Scotland Program Helping Pregnant Women Avoid Abortion Helps 1,000

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scotland Program Helping Pregnant Women Avoid Abortion Helps 1,000

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
May 24, 2004

Glasgow Scotland ( — A program to aid pregnant unwed mothers in Scotland reached a milestone recently, having aided 1,000 women in its seven-year existence.

The Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative provides support for pregnant women, from providing lodging and financial support to advice on medical care and counseling, but it does not recommend abortion.

"Young women often feel that the only choice they have is to have an abortion when that is simply not the case," said Sister Roseann Reddy, the program’s coordinator. "We have had young women who have come here quite minded to have abortions because they feel that there are no other options available to them. They say that their parents will kill them but I have not lost one person due to parental murder yet."

While the program received public criticism five years ago when it helped provide financial support for a 12-year-old to keep her baby, it helps women "from 12 to 46" says Sister Reddy.

"A lot of the time, people who come to us are just dealing with the shock of being pregnant," Sister Reddy added.

The namesake and founder of the Initiative, Cardinal Thomas Winning, died in June 2001.

Sister Reddy told, a Scottish news service, that she was appalled by the case of a 14-year-old English schoolgirl who received an abortion without parental consent. It was discovered that her school helped her in obtaining the abortion.

"It is incredible," said Sister Reddy. "This girl would not have been able to undergo any other operation without her parents’ consent. She will have to live with this decision for the rest of her life but what other choices were offered?"

In Scotland, 7.4 per 1,000 girls aged 13 to 15 and 68.1 per 1,000 of 16-19 year olds became pregnant in 2002. Over 57 percent of the 13-15 year olds had abortions or miscarriages.

British hurdler Tasha Danvers-Smith recently had her Olympic dreams dashed when she discovered she was pregnant. The Olympic medal hopeful struggled with the decision to keep her child, as it meant the loss of her hopes for competing as well as causing financial difficulty and uncertainty.

"The timing could not have been worse. If I had run at Athens it would have meant greater financial security, more recognition. There is nothing negative that can happen when you have a shot at an Olympic medal," Danvers-Smith told the Telegraph. "I cannot lie, I considered an abortion. On the one hand you look at the situation and say, ‘I can have a baby and incur more costs, more problems.’ We don’t even have a house yet…And I am the major breadwinner."

However, Danvers-Smith and her husband and coach Darrell Smith decided that life was the right choice.

"But this line from the Scriptures kept coming into my head: ‘For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ For me, the whole wide world was the Olympics. At the same time, I felt I would be losing my soul," added Danvers-Smith. "So then I knew. For me it was not going to be an option. And as soon as I decided that, I felt so happy. Even though I know it is going to be a struggle financially and that I am sacrificing my medal hopes."

Danvers-Smith said that watching the 2004 Olympics may be "too dreadful" to bear, "but when December comes and the baby is born, I know I will feel a lot differently."