Between September 28-30th, 2017, Asociaţia pentru Sprijinirea Femeii Însărcinate şi a Familiei (The Association Supporting Pregnant Women and Family) organized a pregnancy help training.
At the National Continuing Education Center “Dumitru Stăniloae” from the Orthodox Theology School of the Bucharest University, the 65 training participants from all over Romania learned how to set up centers offering pregnancy help, and how to communicate with and offer counsel to women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy.
The trainers were:
- Margaret Hartshorn, Founder and Board Chair of Heartbeat International, the largest international network of support centers for women in pregnancy crisis;
- Mary Peterson, specialist at the National Maternity Housing Coalition from the US;
- Vesna Radeka, President of the “Chose Life” Maternity Center from Serbia, which offers support for pregnant women who do not get support from their partners or extended families.
The concept of pregnancy crisis is little known in Romania and even abroad. Almost 70% of surveyed US women have declared they chose abortion against their own will and conscience, because their partners do not assume the consequences of their relationship and instead put pressure on them, along with their own family, to not choose life for their babies.
Peggy Heartshorn (photo above left), from Heartbeat International, explained that offering moral and material support to the woman in pregnancy crisis shall help her give birth to her baby:
Our approach of pregnancy crisis is woman-centered. We have seen that, if we manage to focus on the woman and her needs, if we offer her moral and material help, most often we can save her baby’s life, and, in addition to that, we can bring a huge positive change, helping her heal her wounds and adopt a healthy vision about herself and her life. We are not just saving an unborn child. What we actually do is lovingly helping the mother to make herself a choice for life together with God, Who works in her heart.
The Heartbeat International network, based in Columbus, Ohio (US), was established in 1971 and it now includes 1,300 of the approximately 2,500 pro-life clinics and pregnancy help centers operating in the US. In 2015, the US Heartbeat centers saved from abortion 160,000 unborn children (one child every four minutes!), which is over half the total number of American children saved by these centers. Other 700 similar centers across all continents are affiliated to the Heartbeat International network, which offers them training, know-how and useful tools for their activity. By comparison, the number of abortion clinics in the US amounts to no more than 800.
After the training, the Romanian organizer launched in Bucharest the Counseling Center for Parents and Children “Saint Alexandra The Empress”. In addition to its activity of support for women and families, the center shall also offer know-how for similar initiatives from Romania.