Friday, 22 October 2021
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Nichole Cherie Ruggles, RDMS, serves at Houston Pregnancy Help Centers Nichole Cherie Ruggles, RDMS, serves at Houston Pregnancy Help Centers Houston Pregnancy Help Centers

“God is bigger than Google” – pregnancy help persists amid tech suppression, heartbeat law fallout

The crucial work of assisting women facing unplanned pregnancy goes on amid reaction to the Texas heartbeat law - and despite a tech giant’s removal of ads for the life-saving Abortion Pill Reversal protocol.

Pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) have not wavered in serving these women in Texas and beyond, even in the case of Google’s suppression of APR ads, and both pro-life fronts demonstrate the importance of offering women life-affirming options regardless of abortion regulation or litigation. This is especially the case should the long-sought overturning of Roe v. Wade be realized.

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Texas Heartbeat Act Oct. 6 at the behest of the Biden administration’s Department of Justice. The state has appealed. It was unclear immediately following the judge’s order whether abortions in the state will resume to the previous degree while the case is litigated should the block remain in effect. Regardless, pregnancy help organizations will continue to serve women and families in need.

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Fallout from the Texas Heartbeat Act has varied, with some Texas women seeking abortion out of state. 

Heartbeat International’s 24/7 Option Line contact center and local pregnancy centers have also been serving women seeking answers on their options before they even confirm they are pregnant

Christa Brown, director of Medical Impact for Heartbeat, the largest network of pregnancy help in the world, said this is a big reason to offer ultrasound in pregnancy help centers. 

“We are able to confirm a fetal heartbeat and offer accurate information prior to a pregnancy decision,” Brown said.

Tweet This: “We are able to confirm a fetal heartbeat and offer accurate information prior to a pregnancy decision”

Some PHOs reported a significant increase in client traffic, including maternity homes, and they welcome the opportunity to serve these women. Some centers have also noticed that with abortions harder to obtain, women have seen more opportunity to consider their options.

And like everywhere, there are Texas women who do not wish to abort their child but are under pressure to do so. 

Centers have reported that some of these women, including some initially unsure of their decision, were relieved when a fetal heartbeat was detected - because with the law in effect, they don’t have to give in to that pressure to abort. 

Client does a 180 on being a mom after seeing her baby's heartbeat

Jane Burton, executive director for Next Step Women's Center in Burleson, shared how in the first week after the law’s enactment a client came to the center “in full panic mode.” 

“She stated that she was five weeks and six days pregnant and needed a sonogram so that she could get an abortion before the heart started beating,” Burton said. 

After Next Step’s Client Advocate worked with her through the intake process, the Client Advocate took her into the sonogram room. 

“The client was still very anxious about ‘needing to get an abortion,’” said Burton. 

“Our Nurse Manager was able to detect the heartbeat immediately and upon seeing the heartbeat our client made a 180-degree change in her demeanor,” Burton recalled. “It seemed once the abortion option was off the table and was not a choice any longer, she was at peace and accepted her responsibility of being a mother.” 

Tweet This: Upon seeing the baby's heartbeat she made a 180-degree change in demeanor. She was @peace & accepted her responsibility of being a mother

Burton added that this won't be the case with all clients, but she believes that when the choice of abortion has been eliminated more will accept their pregnancy. 

Interestingly, the Next Step client came back some time later and agreed to give her testimony at the center’s annual dinner.

Who opposes informed consent for women? 

Women who have started a chemical abortion in Texas and elsewhere across the world are being hindered in finding help to reverse the effects of the abortion pill by abortion supporters wielding influence in government and big tech.

Doctors in the UK have been banned from providing Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) treatment after abortion providers complained, media across the board continually perpetuate pro-abortion verbiage in negative reporting on APR, and as of Sept. 14, Google had suspended any and all advertising for the protocol.

Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey remarked on the intersection of the APR ad suppression and ongoing abortion regulation legislation.

"The new laws prohibiting abortions, for all their good, will drive women into the arms of the profiteers selling DIY chemical abortions,” Godsey said. “Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) is even more important knowledge to actively promote."

Tweet This: With the increase in DIY chemical abortions Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) is even more important knowledge to actively promote.

APR, a treatment using bioidentical progesterone to combat the effects of the first drug in the two-drug chemical abortion regimen, is credited with saving more than 2,500 lives. It is the regular target of abortion proponents who oppose it being available to women. 

Google’s pulling the APR ads followed a report from a pro-abortion group pressuring the tech giant to take the ads down. Heartbeat Intentional, which manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN), is working on an appeal with Google. 

The suppression of the ads means that women who have started a chemical abortion but regret having done so and wish to try and save their unborn child will have less opportunity to find APR information in an internet search – potentially leaving them without assistance in working to save their child. 

They are still finding AbortionPillReversal.com

But while Google may have banned the ability to advertise APR on its platform, the AbortionPillReversal.com website, phone, and chat are still available and can be found organically through a search, which women are successfully doing.

Although calls to the APRN had decreased significantly immediately after the ads were removed, women who have taken the first abortion pill are still finding the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, according to Andrea Trudden, director of Communications and Marketing for Heartbeat International, who said women are starting the reversal protocol despite the ban. 

“Those who are searching for a way to reverse their chemical abortion choice are still finding AbortionPillReversal.com,” Trudden said, “either through sidewalk advocates or through organic searches. We are open for women and remain ready to serve because no woman should ever feel forced to complete the chemical abortion process.”

Tweet This: “Those who are searching for a way to reverse their chemical abortion choice are still finding AbortionPillReversal.com,”

In the days following the ads being pulled the APRN saw a drop in contacts and reversal starts. However, Option Line Director Nafisa Kennedy reported as of the end of September that mission critical APR contacts coming through the APRN hotline were higher than the previous month.  

