Real lives, real impact; pregnancy help on Capitol Hill

The June 2024 Babies Go to Congress teams in the Cannon House Building rotunda on Capitol Hill June 6/Lisa Bourne

The profound and demonstrable human impact of pregnancy help was displayed on Capitol Hill recently as moms, babies, and pregnancy help personnel shared their personal stories with the offices of Members of the U.S. Congress.

Heartbeat International accompanied four moms and their babies, one dad, and the pregnancy help staff who served them to Washington D.C. June 6 for its latest edition of Babies Go to Congress.

Congressional staff heard how pregnancy help centers and maternity homes come alongside women for their journey. They heard that these organizations don't only serve women and real-life specifics of how pregnancy help organizations build a better future. They also saw living proof of the second chance that is possible with Abortion Pill Reversal.

Heartbeat is the largest network of pregnancy help organizations in the U.S. and globally. With its Babies Go to Congress program Heartbeat has been able to take more than 180 moms and babies to Washington D.C. for almost 400 Congressional office visits since its first trip in 2009.

Tweet This: With Babies Go to Congress Heartbeat International has taken 180+ moms&babies to Washington D.C. for nearly 400 Congressional office visits

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Each Babies Go to Congress trip is a chance to share with federal lawmakers the significant impact pregnancy help organizations have in the lives of women and their families, demonstrating how pregnancy help is good for America.

The moms, babies, and dads who take part bring their poignant personal stories to the offices of Members of Congress, meeting with staffers and at times the lawmakers themselves, courageously offering a glimpse into how pregnancy help made a positive difference in their lives. The June 2024 trip was no exception.

Kendra and Ella

Baby Ella during prayer in the Cannon House building rotunda/Lisa Bourne

Kendra is from a small town in Kansas. When she found out she was pregnant she didn’t want anyone to know.

“I just wanted to do it all alone,” she said. “I was completely abortion minded.”

She was a freshman in college and a cheerleader, living her best life, she said. But then Kendra was assaulted and three weeks later suspected she was pregnant.

“I finally told my best friend, and we took a test together,” said Kendra. “And so, then it all happened, she told her mom, my mom found out, and my mom told me, “Why don't we go to a pregnancy center?”” 

Kendra tells her story for Babies Go to Congress/Lisa Bourne

Having confirmed her pregnancy at Open Door Health Services and learning about all of her options Kendra remained ambivalent.

“I didn't want to do it,” she said. “I was a college cheerleader. I was, you know, living my best life in college and I just thought this would stop my life, thought this would completely ruin it, in a sense.”

A couple of weeks later when Kendra was about eight weeks along, she had an ultrasound and she saw her daughter Ella Jean for the first time.

“And so, I saw that and after that day, it kind of just started getting a little better,” said Kendra. “I thought, well, maybe I could do this.”

Kendra, Baby Ella, staff from Heartbeat International and Open Door Health Services meet with a Congressional staffer on Capitol Hill for Babies Go to Congress/Lisa Bourne

She first considered placing her baby for adoption.

“And then I decided to keep her,” Kendra said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Kendra’s cheer coach was not supportive of her in her situation. She switched to the schools’ music program, where she thrived. She would later change schools and begin cheering again, where she is today and absolutely loves it.

Open Door also facilitated Kendra securing housing so she could attend school where she does.

“I don't know what I would have done if I had gone through with what I was going to do,” Kendra said. “So, I'm so grateful to Open Door and everything they did for me.”

Tweet This: I'm so grateful to Open Door Health Services and everything they did for me - mom served by pregnancy help

Kayla and Maverick

Little Guy Maverick in the Cannon House building rotunda for prayer before Babies Go to Congress meetings June 6/Lisa Bourne

Kayla comes from a small town in Texas.

“I am Maverick’s mother, and he is my world,” she said. “I do not know what I would do without that little boy.”

“He brings me so much joy,” Kayla added. “But I didn't always have that thought in mind.”

