Photo: Monica Defendi Photography
Hope & Life June 2018
The biannual newsletter of Pregnancy Assistance Inc.
Floor Leadership Persons in Charge (PiC) Francine Jones Lisette Jas
Deputy Persons in Charge (DPiC) Carmel Randazzo Babita DeSouza
About Us Message from the Chair
Mother’s Day at Pregnancy Assistance
Community Night & Outdoor Movie
Thank You for Your Support
Hope and Perserverance: Kristine’s Story 6
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Networking with YWAM
Day of the Unborn
Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat
Theresa Burke: Post Abortion Grief
With a Little Help From Our Friends
YWAM’s Medical Mission Team
Contact Pregnancy Assistance Inc. Elizabeth’s House 195 Lord Street, East Perth 6004 T 9328 2926 (Office) T 9328 2929 (Counselling) E firstname.lastname@example.org
You are welcome to visit us in this quiet oasis in the city. Mass is celebrated here and the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in our Chapel. If you would like to celebrate with us or spend an hour with the Lord in adoration & contemplation please contact Francine or Lisette on 9328 2926.
Visiting Hours Mon - Fri 10am - 3pm
Phone Hours Mon - Fri 9am - 4pm
After hours by appointment
About Us Who are we and what do we do? Pregnancy Assistance Inc. is an independent Catholic organisation initiated by Archbishop Barry Hickey in 1996. We provide compassionate care and emotional, practical and informative support to women in need throughout their pregnancy and post birth. We also offer counselling for women and men impacted by pregnancy loss (miscarriage, still birth and abortion). Our services are extended to all people irrespective of religion, race, demographic or personal values.
Our free and confidential services include: • Pregnancy testing • Pregnancy care consultation • Professional counselling • Post abortion care & grief counselling • Accommodation assistance • Future study/employment pathways • Practical support – bassinets, baths, nappies & clothes, maternity clothes • Financial assistance • Advocacy & support services referral Who knocks on our door? Anyone and everyone affected by pregnancy who is in need of a little (or a lot) of help! We provide assistance to pregnant women who are distressed due to one or more of the following; • Unexpected pregnancy
• Relationship breakdown
• Abortion concerns
• Drug addiction
• Financial hardship
• Mental health issues
• Foetal anomaly • Domestic violence • Homelessness • Isolation / loneliness
• Migration • Grief/loss
Our Centre (lovingly nicknamed Elizabeth’s House) in East Perth is open for appointment (telephone or face to face) and allows for popins. Individuals are also welcome to metaphorically ‘knock on our door’ by contacting us via e-mail or Facebook. What method do we use when talking about abortion? We utilise Heartbeat International’s L.O.V.E. approach when pregnant women come to us in distress over whether to keep, adopt out or abort their baby. Pregnancy Assistance was founded on Christian values and offers its services as an alternative to abortion. We believe our counselling approach allows the woman to focus on her own needs. We try to awaken a vision in her for a healthy life for herself and her baby. We share information about options she needs to consider to make a life-giving decision. However, under no circumstances do we believe we have the right to impose upon a woman’s decision. We will continue to support and welcome back individuals who have made choices that differ with the personal values of Pregnancy Assistance’s volunteer base. Who supports us? God supports the operations of Pregnancy Assistance by providing the right resources at the right time. And you are part of that providence! Pregnancy Assistance operates through the generosity of its supporters and we thank you. Your support gives Hope and Life, so please (if you haven’t already) donate and get involved. We especially thank the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth for providing our rental costs.
Message from the Chair Dear Friends of Pregnancy Assistance, Welcome to yet another edition of Pregnancy Assistanceâ€™s Hope & Life. We have had a busy first half of the year. Our new organisational structure, implemented late 2017, is working very well. We now also have regular fundraising and social events, the last one being the wonderful outdoor movie night, held in April. All this is possible thanks to the hard work of dedicated people. Everyone at Pregnancy Assistance has a unique role to play. Some people come in to attend to the clothes and ancillary goods donated by the many beneficiaries. Others ensure the accounts are kept in good order and up to date. Several people come in to simply pray. Then there are those whose main task is to service the clients. There are many more tasks of a very diverse nature, all performed by a dedicated group of people with different interests or skills. Together, we operate as one team. Communication is obviously essential. The unexpected occurs frequently. But somehow things always appear to work out. We trust in each other, and together we trust in God. Whilst the work is not often easy, it is always rewarding. Thank you everyone for your contribution, be it by donating your time, financial support or spiritual support. Eric Jas Chairman
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Motherâ€™s day at Pregnancy Assistance
Whilst the tradition for giving gifts on Mothers Day was well established in the United States (1908) it didnâ€™t begin in Australia until 1924. On Friday 11 May Pregnancy Assistance celebrated mothers and motherhood. We believe it is important to acknowledge these beautiful mums who have shown perserverance, dedication and love. Thank you all for coming and for allowing us to be part of you lives!
