The pregnancy help movement has successes behind and challenges ahead as it looks back on 50 years, but the mission and the driver behind it will always be the same – love and the Lord. This was the closing keynote message for Heartbeat International’s Annual Pregnancy Help Conference.
“This has been an important and an historic Conference week,” said Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey, “not only for the milestone of marking 50 years, but because we have been able to take a major step to recover from the devastation the pandemic of this past year has wrought.”
Heartbeat celebrated 50 years of pregnancy help at its annual Conference event. This year’s gathering had the theme of “Essential,” a reference to the nature of pregnancy help and the past year’s pandemic. Heartbeat offered its regular in-person Conference this year after having converted the 2020 Conference to all virtual amid the coronavirus’s initial outbreak. The 2021 Conference offered a virtual as well option for those could not attend in person.
Godsey spoke to Conference attendees on the event’s final evening, recapping the week, giving a nod to the last 50 years and a look ahead.
He said that despite all its ills, the pandemic brought to light the scriptural reality that we indeed are our brothers’ keepers.
“Suddenly the whole world has been keenly focused on rescuing lives who are at risk,” Godsey said.
Despite the pandemic, the 2020 Conference was too big a moment to simply cancel, he said.
“I believe we’ve seen way too much cancelling going on,” Godsey remarked, clarifying this did not mean events being called off or converted in form.
“I am talking about the new cultural phenomenon of erasing what it holds in contempt,” he said, known as “cancel culture.”
“It is real, and it is dangerous,” Godsey explained, “dangerous for any society to try to erase something or someone that does not fit the prescribed narrative.”
“It is even deadly - deadly when it cancels something or someone because they were or they are less than perfect, because they were or they are disrupting what we want,” he said.
But it is not new.
Rescuing those at risk of being erased
Slavery was cancel culture, Godsey said, because at its heart it is the cancelling of an individual’s freedoms and inalienable rights, their greater purpose and natural worth - cancelling them from even being human. This is parallel to abortion, he said.
“So, it is and so it has been with abortion,” he said.
“And just like the underground railroad of those days, the pregnancy help movement continues to rescue those who are at risk from being erased because they were somehow imperfect in their form or inappropriate in their timing,” he added.
The pandemic produced a fear of death that drove government lockdowns and quarantines, Godsey said, just as the fear of death drives women to despair.
“To lockdown their perspective, quarantine them from God’s grace and lead them into the arms of the million-dollar business that is big abortion,” he said.
Additionally, the new U.S. presidential administration has moved aggressively in favor of big abortion, he noted, placing the country on the same path as others that have embraced chemical abortion.
“Let me be direct,” said Godsey, “this is the new moment.”
“No longer necessary to travel to the place of sacrifice,” he said, “now it is possible to conveniently sacrifice a child in the comfort of one’s own home …. In the bathroom.”
While there is good to be done at the state level, said Godsey, the pregnancy help movement must be wary of the “silver bullet thinking” that government will ever adequately take the pro-life call and finally solve what is really a sin problem.
This is most likely an illusion, said Godsey.
The pregnancy help movement has known since Heartbeat’s early days that it is not enough to wait for a political answer.
“As in those days and since, God calls us, each of us, to love people into making life affirming decisions,” Godsey said. “He calls us to help them adapt and overcome even as we ourselves work to adapt and overcome.”
“He empowers us to rise up each and every day to champion life,” Godsey added. “Not by turning our face towards the capitol but by turning our hearts towards the cross.”
“The giver of life will pour into us what we need,” he said. “He will give us new ways to speak love, although the love is the same though the ages.”
Regardless of the method, the mission remains the same, Godsey said, and while new obstacles are arising, it is the same enemy who attacked the creation of Christ in order to abort the purpose of God.
“We will move from the past 50 years into the next 50 with the clear conviction on what we the pregnancy help movement needs to do,” said Godsey.
A vision to serve more
He discussed three goals for the pregnancy help movement in the next the half-century: more people, more places, and more paths to pregnancy help.
There will mean more minorities leading the charge as missionaries of life.
While the number of pregnancy help locations has grown exponentially, Godsey said this is not enough.
There remains a significant disparity between the number of pregnancy help centers per capita in the U.S. and most other countries.
“We can celebrate the U.S. being the largest collection of pregnancy help on the planet,” he said, “but a closer look should inspire us that there is room to grow. That means we have a lot of work to do.”
“Our vision is to see underserved countries and cultures gain the ability to open new pregnancy help locations to far more opportunities to reach those at risk of abortion and see far more life decisions,” said Godsey.
There will be new tools methods, he said, but it will always God who is behind the work of pregnancy help.
“We will - we must - do His work in His way,” stated Godsey, “and while He never changes, he calls us all to change to fulfill the mission of His heart.”
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