A group of moms and their children made a big impression on Members of the U.S. Congress and their staff recently by sharing how they were served by pregnancy help organizations, personifying this life-affirming work.
These moms who chose life when the odds were against them were able to convey the real human impact pregnancy help has on lives with Babies Go to Congress, a project of Heartbeat International.
Heartbeat is the U.S.’s largest network of pregnancy help. Babies Go to Congress brings moms and their children to Washington D.C. to meet with representatives and senators from Congress to raise awareness for pregnancy help and educate on the fact that pregnancy centers are good for America.
Heartbeat has taken almost 200 moms and babies to nearly 400 Congressional offices since 2009 with the effort.
On May 12 Members of Congress heard from two young couples who faced unplanned pregnancy and a woman who was advised to abort for medical reasons with the latest installment of Babies Go to Congress.
They learned about the compassion, services, and support the moms and families received from their local pregnancy help organization in their time of need, including the life-saving Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) protocol.
The children were captivating, prompting emotion from some, and through their presence the kids delivered living proof to lawmakers and their aides that women in unexpected pregnancies can choose life with the support provided by pregnancy centers.
After the meetings, the Heartbeat team gathered with the moms and children to debrief on the experience of sharing their personal accounts on Capitol Hill with lawmakers.
Eight-year-old Victor stole hearts wherever he went, helping his mom Ruth tell their story, which he has also done for the Pregnancy Care Center of Wayne County.
Victor talked to a lot of people during the day, he said, gave his business card to a lot of people, and he shook hands with a senator. He was impressed by the Capitol building.
“We saw lots of cool stuff,” Victor said.
“We had a great day today,” his mom Ruth said.
“We talked to some congressmen and talked to staff members, and they were asking questions,” she said. “And I hope what we did today changes whatever decision they make (on laws concerning pregnancy help).”
One Congressional aide thanked Ruth for sharing her story and said she almost started crying, just listening to her tell it.
The groups had two appointments in the House and two in the Senate. Lawmakers aren’t always able to get away from obligations to be part of the meetings but often they do. If they cannot be there the meeting takes place with one or more aides.
Heartbeat Vice President of Ministry Services Betty McDowell remarked on how the conversations became deeper as the day progressed with the group she led. The varied dynamics of individual offices and the progressively deepening discussions were each as they should be, she said.
Zayda attended with her daughter, two-year-old Delia Jo. They have been served by the Reliance Center.
“I think we did a really good job and I really hope we saved some lives,” Zayda said. “And I hope that we really made them think about the decisions that they're going to make. And I hope we impacted it a lot.”
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Heartbeat International’s General Counsel Danielle White spoke of how some staffers opened up once a mom began to tell her story.
“So, it just goes to underscore how important your story really is,” she said. “And how much an impact it has for people to hear that women can do this.”
Reliance Center founder and Director Heather Lawless similarly remarked about the staffers their group encountered were amazed by Zayda’s story.
Margie Mayes, Sales and Customer Service Specialist with Heartbeat’s Next Level CMS, concurred that when it came time for moms’ testimony to be told, there was more attention given, more of a focus on hearing the story.
Manuela and Chris are the parents of two-year-old Oliver, who was saved after his mom underwent the APR protocol. They received pregnancy help from Crossroads Pregnancy Center. Chris was part of the meetings with lawmakers and staff as well. Manuela said the day on Capitol Hill went very well.
“We got to talk about the reversal process,” she said. “And it's just like that's our mission, is just to get that word out. Let people know that Abortion Pill Reversal, which is possible, and that's what saved our baby. And we know it's gonna save so many more babies and that's what we're hoping for. That's why we're here.”
Manuela said the people they met with were inspired by her story and they were happy to know more about APR.
“Everyone that we spoke to is totally on board with it,” she said. “It went very well.”
“It’s been a great day,” she added.
Heartbeat International Director of Medical Impact Christa Brown found that there was overwhelming support among those they spoke with about pregnancy help. APR was new to many, she said, but it was especially impactful for Oliver’s father Chris to offer his perspective of having his son saved via APR. Brown also thought that the moms’ stories had a remarkable effect.
They did an amazing job sharing their story, she said.
“Definitely the tone of the room changed as they told their story,” Brown said. “That's the powerful part of these visits is them saying, “This is actually what I lived through. This is the help I got. This is what I needed. And now this is how my life is.” So, it was amazing.”
Editor's note: Heartbeat International Manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News.