January 2007
SANCTITY OF LIFE
Precious Feet, priceless feat

86-YEAR OLD ACTIVIST SAVES LIVES

Great-grandmother to 14, grandmother to 28, and mother to a precious pair of tiny feet that became the pro-life movement’s official symbol in 1979, 86-year-old Virginia Evers is an advocate for life wherever she goes.

Her activism efforts began in 1974 as a participant in the “March for Life” in San Diego, California, on the first anniversary of Roe v. Wade – the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states.

While preparing for the march, Evers saw a pro-life ad in the San Diego Union that included Dr. Russell Sacco’s photograph of a 10-week-old unborn baby’s delicate feet held between an adult’s thumb and forefinger.

“Like most people, I was astonished,” Evers said, “so I told my husband that those feet should be the symbol of the pro-life cause.”

Unfortunately, there was little enthusiasm behind the pro-life movement at that time, so Evers – without ignoring her pro-life convictions – began designing jewelry to commemorate the nation’s Bicentennial. As a result, Evers founded Heritage House ’76 – a family-run business that was once a patriotic Christian gift shop. She and her husband Ellis ran the business out of their home until it grew so much that they bought the house next door to use as their workplace.

“Heritage House now is the number one pro-life/pro-family resource center in the country” – thanks to a popular item known as “Precious Feet,” Evers explained.  

Kicking creatively
The Precious Feet were birthed in 1978 when Evers was motivated again to make them the pro-life symbol.

Still having Dr. Sacco’s photo in mind, she used it as her inspiration for designing a lapel pin the exact size and shape of an unborn baby’s feet at 10 weeks after conception. Each pin has a 14-karat gold electroplated finish and can be purchased from a number of selections through Heritage House ’76.

“I just think the good Lord sent me a message that it was the time,” Evers said. And apparently it was, as an order of 1,000 feet catapulted Evers’ piece of pro-life jewelry into the limelight.

A year later, at a worldwide symposium in Dublin, Ireland, the Precious Feet were designated as the international pro-life symbol. Since then, the tiny feet have been tracking all across the world with nearly 18 million being distributed in 30 countries on 6 continents.

“I always say that to God goes the glory,” Evers said. “But it has been a real privilege for me to be a mother of the Precious Feet. I just think that God has filled me with so much inspiration about this that … it comes off when I speak.”

Stepping up
Whether Evers is addressing a formal audience or simply speaking as part of a casual conversation, a pro-life message is always on her lips. For example, she and Ellis traveled to Europe twice and spoke about the pro-life movement in seven different countries. They also spoke in New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico.

“We took our message wherever we could be heard,” Evers said. “My pro-life message has always been positive. I think that has been the reason it has always been very popular. …”

While her speaking and traveling are now limited due to her age, she remains active in the pro-life movement.

“I would still speak if I had the chance, and if it was in an area where I could,” she explained. “I’m the kind of person, even at my age, that I cannot not be involved. Whenever I meet anybody, once I know them, I let them know that I am pro-life. I find out if they are pro-life, and I give them Precious Feet.”

Running fast
Plus, Evers is always ready to share a story about the impact the Precious Feet have had on unborn lives. She likes to refer to these stories of hope as having a ripple effect.

“I have a file folder full of letters that tell about [how the Feet] changed … minds about abortion,” she said. 

For example, Evers remembers a young lady who was 10-weeks pregnant and immediately changed her mind about having an abortion after seeing the Feet. The girl was so moved that she showed the Feet to her roommate, who was also pregnant at the time, and the roommate also decided not to have an abortion.

Evers also recounted a time when her speaking at a pro-life convention led to the adoption of a baby girl by a ministerial couple she met at the convention. The couple named the baby Catherine and started The Catherine Foundation Pregnancy Care Center – an organization that works to educate and inform those who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy.

“I’ve been in touch with them every Christmas,” Evers said. After all, the center’s purpose is one that is dear to Evers’ heart as evident from her family’s involvement in a local crisis pregnancy service known as “We Care.” Through the program sponsored by Heritage House ’76, “[W]e took in girls who were pregnant – not in our home – but we arranged for them [to be cared for],” Evers said. 

For six years, the proceeds from Heritage House ’76 supported this ministry to unwed mothers, and the creation and sale of the Precious Feet opened the door to a variety of pro-life literature, bumper stickers and videos and other pro-life products.

“The other great blessing of the Precious Feet is that it has made Heritage House … reap years of profit to spread the word, to send groups quantities of Precious Feet and literature to give away,” Evers said. “It’s in a little town called Snowflake, Arizona, and every time I drive by there and I see the sign – Heritage House ’76 – it gives me a real warm feeling because it was my baby.”

Jumping ahead
Although the Everses retired in the early ’90s, they entrusted their ministry and their business to their children and now their grandchildren. Since then, her husband has passed away, but Evers is going strong as she continues to challenge others to get involved in her life-saving efforts.

“My advice to people to get involved in the pro-life [movement] is you don’t have to do big things,” she said. “Just wear the Precious Feet. Tell people about them and have pro-life literature [on hand].

“You know that the truth about unborn babies is the best-kept secret in the media,” Evers added. “They won’t show pictures of abortion. They won’t show pictures of babies in their moms’ wombs … because that proves … that it’s a baby and not a blob.”

But thanks to Evers and her millions of Precious Feet, the secret is being spread, and the truth of it is changing lives.

“My life has been changed in that I feel that something I’ve done with the help of God has been responsible for saving babies – a lot of babies,” Evers said. “And that, to me, is the bottom line.”  

SANCTITY OF LIFE SIDEBAR AND RESOURCES

Pennies make change
Approximately 50 million babies have been murdered since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the 1973 landmark case of Roe v. Wade. To depict the grim reality of these missing children, the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB), based in Jackson, Mississippi, recently constructed the “Memorial to the Missing.”

The memorial is a 12'x16'x7' glassed-in case designed to hold 50 million pennies, each penny representing the life of a baby aborted during the past 34 years. Churches and individuals have pooled their pennies to fill the case, and more than 25 million pennies have been received.

The MBCB continues to accept monetary gifts in the form of pennies, checks and cash. Any contribution designated to the memorial is converted to pennies and added to the glass case, which will eventually hold a half million dollars in pennies.

 “The money will be placed in an [endowment] account with the Mississippi Baptist Foundation, and the interest each year will be used for Mississippi pro-life causes,” said Dr. Lee Yancey. Yancey is a consultant for the Mississippi Baptist Christian Action Commission, the organization that is coordinating the penny campaign.

“Some of the money might go to purchase sonogram machines for crisis pregnancy centers while other monies might be used for abstinence education to help with the problems of infant mortality, teen pregnancy, and abortion,” Yancey explained.

For more information or to make a donation, call 601-292-3329 or send a check payable to: Memorial to the Missing, c/o Christian Action Commission, 515 Mississippi St., Jackson, MS 39201.

Pro-Life Resources
American Life League
www.all.org
540-659-4171

Care Net
Outreach Centers
www.care-net.org
703-478-5661

Life Decisions International
www.fightpp.org
540-631-0380

Life Issues Institute, Inc.
www.lifeissues.org
513-729-3600

National Right to Life Committee
www.nrlc.org
202-626-8800