01/08/2014, 00.00
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Manila: new-borns and young mothers find refuge against abortion

Founded in 2009, the 'Grace to be born' shelter has helped hundreds of children and young pregnant women. In 2013, 160 babies were born in the facility, which is operated by Catholic volunteer doctors and nurses.

Pasig City (AsiaNews) - A modern "baby hatch" is saving hundreds babies from certain death by convincing their mothers not to have an abortion. About 160 babies were saved this way in 2013.

The shelter is located in Pasig, one of the most densely populated cities in Metro Manila, operating thanks to funds donated by generous benefactors and the work of volunteer physicians, psychologists, nurses and support staff.

The service has been up and running since 2009, focusing primarily on young women from poor villages from the Visayan Islands.

Shelter director Rey Ortega said that his organisation welcomes women with unwanted pregnancies, providing them with help and a promise to take care of their children once they are born.

For Ortega, most of the young women who come to the shelter are little more than teenagers, many of them with economic problems.

However, some are university undergraduates or even graduates who do odd jobs as domestic helpers or maids to make ends meet.

Once they find out that they are pregnant, the young women are often afraid of how their families might react, and thus face alone the dilemma of whether to have the child or have an abortion.

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