By Anna McCormack
BRISBANE — For 19 years, unpaid volunteers of the Children By Choice organisation have operated a counselling service offering advice on all options available to women faced with unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Now the group is campaigning for government funding of this important public service.
Every year since 1982, the organisation has applied without success to the Queensland government for assistance with operating and wages costs. With the election of the Goss Labor government in December 1989, it was widely expected the situation might improve, but this was not to be.
In November 1972, operating from a little old house in Red Hill, unpaid counsellors began providing women with accurate, up-to-date information.
Nineteen years later, operating from a little old house in Windsor, another generation of still-unpaid counsellors works to provide women with accurate information on all options in a non-judgmental and supportive environment.
The Children by Choice counselling service operates independently of medical clinics and the government and is located within the community. It is the only counselling service in Queensland which supports women in whichever decision they might make concerning unplanned pregnancy.
Unlike the Children By Choice service, a counselling service called Pregnancy Help has been remarkably successful in funding submissions to the state government. Pregnancy Help is a sister organisation of Right to Life, and politically opposes women's abortion rights.
Since 1984, the state Department of Family Services and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs has funded it to the tune of some $560,021, while Children By Choice has received nothing. During this time and before, Pregnancy Help has also been funded by the Health Department.
Children by Choice may be contacted on (07) 357 9933 or 357 5570.n