Tuesday, December 22, 2009

To Pregnancy Center Volunteers: Care Net Salutes You this Christmas!


As Christmas quickly approaches, hopefully many of us are wrapping up shopping and are beginning to assemble with family and friends in our homes across the country. All of us here at Care Net wanted to send you a message of hope and let you know how much we appreciate your support.

We are blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of this amazing ministry. Every day, in pregnancy centers across the country, a volunteer or staff member opens the door and welcomes in someone looking for hope, help, and an encouraging word. We are humbled to be a part of this incredible network of volunteerism that has existed for nearly 40 years. To all those who volunteer in pregnancy centers, we thank you! Thank you for your sacrifice, your love, your compassion, and your courage. You don't always get thanked, win awards or medals, or appear in your newspaper as the local hero. But to all of us here at Care Net, YOU are the heroes that get us up in the morning and inspire us to do our job supporting you out there in the field.

As you can imagine, there will be thousdands of women across the country who will find out over the holidays that they are facing an unplanned pregnancy. Please keep them in your prayers. Pray that they will find the practical help and compassionate support offered freely through their local pregnancy center.

All of us likely know what it's like to face a twist or turn in your life that was unexpected. Many also know what it's like to have had the support and encouragement of a friend, a counselor, or pastor who inspired us to choose to follow a good and hopeful path rather than a path of fear. Someone who encouraged us to let go of our expectations of how we thought our life should be and to open our arms and heart to something different yet surprisingly good.

Well, that is exactly what happens in the heart of so many women and men who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and who, through the help of a pregnancy center counselor, choose to open their arms to new life. It's not an easy path free from challenges; however, it is a path free from the pain and regret of choosing to end the pregnancy in abortion.

Care Net is eager to see that more people are reached with the hope and help of pregnancy centers. We have big plans in the new year to equip, inspire, and promote our network of 1,180 centers in North America. With all that is going on in Washington, this ministry may be the most effective way to save lives - one heart, one woman at a time. Please pray that we will have ears to hear and the hearts ready to listen to how God will direct our ministry in the new year.

As you prepare for Christmas, consider how you might inspire someone in your life, perhaps a family member, to choose the path of hope. Your listening ear might be all that is needed. They may not be facing an unplanned pregnancy but maybe a big fork in the road. Perhaps all they need is to hear what you've learned in your life at similar decision points. Choosing to encourage someone else may be just what makes this Christmas a special one for you.

May the wonder and hope of that first Christmas, of God coming down as a baby in a manger to save us, refresh your hearts this Christmas. We'll see you in the new year - back here at Inspire Life!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

While Washington Debates, Hollywood Creates


As the health care debate heats up in Washington and pro-life and abortion advocacy groups take their sides, another story has been developing on the west coast - a story that may transcend what's taking place on Capitol Hill.

In fact, many in the media might be missing the forest despite the trees. And here's why.

Over the last several years, without the help or prompting of anyone in Washington, a new crop of pro-life films have emerged from Hollywood. Films that range in style and genre - from the off-beat comedy of "Juno" to the artfully-depicted drama of "Bella." Some intentionally and explicitly pro-life and others more incidental.

On November 17th, a new pro-life film, "Sarah's Choice," featuring Grammy Award winning artist Rebecca St. James, was officially released onto DVD and sales are already off the charts.

What does all this tell us?

Something exciting and positive is happening as more and more artists with pro-life values are seeking to have an impact in our culture through story-telling and film. They are recognizing the truth in the saying, "Give me the songs of a nation and it does not matter who writes its laws" (Damon of Athens).

Yes, what is happening in Washington with the health care bill is historically significant, but we can't lose sight of Who is in control and that nothing can trump His amazing work in other sectors of our society.

According to producer Jason Jones of "Bella" (2007), at least 90 babies have been saved after their parents watched his film. For those good souls investing in films like "Sarah's Choice" and "Bella," this has to be very gratifying.

And it isn't just the pro-life films that change lives. Every one of us can likely name a movie that has had a profound impact on our lives. In my life, the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy has encouraged me to continue to serve in the pro-life movement, even when times grow dark. Movies have a lasting impact and cannot be discounted by those of us in the pro-life movement.

Care Net has caught this vision and understands that in order to promote a culture a life in America we must reach out through art, entertainment and creative story-telling in film, radio, and TV. As an organization, we desire to encourage and celebrate the creation of positive, pro-life entertainment, particularly in film.

