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 Executive Director of “Lydia – A Beating Heart” since it was founded 2012 and is now the Director of the Lydia Network. She has attended multiple trainings and conferences with Heartbeat International and CareNet and is certified in peer counseling by both organizations. She is LAS certified and certified as a reproductive loss trainer for Life Perspectives.
Daniela Jordanova has been on staff as staff nurse and 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 Save One Europe, and has multiple certificates in peer counseling, unplanned pregnancy counseling, and post-abortion counseling.
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 in 2015 and became a staff member in 2016. She has a University degree in Psychology. She is the staff psychologist and Director of the Lydia Counseling Center for Women. Alexandra is a certified counselor for unplanned pregnancy and post-abortion counseling by Heartbeat International and is also a certified family and systemic counselor.
Ken Ferris is one of the founders and visionaries of Lydia. While on a business trip to the Balkans in 2010, Ken felt what he says was “my Macedonian call” to empower the women of the Balkans to make the best choice for their pregnancy. Ken and his wife Trish have been founders, volunteers, and leaders of their local Pregnancy Resource Organization (PRO) since 1984. Ken serves as an Advisory Board member of Lydia.
Steve Jones is one of the initial founders of Lydia and has travelled to Macedonia and the Balkan’s several times. Steve and his wife Tess are longtime supporters of their local Pregnancy Resource Organization (PRO). As a CPA and CFO, Steve brings his business and professional expertise to the Advisory Board of Lydia.
Phil Holsinger has spent the last 30 years supporting, encouraging, and equipping Pregnancy Resource Organization staff and leaders throughout the US. He is one of the original founders of Lydia and serves as the International Director of Advancement and Development for Lydia and the Lydia Network. Phil and his wife Cindi have been involved with reproductive loss care and compassion since 1991.