Why Support Made All the Difference to My Mom, and to Pregnant Women Everywhere

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

She was an only child, and both her parents had already passed from this life. Her husband was unemployed and she was struggling to take care of her year-and-a-half-old daughter. A number of her husband’s relatives expressed disdain when they learned she was pregnant.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-newborn-baby-meeting-parents-looking-over-their-look-surprise-face-image34534465But then there was her mother-in-law — an immigrant with limited ability to speak English. However, she made her feelings intensely clear. Upon learning of my mother’s unexpected pregnancy, she took out a bottle of wine, raised a glass, and in her heavy Italian accent said, “Anne, I salute you.”

She was the one person who supported my mother’s pregnancy — a pregnancy which resulted in a premature five-pound baby girl — the girl who became the sister I so loved.

While at times she might have felt very much on her own, my mother was not alone. Her mother-in-law, father-in-law, foster-mother, and husband all helped in the child care responsibilities — enthusiastically so. She had a solid support network, despite some naysayers. And she proved herself highly capable of the task of raising two little girls.

According to researcher Dr. David Reardon, of those women who experience difficulties after their abortions, more than 80 percent report they would have brought their babies into the world if the circumstances had been better or if loved ones had shown support.

That means the vast majority of women who regret their abortions were craving help and understanding from those closest to them, but did not receive the assistance they longed for.

The pro-life movement is essentially a pro-support movement. I have known so many parents who have selflessly come to their daughters’ aid when they were facing unexpected pregnancies. I also know many women who have benefited from the pregnancy support centers which offer not only counseling but material assistance to pregnant women (For the nearest pregnancy center in Pennsylvania, call 1-888-Life-Aid or click here).

The importance of these gestures of love cannot be underestimated. For they can provide the bridge to a better future for these women and children. In fact, the outstretched hand can rescue a woman from the brink of despair, and save a child from death at the hands of an abortionist.

Or, raised in a toast, it can simply give a woman the courage to go on and fight for her child.

Stars Shine Light on Pregnancy Centers in Movie ‘Gimme Shelter’

I was excited when I heard about the big-name actors who are starring in a new pro-life movie.

“Gimme Shelter” features Vanessa Hudgens (remember “High School Musical”?), James Earl Jones, Rosario Dawson, and Brendan Fraser. GimmeShelterTogether, they present a clear message of hope for pregnant women who are facing troubled times. Watch the trailer here.

The film follows a teenager named Apple who runs away from her abusive mother. Soon after Apple finds her long-absent father, she discovers that she is pregnant. Her father and his well-to-do wife insist that the best thing for Apple is to get an abortion. But while Apple is in the abortion center, she decides that she wants to keep her baby. So, she runs away. After a tragic event, Apple finds hope and friendship at a shelter for pregnant women and moms.

“Gimme Shelter” presents a realistic picture of how harsh life can be for a girl so young. Apple moved from foster home to foster home, faced abuse and neglect, loneliness, and homelessness.

The film shows just how vitally important pregnancy centers are to women like Apple. They support and empower women when no one else will. They walk with the women even when – especially when – it’s difficult, and they don’t give up.

Put “Gimme Shelter” on your to-watch list. The film is rated PG-13 for some thematic elements. It is currently in theaters. To find where it’s showing in your area, visit the “Gimme Shelter” website.

PA Abortion Rate Down 5 Percent in 2012 – Good News for Women, Babies

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s abortion rate is on the decline—and that’s good news for women and their families, according to the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the state’s largest single-issue pro-life organization.

“Fewer unborn children are losing their lives to abortion, and more women are being ultrasoundempowered to make life-affirming decisions for themselves and their families,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.

“Social media and 4D ultrasound are providing a window to the womb, showing the humanity of the unborn child. The Internet has also proven to be highly effective in linking pregnant women to the resources and comprehensive support they and their babies need. Technology is saving the day—and it’s saving unborn children and their mothers from the harm of abortion,” Gallagher added.

Statistics released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Friday show that abortions declined 4.8 percent in 2012. The closure of abortion facilities, the assistance offered by pregnancy help centers and state-of-the-art technology are all playing a role in the decrease in abortion totals in the Commonwealth.

“We know that Pennsylvania’s abortion rate would be much higher were it not for the state’s groundbreaking Alternatives to Abortion program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. Real Alternatives centers, coupled with other pregnancy resource centers around the state, offer everything from diapers to day care referrals, counseling to classes in parenting and life skills, to assist pregnant women,” Gallagher added.

“No pregnant woman should feel as if she is alone. Thanks to Pennsylvania’s innovative programs and policies, women have somewhere and someone to turn to when faced with unexpected pregnancies. As a result, they can experience the unexpected joys and blessings that babies bring,” Gallagher added.

To view the full report, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is a grassroots right-to-life organization with members statewide. As the state affiliate of National Right to Life, PPLF is committed to promoting the dignity and value of human life from conception to natural death and to restoring legal protection for preborn children.