During June and July, Tasks for Transit added two additional partner charities: Visitation House and Planned Parenthood. Like our other charity partners, each of these two organizations will be given ten WRTA bus day passes each month. We are starting their participation simultaneously because we believe that both organizations are performing valuable services for women in the Greater Worcester area, but recognize that they are on opposite ends of the prolife/prochoice specturm..
Visitation House is not as well known as Planned Parenthood. This is primarily because Planned Parenthood is a national organization, and thus receives much more publicity, where as Visitation House is a small local charity. Visitation House is located on Vernon Hill, just a few blocks from Kelly Square. Its mission is dedicated to assisting adult homeless women who are pregnant and wish to carry their child to term. The woman must also be "clean," i.e., not addicted to drugs or alcohol, because Visitation House doesn't have the staff to address the necessary support services for addiction. Typically, Visitation House will not take women who would be bringing additional children with them.
Visitation House gets most of its referrals from local area hospitals or medical personnel. For example, a woman's doctor may know that his patient is sleeping in a car and that her family and the father of her child have refused to help her (it's sad but it does happen). Once the woman is accepted, she is allowed to live at Visitation House until she delivers her child and for an additional six months after. While there, the woman will be a member of a small temporary community of roughly ten homeless pregnant women, each living in her own room (originally the cell of individual nuns.) Each room is furnished to serve one mother and one infant, including free diapers and other items needed for infant care. While there, each woman will also help with household chores and group meal preparation. There is a small chapel in which mass is offered once a month. When the woman finally leaves Visitation House with her infant, she is often given equipment and toys to help her transition.
Planned Parenthood provides a broad spectrum of educational, counseling and health services for women of all ages. Since abortions are one of the many services provided, it is usually identified as a prochoice organization. Keep in mind that prochoice simply means that a pregnant woman is free to decide what to do with her pregnancy. She may decide to carry the child to term. The point of Roe v. Wade is that it is the woman's choice and her choice only.
Tasks for Transit is trying to strike a balance by supporting both organizations with bus transportation for those clients that are economically disadvantaged. Both organizations will be treated equally. TFT is not supporting either position, prolife or prochoice. We are supporting poor women.