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Community Night & Outdoor Movie On Friday 6 April, over 200 people from all over Perth gathered together to support Pregnancy Assistance at this year’s community event. In the shadow of St Columba’s Catholic Church in South Perth, supporters arrived to live music and delicious food from the food trucks. After some socializing and taking in the stunning view of Perth City, Kristine, a previous client of PA gave a testimony of her experience and journey of the support offered during her pregnancy. You can read her story on p. 6. The crowd then settled down on their picnic rugs to watch the new movie Wonder (rated PG), on the huge outdoor screen. For many members of the community this was their first time supporting Pregnancy Assistance at an event, and organisers were delighted to see so many young people attending. There was also a large number of young people who put their hands up to help run the night. ‘It was so nice to have an opportunity to support Pregnancy Assistance in a practical way tonight, and so good to see so many people out here having a good time,’ said one of the volunteers on the night. Many people also brought donations of baby goods on the night or supported PA by buying the new ‘Hope and Life’ t-shirts, as well as through ticket-sales for the movie.
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Thank you for your support Pregnancy Assistance Inc would like to thank:
Knights of the Southern Cross WA for sponsoring the Community Night & Outdoor Movie; St Columbaâ€™s Catholic Church for the use of the venue; Reuben De Melo for the musical performance; Josh Low for photography, and all of the volunteers who helped to make the night possible.
Reuben De Melo
The Oâ€™Brien sisters, always willing to offer a helping hand Hope and Life
Hope and Perserverance; Kristineâ€™s Story It was June of 2015 when I found out that I
Kristine and beauriful Matteo visitng PA
was pregnant. I remember my heart racing as I saw those two lines â€“ out of excitement, out of fear, out of an overwhelming pile of emotions and unsure of what to do next. Unexpectedly, my partner and I had different opinions on the news. What was supposed to be a joyful event in oneâ€™s life became a tough, emotionally and mentally draining experience. Being away from family and closest friends, I was lost, felt very isolated, scared and confused. I leaned on my faith. Though filled with guilt and unworthiness, I prayed to ask for guidance. During those dark times, I sought help and found Pregnancy Assistance. Not knowing what to expect and with a bit of hesitation, I knocked on their door and was welcomed by Francine. Through my visits
and meetings with the counsellors, I was able to process what I was going through and was guided to make the best choice for my life. I found refuge in the centre - without judgement, without conditions. They continued to support me, helped me get out of a harmful situation, and ensured that my unborn child and I had what we needed. Each meeting made me feel empowered and reassured. They have given me the confidence and strength to face motherhood on my own. After the birth of my son, I received counselling from Lisette. The sessions helped me move on and have given me the tools to cope with my new life. Two years on, with perseverance and trust in God, I have rebuilt my life with a beautiful and happy son. Some days are definitely more challenging than others and it is definitely a process. Though parts of my journey were painful, a lot of positive doors have also opened. Each day is a step closer to healing and finding peace. I am very grateful to Pregnancy Assistance for being part of this journey and for the generosity of the organisation and its donors. My experience is just one of the many successful outcomes and I hope that more families in crisis receive the support that they need. Thank you Pregnancy Assistance and keep going mummas! Kristine
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With Thanks to Monica from Monica Defendi Photography Hope and Life
Networking with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Pregnancy Assistance has a long lasting relationship with Youth with a Mission (YWAM). We collaborate all for the benefits of our visitors and clients. We helped Eva Rickman and her husband who are Lutheran missionaries. They live in Hong Kong, but came to Perth temporarily because Eva was pregnant with her fifth child and decided to have the baby in Perth. We provided her with plenty of baby clothes and furniture. A big thank you to Starting over Support (SOS) for providing much needed baby items also. It is about coming together to assist people who can do with a bit of support!
