Those who selflessly give of their time and energy to help women facing crisis and unplanned pregnancies have long been the unsung heroes of the pro-life movement.
The annual Pregnancy Support Awards seek to redress that situation by thanking and recognising the tireless generosity of those who voluntarily help women in desperate need of someone to care about them and their unborn babies.
The Awards are the initiative of Greg Donnelly MLC, a long-time campaigner for pro-life legislation and greater pregnancy support services.
“Women who have an unplanned pregnancy should not be left feeling guilty and abandoned,” Mr Donnelly said. “We have to stand with them and offer both our care and support.
“As a society that prides itself as one that steps up and helps those most in need, we can and must do a great deal more for women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.”
Founder of Women and Babies Support International (WOMBS), Tiana Legge, was awarded for “Leadership in Pregnancy Support”.
WOMBS offers factual information on pregnancy support, online counselling and a referral service, with their website attracting around 10,000 unique visitors per month.
Director of Pregnancy Help Australia, Beth Burns, won the award in the category of “Outstanding Pregnancy Support Counsellor”, for her tireless work over two decades providing over the phone counselling to women.
The award for “Best Pregnancy Support in Regional, Rural and Remote NSW”, went to Lynn Mabey of Pregnancy Care Coffs Harbour, for her critical role over many years in driving fundraising activities and providing face-to-face and phone counselling.
Karinya Home for Mothers and Babies in Canberra was awarded for “Innovation in Pregnancy Support Services”.
As a Community-based, not-for-profit organisation Karinya Home provides accommodation, transitional housing and support services to pregnant and parenting women and their families.
Since 1997 it has provided over 5,500 residential and outreach support periods to thousands of women and their families. The award was accepted by Mr Donnelly on behalf of Karinya Home.
And finally, Rebecca Gosper, was awarded under the “Outstanding Young Volunteer” category. The full-time student manages to work 40 to 50 hours per week in support of women facing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy. Ms Gosper collected over 56,000 signatures earlier this year for a petition against the Faruqi Bill, which was seeking to legalise abortion right up to birth.
Mr Donnellly also paid tribute to Jaya Taki who was present for the award ceremony. Ms Taki spoke out publically earlier this year against the Faruqi Bill abortion bill, claiming she had been pressured into aborting her unborn baby. Mr Donnelly commended her for her bravery in speaking out despite the vitriol she received from many quarters.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that women and families experiencing an unplanned pregnancy need and deserve a lot more support from the community,” Mr Donnelly said.