On Thursday, January 19, some out of the ordinary visitors walked onto Capitol Hill, catching more than a few puzzled stares. Pushing strollers and carrying diaper bags, three mothers and their babies entered the offices of Democrat and Republican United States Senators and Congressional Representatives.
During the latest Babies Go to Congress event, Kylie, Danielle, and Evalynn boldly shared their personal stories of how pregnancy centers and maternity homes walked alongside them before, during, and after the birth of their children.
“This is our Esther moment,” said Evalynn to a room full of reporters and other visitors gathered on Capitol Hill after the morning’s meetings. “This is our time to share our journey and the beautiful truth of pregnancy help.”
A project of Heartbeat International, Babies Go to Congress is an initiative to expand awareness and knowledge among federal lawmakers of pregnancy help organizations in the U.S. The meetings can take place directly with Senators and Representatives but most often they occur with legislative aides.
These Congressional staffers, who can become numb to the many visitors in suits and ties coming in to advocate for legislation and share opinions, were reenergized by the sight of these bright-eyed tiny guests.
“Well, we can always make time for a constituent as cute as this little one,” an aide to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said of the atypical visitors to the Senator’s office.
The reaction was the same in each office, with staffers immediately stopping what they were doing to sit down with these families.
Meetings that started with a general curiosity of why babies were in government buildings quickly turned into deep concern and attentiveness to the importance of pregnancy help.
It is one thing to hear stories of women choosing life, but as seen on Capitol Hill this past week, it is a whole other thing to sit face-to-face with these women and children where personal questions can be asked, and the stories become real people.
Evalynn from Ohio shared with the offices of Reps. Warren Davidson and Mike Turner, and Sens. J.D. Vance and Sherrod Brown that she had called a local center after finding out she was pregnant because they offered her free ultrasounds. After seeing her baby boy through the ultrasounds and being assured the center would be by her side every step of the way, Evalynn chose life for her son.
She received a scholarship from the center and finished her bachelor’s degree. Shortly after Evalynn got married to a man that is now the nonbiological but loving father to her son. In the process she also gave her life to Christ and credits the volunteers at the center for her “180-degree life change.”
“I didn’t know when I was choosing life for my son that I was also choosing life for myself,” said Evalynn.
Danielle traveled from Virginia with her 10-year-old daughter to speak with the offices of Rep. Bob Good, and Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.
She lived in a Virginia maternity home for five years while raising her daughter, adding to her resume, and serving the home and women who lived there. Danielle has now lived independently for five years and attributes it to the care and support she received from the maternity home.
Kylie and her one-year-old daughter Zoe from Texas had meetings with the offices of Rep. Pat Fallon and Sens. Cruz and John Cornyn.
With Zoe in her arms, Kylie told of how her family was not supportive of her having another child and pushed her to get an abortion when she got pregnant with Zoe.
She said she knew she had to have this baby but felt she could not do it alone.
So, she reached out to a local pregnancy center, and they scheduled a time for her to come in to learn about all the resources they had to offer. Feeling the same sense of family and community that both Evalynn and Danielle had experienced, Kylie felt empowered to choose life.
“It hasn’t always been easy, but I have never regretted my decision,” Kylie said. “I mean, how can you look at her [pointing to Zoe sucking on a cracker] and think this wasn’t the right choice?”
The staffer, clearly moved by the story, leaned back and said, “Wow. I never knew pregnancy help did all that, and they are right in our hometown.”
More awareness around pregnancy help means more mothers and children getting the resources they need when they need them the most.
Tweet This: More awareness around pregnancy help means more mothers and children getting the resources they need when they need them the most.
“When politicians see strollers, they stop to listen,” said Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International.
And in this case when politicians stop to listen, lives are saved.
Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.