We wanted to thank you so much for all your help, as we temporarily relocated to Australia to have our baby. We were able to stop by briefly the week before we returned to Hong Kong, but were unable to thank all of you in person. Thank you for all you did for us and do for so many other families. With Gratitude, The Rickman Family
YWAM’s Medical Mission Team The Medical Mission School runs each year and was developed out of YWAM Perth with the purpose of giving medical professionals a Christian perspective toward health. This provides them with an opportunity to take part in a mission trip. The lectures are 3 months and the missions trip this year went to Nepal for 3 months. One of the weeks in the lecture phase focuses on Urban health. The purpose of this week is to expose the students to the needs that are within our own reach, in particular our own cities. We had speakers that came and talked about homelessness, prostitution, drug addiction, trauma, depression and abortion. Each speaker spoke passionately on their topic and inspired us as medical professionals to be a voice. They encouraged us to know that there is a “mission field “ in our own back yard, that we can serve and bring Gods Love. One of the speakers was Lisette Jas from Pregnancy Assistance. She spoke about the emotional and health effects of abortion. What we learned from Lisette was that as professionals we must be aware of the effects aborion has on women, men and family. Many women are not fully informed of the long-lasting effects of this procedure. Our major take away from this week was that as God’s people there is much to do. God is 8
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wanting us to serve within our local community. God wants His people to do it and that each individual is valued the way He created them to be.
Kathy Kennedy Health Care Leader Youth With a Mission Perth
Day of the Unborn On Saturday 24 march we celebrated the gift of Life by attending a special Mass for all those who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion. The Mass included a special memorial procession. People had the opportunity to place a flower at the foot of the Altar in honour of all unborn children or specifically in remembrance of their own child or children who died prior to birth.
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Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Rachel’s Vineyard is therapy for the soul. The program is an opportunity to examine your abortion experience, identify the ways that the loss has impacted you in the past and present, and helps to acknowledge any unresolved feelings that many individuals struggle with after abortion. Because of the emotional numbness and secrecy that often surrounds an abortion experience, conflicting emotions both during and after the event may remain unresolved. These buried feelings can surface later and may be symptoms of post abortion trauma. Married couples, mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings of aborted children, as well as persons who have been involved in the abortion industry have come to Rachel’s Vineyard in search of peace and inner healing. The weekend is a lot of work but yields a fruitful harvest for all who are willing to labor there. Please contact Rachel’s Vineyard if you think attending this rereat will help you heal and find peace again. It runs from Friday 13 July - Sunday 15 July. www.rachelsvineyardministriesperth.wordpress.com email@example.com 0490 956 745
Prayer for a forthcoming Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Heavenly Father, Console, strengthen and support our retreatants, as they anxiously await the arrival of this Rachel’s Vineyard weekend. Grant the gift of patience to all the retreatants as they prepare for the journey that lies ahead. Heal the hearts of all those who have sought abortion as a solution and now endure the emotional trauma of its aftermath. Help them to stop condemning themselves and to live in your love and truth. Give them the strength to look at those dark places in their souls and help them to experience your healing power. Transform their hearts from a place of darkness to a vessel of hope. Help them to experience your forgiveness and offer them your grace of a forgiving spirit. Provide those women and men who have not yet said ‘yes’ to this weeken the courage to step out.
Give this team a servant’s heart, and the wisdom and insight to guide this weekend. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us. St Theresa of Calcutta, patroness of Rachel’s Vineyard, pray for us 10
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Theresa Burke: Post Abortion Grief A number of staff and volunteers from Pregnancy Assistance attended the Post Abortion Grief workshop by psychologist and international speaker Dr Theresa Burke on Saturday 21 April at the Respect for Life Office. Theresa is the creator of Rachel’s Vineyard, the largest post abortion ministry in the world. According to Theresa, 43% of women are post abortive by age 45. Abortion can result in emotional pain and trauma. She mentioned that the pain of abortion is real, but so is the healing that can take place.
