No woman plans to have an abortion.
And yet, every year almost a million women will have one in the United States alone.
Nearly five decades into the devastation of legalized abortion in the U.S., despite being grossly out-funded compared to big abortion and the frequent underdog when it comes to political or media favor on the issue, the pregnancy help movement is blessed, and meets the scourge of abortion in more than equal measure with life-affirming alternatives.
Before abortion was even legal in the U.S. Heartbeat International had created a pro-life network of pregnancy help - 50 years ago. Those behind Heartbeat knew that this was a long-term culture war we would be involved in.
Watching state by state as laws were enacted that legalized abortion, Heartbeat’s founders didn’t sit idly by waiting for a federal law to be implemented. They sprang into action, connecting all of the pro-life doctors, agencies, and compassionate people who wanted to help support and care for women facing unplanned pregnancies.
By the time Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, Heartbeat had an international network already providing alternatives to abortion so that no woman would have to feel so alone or so helpless that she thought abortion was her only option.
Fast forward through the years, and both the abortion industry and the pregnancy help movement have evolved.
Throughout Heartbeat’s 50-year history, you can see how politics impacted both the culture and the policies surrounding this sensitive topic—in both good ways and bad.
In 1992, 2008, and now 2020, given the political climate each time, it seemed that all odds were against the pro-life community. And in some ways, they were, and are.
However, the network of pregnancy help continues to grow while the abortion numbers continue to fall.
Advances in technology allow pregnancy centers to shine a light on the truth that each life begins at conception, and each and every one of those lives has a purpose, changing the hearts and minds of those considering abortion.
New pregnancy centers are opening in underserved areas through Heartbeat International’s Life Launch Program, reaching more hearts and saving more lives.
And most recently, we learned that the pregnancy help movement is winning against Planned Parenthood.
In its latest annual report, the nation’s largest abortion provider produced its annual abortion stats, revealing that Planned Parenthood performs an abortion every 89 seconds.
Here are some key takeaways from Planned Parenthood’s 2019-2020 Annual Report:
• Planned Parenthood’s abortions increased nearly 3% in 2019-2020 from the previous year (7% increase from a decade ago), for a record high total of 354,871 abortions, up from 345,672. That’s over 972 preborn children daily — one abortion every 89 seconds;
• Taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood increased from $616.8 million to $618.1 million in 2019-2020. That’s $1.7 million taxpayer dollars daily;
• Planned Parenthood now holds over 41% of the abortion market share in the U.S., up from the year prior;
• Nearly one out of every six female clients visiting Planned Parenthood had an abortion;
• Prenatal care and adoption referrals both dropped double digits from the previous year. Planned Parenthood commits 41 abortions for every one prenatal care service and 133 abortions for every adoption referral;
This looks incredibly disheartening, and yet, when compared with the efforts and the results of the pregnancy help network, we are encouraged!
Last year alone, the Option Line 24/7 contact center connected 357,964 women to pregnancy help. That means there was one connection every 88 seconds.
And it gets better.
Working with our friends at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, their most recent pregnancy center study shows that 486,213 women had an ultrasound at pregnancy help organizations in 2019. Given that about 80 percent of women who have an ultrasound at a pregnancy center will choose life for their unborn child, we know that 388,970 women chose life that year at pregnancy help centers.
This means that a woman chooses life at a pregnancy help organization every 81 seconds.
Our wonderful pregnancy help community is effectively serving women and families - continually meeting their urgent needs apace with consistent compassion, life-affirming options and hope.
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When connected with a pregnancy help organization, a woman will receive the pregnancy care and support needed to thrive as a parent or place her child for adoption. From pregnancy tests to temporary housing, the pregnancy centers work with her to uncover her true needs and help her create a positive plan for her life at little to no cost.
Heartbeat’s President Jor-El Godsey celebrates the life-saving success the pregnancy help community has realized and notes the contrast in purpose with the abortion industry.
“Saving babies at this rate is a great achievement for the pregnancy help movement,” he said. “Especially considering pregnancy help is a grassroots, community-based David to the government-funded multi-billion-dollar Goliath that is Planned Parenthood.”
“Communities supporting life-giving hope and help are pushing back, more than ever, on big abortion's profiteering culture of death,” added Godsey.
Pregnancy help is woman-focused, not profit-focused
In many cases, the pregnancy is not the problem for the woman entering a pregnancy center, but rather a symptom of something deeper. Oftentimes, there is a root issue that needs to be addressed. Trained consultants work with these women to uncover the underlying issues and work with them to overcome these concerns in empowering ways.
Abortion is not a positive solution and can cause dangerous and long-term effects to women, both psychologically and physically. And yet, Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates promote it as a quick fix, while dismissing the thousands of women and men who speak about their abortion regret.
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That’s why it is so important for women to have advocates by their side to walk with them as they discern difficult decisions rather than treating them as just another customer and sending them on their way.
Learning that 1 in 6 women who visits a Planned Parenthood has an abortion and knowing that 4 in 5 women who have an ultrasound at a pregnancy help organization has a baby shows us how important pregnancy help is.
It is literally a life-or-death decision. And one we take quite seriously.
Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Option Line and Pregnancy Help News.