Today, it is more important than ever for the maternity homes throughout the U.S. to welcome women who want to choose life and need assistance with housing.
This sentiment and the important work of such homes were highlighted during the national March for Life Rally in Washington D.C. on Jan. 20.
Gina Tomes, co-founder and program director for Bethlehem House in Omaha, Neb., shared the successes of Bethlehem House and efficacy of maternity housing in the U.S. for the tens of thousands gathered for the first March for Life since the overturn of Roe v. Wade last June.
Pregnancy help personnel have said that the need for pregnancy help has not changed since the Dobbs ruling that reversed Roe, and if anything, the need has been heightened. Regardless of the legal status of abortion or the regulations in a given state, every day there will be women who learn they are pregnant unexpectedly and who will need pregnancy help.
Tomes’ appearance to discuss maternity housing was an opportunity to shine light on an aspect of pregnancy help that is increasing as pregnancy centers continue to respond to women’s needs.
Tomes discussed the state of maternity housing ministry in her March Rally address.
“Our maternity homes are strong, ready and effective,” she said. “Maternity homes throughout our nation have been setting a precedent of working tirelessly for women who want to choose life.”
Tomes detailed what many housing clients contend with.
“The women we are serving are facing big barriers,” she said, “such as homelessness, poverty, addiction, abuse of every kind, and lack family support.”
Bethlehem House has been part of the archetypal study of maternity homes in the U.S. with the Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame. The goal of the study is to determine processes, develop consistency and foster effectiveness.
Bethlehem House has been a leader in being comprehensive and innovative in serving clients.
“We have created a working maternity home model, staffed with top tier professionals, who can move quickly and wrap services around women who are saying yes to life,” Tomes said. “We meet women where they are and provide them with a safe home filled with love classes, therapy, addiction and recovery treatment, family reunification, faith formation and more.”
But the Omaha maternity home provides more than material services.
“We do all of this while functioning like a family,” Tomes told the March for Life Rally crowd. “The women we are serving are a part of our nation's most crucial movement - the right to life.”
“Our residents are turning their lives around, breaking down barriers, and setting new life goals that once seemed impossible,” she said. “They receive immediate care and services that are designed to shift their life.”
Tweet This: Our residents are turning their lives around, breaking down barriers, and setting new life goals that once seemed impossible-Bethlehem House
Tomes then offered statistics that underscore the Bethlehem House’s remarkable work.
“Ninety-six percent of our Bethlehem House graduates end homelessness in their life forever,” Tomes said, to cheers from the crowd.
“Eighty-six percent maintain sobriety forever,” she said. “And 85% of our residents last year achieved financial independence.”
Tomes spoke of the profound element of serving others trough maternity housing.
“We find ourselves tasked with the most awesome humanitarian duty of not just providing a safe home for a pregnant woman,” she said.
“However, we are committed to utilizing every moment in life to guide her forever through our aftercare programming that lasts forever,” she said. “We are witnessing intergenerational cycles be broken forever. Our moms bridge out of our programs as responsible parents that are active in their communities and find financial freedom and become free from government assistance forever.”
Tomes shared the impetus behind the ministry.
“When people ask me how all this is possible, my answer is this,” said Tomes. “It is by the grace of God; it must be His will.”
Tomes went on to note the key element in serving women and laud those who are there to be served, expressing the outlook that embodies pregnancy help ministry.
“It is love that will heal our culture and bring us together,” she said.
“And lastly,” said Tomes, “to all the women who have sought help and hope from maternity homes across the nation- you are our heroes, and we promise you to continue to walk with you through life. And this year in 2023, we will grow and be stronger for you forever.”