ministries, places where moms, dads and children can come for safety, away from the deception of the abortion industry.

Tweet this: The Maryland case leaves no doubt – our Wall is rising.

Nehemiah faced incredible opposition, just as we do. Men like Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were constant thorns of criticism, mocking, and scorn. They tried every avenue to shut down the work on a wall that would protect the Jewish people.

Nehemiah would have none of it. At one point Nehemiah was asked to come down off of the wall for a "meeting" with his enemies. Nehemiah knew the meeting was nothing but a plot to kill him, so he gave his detractors a terse response: "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" (Neh 6:3)

We—all of us in the pregnancy help community—are involved in a great work. The detractors will continue with their lobbying, their public relations campaigns against us, and their collusion with politicians to enact laws to stop us.

But friends, we are building a Wall of Hope. We will not come down off of our wall until we are finished.

And if the news out of Maryland is any indication, we may be closer to completing our Wall of Hope than we can imagine.


TheWall

 Get Kirk's new book, The Wall at amazon.com today!

At a time when our social and political structure is aligned against the most innocent among us, The Wall brings tremendous hope and vision. Though we’ve experienced a generation of tragedy following the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, The Wall reminds us that it is often when hope seems lost that God orchestrates extraordinary victory through ordinary people. In addition, The Wall shows that surprisingly, today is the perfect time for creating a new culture of life in America. Get ready to be inspired; and be prepared to take your place building The Wall.

Heartbeat International President Responds to NARAL, Government Strategy Against Pregnancy Centers

"This is one more evidence that pregnancy help organizations are winning the battle for life."

final logo-verticalFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday | January 14, 2015
Contact: Jay Hobbs, Director of Communications and Marketing
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Responding to a report from LifeSiteNews.com uncovering an ongoing plan between the Maryland chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the public officials in Montgomery County, Md., to impede or eliminate pregnancy help organizations, Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., pointed to the success of pregnancy centers in her companion article at LifeSiteNews.com.

Read LifeSiteNews.com Report Here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/exclusive-e-mails-reveal-maryland-officials-collaborating-with-naral-to-shu

Read Peggy Hartshorn’s Response Here:
https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/why-do-abortionists-go-to-such-lengths-to-eliminate-us-because-we-threaten

Heartbeat International and our worldwide network of life-affirming organizations believe no mother should feel so alone, so vulnerable, or so coerced that she ends her child’s life through abortion,” Hartshorn, who has served as Heartbeat International’s President since 1993, wrote. “These vital organizations enable a mother to make a true choice through a variety of services, including ultrasound, options counseling, maternity housing, and the ability to make an adoption plan.”

“And this is why we pose such a threat to NARAL and company. It’s not just that we are their competition. It’s that we are winning.

Hartshorn’s comments come in the wake of the publication of an email string dating back as far as 2009, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, which capture ongoing strategy between Maryland’s NARAL chapter president Jodi Finkelstein and current Montgomery County Council president George Leventhal.

The pair discussed the County’s ongoing strategy to compel government speech from Heartbeat International affiliate Centro Tepeyac Silver Spring Women’s Center. Montgomery County first passed a city ordinance Feb. 2, 2010 requiring, “limited service pregnancy resource centers” – any facility that does not perform abortions – to post a sign in English and Spanish in its waiting room saying that “the Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff” and that “the Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider.”

A lawsuit brought by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Centro Tepeyac resulted in three separate court victories, which finally resulted in the County dropping its unconstitutional ordinance and paying Centro Tepeyac $375,000 in legal fees.

“Pregnancy help organizations like Centro Tepeyac exist so that every mother can feel loved and supported during her pregnancy,” Hartshorn said. “The only opponents to this mission are those who, like NARAL, stand to gain financially and ideologically by the intentional killing of a child within the womb.”

Tweet This: Pregnancy help organizations exist so that every mother can feel loved and supported during pregnancy.

 

Capitol Hill, Get Ready to Meet Christiana

13-year-old saved from abortion to meet with law-makers at Babies Go to Congress

final logo-verticalFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday | December 22, 2014
Contact: Jay Hobbs, Director of Communications and Marketing
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A little child shall lead them. This well-loved statement will get plenty of airtime this Christmas season, but the phrase may end up becoming the theme of Heartbeat International's Babies Go to Congress® when the most powerful prolife effort on Capitol Hill takes place January 22-23, 2015.

An entourage of five former pregnancy help center clients and their children, rescued from the threat of abortion, will be highlighted by 12-year-old Christiana Pablo from Bowie Crofton Pregnancy Center in Bowie, Md., who is already blossoming into an outgoing champion for the life-affirming support offered by the more than 2,400 pregnancy help organizations rescuing 3,000 babies each week in the United States alone.

Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, Christiana's mother, Victoria Chan-Pablo—only 15-years-old at the time—found the support she needed to welcome Christiana into the world at Bowie Crofton Pregnancy Center. Her eldest daughter has been joyfully repaying that debt, sparking fundraising and community-building efforts for the center, which has served over 24,500 women and families since opening its doors in 1982.

"I say that Bowie Crofton Pregnancy Center saved my daughter's life because they opened up our eyes and gave us the knowledge, the strength and the encouragement to help us carry out our decision in keeping our baby," Victoria said.

Christiana and Victoria will have a chance to tell their story to their elected congressional representatives, along with centers from Ohio (Pregnancy Decision Health Centers), North Carolina (LifeLine Pregnancy Help Center), Indiana (Matrix Pregnancy Resource Center), and Arizona (Living Hope Women's Center). It is the first time in the history of the program that North Carolina will be represented.

Since beginning the program in 2009, a total of 109 women and children representing over 50 centers have visited 222 congressional offices from 23 different states.

"It's difficult to imagine a more empowering experience for a woman than Babies Go to Congress," Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., President of Heartbeat International, said. "This is an event that drives to the very heart of what life-affirming work is all about: every mother feeling loved and supported, both during her pregnancy and into parenthood."

#Giving Tuesday: An Online Opportunity

By Kirk Walden, Advancement SpecialistGivingTuesday

We all know Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. And yes, how can we forget Cyber Monday, when all of the online retailers rally for our attention?

The newest of them all is Giving Tuesday (represented online as #GivingTuesday), begun in 2012 and now catching on across America and in many nations around the world.

Launched by groups from Google to the United Nations, #GivingTuesday is a day to remember charitable giving—and we don’t need to miss out. Here are several ideas to place your ministry at the forefront:

Make sure your online site is ready

Update your giving site to remind readers of #GivingTuesday. The actual date is December 2; this should be prominent as this day approaches.

Set a Goal

If your center has not emphasized #Giving Tuesday in its first two years, a modest goal would be sufficient. In the goal, show exactly where funds would be directed and connect the goal to client outcomes. This is not the time to ask for a computer or materials: “On Giving Tuesday, help us raise $2500. Every dollar given online on Giving Tuesday goes directly toward our Operation Ultrasound Initiative, paying for 25 ultrasounds that will bond women and men with their children, saving lives and changing the lives of moms and dads.”

Remind, remind, remind

In the weeks leading up to #GivingTuesday, remind your constituency through E-Blasts, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Make sure it is announced wherever you can. 

One Takeaway . . .

#GivingTuesday does not replace your Year End Appeal. There is room for both in your development plan.

Click here for more of this month's Advancement TLC.

4 Myths about Voting this Election Season

We all know we should be voting, but is it really that important? After all, we’re not even picking the president this year. 

The United States has a surprisingly low turnout of voters, hovering between 55 and 60 percent in any given election. Why can’t we find it in ourselves to get out there and vote our values? Could it be that we believe one or more of these myths?

Myth #1: Midterm elections don’t matter anyway.

There’s a lot of hype for presidential elections, but for some reason, midterm elections don’t seem to matter as much. Nothing could be further from the truth. As powerful as the Presidential office is, he can—ideally—do almost nothing without the support of the Senate and the House. (We saw a government shut down just last year due to House and Senate disagreements on the federal budget.) Do you know who is running for the Senate or House positions open in your state and district? What about the Gubernatorial or Mayoral races? These matter!

Myth #2: There are no important races this year.

With all 435 voting seats in the House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 Senate seats up for a vote, no one can deny the importance of this year’s races. In addition, 36 of the 50 states are electing governors, and many U.S. cities are electing mayors. Do you know who’s running in your district? These are the people who make the decisions that keep our local, state, and national governments running. We need to make sure they are the people who are going to truly care for the people—both in the womb and out of the womb.

Myth #3: My vote doesn’t make a difference.

We’ve heard this one before. Every vote matters. Every single vote matters. Every life changes the world in an unrepeatable and irreplaceable way. And so does every vote. If we stay home on Election Day, our prolife candidates will have to stay home too! What we do and don’t do makes a difference, so let’s make it a positive one.

Myth #4: I can’t talk about political issues or encourage others to vote.

Untrue! While certain regulations may apply to what your pregnancy help organization can do, you are well within your rights as an individual citizen to encourage those within your sphere of influence to head to the polls. There is everything to gain, and nothing to lose when we encourage our staff, volunteers, partner churches and community supporters to vote their values.

