When the moment is right, you need to lean in, hold one another up, and sling big things. This was the theme of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s remarks to supporters at Vitae Foundation’s 25th Anniversary events Wednesday and Thursday in Jefferson City, Mo.
Hasselbeck shared an embarrassing moment from a White House visit to make a point.
While only in their twenties, she and husband Tim Hasselbeck (NFL quarterback at the time) were invited to a White House dinner during the George W. Bush era. Elisabeth said she was totally out of her comfort zone, especially since the Queen of England and Prince Philip were there. Prince Charles was even at her table—along with Condoleezza Rice and Gov. Jeb Bush. Having Celiac Disease, she couldn’t eat most of the food, so when a beautiful bowl was presented filled with liquid, she started to put it to her mouth. Before she could take a drink, Gov. Bush leaned in and said, “You might not want to drink that. It’s for your hands.”
“I almost drank the fancy Purell!” Hasselbeck told over 1,000 people gathered at the Capitol Plaza Hotel for both dinner and breakfast events. “My point is that Gov. Bush gave me information so that I could choose my next step. This story highlights the first of three ways Vitae, you and me are working together to speak life and save lives. Leaning in is the first step in difference making.”
The former Emmy-winning cohost of The View said that leaning in is a lot like going into those uncomfortable situations and conversations with life-saving research-based information.
It’s conversation, not condemnation. Leaning in looks a lot like love.
“Leaning in looks a lot like being here with Vitae and making a promise to one another to stay the course. There’s another side entering into this battle, and they’ve been here for a while. I believe we can fight harder than they can. I believe that because with Vitae we already are,” Hasselbeck stated. “With researched information, I could handle the situation (on The View) because I was armed with statistics. That was a game changer for me.”
When the topic of late-term abortion came up one day on The View, Hasselbeck remembered a specific co-host saying, “Well, only a small percentage of life would be affected.” In that moment the lone conservative voice could lean in with research, and reach out with results in that conversation. “I could speak the actual number of lives that would be terminated and tell those million viewers that every one of those heartbeats mattered,” the former View co-host stated.
“Such research-based information and facts like Vitae provides allowed me, whether I was interviewing a presidential candidate, a rep from Planned Parenthood, a head of state, or debating the likes of Barbara Walters, Rosie or Whoopi or any of my friends at that table, to counter their false claims with fact,” Hasselbeck noted. “We must have continued confidence that we can move on this path with Vitae to turn the volume up on choosing life in this world.”
The former Fox & Friends co-host warned that no one ever said that leaning in was easy or comfortable. That led her to her second element: Holding one another up. She noted the Old Testament story of Moses, about him standing above the Israelites who were fighting. He held his hands up and prayed for them. They would win when his arms were up. As his hands got tired, they would begin losing their footing in their battle. His friends, Aaron and Hur, noticed this so they would hold Moses’ arms up. At the end of the day the Israelites were victorious.
“In this task that we have before us with Vitae, our arms will get tired at times, too. There’s an enemy that wants to stop us in our tracks, and the minute we get tired and our arms come down, that enemy wants to fill this world with false truth that the lives of the unborn and innocent don’t matter, but they do!” Hasselbeck stated.
The bottom line, according to the Boston College graduate, is the lives of those innocent babies are counting on all of us. “As we lean in, and we hold each others arms up, there’s work to be done. We also need to sling big things, and that’s number three,” Hasselbeck noted.
Recently the Hasselbeck children were given slingshots from a family friend, much to the chagrin of their mother. Let’s face it, slingshots are the pathway to destruction in the eyes of mothers. But there was another lesson to be learned that day. As her children continued to ask for bigger things to sling, her friend said, “We are meant to sling big things.”
“He was right,” the mother of three stated. “Together with Vitae, we can sling bigger things each and everyday. You already are. I know for a fact that Vitae has and will continue to sling big things when it comes to getting fact-based information to Pregnancy Help Centers, the media, and women in uncomfortable situations.”
Hasselbeck ended by asking the crowd to envision God holding them, holding the slingshot. “If you don’t stretch the band far enough, your rock doesn’t go very far. This band is like your faith, your contributions, and your conversations. The further you stretch it, the further the rock will go. I hope you feel moved to sling big things with Vitae, and expand the hearts of the next generation. You are a room full of powerful people ready to sling big things!” Hasselbeck encouraged.
During this celebration of 25 years of media messaging, Vitae Founder Carl Landwehr thanked those who were there in the very beginning and all those who have become supporters along the way. He referred to everyone as heroes. After all, in the early days there was no playbook on this issue. But over time, we’ve watch the number of Pregnancy Help Centers grow and abortion facilities decline.
“They are losing market share. Think of it like a backyard wading pool. You turn on a faucet, and the pool is filled more and more until the kids start getting afraid. Moms and Dads try to save the little kids in the pool. That’s what Vitae does. We’re helping Pregnancy Help Centers by turning off the water, or turning off the culture that’s driving abortion,” Landwehr explained.
Vitae Senior Market Director Stacey Kromer gave the audiences a clear picture of what Vitae does. First of all, Vitae holds the world’s largest knowledge-base of information on abortion decision-making. Vitae’s Right Brain research is used to craft messages targeted to abortion-minded women, and they are reached through the most effective method, inbound marketing.
“These two things help the Pregnancy Help Center movement save hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars,” Kromer stated. “As centers transition from traditional media — TV, radio, billboards — to digital media such as paid search and social media, more lives and more importantly more generations will be saved.”
Kromer stated that Vitae is also changing the culture and values on a national level. In just the last few months, Vitae’s Jeff Pauls, Ph.D., has presented at the March for Life, the Catholic Medical Association, congressional delegations, and was named an Associate Scholar by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a national organization that brings together physicians, sociologists, statisticians for researching life issues.
Since the release of Vitae’s seventh Right Brain research study, Dr. Pauls and others have been sharing our vast knowledge on a women’s abortion decision-making process with pro-life groups across the country.
“The two largest Pregnancy Help Center networks, Heartbeat International and CareNet, invited us to engage in conversations about disseminating our research to their networks of centers,” Kromer announced. “How exciting it is to be immediately assisting Pregnancy Help Centers while building a bigger vision to impact the culture.”
Today, Vitae is in 15 of the top 25 media markets in the U.S. “We go into the most abortion-prone communities in the country because more lives are at stake. Even on Sunday, abortions are being performed and are discounted,” Kromer noted.
Vitae is about research, reach and results. As Elisabeth Hasselbeck so eloquently put it,
“The reach that we hear about in Vitae’s mission means standing in the gap with women, and being able to point them to the grace of the cross so that they can know that we have a God that does not let go. He does not let go of them or their babies, so they can be messengers of the truth and lean in to the next woman going in facing that situation and meeting her exactly where she is.”
For more information about Vitae, go to AdsForLife.org.