Your report "Sydney Archdiocese program offers alternative to abortion" (February AD2000) states that the program is "new to Australia and only the third in the world to provide support to pregnant women who are contemplating abortion."
While I cannot comment on the number of similar agencies in other parts of the world, it is not correct to report that the program is new to Australia.
Pregnancy Assistance Inc was established in Perth in 1996 at the behest of Archbishop Barry Hickey. It has an office and counselling rooms in Lord Street, Perth, provided by the Archdiocese of Perth. Archbishop Hickey is the patron. The chaplain and representative of the Archbishop on the Board is Father Paul Carey SSC.
For the past nine years, trained counsellors have provided support to women contemplating abortion, saving the lives of many unborn children. Financial assistance has been given where needed and tons of baby clothing and furniture have been gathered and dispensed to families and single mothers in need.
During the first year volunteers provided the furnishings for a chapel on the premises where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved and Mass is celebrated three times a week.
Pregnancy Assistance raises all its funds and in 1998 purchased a house in Dianella, Miriam's House, to provide accommodation for homeless pregnant women.
Since 1996 it has published a quality quarterly magazine, Abundant Life, which is distributed to financial subscribers and at parishes in the Archdiocese.
The web site address is www.pregnancyassistance.org.au
It is also important to point out that the Diocese of Bunbury established a similar agency using the same name. The premises in Spencer Street were blessed by Bishop Peter Quinn on 10 November 1999 and continue to provide support to pregnant women.
BRIAN A. PEACHEY
Chairman, Pregnancy Assistance
East Perth, WA