When I learned about a local charity and support group for young mothers, SHYM, I was astonished that no one had thought of this before. While SHYM does wonderful work here in Nova Scotia, there is another group in the US. What’s astonishing about this article is that in the whole of a country nicknamed by Michael Moore as “The Big One” they’re the only one.
Americans enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Swaddled within those precious rights is the freedom to be born. Debate rages about a woman’s right to choose, yet many would choose to have their babies if only they had a place to live. For 27 years, Friends of the Unborn in Quincy has given pregnant, homeless women the freedom to keep their children.
Marilyn Birnie, FOTU founder and executive director of the pregnancy crisis center and shelter, has helped more than 2,000 women with this choice. Up to 16 pregnant women, ages 18 and older, can stay for about two years, rent-free, to develop self-supporting skills at the multiroomed Victorian in Quincy. Getting a GED is mandatory. Also offered are additional educational classes and resource assistance. […]
For close to three decades, FOTU has stayed open through private donations that average $25. Each month is a miracle since the annual expenses exceed $350,000.
“We are never ahead. It’s always month-to-month,” said Penny Romano, a 20-year employee at Friends of the Unborn, the only such private organization in the United States.
The women are here because of an ultimatum from their families, “Get an abortion or get out.”
Boyfriends abandoned them. A logical option loomed – get an abortion – but they didn’t want to. They found FOTU through hospital or agency referrals, or word of mouth.
[…] Some women endure a long, fierce journey. “Esther,” a married woman with three children, was brutally gang raped by soldiers in the Congo. She and her husband were taken to two separate prisons and her children were lost. She escaped alone and after arriving in the US, she eventually found her way to Birnie’s door.
“Esther came to us with nothing more than the wrinkled yellow dress she was wearing. She didn’t know if the baby was her husband’s or the three men who raped her, but she didn’t want to abort her husband’s child. We took care of her. Later a Congolese priest was able to locate her mother in the Congo who was caring for her three children. Esther was able to talk to them, but we were never able to find her husband.”
Now Esther has a daughter and has moved to Lynn.