“Invaluable,” “essential” pregnancy support recognized in New South Wales

By Lisa Bourne

Five pregnancy help organizations and individuals from the Australian state of New South Wales [NSW] were honored recently for their essential service to women facing unplanned pregnancy and their families.

The 2020 Pregnancy Support Awards were conferred just prior to the holidays and honored the award recipients for the vital role they play in saving lives.

“In honoring these five particular awardees, important honor and highlight is brought to the great work of pregnancy help that happens around New South Wales, and across all of Australia, in ways large and small,” said Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey. “Through this year, especially, we’ve learned about how “essential” pregnancy support is.” 

The awards are in their fifth year and were created to recognize, acknowledge and thank the individuals and organizations in New South Wales who provide support and care for women and families facing an unplanned or unexpected pregnancy.

The Pregnancy Support Awards would usually be presented at NSW Parliament House during a dinner event, however due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awards were conducted in a virtual ceremony held on Wednesday November 25.

Godsey was among the speakers for the event. Several members of Parliament of New South Wales, including Greg Donnelly, whose vision led to development of the annual Pregnancy Support Awards, were in attendance. Donnelly was joined by fellow NSW Members of Parliament Damien Tudehope, Kevin Conolly, Courtney Houssos, Hugh McDermott and Phil Donato, and also Mark Robinson from Queensland Parliament and Bernie Finn, of Parliament of Victoria.

The event was MC’d by Bethany Marsh, who three years prior was given the “Outstanding Young Volunteer” award following her having been targeted as a university student via social media for publicly voicing opposition to exclusion zones around abortion facilities.

Marsh said the work of the award winner that evening and others serving in pregnancy help was “invaluable.”

Marsh told those in attendance that thousands of lives have been touched by the outstanding individuals and organizations serving women and families in the area, “some of whom have been toiling away doing this critically important yet under-recognized voluntary work for decades.” 

“And of course, we have those wonderful people alive today, living fulfilling and complete lives and making a contribution to society, who would not be with us today if it was not for the encouragement, assistance and care that people like yourselves have given to their mothers,” she said.

Godsey said the pregnancy of a woman, no matter the circumstances that surround her, reminds us of the unique power, and intrinsic dignity, involved in creating and carrying life within her womb.

It’s the one experience all humans everywhere share, he said, being carried into life by our mothers. And since in every woman who is pregnant there is a reminder of our own past and path to life, he added, “How can we do anything else but love and support her?”

“The truth is, that no woman should feel so alone, or coerced – whether by her circumstance or another person – to think that the only option she can envision is to terminate the life of her child,” stated Godsey. “Everyone should have the option of choosing life. Everyone should know that they have this precious life-affirming choice. Loving and supporting her in her pregnancy is to stand ready to aid and assist her and her child.”

The award for Outstanding Pregnancy Support Counsellor went to Julie Robinson, of Brisbane; Best Pregnancy Support in Regional, Rural and Remote NSW was awarded to Lilyrose Pregnancy Support, of Coffs Harbour, New South Wales; the Outstanding Young Volunteer award was given to Rose Pender, of Diamond Women’s Support; the Outstanding Interstate Pregnancy Support Service went to Olivia’s Place in Warragul, Victoria; and the Leadership in Pregnancy Support award was given to Project Elizabeth, from CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

“Each of these awards celebrates the value of having life-affirming options,” said Godsey. “More than that, they are bringing the life option into reach for those women can’t see beyond the immediate obstacles that seem impossible to overcome.” 

“Today’s awards for these few are representative of the whole of the pregnancy help community across Australia and the hundreds upon hundreds of people who put their hands to this good work,” he added. “They also stand as a celebration for those who serve in this good work around the globe.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help New and is reposted with permission.