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Offering a lifeline to immigrant mums


Pregnant women who are on temporary visas and unable to access health benefits in Australia are being given a financial lifeline to have their babies, thanks to a program run by a local pro-life advocate.

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Robyn Grace, who founded Pregnancy Help SA and the Mothers Without Medicare program, said over the past 15 years she has assisted about 200 immigrant women to keep their babies, when they believed their only option was to have an abortion.

She explained that many of the expectant mums who have contacted her are in Australia on working or student visas which means they are not eligible for Medicare benefits. While they are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover, if they fall pregnant in the first year most do not meet the health funds’ 12-month waiting period for obstetric services.

Ironically, Mrs Grace said, they are covered for an abortion.

“When they contact me I always ask, how can I help you, what do you need? Every family is in a different situation,” she said.

“I tell them the truth about abortion, take them for an ultrasound to show them the healthy child.

“When you have a mum who is so despairing and in a really bad state and to give them hope – and for them to know they are loved and are safe, that is the biggest thing.”

In February, parishioners in the Adelaide Archdiocese donated about $30,000 to the Unborn Child Appeal, to support the work of Mothers Without Medicare, Birthline and Genesis Pregnancy Support.

Mrs Grace described the donations as “wonderful” but said the need was ongoing and it was a big financial undertaking. On average, Mothers Without Medicare provides about $30,000 in support to each pregnant woman, covering the costs of prenatal visits and tests, the birth of the child in hospital and ongoing assistance for the mum and her baby, including upgrading to a family health insurance premium.

“I’ve been at so many deliveries, been there afterwards for them and years later…you can’t just say to them keep your baby and then walk away,” she said.

“I am like their grandma and their mum forever. And you just look at this little baby and you think, how can you put a price on it?”

A committed Christian, Mrs Grace said her eyes were opened to the devastation and grief caused by an abortion when her husband Trevor studied bio-ethics at university many years ago.

Her “lightning bolt” moment came when a complete stranger walked into her florist shop and asked her for help.

“I thought sure, your car has broken down, you want money for the phone, and he says that his daughter is booked in for an abortion tomorrow, and you’re going to help me,” she recalled.

The next day under the subterfuge of making a flower delivery, Mrs Grace went to the abortion clinic, talking to the young woman and others there about the choice they were making and the beautiful lives that were being taken.

Mrs Grace said she went home and felt physically ill, grieving for the 18-week-old baby that this young girl had decided to terminate. At that moment she knew what God was calling her to do.

She stopped running her flower shop and has since devoted her life to providing support to immigrant expectant mums so they can choose the life of their unborn child over an abortion. “

For Indian student Pamela (not her real name), the assistance she received from Mothers Without Medicare gave her hope and the courage to continue with her pregnancy when initially she believed abortion was her only option. Pamela spent some months living with Mrs Grace and her family prior to and after giving birth five months ago to her son. She has now returned to Melbourne to resume her studies but continues to be supported.

“With the baby I can’t work so Robyn is still helping me a lot, with rent, student fees, groceries and baby clothes,” she said.

“I was very desperate…but I am happy now.”

For more information about Mothers Without Medicare go to


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