This week I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Emily Berning. As one of the creators of Let Them Live, an organization dedicated to supporting financially struggling Mothers who are considering abortion by taking donations and offering assistance through the process of ultimately deciding to and giving birth, Emily took the time to answer questions about the work that they do for the pro-life movement. This is an essential service in modern America, allowing pregnant women the freedom and peace of mind to keep hope alive as they make the choice to keep their child. The work she and her team do is a true life inspiration, and it should give us all hope for humanity to see a group of people working so hard for what is right in this world by helping to bring in new life.
Here’s what she had to say about Let Them Live, the pro-life movement and standing up against the dire issue of abortion in America.
Jacob: I understand this organization began with a personal experience you had helping a homeless woman who was considering abortion. You ended up saving the baby and beginning the organization Let Them Live. Can you go into more detail on what that first experience was like?
Emily: I remember this like it was yesterday. Nate and I were newly married (about 3 months) and it was probably 3 am when Nathan was on Facebook in a pro-life group. A young woman was commenting on a post about how her cousin had an abortion scheduled and asking for advice on how to help her cancel it. Nate messaged her directly and asked “Why is your cousin having an abortion?”
It turns out she was evicted, living in her car in freezing weather in the middle of December. She didn’t have any money to pay her bills or even buy food but where she lives, abortion is funded by the government so it wouldn’t cost her a thing. I remember Nate nudging me awake and saying, “Do you want to save a life? Do you want to save a baby from abortion?” I immediately said yes and the next thing I know, Nate and I emptied our bank account (it didn’t have much in it) so that she could pay her bills and get food and shelter.
We knew in that moment that we found something unique to address within the context of abortion. It turns out that 73% of women have abortions because of financial burden (Guttmacher Institute) so we knew that something needed to be done.
And the rest is history!
Jacob: Do you have any children of your own?
Emily: While Nathan and I have tried for 3 years to start a family, we have been unable to and just found out recently that we are unable to have children of our own. This was really sad news for us, but so amazing that Nate and I get to experience and be part of the lives of hundreds (and hopefully someday, millions) of babies thanks to LTL.
Jacob: Let Them Live was founded in 2019. How many children has your organization saved from abortion since its beginning?
Emily: We have helped over 300 women since our founding (that we know of) and countless others that we may never know about.
Jacob: Do you have any favorite stories you would like to share of helping any individual Mothers?
Emily: The stories of each mom we have helped are so special because it is a testament to the power of love and support during a time of hopelessness. Each mom we help is incredibly strong and courageous and their babies are so lucky to have such great role models.
Hereis a docuseries episode about our mom, Jackie and how she chose life.
Another story in particular, though, hits home for me. Atoria is a mom who lost her job, became homeless, was living in her car, abandoned by her family and the father of her baby, and left feeling hopeless. She was about 19 weeks pregnant when we started working with her and had a 2-day abortion scheduled. It wasn’t until Nate and I caught a red-eye flight to California to physically be in person with her that she cancelled her abortion. We became very close during that time and about 5 months later, Nathan and I were in the delivery room with her when she gave birth to her son, Kiahari.
Jacob: How do you feel about adoption in current day society?
Emily: I think there are a lot of misconceptions about adoption on both sides of the abortion debate.
My 15 year old sister in law, Lily, was adopted from China when she was a baby and she is one of the biggest blessings in my life. She is an amazing example of why adoption can be such a beautiful (and powerful) thing. Adoption is not only an incredible gift to families who may not be able to have children, or just feel incomplete without adopting but it also takes immense strength for a birth mom to part with the child she carried for 9 months.
That being said, only one of our moms has had a successful adoption and we strive to help women be the best moms they can be, always offering the option of adoption but never making them feel like they aren’t capable of being a good mother.
One of our pregnancy counselors, Hannah, made this video about adoption in today’s society.
Jacob: Do you support abortion under any circumstance? If not, what do you believe should be done to stop those processes from happening and being available?
Emily: I am 100% against abortion in all circumstances as is Let Them Live. I believe that education about abortion in the “tough cases” (rape, incest, life of the mother) and providing real support can change the culture about abortion in these circumstances. We need to ensure that women don’t feel like abortion is an option, even in the tough cases.
