By Lisa Bourne
Four million individuals have received assistance from Option Line, Heartbeat International’s pro-life contact center providing round-the-clock support for women and families in need.
This week Heartbeat International’s Option Line, the only fully staffed, 24/7 bilingual pro-life contact center in the United States, hit the major milestone of having served its 4-millionth client with life-saving assistance and resources.
“The Option Line staff works hard to answer each of these contacts in a spirit of love and compassion,” said Option Line Director Nafisa Kennedy. “It is because of their dedication, which at times has required sacrifice, that our lines remain open 24/7.”
“They are heroes,” Kennedy said, “and these seemingly small interactions are momentous in the lives of the people they serve.”
The calls for help come from all over the world to Option Line, and the pro-life contact center’s Life Affirming Specialists provide consultation on abortion, adoption and parenting. They first meet the client’s immediate needs and then connect them directly with their local pregnancy help organization, scheduling appointments in real-time through a state-of-the-art system. Option Line partners with centers to take 100-percent of their calls after hours and schedule appointments for when the centers reopen.
The 4-millionth client was a woman in India who reached out to Option Line’s Live Chat for some general information about pregnancy early in the morning of August 24, 2020. She was routed to a seasoned consultant who has been working with Option Line since 2013 and who helped her sort through her concerns and find pregnancy help near her area via Heartbeat International’s Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help.
“This contact, whose interaction was extremely ordinary by Option Line standards, is special because she represents the 4 millionth time Option Line has been there to answer in time of need,” said Kennedy, who has worked with OL since early 2006, and became director in 2017.
“This international client was provided help because of Heartbeat International’s Worldwide Directory,” Kennedy said, “highlighting the fact that pregnancy help is needed across the globe. Even though the client reached out at a time of day when centers typically are not open, they were still connected to a pregnancy help cent
The Option Line consultant who served the 4-millionth client said that she loves assisting others through Option Line, and draws on her own experience with an unplanned pregnancy to minister to others, stating,
“I love what I do!” she exclaimed. “I had an unplanned pregnancy in college and my daughter is the BIGGEST blessing in my life. Because of my life experiences I can relate to young women in crisis. I wouldn’t want any other job!”
Bri Laycock is Heartbeat International’s Senior Director of Ministry Solutions, and previously she worked at Option Line beginning a month after it began.
“In that first month we received around a thousand calls and we were thrilled,” she said. “I never could have guessed that 17 years later we’d have reached 4 million people through phones, emails, chats and text messages.”
Laycock was Option Line director in July 2014 when the 2-millionth contact came in by phone in the middle of the night.