Each year, the month of October is dedicated to cherishing and respecting life. Not only is it breast cancer and domestic violence awareness month, but it is also Respect Life month, which launched on Oct. 5th.
Why is this so important to me? From time to time, I have shared with you my background as a respiratory therapist, my full-time profession before I began serving as your representative. When you think respiratory therapist, a newborn child is probably not what comes to mind. However, beginning in the early 1970s, I spent over 20 years working in the neonatal intensive-care units (NICU) of multiple hospitals.
At that time, I was one of the only respiratory therapists with neonatal experience. As a result, I was asked to travel to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis for extensive training and was able to come back to Welborn Hospital in Evansville and launch their first high-risk nursery. Working so closely with extremely vulnerable infants, working daily to save their lives, I gained a unique appreciation for how special life truly is.
I believe that this experience is what prompted me to join Right to Life of Southwest Indiana. Here, we recognize that education and assistance are the greatest ways to protect the sanctity of life. This can mean anything from a national initiative to a private or local program.
For instance, are you familiar with Indiana’s Safe Haven Law? This law allows a parent, family member, friend, minister or priest, social worker or other responsible adult to relinquish custody of an infant, less than 30 days old, to a hospital emergency room, fire station or police station throughout the state.
Distressed parents can receive counseling and more information, like the address of the nearest hospital, by calling the Safe Haven Hotline at 1-877-796-HOPE (4673), or by simply dialing 2-1-1. Once the baby has been examined and given any necessary medical treatment, it will then be taken into custody by the Department of Child Services and placed with a caregiver. This provides Hoosiers a way out, without fear of arrest or prosecution.
While this offers an option after the child is born, there are also resources for women during the duration of their pregnancy. One example is the Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) in Evansville. PRC provides valuable resources to women faced with unplanned pregnancies, the possibility of pregnancy or other private health concerns.
They offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, peer-to-peer mentoring on pregnancy options and perhaps most importantly, someone to talk with confidentially 24 hours a day. To learn more, visit http://www.evansvilleprc.com/.
For me, Respect Life Month serves as a reminder not only of the importance of life, but also the importance of truly helping those in need. I am proud that our community and state has resources available to those in need, and I hope this information was helpful.