Education- This Live Action videodiscusses one of the most common exceptions for abortion (life of the mother) and shows why abortion is never medically necessary.
Another common exception is for cases of rape and Live Action’s video once again helps us to understand why abortion in these cirsumtstances is still not ok, as does this one testimony from someone conceived in rape.
Through education and offering real alternatives and support, we can change the culture around abortion and change hearts and minds.
Jacob: On a national level, do you believe there should be financial assistance from the government to help the birthing process?
Emily: I am passionately pro-life as well as fiscally conservative and I believe that even if the government alleviated costs of the birthing process, many women do not list that as a financial burden that is causing them to consider abortion.
In theory, it sounds good. But in practice, I know that nonprofits can do it better, more efficiently and with more compassion than the government can.
Something that might be a solution is rerouting taxpayer dollars that go to Planned Parenthood to a program that provides short term financial support for women during their pregnancies. Again, this is just an idea in theory and may not work in practice but I do know that the process we have established with Let Them Live works!
Jacob: From your perspective, how can a Father who wants to keep a child help convince a Mother who is thinking about abortion not to do so?
Emily: It is so sad that we have reached a point in our society that men are told they have no say when it comes to women, their pregnancies, and abortion. Somehow our society believes that men are not involved in creating a life but women need to be reminded that even though a life is growing in her body, it took two people to create that life.
I think that this is a situation where legislation could be really effective such as establishing paternity rights during pregnancy.
Jacob: Abortion rates have been declining for decades, but the numbers are still very high. What do you believe we should do as a people to help continue to bring these numbers down?
Emily: I believe that if we shift our focus to the “demand” side of abortion, we can continue to decrease the abortion rate. For a very long time, the majority of pro-life efforts have been on the “supply” side of abortion by legislating and regulating the abortion business (which I believe has had a huge impact in decreasing abortion rates). We have made huge strides in decreasing the supply of abortion, that I think there should be a bigger emphasis now on the “demand” or why woman are having abortion. We can continue to see abortion numbers drop by directly addressing women seeking abortions and alleviating the reasons they are considering abortion in the first place.
There are organizations that raise money so women can have abortions so why are we not funding life?
Jacob: Birth rates have just recently hit record lows in the United States. In your opinion, what can we do to inspire more American families to have children again?
Emily: I think there are a few key things we have to consider:
We need to encourage a pro-women culture where we squash the abortion industry’s narrative that women can’t be mothers and have a career or education or pursue their dreams.
We need to take a serious look at what issues families are facing and help alleviate them with nonprofit support, like Let Them Live does with financial burden.
We also need to encourage men and other family members to step up and support the women in their life and not abandon her when things get tough.
We have to make choosing life as “attractive” as abortion. We have to completely overhaul abortion industry’s skillfully crafted narrative that abortion is a quick and easy solution. It is no easy task to undo a mindset that is so ingrained in our culture, but I believe that Let Them Live as well as other pro-life organizations like Live Action are going to do it and we will see an increase in birth rates.
Jacob: Your organization has a vision to inspire women to never feel like abortion is their only option simply because of their financial situation. Of course, donating money will always help. What else do you believe people can do for each other to help inspire this vision across the nation?
Emily: While financial support is always needed and appreciated, so is having all hands on deck!
Some other ways to support Let Them Live:
- We welcome volunteers and interns to help us with our ever-growing workload!
- Share our fundraisers and information about Let Them Live with your friends, family and on social media
- Get your community involved
- Your church or community can fundraise money to help a mom through our Adopt-a-Mom program
- If you are a sidewalk counselor or work/volunteer for a pregnancy resource center, we would love to share our resources with you for when you come across a mom who is abortion-minded and in need of financial help.
Jacob: Thank you Emily for taking the time to do an interview with The Punching Bag Post & I. We truly appreciate your hard work, passion for the pro-life movement and your team’s dedication to helping inspire families to bring new life into this world. I hope this interview helps spread the awareness of what it is that you do and inspires our readers to reach out and give support to our nation’s Mothers and families in need. Keep up the phenomenal work.
Let Them Live Website – https://letthemlive.org/
Docuseries on Jackie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgvrDz7aDR0
Atoria Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUOp5_mrVhA
Hannah’s Adoption Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBKO6Zyvcfc