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First supportive maternal residence to open under Betsy’s Law in Georgia

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On Tuesday of this week there was a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Living Hope Supportive Maternal Residence! This is the first residence registered in accordance with “Betsy’s Law.” That bill, authored by Sen. Randy Robertson and passed during the 2022 Georgia General Assembly Legislative Session, was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp. Georgia Baptists along with many other organizations were instrumental in lobbying for this effort.

We are so thankful for Beth Hathorn and her leadership in opening this ministry. Beth is the Executive Director of the Whispering Hope Women’s Resource and Pregnancy Center in Cumming. She is also a Georgia Baptist who is a member at First Redeemer Church in Cumming.

“When I think about the potential impact of Living Hope, I get so excited,” said Beth Hathorn. “A woman who enters the home after finding out that she is pregnant can stay in the home until her baby is 18 months old.  This means she could be at Living Hope around 2 years.  During the 2 years that she is in the home, a mom will be able to pursue her educational and vocational goals without having to worry about a roof over her head.  She will have the support she needs, so that she and her baby will not only thrive while in the home but will also be ready for success when they leave.” 

Beth, who tells about a former client, knows firsthand the difference that this kind of support can make. "Anybody can turn their life around in 2 years,” she said, “When the church comes alongside pregnant moms by being the hands and feet of Jesus, lives are saved and transformed, the generations are impacted, and God is glorified!” 

We also appreciate Elizabeth Reed, the Leadership Director at Georgia Life Alliance and her hard work on this legislation. Betsy’s Law was affectionately named for the baby girl Elizabeth placed for adoption when she was 15.

“I’m so proud that this home is able to open now under Betsy’s Law,” said Elizabeth Reed. “Places like this are one part of a beautiful picture of Georgia’s post Roe culture. Countless women who would otherwise choose abortion due to homelessness will now receive support and resources that empower them to choose life and step into motherhood with joy and confidence.

Elizabeth went on to say, “Beth Hathorn and her team at Whispering Hope have set the standard and provided a great example that we pray many other pregnancy help organizations and churches across the state will follow.”

Also, it was great to have Pastor Jeff Jackson of First Redeemer Church leading in the prayer of dedication for the residence. It is so important that pastors play a key role in promoting care and ministry for mothers and children. Pastor Jackson is passionate about this being something God wants us to be a part of.

We can all be thankful that this law allows 501c3 organizations, such as churches, the ability to provide free maternity supportive housing for up to six pregnant moms and their minor children up to 18 months postpartum.

This kind of ministry is important in building a culture of life that protects life in the womb while promoting a society that empowers pregnant moms in crisis to confidently choose life for their unborn children as well as combating the high maternal mortality rate in our state.

These kinds of laws help Georgia Baptists with our focus of pre/post-natal care with our Mission Georgia emphasis. It’s important that the church step up to this challenge as we see the possibility of Roe v. Wade overturned!

Elizabeth Reed reminds us that this kind of ministry can make a big difference in the lives of many women. She said, “So many people had a hand in helping me choose life and adoption for Betsy. So many people poured into making this dream a reality; today was amazing. I’m so very blessed to be a part of this. God can turn even the darkest parts of your story into a lamp stand for His glory. Just ask me about my God.”

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