A 7% drop in support for abortion among young women, and an abortion clinic willing to refer women to a pregnancy support centre show the impact Emily’s Voice and Zoe’s Place are having in the Hunter Valley.
These were just two of the highlights of the third annual Glorious Life dinner on Friday night at Belmont 16s, when 250 guests gathered to invest in life and love.
Guests waited an uncomfortably long four minutes as the leaders of the host organisations poured out 80,000 tiny ball bearings representing the children who each year don’t get to experience life outside the womb. The names of 80,000 children rained down behind them on a giant screen as they poured and poured.
Guests raised almost $50,000 to fund Emily’s Voice life media campaigns, and pregnancy testing, support and pre and post abortion counselling through Zoe’s Place.
Emily’s Voice CEO Paul O’Rourke said the life campaigns were aimed at making abortion uncommon, by showing the practice was unhelpful, unhealthy, unreasonable and, through partner service Zoe’s Place, unnecessary.
You Gov Galaxy polling on behalf of Emily’s Voice shows in just four years, the life campaigns have resulted in a 7% drop in support for abortion among women under 35, and an increase of 9% in women unsure about their feelings towards termination.
“In 2018, less than half Port Stephens residents aged 16-49, and barely half of Lake Macquarie and Maitland residents say they generally support abortion,’’ Mr O’Rourke told the audience.
“This support falls dramatically when termination is being considered for economic, career, gender, family size, even where the baby may have a mild disability.”
He said money raised from the gala would help the organisation run more campaigns, more often, in the Hunter Valley and extending into the Central Coast of NSW.
“This will bring to one million people the number of people in the viewing audience.’’
Zoe’s Place director Stacy Allen said an abortion clinic had called and “grilled” her about the centre’s non-directive, free counselling service before announcing they would recommend Zoe’s Place to women who are unsure or conflicted about their pregnancy.
Stacy said clients ranged from older professional women, to overseas students studying in Australia, as well as mothers with several children unsure about whether they wanted an additional child.
“There’s a stereotype that it’s the unwed teenager who finds herself pregnant that would consider a termination. In fact, we have only had one teenage client since we started,’’ she said.
“Perhaps the most common story we hear at Zoe’s Place is that of a woman feeling pressured by her partner to terminate the pregnancy.”
Stacy showed a video of the young woman known as “Miss X” who was coerced into abortion with $50,000 in hush money by the father of the child, a well-known NRL footballer.
“You can hear the pain of regret in her voice and see the pressure she was under. Although a $50k payment mightn’t be the ‘norm’, her guilt, shame and regret are (common) from my experience.’’