In Italy the law allows a woman to have an abortion in her first trimester, and the government provides free care for this and professional privacy. Because of the privacy, it’s almost impossible to directly intervene and attempt to dissuade such a woman from abortion.
In this climate, the Italian right to life movement, Movimento per la Vita, has developed what is known as Progetto Gemma or a REMOTE ADOPTION Initiative. While it uses this title, there is no specific push for her to adopt the child. On the contrary, most of the children will stay with their mother. This adoption is of a different sort.
It uses a network of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (Centri di Aiuto alla Vita CAV) to funnel help to a pregnant woman. Those who adopt are individuals, families, groups, church congregations, offices and others. Each of these units can subscribe to a pledge to give a contribution monthly, for 18 months, that is, through the pregnancy and for almost one year after birth. There is no direct communication exchanged between the birth mother and the sponsoring group but, working through the agency, the sponsoring group does get periodic reports on the progress of the pregnancy. They are told with joy when the birth occurs, the weight, sex, etc. of the baby and a frequent report of the baby’s and the mother’s progress. Both sides remain anonymous, although there is a free decision that must be mutual at the end of the adoption period. At that time, if both wish, there can be a physical reunion of the mother, her child and the sponsoring group.
Dr. Silvio Ghielmi, a prime founder of CAV and its continuing director, has told us that they are saving the lives of over 3,000 babies a year, 1,000 of those because of Progetto Gemma since it was begun in 1994. For more information about this lifesaving program, contact Life Issues Institute or go directly to Fondazione Vita Nova, via Tonezza, 3 Milano, Italy. Telephone 011 39 2 4870 2890. Fax 011 39 2 4870 5429.