Abortions can be stopped and lives can be saved long before laws are changed.
The children scheduled to die tomorrow don't have time for legislators to pass
laws to protect them. This is one of the ways in which the pro-life cause
reveals itself to be much more than a "political" issue. It is an emergency to
which the People of God need to respond here and now, to save the lives of the
most defenseless among us. It is a concrete demand of charity.
There is a simple way we can activate our parishes to respond: Spread the
phone numbers at which people can find alternatives to abortion.
And one of the most effective ways to spread them is not only to put them
in the bulletin but to put them on the bulletin, in other words,
right there on the front cover along with the other standard phone numbers that
we always want to make known to our people. After all, the need for abortion
alternatives is not seasonal or occasional, and, as a matter of life and death,
certainly has priority importance over other numbers.
The irony of the rhetoric "freedom of choice" is that women get abortions
precisely because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. So
many post-abortive women complain that nobody told them about alternatives. A
simple phone number on the bulletin can change all that.
Now which numbers do we use? Certainly, local numbers through which people
can contact resources in the diocese or community are always valuable.
As a national movement, Priests for Life also makes known the following
national hotline numbers that can connect people to help in any part of the
country. More information about each of these hotlines is summarized below, and
you may wish to call the number yourself to ask further questions.
Care Net/Heartbeat 800-712-HELP
Crisis Pregnancy Hotline 888-4-OPTIONS
National Life Center Pregnancy Hotline 800-848-LOVE
Bethany Christians Services 800-238-4269
America’s Crisis Pregnancy Helpline 800-67-BABY-6
Nurturing Network 800-TNN-4MOM
Good Counsel Homes 800-723-8331
Several Sources Foundation 800-NO-ABORT
Online help offered by Women and Children First
The idea of placing such numbers on the cover of the parish bulletin has met
with wide acceptance among the clergy. A professional Wirthlin poll commissioned
by Priests for Life found most priests likely to implement this project.
Following are our responses to the most frequently raised concerns:
1. I want to keep the bulletin simple.
This idea only takes a few words to implement. See the sample wording below.
Concern about the layout of the bulletin is valid, but certainly subordinate to
the actual service we provide the community, especially when that service saves
2. If I put a pregnancy assistance number on the bulletin, many other groups
will want their numbers there as well.
We face this problem all the time, but as pastors, we make decisions based on
the most urgent needs. It is certainly praiseworthy to place other types of
hotline numbers on the bulletin as well; we do not suggest that this should be
the only one. At the same time, the bishops have identified abortion as the most
urgent moral problem of our day, and nothing else claims more victims.
3. I need to know more about whom people are calling when they dial these
A brief description of the organization represented by each number is given
below, and you are encouraged to call each of them to ask as many questions as
you like. Moreover, you may prefer a local number of a community or diocesan
4. My community is rather elderly, and therefore this would not be a concern
The people of your parish may be too old to have a child, but they are never
too old to save one. They can certainly spread the information to their
grandchildren, and others, that help is available for those in crisis.
5. People don't read the bulletin.
At least some people do, and it is better that those who do have this
life-saving information than if they do not have it.
6. People may not be attracted to a "national" hotline.
A local number can be used. Furthermore, most of these national numbers will
refer the individual to the helping centers nearest to them.
The notice on the bulletin can take, for example, one of the following forms:
There are alternatives to abortion. Call 1-800-848-LOVE
Pregnant and in need? Call 1-800-848-LOVE
Pregnancy assistance services (nationwide): 1-800-848-LOVE
Following are short descriptions of the services represented by the
nationally accessible phone numbers we recommend.
America's Crisis Pregnancy Helpline (800-67-BABY-6)
America's Crisis Pregnancy Helpline is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
that empowers women and families experiencing unplanned - and often crisis -
pregnancies by providing counseling, education, and referrals to life affirming
organization. ACPH is not an affiliation organization, but rather works with
agencies that are affiliates of Heartbeat International, CareNet, Catholic
Charities, Birthright, NIFLA, Focus on the Family, and independent agencies.
ACPH maintains a national database of pregnancy centers, Catholic Charities,
maternity homes, Pro-Life Ob/Gyns, post-abortion specialists including over 100
Project Rachels, adoption professionals, and other life-affirming organizations.
ACPH is accessed 24 hours a day from all 50 states, Canada, and San Juan via
our three toll-free hotlines (800 672-2296; 888-4-OPTIONS; and 888-80-WOMAN).
ACPH uses paid staff degreed in psychology, social work, or a counseling related
field. Staff focuses on connecting clients with life-affirming resources within
their geographical area. Staff is prepared to provide counseling and education
to callers when centers or services are not available.
For more information, or for a free media kit, please feel free to contact
ACPH 2121 Valley View, Dallas, TX 75234.
