Pro-Lifers

It’s not something we do. It’s something we are” – A 4-generation legacy of life and pregnancy help 

By Patty Knap 

“It’s not something we do,” Brandon Monahan said. “It’s something we are.”    

Monahan is the proud grandson of the late Virginia Evers, creator of the famous Precious Feet pin, and the late Ellis Evers. He is the CEO of Heritage House ’76, the venerable resource for pro-life materials, founded by his grandparents.

Brandon Monahan has been immersed in pro-life and pregnancy help work all of his life because of his family’s devotion to the cause, and each subsequent generation of the family continues to pass the commitment down.

Monahan’s mother Dinah Evers Monahan cannot remember not being involved in pro-life efforts. 

At the time of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, her parents were already fighting against abortion in California, one of a handful of states that allowed abortion prior to the 1973 landmark ruling legalizing abortion in the United States throughout pregnancy. 

Virginia and Ellis Evers were devoted to pro-life ministry. 

In addition to Heritage House, they also founded an organization called the Life and Family Foundation to help educate on the devastation of legalized abortion and encourage others to speak out against it.

“My parents were just so passionate about the topic,” Dinah Monahan said. “It was just the most crucial issue to them, and of course it (the issue) still is today.” 

“They would talk to anyone anywhere about it,” she said, “trying to explain the horror of allowing mothers to pay someone to kill their child and trying to enlist others to work with them to create alternatives.” 

One example of her parents’ compassion and generosity still stands out.

When the Evers’s first married, they didn’t have much. Ellis Evers’s cousin became pregnant out of wedlock. The girl went to stay at a convent while much of her family and the community shunned her. 

“At that time, if you were unmarried and pregnant, you went to stay with the nuns,” Dinah Monahan said, “and adoption was the norm.”  

 Virginia Evers felt only love and compassion for the young mother, Dinah Monahan said, and she paid someone 25 cents to drive her the 40 miles to see her. The mother decided to raise her baby herself, and years later she told Virginia Evers, “You were the only one who came to visit me.”

The Evers family regularly assisted other families in need with food and clothing.

“It was just always the message of offering help, doing what we could,” Dinah Monahan said, “especially for pregnant moms.” 

Her parents created the iconic Precious Feet pin in 1974.  

Through their advocacy the Evers’s developed longtime friendships with numerous pro-life leaders. Virginia Evers had asked conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly what she thought of the Precious Feet pin, prompting Schlafly to order 1000 pins.

After they started Heritage House ’76 for the U.S. bicentennial in 1976, selling American flags, eagles, bumper stickers, and more, the Evers’s added the new baby feet pins. 

When they were young Dinah Monahan and her siblings attached the Precious Feet pins to small cards for Heritage House orders. 

At that time Heritage House would create pro-life materials where none existed whenever the need arose.

“When there was no literature available to hand out, you couldn’t just order 100 of this or that,” Dinah Monahan recalled. “My father’s secretary would type something and copy it.”  

Seeing the need for a source of pro-life literature, fetal models, and resources, the Evers’s switched from patriotic to pro-life materials. 

Dinah Monahan’s parents were invited to speak worldwide about the pro-life cause. She remembers her father being asked to speak at France’s national pro-life conference and her memorizing his entire talk in French. 

Dinah Monahan was on her way to being a voice for life in her own right when she began speaking to classes at her Christian college about abortion and unplanned pregnancies. 

When she married Mike Monahan her work in pregnancy help expanded significantly. Together they opened three pregnancy centers in the White Mountains of Arizona, including the only one on the Fort Apache Indian reservation, as well as a maternity home on their own property.  

While raising their own five children, Dinah and Mike Monahan took in pregnant girls, housing them in a mobile home on their property through a Heritage House-sponsored program. The young moms would live there while working or going to school and receiving counseling about either parenting their baby or making an adoption plan. 

Dinah Monahan and Heritage House pioneered the Earn While you Learn pregnancy help curriculum. Her dedication to pregnancy help earned her Heartbeat International’s Legacy Award in 2021.

After Mike Monahan retired, he and Dinah Monahan became missionaries in Ethiopia where they helped develop a maternity home. 

Unlike in the U.S., where there is significant support for pregnant women, there was no help for these women, Dinah Monahan said. 

“I saw incredible poverty and no safety net,” she said. “These young women were kicked out of their homes and villages and there were no programs or organizations to help them.”

“At first, I was upset with the girls in our maternity homes in Arizona because they had so much (compared to the girls in Ethiopia),” she said. “And then God spoke to me. There is a poverty of the soul that is as debilitating as physical poverty.” 

Now while the Bible is shared with these Ethiopian women in need, they are connected to a network of help including housing.

Tragically, Mike Monahan died in an ATV accident in 2016, survived by Dinah Monahan, their five children and 26 grandchildren, along with their legacy of pregnancy help.

Mike and Dinah Monahan’s powerful example of love and charity was a valuable education for their children.

Brandon Monahan demonstrating against abortion as a child/Monahan family 

Growing up, the Monahans’ son Brandon remembers that theirs was “always a house full of people.” 

The Monahan family modeled structure for the pregnant girls staying in their home, having the girls help with dinner and clean up, participating in the family’s life.

His parents learned of young women in need in a variety of ways; sometimes through the grapevine, referrals from people who knew they helped women in unplanned pregnancies, or his father, a school principal, would hear about a pregnant student that was being told to abort or leave home. The family took in people with other needs as well. 

“It was about the value of human life,” Brandon Monahan said, “but not every person who stayed with us was pregnant. At one point a Vietnamese family of eight who came to the U.S. because of persecution stayed in my sister’s bedroom for a few months.”

In high school, Brandon Monahan and his sister Harmony were part of a pro-life club, and when not in school, the two of them also spent many hours helping affix Precious Feet pins to tiny cards at Heritage House. Harmony Monahan worked for Arizona Right to Life for several years before becoming a full-time mom.

Brandon Monahan’s wife Dawn “has a big heart for foster kids after having been fostered herself,” he said. 

In addition to fostering children and performing foster care training, they have three biological children and three adopted children, and they support an adoption fund that assists couples looking to adopt but for whom the cost is prohibitive. 

Brandon and Dawn Monahan’s children have also pinned Precious Feet pins to cards around their table at home for Heritage House – the fourth generation continuing the legacy of love for the unborn. 

Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.

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