Hotline Founded After Woman’s Suicide Now Directs Callers to Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 27, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Hotline Founded After Woman’s Suicide Now Directs Callers to Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 27
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A crisis hotline established after a woman committed suicide following an abortion was meant to help women like her. Now, the suicide prevention phone number is in the hands of a New York City agency that is using it to direct women in crisis pregnancy situations to abortion centers.

Reese Butler established the hotline after his wife Kristin, who suffered from bipolar and borderline personality disorders, committed suicide after she had an abortion.

Her physician presented abortion as the only decision in a complicated pregnancy. After tremendous grief following her death, Butler said he felt god leading him to establish the number for others in crisis.

Using money from insurance and the sale of their home, the National Catholic Register says Butler set up 1-800-SUICIDE to help others.

The Kristin Brooks Hope Center owned and operated the number, which now receives as many as 500,000 calls annually without any advertising.

However, the Register says Butler made the mistake of accepting a federal grant in 2001 to help support the line, but now the government has taken ownership of the line from him and given it to the Mental Health Association of New York City.

Now, the newspaper indicates, any pregnancy related calls — about 10 percent of those received — are routed solely to Planned Parenthood abortion centers.

The Register indicates the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is about to decide whether the transfer of the line to the city government should be permanent.

Peggy Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International, told the Register her group is concerned about the precedent such a decision would set.

“The confiscation of 1-800-SUICIDE is a terrible precedent for organizations that are providing a care line,” like Heartbeat, which has 1-800-395-HELP to give women pregnancy assistance.

“If the federal government begins to take ownership of some of these missions — and would even confiscate a 1-800 number — that just cannot be allowed to happen,” Hartshorn said. “It’s urgent that the government’s illegal confiscation and transfer of this 1-800 number be stopped.”

The Register indicated there is a disagreement of whether the government should have access to the line, and federal officials indicate Butler’s group can’t pay the bills so it should give the city control of the number.

But Butler says his group has money to pay for the line for another year and donations to go further.

The temporary reassignment of the line to the government is expected to expire in April and the FCC has a March meeting planned to determine the fate of the line.

Hartshorn told the newspaper her group is asking pro-life people to contact the FCC and urge it to allow Butler’s group to keep the hotline.

“We’re asking everyone who cares about life to call the FCC this week to protest the federal government’s unjust confiscation of this hotline,” Hartshorn said.