by Marc and Julie Anderson
OVERLAND PARK — Every 10 minutes, a Vitae Foundation ad helps an abortion-determined woman.
That was the statistic Anne Carmichael, senior market director for the Vitae Foundation, shared at the foundation’s annual Kansas City event.
Held Sept. 7 at the Overland Park Convention Center, the evening featured Lamar Hunt Jr. as master of ceremonies, choral selections by the St. Michael Schola Cantorum and recognition of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann (see sidebar).
Approximately 600 people attended the fundraiser aimed at helping the foundation accomplish its mission of “creating a culture of life by using research-based messaging and cutting-edge media to inform women facing an untimely pregnancy about local pregnancy help centers; educating the public about the value and sanctity of human life; and restoring the value of life as a core belief in America.”
Founded in Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1992, the national organization is now in 10 media markets. In her remarks, Carmichael said that in the early days, the foundation worked to get ads out to women facing unexpected pregnancies. Today, women often find the ads themselves.
In turn, they are increasingly finding pregnancy help centers. To put it in perspective, she said, even though abortion providers spend $190 million in marketing abortion, providers admit pregnancy resource centers outperform them 5 to 1.
In her keynote address, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a co-host of “The View” from 2003-2013, shared her love of Vitae Foundation’s pro-life ministry.
“I really believe there are three ways Vitae is working to make a big difference and has been for many, many years and will continue to do so with our help,” she said.
The three ways, Hasselbeck noted, are leaning in, holding each other up and slinging big things.
“I was able to speak life and truth to over one million viewers every 15 minutes [on ‘The View’]” she said. “That’s a lot of impact.”
She relied heavily, she said, on the Vitae Foundation to provide her with the research and statistics she needed.
“I could lean into the conversation with information, real information,” she said.
Some 82 percent of women, for example, who made the decision to abort would have chosen life if just one person would have encouraged them, she continued.
In addition to leaning in with real, factual information, Hasselbeck said, those involved in pro-life ministry need to help hold up each other’s arms.
When weighted down with fatigue, those involved with the Vitae Foundation should recall the story of Moses found in Ex 17:11-12. The passage describes how as long as Moses held up his arms in prayer, the Israelites prevailed, but when Moses let his arms down, the Israelites struggled.
So, Aaron and Hur supported the hands of Moses and stood on either side of him.
“We’re holding each other’s arms up in the task,” Hasselbeck said.
Finally, she recalled how a friend’s visit, complete with an unexpected gift of slingshots for her children, offered a unique perspective on pro-life ministry.
“All [my friend] kept saying was that we’re meant to sling big things,” she said as her children put marshmallows, oranges and apples in their slingshots.
Nowadays, Hasselbeck keeps a slingshot with her whenever she is about to embark on something big. Looking out at the crowd, she asked everyone to stand up, lean in toward each other and lift up the arms of those sitting on either side.
As the crowd followed her instructions, she said, “What I see from here are a bunch of pretty influential, impactful, excellent slingshots.”
Slinging something really big, she told the crowd, requires stretching that band.
“The more we stretch in faith and in trust and in giving and in communicating this message of the culture of life,” she said, “the farther that rock messaging goes.”