When Rosita was 17 weeks pregnant, instead of picking out paint colors for the nursery and filling a drawer with cute onesies, she panicked. Due to the pandemic, she’d lost her job and bills were piling up. Her estranged family could not provide financial, or even emotional, support. Then, she received the worst blow: her partner was killed in an auto accident. How would she be able to afford raising a child? Frustrated, Rosita pursued what she thought was her last option – a later-term abortion at a local pregnancy center.
Thanks to Wisconsin Right to Life Education Fund, which awards emergency grants to pregnant women with limited resources, she decided to keep the baby. With the grant, the organization provided her with an apartment, paying the security deposit and first month’s rent.
“Everybody finds themselves in a bind,” says education director Judy Van Swol. “They need jobs, transportation, a roof over their head, food on the table, all of those things. It’s a real privilege to give direct financial assistance.” The organization also helps pregnant women escape domestic-abuse situations, by providing hotel rooms or bus tickets to help them get away to stay with family or friends.
According to Wisconsin Right to Life executive director, Heather Weininger, the number of requests for emergency grants has increased during the pandemic, as has the average dollar amount for each. During the pandemic, in lieu of the teen camp the fund runs each August, which trains high school and college-aged youth in leadership, Wisconsin Right to Life Education Fund launched a subscription-box service. Each box is filled with resources such as books and videos, to help youth volunteers in their roles as peer counselors to other students or as activists for the movement.
“We are very excited about our outreach to youth,” says Joleigh Bass, a field rep in the northwestern part of Wisconsin. “We’re very cognizant of the fact that our pro-life efforts don’t stop when the baby’s born. Putting food in babies’ bellies is part of the pro-life mission, too.”