Feeling Grateful on National Philanthropy Day

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the creative light of altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness… Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is National Philanthropy Day – a day to celebrate charitable work, sacrifice, and generosity. Everyone can make a difference in their community, whether it be with money, resources, or time. You need only choose a cause you feel passionate about.

At Options United, we care about the women, babies, families, and communities impacted by abortion. We know that abortion ends the life of an innocent human being and forever alters the lives of everyone around them. We know mothers can experience physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences after an abortion. We know that women are often manipulated by the abortion industry, feeling they have no other choice.

Our mission is to remedy this by connecting women facing crisis pregnancies with local pregnancy resource centers and clinics where they will receive the information and resources they need to choose LIFE.

To do this, we rely on partnerships with many incredible people.

Call responders and managers operating the crisis call center, lovingly responding to callers and their difficult situations.

Pregnancy resource centers and clinics, adoption organizations, and post-abortion counselors who provide the free services these mothers need.

Generous monthly and one-time donors who enable us to be fully-staffed and market to women who need help and support.

The definition of philanthropy is “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.” As we reflect on this national holiday, I can’t help but thank God for all of the amazing people who have believed in and supported our mission – resulting in lives being changed for the better!

We couldn’t help mothers and babies without your support. In the last 10 years of Options United’s existence, we’ve confirmed over 2,600 women have decided to keep their baby after calling Options United!

It is a wonderful thing to give life. $76 is all it takes to save a life.

If you’re inspired by Options United’s mission and work this National Philanthropy Day, we would greatly appreciate your financial partnership, whether it’s a one-time gift or a monthly commitment that can be canceled at any time. You can donate here!

The Role of Grace in the Pro-Life Movement

In preparation for National Inspirational Role Models Month, I thought up the names of numerous pro-life figures who have been influential in my learning and activism. As I thought of names like Abby Johnson, Dr. Anthony Levatino, and Norma McCorvey, my mind raced through the potential backlash we might face on social media.

Abby Johnson was the Director of Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas and had two abortions herself. 

Dr. Anthony Levatino was an abortionist who ended the lives of over 1,200 babies in the womb.

Norma McCorvey was “Roe” in the infamous and devastating Roe v. Wade case in 1973.

But then it struck me. The key word. Was.

Abby Johnson is now an incredible pro-life activist. She left Planned Parenthood after performing an ultrasound to guide an abortionist during a vacuum aspiration abortion. She saw the baby fight the deadly instruments and something in her snapped. She realized the truth of abortion and it nearly destroyed her. Abby ultimately used her guilt and pain, combined with the knowledge of Planned Parenthood’s shady practices, to become a sidewalk counselor, write books (one of which is now a movie), (link) and start a non-profit organization dedicated to freeing abortion workers from the industry. She helps women choose life and former abortion workers find new life-affirming, women-supporting jobs they can be proud of.

Dr. Anthony Levatino is now a pro-life advocate, working as an OBGYN to help women, children, and families. He started his own private practice to encourage mothers to choose life. He explained the realities of abortion clinics and procedures, providing shocking insider information, as well as his personal testimony in heart-wrenching videos done through Live Action (link). Dr. Levatino has also testified before Congress to expose the true, grim nature of the abortion industry and life-ending procedures he previously took part in.

Before passing away in 2017, Norma McCorvey gave birth to the baby who led to her involvement in the Roe v. Wade case, as the entire process took three years. That baby was adopted by another family. Norma later regretted her involvement in making abortion legal, citing it as the biggest mistake of her life. She felt she had been used and manipulated by her young and ambitious “pro-choice” lawyers. Norma became a Catholic pro-life advocate and spent the rest of her life trying to undo her mistakes.

Although these people made tremendous, life-ending mistakes, I find them to be some of the most effective champions of the pro-life cause.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23 (NIV)

Without these brave souls, who courageously share their devastating mistakes with the world, we would have little understanding of the minds, hearts, and intentions of pro-choice people. We would lose the opportunity to learn how to best reach people who are lost with the grace, tenderness, and compassion they need –  whether they work in the abortion industry or have had an abortion themselves.

To me, the pro-life movement is characterized by our love and mercy, as we exemplify Christ’s forgiveness and redemptive power.

