The passage of Senate Bill 25, eliminating even the minimal limitations on abortions under previous law marks a sad moment in our history as a State. We have worked to make the case for a consistent approach to human dignity in Illinois and will continue to do so even as elected officials single out unborn persons for particular disregard. It remains our hope that Illinois will eventually distinguish itself as a safe place that welcomes not only those seeking a new life or second chance, but also the most vulnerable among us who deserve a chance at life.
We are resolved to let women and families in the Chicago area know they have alternatives to abortion. We will continue to provide help during their pregnancies and throughout their journey as parents. Our ministry in Cook and Lake Counties has taught us that when teenagers in underserved communities experience an unplanned pregnancy without proper support, the consequences for the health and well-being of mother and child can be grim.
But, we have also seen that a brighter outcome is possible when support is provided. Catholic Charities and its partners serve hundreds of young women and developing families every year. They nurture the mother and therefore the baby by providing classes in health and child development. They encourage the new families toward independence by providing childcare and making referrals for education, housing and employment.
As a young woman, served by a Catholic agency said, “It was like a second family when I came here. My Doula took me to doctors’ appointments, explaining what all the papers and procedures meant, how my baby was developing, the changes my body was going through and how to eat and exercise to stay healthy.”
Today, her son is thriving in the organization’s early childhood program and its family support program helps her stay on track with personal goals. She will begin a bachelor’s degree program this summer. With loving encouragement, she has turned stressful circumstances into a positive, hopeful future for herself and her son.
Women have a real choice when they are given the support they need to bring their children into the world and parent them, supported by a society that truly values them. We will give that support to all who seek it in the hope that by offering them a choice, we will build stronger families and a better Illinois.