This is why we are so inspired by the new movie "Sarah's Choice", a film we wrote about here in September when Rebecca St. James made a special appearance at the Care Net National Pregnancy Center Conference. The film received a standing ovation from ministry leaders attending the conference from across the country. In fact, one pregnancy center director has said it's the best film he's seen since "The Passion of the Christ"!

On November 17th, I had the opportunity to attend the L.A. premiere of "Sarah's Choice" and share with those in attendance - actors, writers, directors, producers, songwriters and a host of other Hollywood types - about the work and ministry of Care Net and pregnancy centers across the country. There, in the heart of Hollywood at Warner Brother Studios, we bowed our heads and prayed for the message of Life and the Gospel to go out in the culture. Imagine that!

(The pic is of Rebecca St. James and me before the premier in Hollywood. She's a wonderful woman with a heart for God!)

"Sarah's Choice" promotes the compassionate message of Care Net's Inspire Life campaign in a powerful way. Rebecca St. James plays "Sarah," a professional working woman facing an unplanned pregnancy and wrestling with the thought of abortion. I won't spoil the movie for you, but I will say that as this movie is shared across the country, more people will understand that individuals in this situation need love, compassion, and support - the type of ministry freely given at pregnancy centers. In addition, many will see that abortion is not without its lifelong consequences but healing and forgiveness is possible.

[For individuals needing help with an unplanned pregnancy or healing from a past abortion, please contact the Option Line at 1-800-395-HELP.]

Many associated with this film, like actress Rebecca St. James, desire to see the film support ministries like Care Net and our network of 1,180 pregnancy centers across North America. Screening this film in local churches with the support of radio stations could be a great fundraising opportunity for pregnancy centers! Interested in finding out how? Stay tuned for more from Care Net. In the meantime, you can email me at khansen@care-net.org.

After the film screening in L.A., a number of filmmakers shared that they too were working on pro-life films and eager for Care Net and the pregnancy center movement at large, with our unique outlook on the abortion issue, to screen their films. Just think of the potential for impact in our culture with all these films coming out! And what a beautiful partnership between artists and filmmakers and ministry leaders for the good of our nation.

So, to wrap this up I say support this film and films like it. Buy it for your local pregnancy center and for Christmas gifts. Host a local screening!

And when you watch and worry about what may be going on in Washington, also remember that there is a bigger picture and a greater plan at work and it's all in His hands!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

“Law and Order” Episode – A Pro-Life Cultural Victory!


by Cindy Hopkins

I couldn’t believe my eyes. On Friday, October 23rd NBC aired an episode of Law and Order, entitled “Dignity” on the subject of late-term abortion. NBC “borrowed” the story line from Spring headlines in their episode when a late-term abortion doctor is shot dead while in church praying.

“Dignity” is a show of improbabilities - first in that pro-life characters are depicted not as a band of brainless activists but instead as an intelligent community of people with worthy convictions and sensitivities. And secondly, in that it portrays abortion supporters, (“I grew up thinking Roe v. Wade was gospel,” says one female district attorney), grappling with their firmly held views on women’s reproductive rights.

The poignant testimony of a nurse describing how a baby born alive dies after having scissors plunged into its skull by the abortion doctor visibly affects the aforementioned female district attorney.

Another tender testimony from a mother who chooses not to abort her terminally ill baby but instead opts to “let her die with dignity” beautifully builds a case for life. One district attorney even concedes, “Cats and dogs have more rights than the unborn” and “Roe v. Wade wasn’t written in stone; it could use another look.”

Yes, all this and more on primetime television!

I won’t give away the rest of the plot but the episode is definitely worth watching (available on Amazon.com) and can be considered a cultural victory in the battle to shape the hearts of America towards life. Contact NBC today and thank them for airing this episode!

Cindy Hopkins is Vice President of Center Services at Care Net.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Essentials, Unity


By Julie Surface Johnson

For many years, Care Net and other national pregnancy center organizations primarily worked independently of each other. However, shortly after the new millennium, Care Net, through the leadership of its former president Mike Reid, sought ways for the various networks to forge alliances with one another—all the while retaining their individual distinctives. A joint partnership between Care Net and Heartbeat International, the Option Line website and call center, was only one result, albeit a huge one, of those efforts.

Since then, Care Net has been joined by visionaries from other sympathetic organizations, such as Christian Leadership Alliance, National Fatherhood Initiative, and Alliance Defense Fund to name a few, all coming together, wherever possible, to advance the pro-life message.