The men and women who step up to share their regrets and mobilize alongside us should be met with open arms, prayers, and healing resources. These people are best equipped to reach those ensnared by the lies and manipulation of the abortion industry. We need only provide them the opportunity to thrive.

Make a Difference Day

Every day is worth celebrating, and the 4th Saturday of October is no exception. Why? Today is Make a Difference Day! This day has been celebrated since 1992, drawing attention to the importance of making a positive impact in the world – whether that’s through donating money, volunteering time and labor, or raising awareness on important issues.

Every non-profit relies on the generosity and goodwill of organizations, businesses, and people to function and thrive. Without donors, supporters, and volunteers, they wouldn’t be able to grow, reach more people, and expand their impact.

This is also true for Options United.

Options United is a 501c3 non-profit organization serving other pro-life organizations and families alike. How do we do this? We’re a pro-life call center that is available for and actively reaches out to women experiencing a crisis pregnancy. We talk them through their situation and refer them to a local pregnancy resource center or clinic. There, they receive free support and services, including a free pregnancy test, possible ultrasound and material resources, and information on all of their options – adoption, parenting, and abortion. We also refer to adoption organizations and post-abortion counselors.

Why do we do this? We know that women are targeted and deceived by the abortion industry, preying upon their vulnerability in difficult situations.But when a woman is made aware of all of her options and understands/sees the human life growing inside of her, she is more likely to choose life through parenting or adoption.

We utilize online platforms to reach women where they’re at – on their phones and laptops. And we direct clients towards the wonderful clinics and centers dedicated to helping women and families – organizations these women may never have known about if it weren’t for their call to Options United.

This Make a Difference Day, you may be inspired to do something. You may be wondering how you can engage with the pro-life movement and Options United. Here are five ways to get started!

1. Donate

What a wonderful gift to give life! Whether it is a monthly commitment or a one-time offer, your generous donations go towards helping women in need of compassionate assistance and innocent babies who deserve a chance at life. You can send in a donation herehttps://www.optionsunited.com/donate/!

2. Apply

Our trained, professional, and compassionate call responders manage our helpline and live chat daily, offering women the care they need as quickly as possible. If you’re interested in this work, we’d love to get your application! You can also help by becoming a church or pregnancy resource center liaison to help us build relationships with communities involved in this important mission! Your time is precious and we value it! Apply here.

3. Connect

We’re on social media! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. There are so many ways to engage with us there – like, follow, subscribe, comment, and share with your friends. We’d love to hear from you.

4. Pray

We believe in the power of prayer! We pray for our clients and staff – and you can join us in that! Download the App for Life to join a virtual community of people united in prayer for life. There, you’ll find pseudonyms for women who actually call us looking for an abortion. You can pray for them by name or as a whole. You’ll also find the current number of babies saved and other resources.

5. Stay tuned!

We’ve got lots in store for you! Not only will you find more blogs here and various content on our social media, but we have regular newsletters. These will keep you updated on what’s happening at Options United, including save stories, events, and pro-life news. You can sign up by emailing us at info@optionsunited.com

Without the support of incredible, generous people like you, we couldn’t help mothers and babies during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives. In the 10 years Options United has existed, we’ve confirmed over 2,500 babies saved following our conversations with their mothers.

Our victories are your victories, and we can’t thank you enough for your support!

3,000 Voices Silenced Each Day… What Are You Doing About It?

When I was in high school, I was fairly active with an organization that helped innocent people being tortured, mutilated, abducted, enslaved, and murdered by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a terrorist organization in Africa. One of the campaigns I participated in was a day of silence to stand in solidarity with the victims, raise money, and draw attention to this important issue.

Silence usually has a negative connotation in the context of “social justice” causes. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” However, silence is also a fairly common form of protest.

In a world where people tend to speak more than listen, silence can stick out like a sore thumb.

And that’s what today is all about. Every year on the third Tuesday of October, students participate in National Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity, practicing silence, wearing red armbands, hosting events, and posting online to recognize the approximately 3,000 babies whose voices are silenced through abortion every day in the US.

Those 3,000 voices will never be heard. Those 3,000 children will never have the opportunity to stand up for themselves, speak on their own behalf, and defend their God-given right to life.

We have a moral obligation to use our life, time, resources, and energy to fight injustice. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

The persecution, torture, and genocide of innocent people has happened countless times across history. Perhaps the first things that come to mind for you are slavery, the Holocaust, and various other well-known tragedies. People often question how these atrocities were able to occur without more resistance. I’d argue that much of it was due to ignorance and compelled silence.

