Imagine for a moment that you are a young woman of 21. You live with 5 roommates in a big, run-down house near downtown Guelph. You're in your 3rd year of university and you're a good student. Last semester was rough, because your boyfriend of 2 years broke up with you and you found out it was because he was seeing another girl behind your back. You were angry and hurt and then you found out he left you with a parting gift - a very unexpected pregnancy. You told him, because you felt like he deserved to know, and he accused you of getting pregnant on purpose, called you some nasty names and demanded you have an abortion. You believe everything happens for a reason and you want this baby desperately, but you know that he won't support you, you are certain your parents will be disappointed and stop helping pay for your expenses, and you don't want to be a university drop out. So...what do you do?
If you are like many young people - you do a Google search and maybe you end up on a website like the SHORE center's (formerly Planned Parenthood Waterloo). Their website warmly tells you that they are supportive of your choice, no matter what you choose, but there is an accessible list of abortion centres if you want an abortion and currently just an offer to help you find a doctor if you decide to continue your pregnancy. But, you don't just need a doctor - you need a support system, a place for you and the baby to live, a way to finish your education, a job, and enough money to upgrade from your ramen noodle diet so that you can properly nourish the tiny human you are growing inside of you.
When we make abortion the "easy" option, and don't provide the comprehensive support that women need to be successful during and after pregnancy, we don't actually provide a woman with real options. We're trying to change that. This week we have launched a free and anonymous personalized pregnancy support referral questionnaire. In our questionnaire, women and girls in need will answer questions asking them to choose a primary stressor in their pregnancy, check off the resources they need from an extensive list (including housing, financial, food, transportation, and more), and identify if they have any special circumstances. From their responses, a list of relevant resources in their community (either Guelph or Fergus/Elora) is generated, complete with contact information and descriptions of the services offered.
Please consider sharing the link to our questionnaire on your social media accounts - you never know who might need the support: www.sanctuaryoutreach.com/referrals