Following the 51st Annual Heartbeat International Conference, the staff of Choices Pregnancy Center came home encouraged to continue serving expectant women, pressing onward into a future that could look very different if the Roe v. Wade decision falls.
Such a judicial decision will not in itself end the taking of innocent lives in abortion. Abortion will only end when the vision of Heartbeat International is realized:
“to make abortion unwanted today
and unthinkable for future generations.”
And that will only happen as people who love life across the world continue providing the complete information, emotional support, and material resources expectant women need, empowering them to choose life in challenging circumstances.
Powerful Words from Life's Front Lines
We carried home hearts full of uplifting words from the 2022 conference’s keynote speakers and Heartbeat leaders. We hope these excerpts will encourage you as they did us.
Andrew Wood, executive director of Hope Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, shared stories familiar to all pregnancy help workers who keep loving those whom God loves, no matter how messy the process may be. He exhorted us to carry on, saying, “There are image-bearers in your community that need you.”
Stephanie Gray Connors, pro-life apologist and author of the book, Love Unleashes Life, fanned our flame of hope for a post-Roe world, citing our movement’s progress despite better-funded opposition. “Hope,” she said, quoting an unknown author, “is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing even while it is still dark.”
As hopeful as some events may seem, Stephanie cautioned us against merely reflecting the current temperature of our culture. Instead, we must actively resemble the early Church, which, as Dr. Martin Luther King observed, “was not a thermometer for the culture, but a thermostat to change it.”
Do you, like our staff, sometimes feel the life-affirming work ahead looks bigger than you can address by yourself? Then perhaps Stephanie's perspective can be yours: “Because I can’t do everything, I won’t refuse to do the something I can do.”
Camille Cisneros, of Students for Life of America, pinpointed challenges we must address in serving our community. We are battling lies like these:
- "Abortion is health care."
- "Women need abortion to be successful."
- "Femininity is a prison."
For us to minister to women who have believed these lies, we must begin by empathizing with their complex situations. Camille illustrated her point with the imagery of ultrasound: “There are 256 shades of gray in an ultrasound. If we only saw in black and white, we would never see that baby. Abortion may be a black-and-white issue, but each woman’s situation is shaded with gray. We have to be able to sit with her in her pain, know that God loves her, and treat her in that way.”
Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey encouraged us by pointing out that pregnancy help organizations now outnumber abortion clinics three to one. Imagine that: There are three times as many places for a woman to find compassionate support, complete pregnancy and parenting education, and material resources, as there are places where she can end her baby's life.
Life is winning.
Yet the journey is far from over. So we press onward in the spirit of our conference verse:
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Phil. 3:12-14, The Message)
The team at Choices Pregnancy Center is delighted to be serving during these exciting times. Thank you for supporting the work we do. Together, we can be a “thermostat,” influencing our culture for Life!