Fortunately, the Constitution of the United States of America protects citizens against punishment when peaceably standing for what’s right. Silence and apathy in the face of injustice – especially one so severe as abortion – are unacceptable.

So this National Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity, I urge you to use your voice to make a difference. Purposefully withhold your voice or project it loudly. Speak through your actions by wearing a red armband or pro-life gear. Share information on your social media to raise awareness. Have meaningful, open conversations with people on your campus and in your community. Advocate for mothers and their children at local events or protests. Lobby in your local government offices or Capitol. Lovingly reach out to women in crisis outside of abortion clinics. There are endless opportunities to be active in this movement today and every day. You can truly make a real difference.

You’ve been blessed with life.

You’ve been blessed with a voice.

You’ve been blessed with freedom.

Use them wisely.

Creating New Structures in the Digital Age: Why the Pro-Life Movement Must Create a Strong Online Presence

The pro-life movement must endure; its values and members are the salt of the earth.

To last and succeed, the pro-life movement should learn from Big Tech. Pro-life organizations currently utilize technology only to their level of comfort rather than their full potential. That needs to change. Here’s how…

All pro-life groups are at the mercy of ever-changing digital marketing and the evermore hostile Big Tech that happily hamper results. Sticking to the old ways of doing business will not improve the situation: local branding, operating as a stand-alone organization while disregarding the strengths of the rest of the vibrant movement, and adding services without expanding the customer base with new technology.

Relying on a nice website or store front with pleasing fonts and color palettes are not the future.

The future belongs to collaborative initiatives such as common marketing and scheduling, collaborating data, one unified messaging system, leveraging budgets, portal sites to promote all brands, and shared tools to increase results. To achieve these goals, the pro-life movement must begin utilizing economies of scale afforded by digital technology and eliminate the duplication of efforts.  

Direct service and marketing organizations should think outside of their brand or bricks-and-mortar and more in terms of leveraging assets and resources digitally.

That means viewing the work not as a product but as a service platform. This conceptual change will permit more robust efficiency within the movement. Developing a true Digital Age ecosystem will make the movement capable of carrying more services and messages that impact more people and organizations. A common strategy that allows for diversity of approaches is a model that we should strive for together. 

Working in unison has always been a challenge for the pro-life movement. Independent groups working in their own geographic or brand silo might possibly be a cause for the movement’s durability, but it certainly limits the impact of its efforts. If the basic goal of the movement is to serve more people with life-affirming assistance, then we should seek out strategic weaknesses like fearmongering about legal risk or viewing the struggle through one point on the map – one organization’s budget in one 15-mile radius is nothing compared to the cultural problem the pro-life movement faces. Today technology affords us the ability to harness diverse strategies with big impact while leveraging many budgets aimed at a common goal. We should take advantage of it. By doing so we could assist perhaps millions more people. 

Finally, it is true in the nonprofit world that some organizations have more funding than program. That is, they can talk a good program but may lack the results to be more effective.  These organizations are sometimes dubbed “a mile wide and an inch deep,” appearing large without achieving lasting results. 

If an organization leader feels this dilemma and sees technology as a possible solution, this reality should open the door for merging organizations or at least seeking a deep collaboration. Adapting new technology and its management requires an influx of capital and resources. That capital could be generated by simply merging two similar nonprofits or programs which would allow for the blossoming of more results with the same donor funding. Technology makes this more possible now.

Mergers in the nonprofit world are not as common as in the for-profit arena given in part that the emotion of a nonprofit ministry can be more intense and the vision of the founder possibly overly constricting. The downside is that, if not done correctly, both organizations could suffer lasting harm. The upside is that donors would be energized with a new development and more people would be impacted by the pro-life movement.  

Donors should take note. A strategic shift to technology integration is the future. No change takes place in the nonprofit world without visionary donors who possess a drive for efficiency. Pro-life leaders will take heed if you push for efficient results, innovating for the 21st century. 

Fear and insecurity mute both our strength (respect for all life) and the delivery system (digital technology). We should not fear change but permit technology to enhance our impact. Our overall mission is bigger than one organization or a small geographic radius. We should seek creative expansion with the tools of the Digital Age.