Not surprisingly, this cooperative effort has helped to strengthen and grow the pregnancy center movement, thereby capturing the attention of the media. TIME Magazine, among others, wrote a relatively favorable feature story about the work of pregnancy centers. Of course, there has been the expected backlash from those who oppose our work. Yet, the positive gains of working together has far outweighed the negative response from abortion advocates..

In our current political environment, we are facing new challenges—challenges with the potential to undermine the work we have accomplished thus far. As examples,

  • credible sources suggest that new healthcare programs will cover the cost of abortions,

  • medical professionals stand to lose their right to refuse to perform or refer for abortions, and

  • many pro-life gains made in individual states will be overturned.

Roe v. Wade became the law of the land in 1973. For more than thirty-five years, pro-life groups at large have generally worked independently of each other—sometimes not understanding or appreciating the various approaches employed by our brothers and sisters. But now is the time for all good pro-lifers to unite and to stand together as one against the culture of death. Consider the following.

Some friends were discussing their various “calls” to ministry within the pro-life movement. One felt led to peacefully demonstrate outside abortion clinics. “We hold signs with pro-life messages, share information about local support, and pray as women approach the clinic. Some demonstrators even offer to raise the babies these women don’t want.”

Another tries to bring about societal change via the courts and legislation. “If we can influence people through voters’ guides and other educational publications, we’ll see a change in their attitudes and voting patterns.”

Yet another felt called to serve in pregnancy resource centers. “We offer abortion-vulnerable women free pregnancy tests, limited ultrasounds, and other services in a confidential and non-judgmental environment.”

The focus of the first group is to save the lives of babies in what may be the last opportunity to do so before the abortion. The second group focuses on saving the lives of babies by bringing about change through the political process with the ultimate goal of overturning Roe v. Wade. The third group’s focus is on saving the lives of babies by mercifully ministering to the perceived needs of their mothers.

Many different methods—many different points of view—many different sets of supporters and detractors—one goal: to save lives!

All such groups are committed and are convinced they are performing a critical life-saving work. All keep the sanctity of human life issue alive in a culture that is too often prone to choose death at all stages of life (for the unborn, the elderly, and those with disabilities).

And, for that reason, all such groups are needed. We form an enormous bloc. United, we can make our voices heard!

What can pro-life groups or individuals do to unite in defense of life?

  • Get to know each other by visiting organizational websites with a view to understanding each others’ missions

  • Open a dialogue through comments on those sites.

  • Network whenever and wherever possible.

  • Visit http://pro-lifetribe.blogspot.com/ the new blog established just for the purpose of networking and dialogue among those with a passion for life.

  • Concentrate on what unites us rather than on the distinctives that have divided us.

  • Pray for pro-life brothers and sisters as well as for their ministries.

Because of strong emotional involvement, there will always be tension and the potential for misunderstanding. But the time has come for all pro-life organizations to overcome our distinctives—as Care-Net, Heartbeat International, and so many other like-minded organizations have done over the years,—and to stand together in defense of life!

Julie Surface Johnson, formerly Care-Net’s Medical Services Consultant, lives in Portland, Oregon, and writes pro-life novels. Learn more at her website www.johnsonsforlife.com and her new blog, Pro-Life Tribe.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Help Care Net Protect Pregnancy Centers in Maryland!


A Call to Action - Vote Expected on Monday, Nov. 2nd!

Over the past few years, attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers have grown in frequency and intensity, most notably in Maryland. In 2008, Maryland pregnancy centers were under legislative attack at the state level, but with strong opposition from Maryland Right to Life, Maryland Catholic Conference, Care Net and local pregnancy centers, those bills were defeated.

An attack has now come in the form of a Baltimore City Council Bill which would require pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs in their waiting room disclosing the services they do not offer. This is information that Care Net already requires its affiliated pregnancy centers to disclose prior to a client receiving a pregnancy test or counseling. This bill is unnecessary and a form of harassment which discriminates only against those with a pro-life viewpoint.

According to Nancy Paltell of the Maryland Catholic Conference, Council Bill 09-0406 is a “stepping stone to passing even more onerous measures against crisis pregnancy centers.” If this bill passes it will be promoted in other cities and counties within Maryland and has potential to spread throughout the entire nation. Get the lowdown on the situation in this great video from MD Catholic Conference:

Care Net is urging pro-life friends in Maryland to take action immediately! Without the support of pregnancy centers in Baltimore, thousands of women every year would have nowhere to turn for such services. The City Council committee is expected to vote on this bill on Monday, Nov. 2nd at 3:30 pm! Visit the Care Net website for information on how you can voice your support for the pro-life work of pregnancy centers.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Feminist Group Plans Halloween Attacks on Pregnancy Centers


When you sign up to volunteer at a pregnancy center, there are a few loud voices in the community who are not going to like it. These folks are generally active in groups like the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), NARAL, and the National Abortion Federation.