Don’t believe these myths this season—vote your values instead. Generations yet to be born are counting on us!


by Jennifer Minor, Editor/Writer

 

 

Freedom of Association

by Jor-El Godsey, Vice President

It’s not every day Heartbeat International is considered among the likes of the Sierra Club, PETA, and the NAACP. While these groups focus on the rights of trees, animals, and a key minority people group, they rarely, if ever, find themselves publicly aligned with supporting the rights of the unborn.

So, how is Heartbeat like them at all?

Well, we are a “membership group” just like each of these, and the thousands of membership-based non-profit advocacy groups. Simple? Yes, but profoundly rooted in the fundamental principles of the United States.

And now, thanks to a recent subpoena from the Center for Reproductive Rights, we were reminded that our membership, which we refer to as “affiliates,” is founded in a Constitutional liberty—the Freedom of Association.

The Background

In the process of filing to quash the motion in response to the City of Baltimore’s ordinance infringing upon the First Amendment rights of the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc., our friends from Alliance Defending Freedom rightly noted that the “…subpoenas seek information violating the Organizations’ freedom of expressive association and protected by the First Amendment privilege.”

The right to freely enter into or leave an association arises from the First Amendment, and therefore stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the vaunted Freedoms of Speech and Religion.

The God-Ordained Right to Association

A few millennia before this right was enshrined in the Constitution via the Bill of Rights, the concept of association for a greater good was proclaimed by the Preacher:

Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it's just too bad, because there is no one to help him. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (GNT)

When your organization takes the step to affiliate—or associate—with Heartbeat International, we agree to share a common purpose. Together, we agree to live out our vision before the watching world in the way we decide—the very right attacked by the Center for Reproductive Rights’ (note the irony) subpoena.

Our Passion for Association

So when you reach out to us at Heartbeat, we in turn reach out to you. Your missional challenges—in various ways—become ours. That is the heart of our affiliation association. It’s joining together for something greater. 

While this powerful principle undergirds Heartbeat’s network and is critical for a free society, it is more important to note that association is the very center of the Gospel itself. When we associate with the Lord Jesus Christ, He in turn extends Himself to us!

We associate—in claiming ourselves Christians—with Christ and with one another! 

            For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. —Ephesians 3:14-19 (NASB)

We are family in Christ and fellow laborers in this great work of the Gospel of Life. Heartbeat is honored and privileged to be counted with our missional friends in Baltimore as they undergo persecution on account of their passion to bring life-affirming help to those facing life-and-death decisions.

 

May is Here... Get Out and Vote!

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by Ellen Foell, Legal Counsel

Throughout the month of May, states and local jurisdictions will be holding elections at a polling booth near you.

Some of those elections will be primary elections, which, of course, narrow the field of candidates before an election for office. Primary elections are those in which political parties nominate candidates for an upcoming general election or by-election. Ohio, Georgia, Nebraska, and West Virginia are all holding primaries this May.

General elections, elections in which final results will send winners directly to elective office, are being held in—among other states—Montana, New York, Texas, and Virginia. Additionally, many states and local jurisdictions are having ballot issues, such as levies, school issues, tax issues, as well as issues as significant as marriage amendments. It goes without saying that all citizens, including those who work for nonprofits, even issues-oriented nonprofits, have the right to and should vote.

History is replete with instances of the importance of one vote. And though Snopes.com tells me most of the commonly cited instances are urban legends, there is one example, which many of us lived through, that is no myth.

In 2000, the difference in the total vote in the state of Florida in the presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore was less than one-half of one percent. A recount and ensuing controversy ended in Mr. Bush receiving Florida’s electoral votes, and he won the election by one electoral vote.

With the ballot booth coming to a public gathering place near you, here’s a quick list of why your pro-life vote is important:

1. Every vote charts a course
Voting is our chance to have a say in setting the direction of our city, country and culture.

2. Every vote expresses a conviction
Voting is our chance to make our choice about the future of our government—or express our opinion about the present one.

3. Every vote counts
Just ask our 43rd President—or his former opponent.

4. Because vote exercises equality
Each and every vote is worth just as much as anyone else’s, regardless of wealth, gender, color, ethnicity or religion.

5. Because the clock may be ticking
If we don’t exercise this blood-earned right to vote, we may eventually lose it. This may seem alarmist, but not when our nation’s two and a half centuries of existence within the larger scope of world history is considered.

In addition to these considerations, each election season tends to raise questions in the collective and individual minds of nonprofit leaders and organizations. Is it legal to put up a sign on nonprofit property for or against particular legislation? Is it advisable for our executive director to run for city council? Can we publish or distribute a voter’s guide?

These, and similar questions, lurk in the frontal cortex of those who care about the issues, are constantly told to be wary of trespassing in forbidden waters, and yet feel a compulsion not only to vote, but to encourage others to vote.

While the answers are not always clear, Heartbeat International has already answered some of these questions.

Check out the following links for more information:

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