Lydia – A Beating Heart is the first and only pro-life pregnancy resource center in Macedonia. Abortion is used without second thought as the primary form of birth control in Macedonia and throughout the Balkans. Often, when a woman is asked why she wants an abortion, she simply shrugs her shoulders and says she doesn’t really have a reason other than she wasn’t planning on getting pregnant at this particular time.
Unlike most situations in the U.S., most of the women having abortions in Macedonia already have a family. Having more than two children is very anti-cultural, so most women abort all pregnancies after the first two. Many women will have had several abortions over the course of their lifetime.
From 2013-2019, there were some laws in place restricting abortion. A woman less than 12 weeks pregnant was required to wait 72 hours, have counseling and get an ultrasound. If she was over 12 weeks pregnant, she must obtain the signatures of three physicians approving the abortion. In 2019, these laws were reversed. Currently, unrestricted abortion is allowed up through 22 weeks of pregnancy, and late term abortions are allowed after approval by a medical consultation with two physicians and a social worker.
We were so grateful for the more restrictive laws, but regardless of legal status our goal is to change the cultural concepts surrounding abortion and adoption. The Lydia Center is dedicated to counseling and helping women while promoting the value of life and the rights of the pre-born baby. Our goal is to love, support, and assist women facing unplanned pregnancies, post-abortion trauma, and other family-related crises. We also aid impoverished women by giving out donations of clothing, diapers, and other baby necessities.
Svetlana Jovanova has been the President of “Lydia – A Beating Heart” since she founded it in 2012. She has a University degree in French Language and Literature. Prior to starting this organization, she taught the Macedonian language to foreigners and worked as a translator. She has attended multiple trainings and conferences with Heartbeat International and CareNet, and is certified in peer counseling by both organizations. Through Heartbeat International she is LAS certified, allowing her to teach their courses.
Daniela Jordanova has been on staff as a counselor with Lydia from the start in 2012. She graduated from medical high school as a nurse. She has attended several trainings and conferences with Heartbeat International and SaveOne Europe, and has multiple certificates in peer counseling, unplanned pregnancy counseling, and post-abortion counseling. She is also involved in discipling women through various small groups. She is married and has 2 children.
Amanda Peck joined Lydia – A Beating Heart as a volunteer in February, 2014. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, and worked as a Registered Nurse in the U.S. for 4 years before moving to Macedonia. She has completed peer counseling training with Heartbeat International. Amanda also helps Lydia with English communication needs and international partner development opportunities.
Alexandra Petrovska started volunteering with “Lydia” in April, 2015, and was brought on as paid staff in February 2016. She has a University degree in Psychology. She is currently studying at the Institute of Family and Systemic Psychotherapy “Alternative”. Also, Alexandra is a certified counselor for unplanned pregnancy and post-abortion counseling by Heartbeat International. Her goal is to become a family therapist. Her husband is also a great support, helping us with tech needs and various projects.