When a coworker approached Kayla and told her she suspected Kayla was pregnant, Kayla didn’t believe it.

“I was like, there’s no way I’m pregnant,” she said.

She agreed to take a pregnancy test.

“Turns out I was pregnant,” said Kayla. “And I didn’t believe it. I didn’t think I was pregnant, because … I wasn’t going to get pregnant …”

Kayla and Maverick, along with staff from Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center meeting with Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill/Andrea Trudden

When she came to terms with the fact that she was not going to have support from the baby’s father, she went to the Hill Country Pregnancy Center.

“All of my fears, my anxieties kind of went away,” Kayla said. “I was welcomed with open arms.”

She recalled how she met with a “beautiful nurse” there who prayed.

“And in that moment with me, my anxieties went away,” said Kayla. “I knew that I was in the right place.”

Kayla tells her pregnancy help story for Babies Go to Congress/Lisa Bourne

She had wanted a follow-up pregnancy test to the one her co-worker had brought to her, and so initially she visited another center for that. But they did not do pregnancy tests and referred her to Hill Country Pregnancy Center.

“And well, two years later, I do have my beautiful son,” Kayla said. “He just turned two. And the Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center was with me through my journey.”

Tweet This: Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center was with me through my journey - mom served by pregnancy help

Her son was born at 32 weeks and the center saw her through managing his early arrival. Kayla said that because of the relationship she has with the center and its personnel she has been enabled to enjoy love and all that God has offered her and her son.

Anahi and Elias

Baby Elias during prayer in the Cannon House building/Lisa Bourne


Anahi found out she was pregnant when she was 19.

She had just moved across the country, leaving behind friends and family to pursue a degree in marine biology. She was working two jobs and going to school.

“I lacked the stability that you need to bring a child into the world, so I turned towards my child's father for that stability and support,” she said.

Everything went downhill very quickly, Anahi recalled. She became a victim of domestic violence.

“I ended up giving birth alone,” she said.

Anahi tells her story for Babies go to Congress/Lisa Bourne

But the worst part about that, she said, was knowing that she and her son Elias had to go back to the where the abuse occurred.

“I became very hopeless, and I did not know what to do,” said Anahi. “I had nowhere to go.”

A friend referred her to Thrive SWFL, a maternity home. She applied and was accepted.

“Once I moved to Thrive, because I started receiving support, I started to become hopeful again for my life and for my son's life,” Anahi said.

She started to heal from the traumas she endured from being abused. And she went back to school, continuing her education.

Anahi and staff from Thrive SWFL maternity home meet on Capitol Hill to share how pregnancy help is good for America with Heartbeat International's Babies Go to Congress/Lisa Bourne


And Thrive empowered her even further.

“I found family for myself and for my son,” Anahi said. “When I chose life for my son, I also chose life for myself.”

With the support she received from the maternity home she was able to the summon the drive to succeed, and “put herself out there.”

“Thrive has supported me with the tools to succeed and to be the mother I always wanted to be and know I could be,” said Anahi. “With programs like Thrive, we can truly build a better future.”

Tweet This: With programs like Thrive SWFL maternity home we can truly build a better future - mom served by pregnancy help

Elizabeth and Evelyn

Baby Evelyn during prayer in the rotunda of the Cannon House building during Heartbeat International's Babies Go to Congress/Lisa Bourne

Elizabeth and Ben were in an on-again-off-again relationship when Elizabeth became pregnant with their daughter Evelyn.

“I was very scared, and I was sad, and I had no support,” Elizabeth said. “Not in my family and not in my community and not at work.” 

Elizabeth made several appointments at Planned Parenthood and finally went to one.

“I sat in the office for three hours and I asked for counseling or anybody to come in and just give me some kind of guidance on what I should do,” Elizabeth recalled. “And every time I asked for that, they said they don't do that kind of thing and they outsourced that.” 

“And that was really hard for me,” Elizabeth said. “I felt alone.”