“God is bigger than Google,” Kennedy said.

The Dobbs v. Jackson case before the Supreme Court, closely watched as the first feasible threat to Roe v. Wade, also has abortion regulation in the spotlight. Oral arguments in the case begin Dec. 1.

Sylvia Johnson, executive director for Houston Pregnancy Help Centers, said the immediate outcome in Texas after the heartbeat law’s enactment demonstrates how pregnancy help organizations must be ready should Roe be rolled back. 

“Don’t be surprised when the Lord answers a prayer,” Johnson said. 

"Super busy" with pregnancy help after Heartbeat Act goes into effect

The Heartbeat Act, the specter of abortion becoming unlawful, and the need to raise awareness for APR all coincided for Johnson and her centers in the first few weeks of September.

They were “super busy” after the law passed, said Johnson, reporting a 20% increase in clients.

From Sept. 1-22 between two locations, the pregnancy help medical clinic provided 540 pregnancy tests and 20 ultrasounds. 

But there are more women in need, Johnson said, adding that, “We’re really not seeing enough.”

Johnson told Pregnancy Help News the center is working to raise money for an evening shift to serve women who can’t come for services during the day because they either work or go to school.

In the client interactions they are having they are seeing both good and bad things.

Women are rushing to get abortion early, Johnson said, and because of this the center has seen the need to step up its abortion healing ministry to support women who have had a chemical abortion.

“What we’re seeing with women is … she’s going through the shock of her baby coming out of her body at home,” Johnson told Pregnancy Help News. “She’s thinking, ‘What did I do? That’s what I did in the name of choice, or a right?’

“She’s totally blind-sided by what came out of her body at home,” Johnson said.

Houston Pregnancy Help Centers recently had three women call in during their chemical abortion extremely distraught.

“They called screaming and crying on the phone because they aborted their baby at home,” Johnson said. “You never get that sound out of your head; you can’t erase it. Those screams come from pain that is difficult from them to articulate.”

This has meant more individual ministering to these women.

“Who’s going to help her through that?” pondered Johnson. “We’re the pregnancy center that’s right there and it’s important to have the right pro-life professionals on staff.”

Johnson’s center is among those that have had calls from women who were being pressured to abort and were grateful for the heartbeat law because it saved them from having to give in to that pressure.

“This just breaks your heart,” she told Pregnancy Help News. “If it weren’t for that law these women would have had no recourse. It was not her choice.”

"We have to be proactive and think ahead"

Thinking ahead of the heartbeat law’s likely effects and being proactive, Johnson was printing flyers and business cards with APR information and distributing them to sidewalk counselor at five abortion facilities around Houston, telling the sidewalk counselors there to give them to women, letting the women know if they change their mind that APR is available - before Google ever pulled the APR ads from its platform.

Johnson’s centers have gone through most of what they initially printed, which was well over 1,000 items, including English and Spanish versions, and sidewalk counselors have come to the center looking for more cards.

Johnson said she was disappointed that it has come to this in society – that APR would be censored – but this further proves that pregnancy help efforts must be preemptive.

“I believe we really have to be proactive and think ahead,” she said.

Everyone who has a positive pregnancy test at her center receives one of the APR cards, said Johnson, “No exceptions.”

“We want to make sure everyone knows that there is that option available to them after they’ve taken the abortion pill,” she added.

She also gave some of the APR materials to another PHO in Houston, telling the center, “Make sure you let them know that this is available.”

They’re also giving clients extra materials to share with friends. They will continue to provide the APR information to clients as long as needed and distribute the material to sidewalk counselors at local abortion facilities weekly.

Johnson credits the training and resources from the APRN network and Heartbeat International with being ready for the challenges they are facing currently in Texas.

“The APRN gave us a step ahead,” she said. “It prepared us for this, it had me in offensive mode.”

The APR trainings and guidance from Heartbeat’s Medical Impact team explain the reversal process, Brown explained, how chemical abortion is advertised to women, why women choose chemical abortion in the first place, and how they obtain it. 

“We also share with centers and sidewalk counselors that our nursing team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Brown. “Our APR nursing team is skilled in assessing for health concerns that might require immediate medical attention, eliminating any barriers that might exist for the woman, and in finding the nearest available APR Network provider to start this emergency process as soon as possible.”

Brown added that all women who call the hotline are also referred to local pregnancy help organizations as they seek support to carry their pregnancies and parent their babies.

Brown said the APRN continues to have reversals occurring in Texas beyond six weeks. Women have gone out of state and to Mexico to obtain the meds and have regret as they travel back home to Texas. 

“While this is unfortunate that abortion continues for Texas women, we are thankful they continue to find the help they need to continue their pregnancies,” Brown stated. “Centers and sidewalk counselors who are sharing our website and hotline information are helping these women to have options even after taking the first abortion pill.”

“Rise up to the occasion" of serving women

Johnson recommends that pregnancy help centers focus on being prepared, and “readying the soldiers.”

“Don’t feel hopeless or alone,” she said. “Rise up to the occasion.”

APR information is available in printed form from Heritage House76. Heartbeat International has APR social media pieces for centers to help raise awareness, and pregnancy help organizations can contact the APRN for more information.

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News.

Lisa Bourne

Lisa Bourne is Managing Editor of Pregnancy Help News and Content Writer for Heartbeat International. She has worked in journalism and communication for the pro-life community, the Catholic Church, other Christian denominations and secular media for several years. She is married to Chris, and is the mother of three children here on earth, along with their two siblings in heaven. Lisa writes and manages Pregnancy Help News from Central Iowa. 

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