For years, groups like these have made accusations of pregnancy centers as scare tactics to keep women from visiting our centers for help. This year, the FMF has launched a video contest to see who among their members can make the most damaging video attacking the work of our nation's pregnancy centers. In addition, they are fired up about a Halloween week of ghoulish activities like staging a protest at a nearby pregnancy center and hosting "a haunted clinic -- instead of ghosts and gouls, emulate what goes on inside a creepy CPC." Read more.

Some may read this and think it's sounds so outlandish, it's almost laughable. Seriously. Think of the tens of thousands of volunteers (yes, volunteers) across the country who are serving in these pregnancy centers, providing free, compassionate help to more than 5,000 women every day. Think of the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been saved over the years. These hardworking pregnancy centers are serving our communities well, and, as so eloquently stated in the latest national report, A Passion to Serve, A Vision for Life, helping to improve maternal and child health, saving taxpayer dollars, and providing abortion alternatives. Who doesn't support this?

Nevertheless, the reality is that pregnancy centers are facing these type of tactics from abortion advocacy groups across the country.

So, how should one respond? The most compelling response is simply to hear the stories of women who have been helped by a pregnancy center. Let the women speak!

Truly, when you see the happy faces of those who chose to carry to term and the joy of new life in their arms, everything else seems to fade away. Life isn't easy for them, but they've chosen a healthy path without regrets.

Just last week, I received an incredible story from a former pregnancy center client who emailed me to share some exciting news in her life - she's engaged! From Pittsburgh, Megan and her story are featured in the new A Passion to Serve pregnancy center report. [Once on the report's website, scroll down to Megan and Ava's story on the home page.] You can also hear Megan share her amazing story on the Youtube video: "Care Net: Chaging Hearts, Saving Lives." In a nutshell, Megan was scheduled to take the abortion pill RU 486 until she saw a bus ad for a pregnancy center, made an appointment, and, together with her boyfriend, viewed little Ava on the ultrasound.

Megan gave me permission to share with you how she's doing today:

Thank you so much for your note and the link to the video and report!! It would be great to see you and others at Care Net in the future!! I have such a warm spot in my heart for Care Net and still think to myself sometimes that I should apply for a job there!

Ava and I are doing great. She just turned 5 (wow!!) and is in kindergarten. I can hardly believe the past years have gone by so fast. And, I'm engaged!! We are planning a May 14, 2010 wedding, and are very excited.
Check out our pictures! I'm still in graduate school. It seems like it's taking forever, especially because for the past couple of semesters I've only been taking one class but I'll finish eventually. I'll eventually have my Masters of Public Administration and really do enjoy the program. So, things are busy!!

Hope all is well with you. Thanks so much for keeping in touch!!

Take care,

Is this not an inspiring story? What would Megan's life have been like had she decided to end her pregnancy with RU 486? Did being a mom stop her from pursuing her dreams? Absolutely not!

And just think! There are thousands of Megan's whose lives are touched in just the same way every day.

So remember, when you volunteer, know there will likely be curmudgeonly critics, but the joy you will receive from your service will be well worth it!

Visit the Inspire Life website today to find out how you can get involved in a local pregnancy center or simply to thank your local pregnancy center for all they do in the community!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Make Your Voice Heard: Abortion is Not Health Care


Care Net and the Inspire Life team would like to bring you up to speed on the Health Care Reform effort and how the abortion issue is playing out. We've been informed that abortion is still very much a part of the health care bills going forward. In addition, there are other pro-life concerns that are not being thoroughly addressed, such as the right of conscience for pro-life healthcare professionals and end-of-life care policies.

Our friends at Americans United for Life have provided some in-depth updates about these concerns on their blog. Also, our pro-life contacts on Capitol Hill provide this helpful overview. We encourage you to check it out! We also are asking you to action...

Now is the time to make your voice heard in this critical health care debate! Care Net has provided an "action kit" of pro-life materials that will help you voice your values in your own community - letters to the editor, sample emails to friends, and directions on how to contact your elected officials. We've specifically spelled out the concerns for pregnancy centers and the ongoing provision of free, compassionate, life-affirming care to women facing unplanned pregnancies.

