A group of children a year old and younger matching the size of cities like Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Tempe, Ariz., are celebrating their first Christmas in 2015 thanks to the work of local staff and volunteers at pro-life pregnancy centers, according to statistics released by Heartbeat International.
The numbers, published in the first-annual Life Trends Report, draw only from Heartbeat International’s 1,300 locations in the U.S., but point to 160,000 lives rescued from the threat of abortion in 2015 alone.
Overall, there are 2,500 life-affirming pregnancy help centers and medical clinics in the U.S., including those who affiliate with Heartbeat International, Care Net, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), Life Matters Worldwide and local organizations who do not affiliate with broader networks.
Adding in the number of mothers who have chosen life for their babies in 2015 at pregnancy centers and medically licensed pregnancy clinics not affiliated with Heartbeat International, the number of lives saved would jump to 300,000—the size of Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.
“It is such a joy to witness the power of God’s people championing the gift and the Giver of Life every day,” Jor-El Godsey, Vice President of Heartbeat International—whose first involvement at a pregnancy center was in Fort Lauderdale in 1988, said. “No woman should ever feel so alone, coerced, or so hopeless that she ends her child’s life through abortion.
“To know something of the footprint our life-saving network is making—not to mention those life-minded centers who aren’t affiliated with us—is truly overwhelming.”
Godsey will be accompanying six pregnancy center directors, as well as the moms and babies spared from the threat of abortion at Heartbeat International’s Babies Go to Congress Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C.
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Over 12 previous trips dating back to 2009, Heartbeat International has brought a total of 119 moms to tell their story of how local pregnancy help made a life-saving difference in their lives to congressional representatives and senators.
“What’s incredible to me about the overall numbers is how quickly we can overlook the value of each individual life in the context of 160,000 or 300,000 saved from abortion,” Godsey said. “Staff and volunteers at local centers, clinic, maternity homes and nonprofit adoption agencies are concentrated on just one person at a time. If we can reach that one person—that mom—with the practical help and compassionate support she deserves and is oftentimes without, we know the impact that can make.
“A report like this helps us get our arms around the positive ripple-effect pregnancy help organizations really have in our world.”
Other highlights from the report include the combined annual budget of U.S. pregnancy help centers—totaling $400 million—almost all of which is drawn from donors and foundations at the local level. Centers averaged 38 volunteers and served 531 clients per location in 2015.
Though it eventually fell short of adoption in both houses of congress, the first-ever federal resolution honoring pregnancy help organizations was introduced this November, complimenting the 24 state-level resolutions approved in 18 states in recent years.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), in his speech introducing the resolution, commended pregnancy help organizations for their contributions to local communities.
“The real measure of their significance isn’t in the words of a floor speech in the United States Senate, or in the outcome of a vote,” Lee said. “It’s in the thousands of lives they save from the pain of abortion every year. The millions of teachers, soldiers, nurses, friends and spouses whose lives and contributions to our communities we might never have known had it not been for the unassuming heroes down at the local pregnancy center, giving their time to keep the lights on, to answer the phones, and to help young women find the hope and the courage to choose life.”
Click here to download a copy of the 2015 Life Trends Report.