Even before they married a few years ago, Emily and Nathan Berning saw an unmet need for assisting abortion-vulnerable women. Now they are filling that gap.
“Seventy-three percent of women are getting abortions because of financial reasons, and those are 100-percent preventable,” Emily said. “So, we thought, ‘What if we crowdfunded for these women and raised money and paid their bills for them to relieve those financial burdens?’”
They began to do exactly that.
Let Them Live became an official non-profit approximately a year ago and is filling a huge need in serving these women.
Emily Berning spoke of the couple’s work filling the big gap found in pro-life work related to providing financial help.
“We’re saving real lives,” she said. “We’ve saved about 29 babies from abortion in the last year.”
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Assisting abortion-minded women across America
Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the primary mission of Let Them Live is to help abortion-minded women financially, regardless of their location.
“Some women come to us directly, and we connect them with a pregnancy center, helping them get their ultrasound and things like that,” Emily said.
“We also have sidewalk counselors at 40 Days for Life,” she added. “Obviously, these women are in immediate danger of abortion and need financial support. We had two moms referred to us that way just recently.”
That’s how Atoria, who resides in California, learned about Let Them Live.
“She was really depressed, about 18 weeks pregnant at the time, and her boyfriend left her,” Emily said.
Homeless and living in her car, Atoria had no money. Although she reached out to Let Them Live, she was skeptical about the assistance the organization could give from across the country.
“She basically said, ‘I appreciate you wanting to help me, but I can’t do this,’” Emily said. “She told us she was going to go have an abortion … and then she was going to jump off a parking garage.”
Emily sprang into action and flew out to California “to be with her and show her that’s not what she needed to do – abortion and suicide were not her only options.”
Let Them Live helped Atoria get on her feet, finding her an apartment and paying six months’ rent plus groceries, gas for her car and other bills.
Atoria gave birth to a baby boy on March 2, 2020.
“We got so close to her during her pregnancy, my husband and I were actually in the delivery room while her baby was being born,” Emily said. “It was really amazing to be there and see all of that.”
Miriam’s story is similar in some ways. Living in North Carolina, the young woman was on her way to an abortion center. Somehow, she learned about Let Them Live and reached out to Emily before going inside the abortion facility.
“Miriam was offered money from the National Abortion Federation to have an abortion,” Emily said. “She returned it and took our help instead. She had her baby, and I was able to go visit her.”
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Miriam has been trying to finish school in hopes of getting a better job in order to better care for herself and her children; she is a single mother of four.
Let Them Lives paid her phone bill, electricity, internet, and purchased a laptop so she can do her classes online, Emily said.
Relieving financial stress
“I actually pay all the bills,” Emily said. “There’s really not a lot that we won’t pay as long as we can pay it directly.”
Let Them Live also supports the pregnant moms they serve in other ways.
“We also offer a registry for the moms, said Emily. “Many of these moms won’t get a baby shower – they won’t get anything nice for their baby, so we do that for them as a sort of ‘thanks for taking this journey with us and for choosing life.’”
“The mom about to give birth in New York didn’t have anything for her baby, so she has 182 items on her registry list,” she added.
“We’re also an emotional support for them, being able to talk to them as a peer,” said Emily. “A lot of the girls are my age and younger. We’re taking the journey with them – we become just like family when we help them.”
Crowdfunding for moms
Let Them Live seeks donations through crowdfunding and the organization’s website. Nathan built the group’s social media presence.
“All of our original donors, all of our donors really, have come through social media,” Emily said. “We have many donors who do smaller contributions, and we have a handful of high-dollar donors who love our mission and want to see it grow.”
To that end, the Bernings are spreading the word about their organization. Emily was featured in February on The Daily Signal and in March on The Epoch Times. The group wants to increase their partnership with pregnancy centers as well.
“A woman who goes into a pregnancy center typically doesn’t know about our resource. If she says she’s planning to have an abortion, she’s a candidate for our help,” Emily said. “A pregnant woman who comes in and is thinking about having an abortion or has one scheduled because of financial reasons, she would be right for us.”
Finding and giving inspiration
The organization’s inspiration comes from the film Schindler’s List, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018.
“Whoever saves one life saves the world entire – that’s kind of our motto,” Emily said. “Everyone who is part of our organization, including our donors, has saved at least one life. That’s a really big thing to say.
“The work that we do wouldn’t be possible without our donors and their contributions,” she said. “One at a time, we’re going to save lives.”
As more abortion-minded women learn about Let Them Live, through sidewalk counselors, pregnancy centers, or by searching the internet, more unborn lives are saved from abortion.
“We’re trying to get our name out and let pregnancy centers know we are a resource,” Emily said. “We’ve worked with just a handful of them. We want to get in contact with more pregnancy centers so we can help more moms.”
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