The pregnancy help movement turned out in force for Heartbeat International’s Annual Pregnancy Help Conference last week as a record number convened for the 52nd annual event in Louisville, Ky., along with a concurrent Virtual Conference.
More than 1,800 people from across the world took part in Heartbeat’s 2023 Conference, April 26-28, including more than 400 virtual attendees. Heartbeat accommodated as many overflow on-site attendees from a waiting list as possible, while also hosting a record number of exhibitors.
Heartbeat International is the world’s largest network of pregnancy help, spanning every inhabited continent with more than 3,300 affiliates worldwide and more than 2,000 affiliated pregnancy help locations in the U.S. Its Annual Conference is the pregnancy help movement’s premier event.
The theme for Heartbeat’s first post-Roe Conference was Breakthrough.
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Discussions both in and outside of presentations centered on the pregnancy help landscape following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling striking down Roe v. Wade, along with the current lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the FDA’s approval of the chemical abortion pill, and the state of Colorado’s attempt to ban abortion pill reversal.Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey gave a state of the union address covering the latest updates with Heartbeat and the pregnancy help movement.
A special session on TeleCare convened a panel of pregnancy help professionals for a cutting-edge discussion and next-step strategies in TeleCare.
There were a number of special successes celebrated during the Pregnancy Help Conference.
First, was the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) topping 4,500 lives saved through abortion pill reversal, a 10-fold number since heartbeat took over the Network. And, a mom who saved her unborn child through abortion pill reversal, who is due to deliver her son on Mother’s Day, drove 10 hours to Louisville to share her reversal story. Additionally, the sixth Unplanned Movie Scholarship was awarded from the stage at the Conference.
Keynote presenters for the Conference included Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, model and actress Kari Tavella, Denise Harle, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, Dr. David Forbes, pastor of Columbus Christian Center Church and Ever-Increasing Life Ministries, Dr. Calum Miller, a researcher and professor at the University of Oxford, and singer/songwriter Austin French.
Some 72 hours of training were spread across the 12 Conference tracks offered: Leadership, Fundraising, Staff Stuff, Client Marketing, Client Care 1 and 2, Medical Advancement 1 and 2, Soul Care, Maternity Housing, Trending Now, and Critical Conversations.
Numerous sessions offered CEUs and contact hours for nurses, physicians, and ultrasound techs.
The more than 420 Virtual Conference attendees availed themselves of 52 hours of training.
The regular in-person Conference was preceded on April 25 by an In-Depth Day featuring 13 intensive day-long sessions.
The In-Depth trainings offered touched on offering quality care virtually, building a dynamic board, trauma informed care, The LOVE Approach, addiction recovery in the maternity home, pitfalls of fundraising, sexual wellness, DIY abortion and abortion pill reversal, LOVE Approach Ultrasound, an executive roundtable, adding STI services in your clinic, and connecting with clients
Tweet This: The 2023 Heartbeat International Annual Pregnancy Help Conference had record attendance with discussions of post-Roe pregnancy help
International affiliates held a Meet & Greet that was livestreamed for the Virtual Conference.
There were 35 representatives from 20 of the 90 countries and two territories in which Heartbeat has affiliates at the in-person Conference. The Parade of Nations again tugged at hearts with internationals and others carrying the flags of all the nations in a parade to the Conference stage. Representatives from Israel and Ukraine gave reports for the Conference crowd.
Heartbeat also hosted the second Writers Row at its 2023 Conference.
At the gathering held in installments over two days during the Conference, pro-life writers had the opportunity to network and engage with Conference attendees while promoting their personal publications about pregnancy help. Writers Row has a bookstore feel, and likewise gives Conference attendees the chance to connect with pro-life authors, discuss their work and have their books signed.
Life Launch Grant Program centers gathered for their own reception during the Conference, as did the Maternity Housing Coalition.
Twenty-five and 50-year anniversaries for pregnancy help centers were celebrated at the Conference, and four Servant Leader Awards were conferred.
Conference attendees virtual and in person kept in touch with each other, stayed up to date on Conference happenings, scheduled meetups, networked, and shared 1,000-plus Conference experience photos via a special app.
The Conference schedule included time for Mass and prayer time. Spontaneous prayer also broke out during the event as per usual.
Annual Conference attendees provided feedback to Heartbeat after the close of the Conference, with some reactions shared below:
~ I am thankful not only for the relevant information received but also for the opportunities to connect with others who are more experienced in my relatively new position. I left the conference feeling encouraged, spiritually filled, well-informed, and eager to return to ministry. Thank you so very much for the prayerful planning of the conference and for all the efforts in making things happen. Teamwork and God's hand of blessing were very evident.
~ VERY well organized, great speakers, nice hotel. Over all great experience.
~ We need each other more now than ever before. Loved the chance to breathe, travel with team, and EAT without cooking or cleaning up!
~ Always assured of quality keynote speakers, accommodations are excellent, food is fabulous. Well organized and always a treat to attend.
~ The caliber of Heartbeat staff and guests made the conference exceptional. We really appreciated the booths, full of amazing resources! And, the attendees were the best!
The 2023 Annual Pregnancy Help Conference closing banquet program offered the surprise announcement that the 53rd Heartbeat International Annual Conference will take place April 24-26, 2024, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News.