The topic of health care reform can be a confusing one for many of us. The key thing to remember is this: abortion is not and never will be health care in any sense of the word. Secondly, it is critical that pro-life individuals speak up and take part in this debate. Pro-life leaders have forecasted that health care is becoming an increasingly important issue in which pro-life individuals should be thoroughly engaged. Stay tuned and make your voice heard!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Do Faith Communities Somehow Breed Teen Pregnancy?


Part of promoting life is to lead people to a lifestyle of healthy relationships. Having said that, there has been some talk about a new study that was posted in Christianity Today and elsewhere suggesting a correlation between teen pregnancy and conservative religious beliefs. This study states:

“With data aggregated at the state level, conservative religious beliefs strongly predict U.S. teen birth rates, in a relationship that does not appear to be the result of confounding by income or abortion rates. One possible explanation for this relationship is that teens in more religious communities may be less likely to use contraception.” Read the full study published in the journal, Reproductive Health.

Here are a couple of the ultimate questions that this study raises:
  1. Is a good approach to prevention of unplanned pregnancy the teaching of condom use?

  2. Is Abstinence Education a failed approach just because many who teach abstinence education are from faith-based organizations?
In response to question number one…Are condoms the healthiest choice for our teens? No. They’re not 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, but even if they were, the question remains whether their distribution is an approach that truly protects the future of our teens. Working more pro-actively than re-actively with our youth will produce more long-lasting and protective measures than simple condom usage programs could dream of.

In response to question number two… First of all, this study appears to be an attack on the Christian faith, which, in contrast to the assumptions made in the study, empowers individuals to live healthy, whole lives when sex is enjoyed within the context of marriage. While some abstinence educators in schools come from this faith perspective, their programs are based on the most protective and effective public health measures for young people, not religious viewpoints.

Secondly, it is easy to see where confusion may enter in when there is not enough information given on what abstinence education really is. The article in mention refers to abstinence education as “abstinence only” which implies that abstinence education is a “just say no” program. Most abstinence educators would not think to refer to their curriculum as “abstinence only”. This statement could not be farther from the true description of abstinence education. Abstinence educators pride themselves in the variety of subjects that they cover. Some of the main topics of abstinence education include:

  • Healthy Relationships
  • Avoiding compromising situations [to include: drugs/alcohol, being alone with significant other etc.]
  • Settings Goals and protecting your future
  • Maturity
  • Refusal Skills
  • STD/STI Education and Statistics
  • Condom Statistics
  • Intimacy
  • Love vs. Infatuation
  • Steps to Sexual Progression
  • Starting Over
These are just a few of the many subjects that abstinence education covers for our youth. The point is that abstinence education is instrumental in helping our teens make an informed decision.

And how do teens respond to such a message? Abstinence educators describe countless young people that have come up to them after presentations and say, “Why has nobody else told us this before?” or “It is so nice to know I am not the only one that is not doing it… I thought everyone else was.” Our youth are more intelligent than many are willing to give them credit. They have intellectual choices to make… not instinctual.

[For more information on the effectiveness of abstinence education in our nation, read the latest information from the Institute for Research and Evaluation.]

Pregnancy centers have a unique opportunity to get involved pro-actively with the teens in their communities to teach ways to avoid compromising situations that lead to sex. As we purpose to inspire life, let’s remember to teach our teens to make healthy lifestyle choices in every area of life!

Toneia Mayes is a Care Net Regional Consultant and a consultant for Community Based Abstinence Education grants. She can be reached at toneia@cox.net.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Report on PRCs Hitting the Blogosphere


We've been so INSPIRED to see the number of bloggers rallying behind the new report A Passion to Serve, A Vision for Life! Check out the latest from Professor Michael J. New on National Review Online (NRO):

"...the testimonials in FRC's latest report are evidence of the positive impact of the life-affirming options offered by many pregnancy-resource centers. As such, it is not surprising that activists for abortion rights feel threatened." Read the full article.

Professor New is responding to a vitriolic attack on the report that was published by RH Reality Check website. While this attack is rife with inaccuracies and is overwhelmingly meanspirited, you should know that this type of information is out there on the web. We need your help to get out the truth! Let's start a virtual rally! It's so important that women who need the help of pregnancy centers know about their critical, helpful, and compassionate services!

Please post a link to this new report from your blog or website and encourage people to support and volunteer at a local pregnancy center!

