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Bed, Car Seats, and Beyond: After Roe Pro-Life Politicians and Activists Will Keep Caring for Life, Born and Unborn

AMAC Exclusive – By David P. Deavel

pro-life
Margee Adrian and her husband, Denny

The rhetoric is the same these days—it’s just coming at a much higher decibel level. Panicked by Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked decision, pro-abortion advocates are yelling all of their usual lines about female bodily autonomy and women’s rights. Perhaps the volume is even higher these days because they’ve spent the last couple years stepping on their own lines by demanding forced COVID vaccinations and denying that the category of woman has any objective content. They’re also yelling the old standby that those who want to protect human life in the womb don’t care about the women bearing it or the life itself once it’s outside the womb. We’ve examined plenty of evidence to the contrary here at AMAC before, but this week is time to look at some specifics: what pro-life politicians are doing this week and what a couple of pro-life activists have been doing for the last decade to care for poor women, children, and even men.

On Thursday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio proposed the Senate companion legislation to Iowa Representative Ashley Hinson’s Pregnant Students Rights Act. Given that most abortions are had by women in their twenties, the bill attempts to remedy a common situation. Many pregnant young women fear being treated badly by their institutions or losing scholarships and other opportunities. This bill ensures that they will know that they do not have to choose between the life of their children and their educational futures. As Rep. Hinson told Townhall, “I’m grateful that Senator Rubio is championing the Pregnant Students’ Rights Act in the Senate—this bill will ensure young women know about all resources available, including flexible class schedules and excused absences, empowering them to choose the best future for themselves and their baby.”

Pro-life voters are sometimes disappointed by the lack of creative thinking and courage in their elected officials. This positive legislation addressing the very real worries of a group of real women put forward by a couple of Republicans from different parts of the country is a great sign of hope. Pro-life activists have been working for a long time to take care of women and children in a legal situation in which abortion is treated as a good even though they know how it affects women and families. They are excited by the future of a country without Roe and by politicians who think likewise.

Margee Adrian is certainly excited. As we’re standing outside her St. Paul house, she points to her yard signs. One bears the legend, “Life is Precious.” The other is the popular Catholic image of Jesus and his Sacred Heart with the words, “Jesus, I trust in you.” She doesn’t put her trust in princes, but she tells me she wants another sign for Scott Jensen and Matt Birk, the presumptive Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor in Minnesota. “It would be great to have a governor who wants to protect life,” she tells me. She and her husband of 53 years, Denny, have been doing it for a long time.

Over the last twelve years, the parents of six and grandparents of 21 have given away about 3000 cribs and toddler beds and about 3160 car seats to women and families in trouble. They’ve given away a lot of other stuff, too, but they’re known for the cribs and car seats. The Adrians’ ministry doesn’t have a name. It’s just what they’ve been doing. And though it started because of government action to “protect” children (more about that in a minute), the irony is that agents of the government often come to them to get help caring for women and children.

The two have long worked to protect the unborn. Margee has been president of the St. Francis de Sales parish pro-life council for over 30 years. About 26 years ago she started working at the Highland Life Care Center (now merged with another center and known as Abria Pregnancy Resources). She did the hard work to counsel women who were, as she says, “abortion minded,” often because they were in trouble in various ways. She also worked at the front desk and gave women donated items including diapers, clothing, car seats, and cribs.

What happened next was a 2010 determination by the Consumer Protection Safety Board that cribs made before July 23, 2010, almost all of which had sides that dropped down, were a danger and could not be resold or donated. