Pregnant mothers carrying children, volunteers, and staff of the Chile United Foundation celebrated the Day of the Unborn Child and Adoption on March 22 in front of Chile's presidential palace.

For four years the NGO has gathered there to hand out carnations to passersby and to give them a message of hope, as a tribute to the unborn children they carry in their womb.

Chile passed a law  Sept. 23, 2017 permitting abortion if an unborn child is judged to be “non-viable,” if a pregnancy poses risk to the life of the mother, and in cases of rape.

Initiatives like Chile United’s celebration demonstrate that it is necessary to “continue working day and night with more effort than ever to be there for the woman in that crucial moment,” Veronica Hoffman, executive director of Chile United, told ACI Prensa, the Spanish-language news partner of CNA.

“When you give emotional support, welcome, and accompany her, women decide to continue with pregnancy,” Hoffman said.

“What we are calling for today is to strengthen support programs nationwide,”she added.

Chile United has programs of support for women and their children, but the recently passed abortion law also requires government support for women who chose to continue with a pregnancy.

The Chile United Foundation has been working for 19 years for the development of social and cultural values for human progress in the country. Their efforts include a support program for women in crisis pregnancies, which has supported the birth of some 5,000 children, such as Yasna Gonzalez's child.

Yasna told ACI Prensa that after overcoming cervical cancer, she went through a difficult pregnancy with her fourth child when she was 43. Her husband and some of the children reproached her, and even her boss at work advised her to abort.

In a moment of anguish, she said she found the Chile United Foundation. “They gave me everything, all the love, the emotional support, to be able to have my child,” she said.

Today Yasna tearfully recalls that period, but “I see my child who's already six and he is everything for me, he's my little piece of heaven,” she said.

Another woman at the demonstration told ACI Prensa that she is 38 weeks pregnant, she does not have any relatives in Chile, and she already has a seven-year-old child.

For her, the Chile United Foundation is “like a family” that has protected her, helped her to find a job and, and provided material assistance.

Passerby Kristli Guerrero was delighted to get the carnation. “What they're doing is a beautiful thing and there ought to be more awareness, more programs,” she said.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.