Pregnancy support centres in Australia are usually volunteer based community organisations, set up to provide material, practical and emotional support to women and families during pregnancy and early parenting years. They offer a vast range of services depending on the skill mix of the volunteer staff and the budget available to them. Some pregnancy support services run parenting education classes, support groups for new mothers, or mentoring programs. Other services include the provision of nappies, baby clothes and even furniture and maternity clothing.
Many of them are Christian based, although their services are offered to all women, regardless of beliefs or values. Most are usually life affirming in their philosophy, meaning that they offer services to aid the continuation of a pregnancy and do not refer for abortion services. They place as high a value on the life of the unborn child, as they do the pregnant woman.
It is this that has caused this overworked, under resourced sector to come under fire from 'pro choicers' and politics alike. It has yet to be adequately explained to me how a service which helps support a woman's choice to continue her pregnancy is labelled 'anti-choice' whereas an abortion clinic providing only abortion services is considered 'pro-choice'. The fact that a pregnancy support service does not make a referral (women don't need a referral) for abortion, is misrepresented to mean that they refuse to provide information about abortion, or that they act deceitfully in giving that information. Sadly the money thrown into this campaign, money that only serves to support the abortion industry, far outstripped the resources of volunteer organisations to defend their positions. This has left many in the community still suspicious about the intent and activities of pregnancy support services.
It is noteworthy that this group of dedicated people, who reach out to those women who are often in desperate circumstances, are the same group who reach out with such compassion to those who have suffered from their abortion experiences. Far from condemning women who have an abortion, they understand the circumstances, the pain, and the pressures that women face when dealing an unintended pregnancy.
Pregnancy support services are a community service, meeting the needs of women, families, and children who are struggling, in your community. They need your support. If you have some free time, or some spare cash and wonder how it can best be used, check out the local support service in your community.