COUNSELLORS supporting women and men affected by an abortion experience have welcomed a $1500 donation from a Brisbane Catholic college.
Brisbane counselor Gwen Winterscheidt of Rachel’s Vineyard, a Catholic ministry that facilitates healing retreats for post-abortive women and men, said the school had answered their prayers for financial support for an upcoming event.
The group had begun plans for a retreat in October and were looking for sponsors, needing at least $1500 to host the event.
One week after their initial discussions, the donating Catholic school, which asked to remain anonymous, gave $1500 to the charity.
“It gave us goosebumps,” Mrs Winterscheidt said.
A spokesperson from the school said the community “in good faith” wanted to make a donation “to good Australians in a terrible position”.
The spokesperson said they found out about Rachel’s Vineyard through the Brisbane Archdiocesan website.
“People don’t know much about it as the issue is perhaps not as glossy as others,” the spokesperson said.
“We asked, ‘Who are supporting them’ and decided to make a direct donation.”
The donation came during the release of a committee report rejecting a private member’s bill to decriminalise abortion in Queensland.
Mrs Winterscheidt, who has been a post-abortive counselor for eight years, condemned Cairns MP Rob Pyne’s attempts to legalise abortion.
She has already heard “horrendous stories” by women who have procured an abortion, some visiting a clinic multiple times, and fears more will come if the procedure is made legal.
The former Brisbane Marriage, Family and Life Office employee said in her experience many women decided to have an abortion in haste and with a lack of counseling options.
“There is not enough support while they’re still pregnant, and while some clinics do offer some good counseling, others have no counselors although they say they do,” Mrs Winterscheidt said.
“It doesn’t help them make a good decision.
“Other conditions that put women more at risk to negative responses and adverse behaviors are women who are coerced into an abortion, younger women, a more advanced pregnancy, insufficiently informed or lack of counselling before the abortion and social condemnation.”
Mrs Winterscheidt said counseling options like the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats steered women into “a positive path towards healing”.
“There is something about people grieving and sharing their stories together about abortion, which is usually silenced,” she said.
“It can be very therapeutic.”
Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat will be held in Brisbane from October 21 to 23.
It is a fully catered for live-in weekend and costs are negotiable.
Contact Gwen Winterscheidt on 0407 175 508 or email email@example.com.
By Emilie Ng