By Ava Montes
Special to the Herald
In 1970, three years before the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision, Hawaii became the first U.S. state to legalize abortion on demand. The Aloha State’s claim to shame only worsened after the high court’s ruling. The Hawaii State Department of Health estimated nearly 5,000 abortions in 1996. The year 2018 yielded upward of 2,000 abortions — better, but still damaging.
Dark times like these often reveal Catholic heroes, and Robert Pearson was one of those exemplary figures. Like a modern-day saint, Pearson spent many years countering the culture of death by supporting pregnant women forced out of their homes, financing their needs with his own money. Out of that activism grew places known as crisis pregnancy centers. At one time these centers were operating at 13 locations across the Islands.
Today, The Pearson Foundation of Hawaii Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that runs the Pearson Place Pregnancy Resource Center at its new location at 1145 Bishop Street in Honolulu (above the Pauline Book and Media Center). It remains a tribute to Pearson’s legacy.
June 2020 marked the Pearson Foundation’s 50th anniversary of operating its pregnancy centers. For over five decades, its volunteers have helped hundreds of women and their families choose life. Charlotte Ahlf, one of Pearson’s most experienced pregnancy counselors puts it this way: “We are here to save mommies. They are saving their babies. We’re here to empower the woman … with that determination,” to be pro-life.
Ahlf has spent the past 25 years assisting mothers in crisis pregnancies. She laughs often when offering her counseling wisdom and recalling success stories, especially those where she saw the precious children whose mothers chose life.
Because of being short-staffed and strict COVID-19 regulations, Pearson Place in Honolulu is seeking help continuing its pro-life mission and vision. It needs volunteers for a few hours a week to be counselors, administrators, media-content producers and parish outreach liaisons. It also needs professionals (OB/GYNs, lawyers, certified counselors, etc.) who will accept referrals to assist new mothers.
Pearson Place’s president Susan Duffy explains the need. “We need help in getting the word out that we are here and we can definitely use younger men and women with the same dedication and passion as those who’ve gone before them, to help those in crisis choose life.”
For those who cannot donate their time, monetary donations are more than welcome and much needed. Checks can be made out to “Pearson Place” and sent to 1145 Bishop Street, Honolulu, HI 96813. Donations can also be made online at pearsonplace.org.
Those who are in contact with women who are experiencing a difficult or unplanned pregnancy crisis may call 942-0328 or visit our website at pearsonplace.org where we have volunteers ready to help.
Ava is a student at Steubenville University in Ohio.