Thursday, 22 October 2020

Beyond the Stats, Network Saving One Life at a Time

Joseph Stalin was once quoted as saying, “One death is a tragedy. One million deaths is a statistic.”

Tweet This: "One death is tragedy. One million deaths is a statistic." -Joseph Stalin

Perhaps even Stalin, the dictator whose gulags and executions are notorious the world over, could not have predicted over a million deaths a year at the hands of American medical professionals.

For women in the crisis of unplanned pregnancy, there is an ally in Heartbeat International. Their work is focused on dealing with each woman, each family, one at a time.

Heartbeat International has been supporting women in crisis and fighting legalized abortion since the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down in early 1973. The organization’s vision captures this twofold approach: to make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations.

The organization released its annual report for its 43rd year on Tuesday, and 2014 was a landmark year for President Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., and her staff.

This past year marked the 12th year of Option Line, a contact center that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. In 2014, Option Line—which averages one contact every 2.5 minutes—registered its two millionth contact since 2003, and continues to be a constant resource for women suddenly faced with a life-altering decision.

“A 24/7 pregnancy helpline has been at the very center of our life-saving vision since the day Heartbeat International was first formed,” Harthsorn, who has served as president since 1993, said. “To see this vision become reality—and to think of the millions of lives directly rescued and impacted by Option Line—is truly satisfying and speaks volumes to the power of God and the faithfulness of our supporters over the decades.”

While serving as a vital connection between a woman and her local pregnancy help organization through the Option Line, Heartbeat International also spent 2014 expanding its public impact. In the past five years, the organization’s Babies Go to Congress event has sent former pregnancy center clients to 222 U.S. congressional offices, urging lawmakers to represent the interests of the most vulnerable of American society.

Across the globe, Heartbeat International’s network donated over half the necessary funds to establish the first pregnancy help line in China, where the estimated number of abortions per hour tops 1,500. The organization hopes to continue adding to efforts in China in 2015, focusing on one life at a time in a culture where abortion is mandatory.

For Heartbeat International’s U.S. operations, 2014 marked advances in connecting women in crisis to support networks in their communities. This past year, 72 percent of all Option Line callers making an appointment with a local help center through its Plus Link software showed up and received support.

The help that is offered by Heartbeat International’s network goes beyond the moment of decision. The Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, reports that more than 40 percent of women choosing abortion live below the poverty line.

Tweet This: @HeartbeatIntl goes beyond the moment of decision. @CaseyHobbs

Recognizing the desperation that comes for a pregnant woman who is already struggle to support herself and her family, Heartbeat International added 11 housing affiliates to the growing National Maternity Housing Coalition, which at year end, consisted of 63 homes that offer care for women in poverty who have made the choice to carry their pregnancy to term.

By focusing on each woman in crisis, from the moment an Option Line consultant answers the phone, through the housing support the network makes available, Heartbeat International demonstrates care for the humanity of both mother and child.

Their efforts go beyond simply reducing death into a full embrace of life.

With a strong and growing network, Heartbeat International is making progress in making abortion unwanted today and unthinkable tomorrow.

Click here to view Heartbeat International’s 2014 Annual Report.

What is your organization excited about this year? Let us know in the comments or by submitting a story.

Casey Hobbs

Casey is a freelance writer in Seattle, whose work has been featured in Relevant, Prism, The Borgen Project and other online and print publications. His main area of focus is theology and ethics and his first book has been published under the title Trembling Love: Fear, Freedom, and the God Who is For Us (Wipf and Stock, 2013). 


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