The Pro-Life Plan to Warehouse Women
Homes for Unwed Mothers, Rebranded for the Age of Instagram
Brockett Hall maternity home, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, 1942, via WikiCommons.
No one is more prepared for Roe v. Wade to be overturned than the anti-abortion movement and the white Evangelicals and Catholics that make up its ranks. They’ve already passed laws that criminalize women for having miscarriages and are prosecuting women for doing things that may have caused a miscarriage or stillbirth. And now, they’re preparing for what they hope is a wave of women forced into childbirth: They’re building maternity homes.
The concept of a maternity home sounds lovely on its face: A place where pregnant women in need of safe haven can go to find housing, financial support, healthcare, and childcare. The reality of maternity homes is much different. Historically, “homes for unwed mothers” have been sites of profound abuses, from feeding a culture of shame and stigma around unwed pregnancy to baby-stealing to the neglect and murder of infants (none of that, obviously, was advertised at the time). The ones being built now seek less to help women than to keep them in their place: They preach subservience to men, and that a woman’s most important and perhaps only purpose is to bear children.
These homes don’t exist to help vulnerable mothers and their babies; if that were the goal, their proprietors would support government policies to do just that. These homes exist as part of a broader effort to keep women subservient and susceptible — and to make their children available for adoption.