Mother Theresa tells us to not worry about numbers, to help one person at a time and that is what we do here at Pregnancy Assistance. Something special can happen within a relationship when we listen to someone’s story through their eyes, instead of choosing to see their story through our own eyes. Have you had an abortion and do you experience anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, regret and sadness? Do you wonder if there is a better path than the path of staying stuck in sadness? Sometimes the cause of the stuckness isn’t the sadness itself, but the fact that you don’t even recognize that you have lost something and that you need to grieve. So is there a better path than the path of staying ‘stuck’? Yes, there is and you can allow yourself to walk that path. We here at Pregnancy Assistance will walk that path with you. Please know that grief is not some kind of force that is only there to cause pain, it is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. Grief is really the price of love. When you think you are ready to move through the grief and to return to a place of peace, please contact us on 9328 2929. We are only a phone call away and you don’t have to do it alone. Our compassionate counsellors are here to support you and to walk with you in love.
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Reversal RU486 RU-486 (Mifepristone) was developed in France in 1982 and registered in Australia in 2012. Mifepristone is used for medical abortion. Medical abortion is a two-step procedure. Mifepristone is a synthetic steroid that blocks the production of progesterone in a pregnant woman, causing the lining of the womb to be deprived of the hormone (progesterone) needed to maintain pregnancy. It results in the woman’s body rejecting her embryo/foetus’ developing placenta, bringing about a chemical abortion. Expulsion of the embryo/foetus is then achieved by taking a prostaglandin called Misoprostol 24 – 48 hours later. This drug causes the womb to contract and expel the embryo/foetus. Following medical abortion, women are advised to remain near medical help in case of excessive bleeding and other troublesome adverse effects. The manufacturer of mifepristone has listed fifteen conditions for which the drug is contra-indicated for medical abortion. Abortion is often a difficult and traumatic decision for a woman to make. Perhaps greater distress occurs when a woman commences a medical abortion but then changes her mind and wishes to keep the now-threatened pregnancy. One published case series detailed a potential method to reverse the effects of mifepristone by administering Progesterone, a steroid hormone essential to support early pregnancy. Progesterone supplementation has been known to be beneficial for recurrent miscarriage. Progesterone is also recommended for routine use in situations such as in-vitro fertilization. Evidence demonstrates that Mifepristone does not cause harm to the embryo, rather it deprives the womb of progesterone required by the developing pregnancy. There is no guarantee of success however, in the U.S. 55% of women continue a pregnancy to birth following the treatment. Issues recounted by women after undertaking abortion include being pressured by others (3764%), being unsure about the decision at the time (38 – 54%), needing more time to make the decision (33 – 52%) and not being counselled on alternatives (45 – 79%). As a result a percentage of women commencing the medical abortion regimen may change their mind before completing the drug course. In conclusion, women have changed their mind after commencing medical abortion. Abortion providers must take responsibility for those woman, providing them with Progesterone information is not only ethical but essential for informed consent. (References are available if requested).
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With a Little Help from Our Friends
A special thank you to Charlie Cahia. Charlie has been involved with Pregnancy Assistance for many years. Always willing to give his time and energy freely. Whether it be maintenace or dropping things off for us, nothing is too much for Charlie!
A huge thank you to Jim & Jan Portwood who are always willing to help. They drive to Trigg regularly to pick up Tiny Tot boxes, drop them off at Pregnancy Assistance, so we can hand them out to pregnant women. Recently they picked up a wardrobe for us at IKEA and assembled it! Thanks guys!
Thank you Liz Green for making beautiful hampers for our mums & bubs. We very much appreciate your help and sharing a cuppa! Hope and Life
Thank You Thank you for continually supporting us in achieving our principal objectives – “To provide relief of poverty, suffering, distress, misfortune, destitution, or helplessness for pregnant women of all sections of the public irrespective of race, colour or creed.” Pregnancy Assistance Inc. solely relies on private donations. We are an ACNC registered charity, and all monetary donations above $2 are fully tax-deductable. Your generous support gives and changes lives and allows people to taste just how sweet and good hope and life truly is.
Your Donation Makes A Difference
The Archdiocese pays for our rent but for all else we rely entirely on GOD speaking to your heart! Pregnancy Assistance Inc. PO Box 8129 Perth BC WA 6849 T: (08) 9328 2926
Donations over $2.00 are tax deductible Name/Corporation:
Email: I make the following donation to Pregnancy Assistance Inc. of $ once only
By cheque/money order: made payable and addressed: Pregnancy Assistance Inc. PO Box 8129 Perth BC WA 6849 By Direct payment: Pregancy Assistance Inc. | Westpac | BSB 036014 | Acc 306953 Mastercard
Name on card: 3 digit verification number:
Online: www.pregnancyassist.com.au By including us in your will.