Tuesday, 11 May 2021
The answer? Connection. Matt Nelson/Unsplash

The answer? Connection.

Operation Rescue’s (OR) recent report on the falling number of abortion facilities in the United States caught my eye. One of the most salient points? Missouri—the Show Me State—is, in essence, abortion free. Not one facility in that state is currently performing abortions. 

Good news, for sure. 

Over the years, I’ve watched these numbers closely. When I speak at events, I try to have the latest numbers on how many abortion centers remain. For the record, at this moment OR reports 706 abortion facilities, most of them focusing on chemical abortion.

While “telemedicine” is taking chemical abortion away from stand-alone clinics and into homes—which is more than troubling—any time a stand-alone facility closes, this is still good news. 

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A correlation with our work 

Not surprisingly, this dropping number coincides directly with a rising number of pregnancy help organizations. And we may also draw a correlation between this drop and improved marketing on our part, along with our expansion of services. Certainly, new state laws and better enforcement of health standards in some areas play key roles, too.

All of these factors work together, and we’re seeing results. We don’t know what the next few years hold but right now—even as the abortion lobby ramps up its tactics—we’re moving in the right direction. 

Which leads to a question. 

Because our influence is lowering these numbers, we certainly have a role to play going forward. The question then, is, “What are our next steps?” In one word, our next steps are all about “Connection.”

Connecting nationally

Interestingly, as a member of the pregnancy help community, I can easily find the number of abortion facilities. But—and here is the irony—if someone asks me how many pregnancy help centers and other life-affirming ministries we have, I am forced to guess.

“About 2700,” is my answer. It’s likely close. But none of us knows for certain because some pregnancy help organizations remain off the radar. For whatever reason, these organizations fail to affiliate with any of the three major networks (Heartbeat International, NIFLA, CareNet), which hurts all of us. How can we learn from each other if we don’t connect with each other? And if we don’t connect, how do we achieve maximum influence?

Full disclosure here: I’m a part-time employee of Heartbeat International. Because we are world-wide and because we work with not only pregnancy help centers but also maternity homes and non-profit adoption agencies, my vision is to every pregnancy help organization affiliated with Heartbeat (click here to make it happen), as this is the one umbrella organization where every life-affirming ministry finds a home.  

But—and this is important--there are benefits with all three affiliate networks. My math tells me that for about $600, a pregnancy center can gain the best from each of these three networks (we all have strengths), and it is a wise investment of resources to do so. 

If each of us made it a priority to join at least one—and possibly all three—of these organizations, we’re all stronger. We’ll know our number, we’ll be better connected, and more prepared to grow our influence.

Connect statewide

If our state does not have a thriving state network, build one. If we do have a state network and we’re not a part of it, we need to join in and contribute. Once again, we are better together. A state network is a powerful way to get a good handle on what is happening regarding laws, and also an opportunity to make sure no organization is left alone without support.

Creating regional networks within the state—or making sure we are participating in a network already in place—brings things even closer to home. Relationships built here keep us close-knit because we often have a fellow soldier we can quickly reach out to when we need a pick-me-up. 

Finally—Connect locally

If we build connection nationally, statewide and regionally, there’s only one more step: Building our local ministries and organizations. 

Let’s issue ourselves a challenge. What if each of our organizations set a goal to add one person per quarter to our volunteer team? Whether this person is meeting with clients, fulfilling administrative needs, folding clothes or trimming the hedges, what would four additions mean to us and our community? 

Hmmm. If there are 2700 pregnancy help organizations in the United States, one person per quarter would mean we’ve added more than ten thousand volunteers to our growing team, every year. Think that might have an impact? And when we think internationally—as we do at Heartbeat—we’re looking at another 3,884 teammates added to our 971 affiliated organization around the world. 

Regardless of what we see in Washington, D.C., the momentum is on our side. Let’s build on what we have, through connection.

Tweet This: “Regardless of what we see in Washington, D.C., the momentum is on our side. Let’s build on what we have, through connection.

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau. His new Faith Revolution Podcast is online at www.kirkwalden.com

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