Hannah radiates joy. It’s hard to imagine this beautiful young woman shooting heroin and high on other drugs just a year ago. Her life was so radically changed because of her pregnancy and through the love of Christ she received onboard The Pregnancy Center’s Stork Bus.
I love stories. They’re powerful and no one can argue with someone’s story. In the pro life and pro choice debate, arguments escalate as opinions are tossed around concerning whose life is more important and when life becomes worth protecting. But when someone shares their story, the room goes silent. Her story matters. Her journey, her pain, her fear, her circumstances all matter.
When culture encourages her to remove her perceived problems, she isn’t actually being empowered. She’s subtly told that she’s not strong enough, not good enough, not valued enough.
Hannah received pressure from her friends after she found out she was pregnant. The pressure and fears are the same for many who find themselves in an unexpected pregnancy. “Don’t throw your life away.” “Abortion isn’t a big deal, it’ll just take three hours and you’ll go on with your life.”
As I meet nurses who serve on Stork Buses across the country, I ask them why most of their clients are considering abortion.
Convenience – “I just don’t have time to deal with a child, my life is too crazy.”
Career – “If I have a baby I won’t be able to meet my career goals.”
Education – “If I have a baby now, I’ll never be able to finish school or go to or finish college.”
Economic – “I cannot afford having a baby.”
Housing – “I don’t have a place to stay, if I have this baby my family/boyfriend will force me out of my home.”
Support – “I am alone, no family or partner would support me if I have this baby. I cannot do this alone.”
Timing – “I am too young. I am not ready. I don’t want to start a family yet.”
The professional medical staff on a Stork Bus listens to the fears of a young woman as she expresses why she feels that abortion is her only answer. They hear the “why” behind her reasoning and then inform her of all the options and support available to her. They educate her on community resources that go beyond the huge supply of education and practical support from the pregnancy center itself.
For Hannah, she was pressured by her friends who tried to say that her career and educational goals justified removing what they thought would hinder her.
Hannah was brave. She learned about the support available to her and chose not to remove what others saw as a hindrance. Rather, she chose to accept her little daughter and to take each day as it comes. Of course it isn’t easy, but it will be worth it. She’s hopeful. She’s joyful to welcome her little girl this spring. She decided not to believe all the voices that told her she can’t and chose to accept the reality that she can. She can be successful and a mom. She can achieve her goals and provide for her daughter. She has support both in her family, her church, and at The Pregnancy Center.
Valerie Millsapps, the executive director of The Pregnancy Center in Maryville said in an interview to Hannah: “I am so proud of you. I know that there are voices that tell you “you’re all alone,” but remember whose voice that is. You can reach out to me or anyone in the center and we will kick those lies out together.”
With a beaming smile Hannah responded to Valerie’s words, “It’s so nice to have someone I can be completely comfortable and honest with and know that nothing I say will leave. I’m so thankful to have a family supportive feeling at this place. It’s so cool to know you have a whole family around you though you’ve only known them for like five months.”
Save the Storks honored Hannah’s bravery at the 2019 Stork Ball in Washington DC. We prayed for her and offered a scholarship to help her achieve her dream of becoming a worship leader. She’s extremely gifted as a musician and we know that God will use her story to inspire others to be brave.
Everyone has choice. Some situations have no easy option. Both decisions carry with them their own unique difficulty. Abortion seems like the only answer to immediate fears for many women, but few realize the lasting impact that decision will have on their lives. Save the Storks and our affiliates at pregnancy centers around the country is passionate about giving women real education. We want women to know the vast support system that exists for them no matter what their choice is. Choosing life will change the life of the mother. We don’t deny that. But we will stand with her through the journey. We will love her no matter what.
It has been an honor to journey with Hannah. We’re thankful to be part of her story and to walk alongside her through the excitement and through the difficulties that are both a reality of her pregnancy.
We’re about supporting women. We know that being pro life is also pro women. Let’s support women. Let those around you know that you’re there for whoever needs support, love, and compassion. Let’s stand together and take action to meet the needs of the people around us.
We exist to save the storks – to help those who carry the baby so that both are preserved, loved, and celebrated.