Here's a shout out to the bloggers who have already posted on our report - we thank you!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Care Net Announces the Release of First-Ever In-Depth Report On Pregnancy Center Movement


Today, at 1:00 pm Eastern time, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Family Research Council, along with Care Net and other national pro-life groups, will release a groundbreaking report, A Passion to Serve, A Vision for Life, which shares the tremendous contributions of pregnancy resource centers since the inception of the movement over forty years ago.

The event will be broadcast live on the web at www.apassiontoserve.com at 1 pm Eastern time. Later this week, the report will be available on this same website for order or to download a copy. Order one for your nearby pregnancy center to help them spread the word about their work in your community!

The report represents a year-long, combined effort by Care Net, Heartbeat International, NIFLA, Life International, and Family Research Council. The report was featured at the Care Net National Pregnancy Center Conference in September and is a key component of Care Net’s current communication strategy to assist pregnancy centers in sharing their work with a broader audience of state legislators, media, public health officials, and others in key positions.

At the press conference Wednesday, Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde will join a panel of speakers including physicians, clients served by the centers, and presidents from Heartbeat International and NIFLA representing, together with Care Net, more than 2,300 cross-affiliates in all 50 states. The news conference will address the impact of pregnancy resource centers on women’s, adolescent, maternal and child health and how the movement’s growth is driven by the public’s desire to support abortion alternatives.

Care Net’s Melinda Delahoyde said this about this first-ever report:

“Having been involved with this incredible movement for decades, I can tell you just what an historical moment the release of this report is in our history. Pregnancy centers have grown tremendously over the past four decades to become one of the most critical and reliable non-profit organizations in communities across America.

“This report tells the untold story about the vast, beneficial impact of pregnancy centers, which are helping to improve maternal and child health and well being, saving taxpayer dollars, and partnering with hundreds of agencies to provide a web of support for women facing unplanned pregnancies.”

The following speakers will present at the press conference:

Joxel Garcia, M.D., Former Assistant Secretary of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Freda McKissic Bush, M.D., Former Member Presidential Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS; Sandy Christiansen, M.D., Member Christian Medical Association; Margaret Hartshorn, Ph.D., President, Heartbeat International; Melinda Delahoyde, President, Care Net; Thomas Glessner, J.D., President, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.

Please pass the word on about this important webcast and share with others the impact of pregnancy centers as portrayed in this new, groundbreaking report!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

750 Miles to Care Net Conference: We are Inspired!


Picture this: six cyclists (and one driver) arriving at the Care Net National Pregnancy Center Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, completing their 750 mile trip from Grand Rapids, Michigan, a cheering crowd of conference attendees, big smiles, exhaustion and satisfaction in an amazing journey well done!

Mark Congrove, Executive Director of the Lakeshore Pregnancy Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan had a wild idea. Bike to the Care Net conference in Baltimore, raise awareness about the plight of women facing unplanned pregnancies and the compassionate work of pregnancy centers along the way, and make pit stops at various pregnancy centers for publicity and refreshment. It was a vision that many responded to, including Rep. Peter Hoekstra who apparently biked part of the way with them!

Their blog followed their bike ride – wherever they could find Wifi:

“What is done here at Lakeshore Pregnancy Center is so much more than simply preventing abortions or showing students why God's truth makes sense in their lives. LPC is playing a vital role in restoring men, women, children, and families to God, His truth, and the blessings that come with that.” Read more…
Please join us in congratulating the Bike for Life team from Michigan! We know that their efforts will be fruitful not only in their own lives but in the lives of their community that will continue to be impacted by their devotion and efforts!

Send a congrats to Director Mark Congrove at mark@lpcenters.com.

If you want to plan out next year’s bike ride, the 2010 Care Net National Pregnancy Center Conference will be in Grapevine, Texas (near Dallas)! Go for it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Study Shows Recession Making Women Think Again About Pregnancy


Several sources have recently covered a survey conducted by AGI, a former Planned Parenthood affiliate, which found that because of the current economy, many women want to delay pregnancy or limit the number of children they have. The poll showed that sixty-four percent of women agreed with the statement, "With the economy the way that it is, I can't afford to have a baby right now."

It's easy to see how this thought could cross the minds of couples in today's culture. "How could we care for a child in this economy when things are so unstable?" "Would we be wise to think about starting a family when the economy is in shambles?" It's funny how the voice of uncertainty can slowly creep in and start taking over.

