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Shelter aims to help underserved pregnant people find stability: "We turn no one away"

Virginia shelter says they "turn no one away"
Virginia women's shelter aims to help pregnant people in crisis 04:32

In 2014 Shawnte Mallory, then a mother of two, lost her job and struggled to pay rent. When she became pregnant again, she reluctantly decided to get an abortion, citing her lack of motivation at the time. 

"It wasn't what I wanted to do," she told CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford. "It was just at the moment. It was what everybody was telling me to do. So I felt like that was really my only option." 

Then she discovered Mary's Shelter: a faith-based social service agency that aims to help underserved youth, pregnant people and women find stability. With funding from private donors and fundraising events, the shelter provides fully furnished group housing and resources to try and help clients and their children get back on their feet for up to three years. 

Since using the shelter's services, Mallory, now 31, has five daughters, studies theology and works as a peer recovery coach helping people who struggle with addiction and trauma. 

"It's changed my life," she said regarding Mary's Shelter. "It gave me a new start. I didn't have to give up or get rid of a child that I knew I wanted just because things got hard. I didn't have a support system."

At age 25, Logan Wilkins also found Mary's Shelter in a time of hopelessness. Wilkins told Crawford she used to sleep behind a dumpster when she was eight months pregnant to survive. 

"It was really difficult," she said. Wilkins now works as a scheduler and hopes to receive her medical billing and coding certification this year. 

Kathleen Wilson, who founded the shelter 16 years ago, said more than 300 women have stayed in the agency's homes. 

"We turn no one away because we know that their situation at that moment is just that desperate," Wilson told Crawford. 

She said she foresees more women and pregnant people needing help following the Supreme Court's decision last week to overturn the right to an abortion. The executive director, who is an opponent of abortion rights, added that she is not concerned more people will be forced into unwanted pregnancies because of the Court's decision.

"I think that there will be some," she said regarding people potentially being forced into having children they don't want. "I hope they'll reach out to other agencies like maybe an adoption agency or families will step up. I think we'll have to increase support groups for moms like those."

Mallory and Wilkins say their testimonies are reminders to parents going through difficult times that "abortion isn't the only option."

"There is hope," Mallory said. "There are places around that can help you."

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