Bethany Christian Services (Hotline 800-238-4269,
The hotline, 1-800-BETHANY, is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bethany
Christian Services provides a full range of services including crisis pregnancy
counseling, adoption, foster care, infertility ministry, and post-adoption
support services, family counseling, and opportunities for volunteers. We are a
pro-life organization and do not make referrals to abortion providers.
For more details, you may contact Betty Gritt, Hotline Coordinator, at
1-800-BETHANY or 616-224-7457.
Founded in 1969 by the late Louise Summerhill in Toronto, Canada, Birthright
is a volunteer emergency pregnancy service offering an alternative to abortion.
Operating independently, Birthright is not affiliated with any group or
organization. It is an interdenominational, non profit service organization.
There are approximately 400 offices in the USA and another 60 in Canada. The
National Office of Birthright operates out of Atlanta, Georgia and was the first
Birthright in the USA. Office hours vary in centers; however, there is a 24
hour, 7day a week, toll free 800 number that takes calls across both countries.
Our computer programs have an additional 3-5000 other Pro-Life resources when a
Birthright is not available. In addition, each state or province has a Regional
Consultant that will search until needs of the caller are met. The toll free
line has received calls from all 50 states and many other countries.
Birthright makes every effort to provide whatever need the client has to
continue pregnancy rather than abort. Needs vary and centers vary in resources.
However, each office is mandated to work with the client until the needs are
met. Birthright services do not include referral for abortion services,
contraception referrals or political activities.
For more information, contact Terry Weaver at: (770) 451-6336 or Fax: (770)
455-3913. Check our Web Site
Care Net/Heartbeat (800-712-HELP)
This 24-hour call center is owned and operated jointly by Care Net and
Heartbeat International. Each caller will be referred to a
pregnancy resource center in her area for answers to questions about abortion,
pregnancy tests, STD's, adoption, parenting, medical referrals, housing, and
many other issues. The toll-free number is available to callers 24 hours a day,
7 days a week. Callers from across the country will reach a trained,
caring person and then be connected to a pregnancy resource center near them for
For more information on Care Net, please call 703-478-5661. For more
information on Heartbeat International, please call (614) 885-7577.
Good Counsel Homes (800-723-8331)
Good Counsel provides homes, outreach, counseling, referrals for any pregnant
woman anywhere in the U.S.. Our 24-hour helpline is answered by trained staff
who last year helped nearly 3,000 women who were in crisis. Good Counsel began
in 1985 as a long-term home in Hoboken, N.J. Other homes in New York City, New
York State; Connecticut and New Jersey housed more than 300 women and children
during 1999; including pregnant women with mental illness or mental illness and
addiction problems. Please call 800.723.8331 for any women in a crisis pregnancy
or to help Good Counsel continue its life-saving mission.
You may also contact Fr. Benedict Groeschel or Christopher Bell, co-founders
of Good Counsel at: Good Counsel 303 Madison Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, call
201.795.0637 or email Mr. Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org
National Life Center (Pregnancy hotline 800-848-LOVE)
National Life Center is the parent organization for its affiliates 1stWay
Life Centers. Our purpose and mission is to reach women and girls before they
make the final decision of life or death for their preborn babies. Our goal is
to ensure that they deliver healthy babies and they complete their pregnancies
in good health with peace of mind and dignity.
Our national hotline is available continually and staffed personally. Our
number can be reached from all 50 states and the territories of the United
States. We maintain contact numbers of local directors for emergency calls. For
further information about our hotline, call our office at 856-848-1819 from 9 to
6 and speak with Denise Cocciolone or Joan O'Malley.
The Nurturing Network (Hotline 800-TNN-4-MOM)
The Nurturing Network is an international, charitable organization that has
activated over 32,000 volunteer member resources to provide for the urgent and
practical needs of more than 14,500 women faced with the crisis of an unplanned
To offer or receive help, please call 1-800-TNN-4MOM.
Several Sources Foundation (800-NO-ABORT)
Our 1-800-NO-ABORT National hotline is staffed with counselors 24 hours a
day, 365 days a year. Several Sources Foundation operates four shelters in NJ
where pregnant women can stay free of charge up to one year after their child is
born. We are a Catholic apostolate which began in 1981. Callers to our hotline
received free of charge a hotline kit with many pro-life items including a copy
of the video The Silent Scream.
To receive more information about Several Sources Foundation, clergy and
staff may call 1-201-818-9033.
Online help also available -
The internet is a key means of communication for many who may be likely to
need pregnancy assistance centers. One of the key sites is
www.pregnancycenters.org This site maintains a current listing of
pregnancy care centers by state, and also international centers. You can also
talk to a pregnancy counselor by email. This website is maintained by Women and
Children First, an outreach of Steven Ertelt.
We invite pastors of all denominations to put a pregnancy assistance number
on their bulletin as soon as possible. We invite parishioners to make this
option known to their pastors.
Furthermore, these numbers can be posted in the vestibule, distributed in our
high schools and colleges, put in parish mailings, and displayed in the local
press or cable TV bulletin board.