You see, the truth of the matter is, the economy is not really the culprit here. I have heard this concern voiced to me many times...even when the economy wasn't in this shape. As young couples are just starting out, trying to "make their way in this world," they are constantly bombarded with the world's view of the proper order of things: get your life together completely, and don't have children until you have enough money and resources saved to support an entire village. If you mess up this order, you will be deemed a bad parent forever!

What IF you become pregnant and you don't have your life together by the world's standards? This particular survey was conducted of women who were conscientiously deciding that the economy was the deciding factor of whether or not to have children right now. If that's the case, what happens when they get pregnant anyway? Their minds are already made up that they can't handle it. So where do they go?

Many women who walk into pregnancy centers everyday are facing similar financial burdens. Before their visit, they are often not aware of the resources around them that can help - churches, day care co-ops, adoption support, community-based agencies, and free pregnancy center services offering parenting support and material resources - cribs, clothing, diapers, etc. Unfortunately, the lie that has been sold to them is, "You're all alone. You're weak - you can't do this. There is no help out there for you." And tragically, some women tell us later on that believing those lies caused them to choose abortion.

This is the time for pregnancy centers to step up their efforts in reaching, educating, and connecting with women in this economy. The lies are just that - lies! Women aren't alone, there is help for them out there, and they can be good parents, even in a bad economy.

So my message to the women surveyed is this: Do not be afraid! If you are pregnant, and you still have doubts and fears, find your local pregnancy center. They exist to provide free services to women and men facing unplanned pregnancies. And finally, remember that "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." (Nahum 1:7)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What Two South Dakota Care Net Pregnancy Centers Can Teach Us All


Last week I joined a pro-life friend for dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill across from the White House in Washington DC. As I devoured a Rueben sandwich and fries, I passively mentioned the increased attacks facing pregnancy centers from NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other pro-abortion organizations.

Her response did not surprise me. I’ve heard it time and time again—But no one really wants to attack pregnancy centers do they? Why would anyone oppose the work of centers? I knew what was flying through her mind—Aren’t pregnancy centers uncontroversial, unthreatening, meek, and passive? Don’t they “fly under the radar?” Why would anyone want to attack sweet little center workers and volunteers passing out diapers and baby cribs?

The truth is that pregnancy centers are a significant, if not primary, target of America’s largest pro-abortion organizations. Centers are more than providers of baby goods. They are dynamic, vocal, involved, effective in reducing abortions, and avid defenders of women. There is no better example of this than the recent action of two Care Net pregnancy centers in South Dakota.

On August 20th, a federal judge struck down a portion of a pro-life law in South Dakota mandating that women seeking abortions be informed that abortion increases the risk of suicide, and that women have legal relationships with their unborn children. Rather than passively accepting the judge’s decision, the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls and the Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center in Rapid City joined a lawsuit appealing the judge’s decision to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Joining a lawsuit of this magnitude naturally brings increased criticism, scrutiny, and publicity attacks against these centers, not to mention personal attacks against the centers' executive directors. But, these centers, like all pregnancy centers, daily see the pain and hurt caused by abortion as they provide compassionate care to the thousands of women who undergo post-abortion healing in pregnancy centers each year.

When it comes to defending women and providing the truth about abortion, centers are not willing to just sit in the shadows.

While I burst with admiration for the stand made by the South Dakota centers, I can’t help but think that these courageous centers are merely doing what we should all be doing—daily defending women and speaking the truth about the horrors of abortion. It is not as hard as it might seem. Even the U.S. Supreme Court (yes, the very court that gave us Roe v. Wade) has publically recognized that abortion hurts women in a recent majority opinion.

What are you willing to do? What have you done today? Not sure where to start? How about sharing this blog with a friend!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Newsweek’s ‘Competing Emotions’ on Abortion


Newsweek writer Sarah Kliff visited a late-term abortion clinic in Omaha, Nebraska and said that her reaction surprised her. It wasn’t watching the abortion that unsettled her (she observed a first-term abortion), it was interacting with women and men in the waiting room and observing their emotional angst:

“But there was a discomfort I hadn’t expected, my emotional reaction to watching abortions. It happened when I watched a married couple, in their mid-30s, the husband squeezing his wife's hand, stroking her forehead. Another woman, a single mom with a 10-year-old daughter, started crying when we talked about abortion. ‘I think it’s OK,’ she told me, ‘but it’s hard to see everyone doing it, there’s so many. I’m not mad at them at all. It's just like, wow, there are so many people. There are seven or eight babies out there [in the waiting room].’” Read more.

