With Theresa Burke, Founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Ministries
Date: March 9-11, 2012
Venue: Mt St Benedict Centre, Pennant Hills, Sydney.
A conference supporting networking and development of those in Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Ministries to people seeking spiritual healing from the grief and loss after an abortion.
Grief and Loss - Multifaith Perspectives
A Half Day Workshop for Pastoral Carers, Clergy and Health Professionals
Date: March 10, 2012 9am - 12.30pm
Venue: Mt St Benedict Centre, Pennant Hills, Sydney. More details soon - Web: rachelsvineyard.org.au
Monsignor Philip Reilly of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants fame and Steve Mosher from the Population Research Institute(PRI) will be co-hosting the conference. A "stellar" line up of other speakers will be announced shortly.
There will be an opening Mass, followed by a BBQ for a 'meet and greet' opportunity on the evening of the 26th followed by conference sessions over the next three days, culminating in a closing mass on Sunday at 12:30 pm.
Further details will be released shortly on their website, fli.org.au This conference will be closely followed by the next 40 Days for Life campaign beginning 22 February, 2012.
Whenever I speak on the subject of abortion I always remind my listeners that it is not enough to point the finger and simply say the obvious, that abortion is wrong. We must also provide practical help for those being pushed into an abortion.
I tell them that if a scared 15-year-old girl comes to them, pregnant and alone, with no hope, what will they be doing about it? What will they offer her? If her parents have kicked her out of the home and her boyfriend says ‘get an abortion or I’m leaving,’ where does that leave her?
Simply telling her she should not have an abortion does little good at all. Instead, churches and concerned groups should have pregnancy crisis centres as part of their ministry, making a safe and comfortable place available for people such as this. They can be looked after and loved as the baby develops, and upon birth various alternatives can be examined, such as adoption or other options.
This is the very practical and necessary work all believers should aim for, be it in their churches or elsewhere. We must do all we can to help women such as this. And of course such help has always been a part of the pro-life movement. Indeed, back in 1994 an important book highlighting this very thing appeared by Frederica Mathewes-Green.
Entitled Real Choices: Offering Practical, Life-Affirming Alternatives to Abortion, it did just that. Based on extension surveys and interviews with women considering abortion, she found that in “nearly every case, the abortion was undertaken to fulfil a felt obligation to another person, a parent or boyfriend. . . . The woman felt bound to please or protect some other person, and abortion was the price she had to pay.”
In her very helpful book she offers various alternatives to abortion, and shows us how we can make a real difference in the lives of these women. And as a perfect illustration of this, an article in the Australian press has just demonstrated such caring alternatives.
In a South Australian newspaper yesterday there appeared an article about a great prolifer who lives near Adelaide and is making genuine contributions to the lives of some of these women. Here is how the piece begins: “Robyn Grace is spending thousands helping pregnant women on temporary visas keep their babies. These pregnancies would otherwise be terminated.
“The 43-year-old Mt Barker resident is meeting the medical costs which the women and their partners can’t afford because they are being allowed into the country without private health insurance, have no access to Medicare and work in low paying jobs. ‘These woman are falling pregnant and facing abortions because the costs of having the baby are prohibitive,’ Mrs Grace said.
“She has funded five migrant births with the help of donations at a cost of around $7500 each since 2009. ‘They wanted to keep their babies and I helped out, but who knows how many others are out there in the same situation without anyone to turn to.’
“Mrs Grace is married to Trevor Grace, a controversial anti-abortion candidate at the last state election, and is currently helping Indian migrant Parvezraza Sherasia, 31, and his wife Zaynabben, 33, to have their second child. The Klemzig couple were going to terminate the unplanned pregnancy because they could not afford to pay for medical costs to have the baby.
“Mr Sherasia, who is employed as a storeman under a three-year working visa, said the couple went to a GP and explained their financial situation and were told they could visit a clinic for a ‘medical termination’. ‘At first we thought we would have to do it but my wife started to cry and that affected me,’ Mr Sherasia said. He pays income tax and the Medicare levy, but will not receive welfare benefits for his newborn under the temporary visa conditions.”
Now that is a real case of compassionate conservatism, of offering genuine choice for pregnant women. This is the sort of sacrificial help we must offer these women wherever possible. Not everyone will have the financial resources to make such donations, but if they have a supportive church or group around them, such funds might still become available.
And there are so many other ways we can offer real help here. Simply having crisis pregnancy centres set up with volunteers willing to lend a listening ear and a compassionate heart can go a long ways in this regard. The sky is really the limit in terms of what we can be doing for these women, so many of whom are being forced into having an abortion.
Most women would rather not have an abortion if they knew they had some tangible support and assistance during this difficult period. Prolifers can and should be offering such support. Well done to Robyn, Trevor and so many others who are making a practical and life-affirming difference in the lives of so many women.
And as if on cue, just as I was about to post this article, I received an email about an upcoming adoption conference. See the video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5R349rjzvs&feature=player_embedded
And conference details can be found here: www.togetherforadoption.org/?page_id=10316