Pro-Life Women Take 'Babies to Congress'

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CAPITOL HILL - When Kelly McKown-Smallwood was 14, she became pregnant.

Scared and overwhelmed, she felt pressured by her boyfriend and his family to have an abortion. But she says her Christian conviction ruled that out.

"Deep down I valued life even at the moment and I knew my life would never be the same," McKown-Smallwood said. "I thank God I didn't make that choice [to have an abortion]."

Today, McKown-Smallwood is married and works as a dental surgeon.

Now, with her two children, along with a team of other moms and crisis pregnancy center workers, she's taking the pro-life message to Washington.

The group, known as Heartbeat International, said they want to let lawmakers know that "abortion is not the final option."

"Some clients, all they want is to look for an abortion. Most choose parenting," said Carolyn Willis of the Care Pregnancy Center.

Heartbeat International made its eighth visit to Capitol Hill Thursday.

Since the group started its "Babies Go to Congress" campaign, they've met with dozens of lawmakers.

Participants say they're excited about the pro-life bills that have been introduced in Washington since Republicans regained control of the house. But their excitement is tempered.

"We just really are frustrated that these great pieces of legislation are making it out of the House, but the Senate stops them," Heartbeat International member Virginia Cline explained.

McKown-Smallwood volunteers at a crisis pregnancy in her hometown, where young women get free services in counseling or free supplies for their babies, like formula and furniture.

She said motherhood at a young age was tough, but she made the right choice.

Her goal isn't to only let members of Congress know there are options, but to let other women who find themselves in similar situations know they have options.

"It is doable. It is absolutely doable," McKown-Smallwood said. "Care pregnancy centers, we're there to fulfill whatever needs they have in their lives or to be their friend."

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