Kliff is disturbed by what she sees and observes the same emotional conflict and ambivalence among fellow Americans. She points out that while a majority may support Roe v. Wade, many are still uncomfortable with what abortion really is – the taking of human life (or “the potential for life”, she says).

Unsettled feelings about abortion are a sign that it is not a morally neutral medical procedure.

Nevertheless, our feelings should not ultimately dictate our position. Even though we have compassion on a woman considering abortion in the hardest of circumstances, abortion is never the most loving answer.

The best response is to offer compassionate support and practical help to help her carry to term.

Find out how you can get involved in this critical work today by volunteering at a local pregnancy center in your community.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why the Media Silence on Murder of Pro-Life Demonstrator?


On Friday, Sept. 11th, in the middle of the Care Net national conference, we were contacted by our pregnancy center in Owosso, Michigan about the terrible shooting that had occurred earlier that morning. Care Net sought to provide some comfort as well as guidance regarding media interviews, assuming that as a leading pro-life organization in the community, they would soon be contacted and that the story would quickly hit national news.

Much to our surprise, there was near silence from the national media. This wasn’t just a small town happening, this was a nationally significant story. The lack of appropriate news coverage regarding the murder of pro-life demonstrator Jim Poullion raises a question that deserves a national discussion:

Is our culture coarsening to the reality of abortion or is the media just obsessively politically correct?

In so many areas, we see reason for encouragement as tens of thousands of people volunteer every year to reach out with help to women facing unplanned pregnancies. But when something like this happens, it can be devastating or frightening to those volunteering in pro-life causes.

This is not a time to shrink back, but a time to press forward in positive, compassionate ways to educate, support, and care for those considering an abortion. Pray for healing in our country and for the protection of all human life – both the unborn and those that defend them publicly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our Comment Policy

Care Net and the Inspire Life team wishes to engage in an open dialogue with you about the Inspire Life campaign. We're particularly interested in hearing about how you are "inspiring life" in your own community!

Comments are moderated and may take some time to appear. Obscenities and spam—including bashing, solicitations, repetitive or fraudulent comments, and comments that are irrelevant to the post under which they are written—will not be published.

Grammy Award Winner Rebecca St. James Screens New Film at Care Net Conference


Hundreds of attendees at the Care Net National Pregnancy Center Conference and our Inspire Life team members were blessed to have an opportunity to preview “Sarah’s Choice”, a new film about a young professional woman considering abortion. It was so powerful!

Grammy Award winner and lead actress Rebecca St. James shared with conference attendees about her experience in the film. What a lovely, gracious woman! She performed a few songs for us, including one that she wrote for the film, “My Little One.”

We love the compassion “Sarah’s Choice” shows for women facing an unplanned pregnancy.

How this film inspires life:

  • It’s an honest portrayal of how a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy wrestles with her relationship with God.

  • It shows how important it is for a woman considering abortion to get accurate information about fetal development and compassionate, nonjudgmental support from friends and family.

  • It’s a dialogue about how God doesn’t always make sense and answer prayers the way we expect or want, but He is still good and loving.

  • It reminds us that women facing unplanned pregnancies need support, encouragement, and hope, not judgment, legalism, and despair.

  • It follows the life and feelings of her boyfriend too and suggests that men appreciate being challenged to do the hard thing.

  • It shows that abortion hurts women - for years - but healing is possible!

We applaud Rebecca, PureFlix Entertainment, and everyone involved in the making of this film. It comes out on DVD on Nov. 17th. Join the film group on Facebook to get the inside scoop!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Welcome to Inspire Life!


All of us at Care Net could not be more excited about our new Inspire Life campaign! Our mission is to mobilize the pro-life movement to reach out with compassion and support to women facing unplanned pregnancies. We particularly want to build this movement online – will you help us? As a result, we hope to see thousands of lives saved and hearts touched!

We’re kicking off the campaign this week at the 2009 Care Net National Pregnancy Center Conference with more than 900 people in attendance from across North America!

We invite you to join the campaign! Partner with us and thousands of pregnancy centers across the nation that are reaching out with compassion and hope to those facing an unplanned pregnancy.

One person, no matter their gifts, skills, or abilities, can have a tremendous influence. Consider the long-term impact that your involvement could have on generations!

We know that while there are limits to what the pro-life movement can do to build a “culture of life” on legal and political fronts, there is no limit to what one person can do to inspire life, one person at a time.

There are many ways to get involved! Check out the Inspire Life website for details! We pray this blog will be a fantastic source of information and motivation for you in the days ahead!