 As the Planned Parenthood was closing, she realized that she would have to make another appointment or just take the abortion pill.

“And so, I went ahead, and I took it,” she said.

Ben texted her the next moment saying to get out of there and that they should keep the baby. Elizabeth immediately tried to throw up the abortion pill but was unsuccessful. She stopped twice on the way home trying to throw the pill up but couldn’t.

Ben met her at home, where, through their emotions from what had been put in motion, they searched online for remedies for having taken the abortion pill.

“Because we realized that no matter what happened between us, we wanted her,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth found the 800 number to the Abortion Pill Rescue Network and connected with a nurse who calmed her, offered help, and connected her with a local physician who administers Abortion Pill Reversal.

Ben, Elizabeth, and Baby Evelyn in between meetings on Capitol Hill for Babies Go to Congress/Lisa Bourne


Abortion Pill Reversal is an updated application of a treatment used since the 1950s to combat miscarriage. It involves prescribing progesterone to counter the effects of the first abortion pill mifepristone.

Mifepristone blocks progesterone in a pregnant woman’s system, starving the baby of necessary nutrients. The second drug in the two-drug abortion pill regimen, misoprostol, causes the mother to go into labor and deliver her presumably deceased child.

If a woman acts quickly enough after taking mifepristone and before taking misoprostol, it may be possible to save her unborn child through Abortion Pill Reversal. To date, more than 5,000 lives and counting have been saved through the Abortion Pill Rescue Network (APRN), a network of more than 1,400 medical professionals and pregnancy help organizations that administer the reversal protocol.

The doctor that the APRN nurse connected Elizabeth with started her on progesterone and two days later she and Ben went to Care Net of Paradise, where they saw through an ultrasound that baby Evelyn had survived.

They continued to go regularly to the pregnancy help center for ultrasounds and peer counseling, and they learned the value of the offerings of such centers.

Elizabeth and Ben, along with baby Evelyn, tell their pregnancy help story, including how Evelyn was saved through Abortion Pill Reversal, for Heartbeat International's Babies Go to Congress/Lisa Bourne

“We realized we do love each other,” Elizabeth said. “And they carried us all through the first trimester till I saw my OB and they told us we didn't have to come anymore but we didn't want to stop.”

“So, we continued to go up there all the time and get counseling and take parenting classes,” said Elizabeth. “And on January 18 at 12:04 a.m. I gave birth to the best decision I've ever made.”

Tweet This: On January 18 at 12:04 a.m. I gave birth to the best decision I've ever made - mom served by pregnancy help

Ben refers to himself as the proud father of Evelyn. He was nervous at first about how Abortion Pill Reversal would work, and he initially thought that pregnancy centers were just for women.

As Elizabeth went back to be seen for her first appointment at Care Net of Paradise, he waited in the lobby. It was not long before another member of the center’s staff sat with him, calming his fears, and offering resources and support.

Baby Evelyn with Elizabeth as she tells their story for Congressional staffers as part of Heartbeat International's Babies Go to Congress/Lisa Bourne

Ben has since taken more than 100 online parenting classes.

“And they're wonderful,” he said. “I've learned everything from the pregnancy to labor, to all the different stages of childhood.”

He’s also taken a handful of classes on helping to parent his teenagers.

“It was it was really nice and very helpful because I needed help with educating myself on how to how to give Elizabeth, who's a first-time mom, the assistance that she needed,” Ben said.

“So, it really let me be more hands-on during the pregnancy,” he said. “I'm very thankful.

“I now know that pregnancy centers aren't just for women,” said Ben. “They’ve helped me be a better partner and father to my children.”

Tweet This: Pregnancy centers aren't just for women. They’ve helped me be a better partner and father to my children - Dad served by pregnancy help

Elizabeth and Ben have plans to get married in the fall.

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News. Heartbeat is currently the subject of lawsuits initiated by the state attorneys general of California and New York concerning advertising Abortion Pill Reversal.

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