MOST expecting mothers plan for a rushed trip to the hospital to give birth, but Jane Arnott* knew her baby was already on its way.
The young mother, a resident at Brisbane’s Pregnancy Crisis safe house could feel the final contractions coming and cool-headed house supervisor, stepped in as an emergency midwife to make the delivery
“Yes, well it wasn’t expected,” Mrs Arnott said, cuddling her delightful newborn daughter.
“It all happened very quick compared to my first one.
“Just glad she is healthy and all went well.”
Since it was set up in 2012, the Pregnancy Crisis safe house has helped many women birth their babies – but this was the first time there’s been an in-house delivery.
Mrs Arnott has been staying at the safe house since last September, with her two-year-old daughter, and has nothing but praise for the house supervisor – who has cared for them each step of the way through a difficult pregnancy.
“They are really lovely,” Mrs Arnott said.
“I got evicted from where I was… If it wasn’t for the safe house I probably would have ended up homeless.”
Brisbane Oratory in Formation moderator Fr Adrian Sharp, a long-time supporter of Pregnancy Crisis Incorporated, hailed the charity’s practical help offered to women under pressure to abort their unborn children.
PCI often takes in women who are distressed, abused and impoverished.
“The pressure on them (pregnant women) to abort is often very strong, and its often coupled with violence,” Fr Sharp said.
“So the safe house is necessary for some women because they don’t have a choice.
“They need to get out of the situation they are in so they can feel safe and so they can allow the children to be born.
The pro-life service operates 24-hours-a-day service, seven days a week, 365 days a year, supporting services to abused, impoverished, pregnant mothers.
Another guest at the PCI safe house, a refugee woman, arrived at the safe house one month ago, after fleeing from abuse where she was living.
She was heavily pregnant and gave birth in hospital a few days later.
“I find the safe house so helpful there – very supportive,” the refugee woman said.
Fr Sharp said the safe house took i some of the most vulnerable young mothers.
“We are there doing our little bit,” he said.
While Queensland’s stiff new abortion laws made headlines in 2018 – decriminalising abortion and making it easier for mothers to end a young life, PCI’s house supervisor said the safe house had been “inundated with requests for help”.
“The house has been continuously at capacity for most of the last year,” she said.
“Currently we have three babies, a toddler and their mum’s living in the house. Our waiting list of women seeking to enter the house is growing.
“As with any charity, we are in desperate need of more volunteers.
“I hope some readers of The Catholic Leader may be inspired to help us in this work of supporting pregnant women in crisis.”
For offers to volunteer or donations Pregnancy Crisis can be contacted on 1300 777 777.
*To protect her identity, real name has not published.
Study shows abortion and violence links
WOMEN are more than twice as likely to terminate a pregnancy if their partner is violent, and three times as likely if they have used illicit drugs in the past 12 months, a new study has found.
The research, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, has led the authors to call for better training and resources to help clinicians identify and help women experiencing partner violence.
The researchers, from the University of Queensland, La Trobe University, Monash University and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, used data from five surveys of more than 9000 Australian women collected as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health to investigate what factors affect women having abortions at different stages of their reproductive life and whether this changed as they grew older.
The data showed 16 per cent of women in the study had an abortion by the last survey in 2009, when the average age of the women was 34.
“Compared with women reporting no violence, women who reported recent partner violence in their 20s and in their 30s were more than twice as likely to terminate a pregnancy,” lead author Professor Angela Taft from La Trobe’s Judith Lumley Centre said.
“It is known that violence against women, especially violence from an intimate partner, is prevalent world-wide, particularly among women seeking abortions.”
Researchers examined a number of factors associated with abortion, including contraception use, violence, drug and alcohol use, marital status and the number of children women already had.
Women in their 20s and 30s who used illicit drugs in the previous 12 months were three times more likely to have abortions.
“Illicit drug use and violence independently and cumulatively have an effect on a woman’s ability to control her fertility,” the study said.