Crisis pregnancy center opens in Argentina shanty town

Woman and baby in Buenos Aires Argentina Credit  Simon Mayer   Shutterstock CNA Woman and baby in Buenos Aires, Argentina. | Simon Mayer / Shutterstock.

A new crisis pregnancy center in Buenos Aires will welcome women facing difficult pregnancies, offering resources, counseling, and medical support.

The "Home of the Motherly Embrace" is being opened in response to a July proposal by a group of priests who work in the poorest areas of the cities. The goal is to meet the needs of pregnant women living in shanty towns without basic utilities such as electricity or running water.

Creators of the home hope to show the Church's committed response to defend both the mother and the unborn child. They hope to open up additional homes in the future.

The Home of the Motherly Embrace is located in the former catechetical center of the Sacred Heart of Jesus parish and in the Don Orione Neighborhood. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and will be served by volunteers, who will welcome women in crisis pregnancies as well as those who have had an abortion.

Women will be offered food, healthcare, psychological support, legal aid, and counseling during their pregnancy and their babies' first years, up to the start of early childhood education. 

The home will also seek to facilitate access to government maternity policies and programs and if needed, the process of adoption through the legal system.

The plan for the crisis pregnancy center arose amid a legislative push to legalize on-demand abortion up to 14 weeks gestation, and through the ninth month of pregnancy on the grounds of rape, if doctors deem the mother's life or health to be endangered, or if the baby receives a diagnosis of non-viability.

Although the bill was ultimately rejected by the nation's senate, the fierce debate surrounding it divided Argentinian society and highlighted the need to offer additional resources to women facing difficult pregnancies.

An Aug. 27 Mass was celebrated to inaugurate the Home of the Motherly Embrace. Auxiliary Bishop Gustavo Carrara of Buenos Aires presided over the Mass. The homily was given by Fr. Hernán Martin, the pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish, where the women's center is located.

Fr. Martin stressed that in times of division, "we want to bring people together" to "contribute our grain of sand, and sow a seed of hope for the love we have for God and his plan."

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