Pro Life in Action: A Safe Haven for Pregnant Women

By Amelia Hamilton Published on March 31, 2015

One of the common misconceptions about the pro-life movement is that it is all about saving a child from abortion and that, once a mother decides not to abort, she and her baby are on their own. In reality, pro-life is about supporting mother and baby through the pregnancy and beyond. Pro-life in action is organizations like The Sparrow’s Nest in St. Louis, which reaches out to young women with support in a critical time in their lives.

At The Sparrow’s Nest, women 19 and younger have a safe place to stay through their pregnancy and for up to a year after their child is born. Founder and Executive Director Carissa Figgins was working as a crisis pregnancy counselor when she was moved to start the maternity home. “My clients were typically 19-25 and if given enough time and resources could eventually figure out housing and employment,” she said, “However when my clients fell in the 14-18 range their resources became severely limited. It was extremely difficult to convince them not to abort their baby when they really couldn’t even take care of themselves much less a newborn.”

Counseling women against abortion is only a fraction of the pro-life work that needs to be done. “To walk away from them now is ridiculous. They have made adult decisions but they are still children that need taken care of so they can take care of their own children.” While the Sparrow’s Nest is open to women of any faith, or of no faith, it is an unabashedly Christian organization. “We absolutely believe in the life transforming power of a personal relationship with Christ. We can take care of their physical needs and some of their emotional and relational needs. But we know what will have real lasting impact on their lives and the lives of their babies is knowing who they are in Christ and accepting His grace, love and mercy.”

Women who come to The Sparrow’s Nest have all of their needs met; physical, material, educational, and spiritual. “We require the girls to continue their education, attend weekly counseling sessions, attend a local church and volunteer back in the community,” said Figgins, “ While at The Nest we expect residents to attend bi-weekly programming, which includes financial literacy, childcare/parenting, faith development, job and life skills, healthy relationships, and healthy lifestyles.” On site, there is a house mom and dad who live there with their own children, modeling parenting and a healthy relationship. They operate largely as a family, said Figgins, where “Everyone is responsible for chores, family devotionals, and participating in simple family outings.”

The circumstances that bring women to maternity homes like this vary widely. There are young girls afraid to tell their mothers, women who tried to live with the father of the baby, but it didn’t work out. Maybe one parent is willing to be there for her during her pregnancy, but the other isn’t. Some are in an unsafe situation at home and need to find a better solution for themselves and their babies. Regardless of circumstances, they all have one thing in common: they need a supportive safe haven.

Figgins said  “it’s incredibly important not just to convince a woman not to abort her baby, but be there for her next steps. We have to make sure they know who they are, what they are good at, how they can provide for themselves and their babies, resources are available to them.” Being pro-life doesn’t just mean that we counsel women against having an abortion; it means that we support someone once they’ve made that important choice.

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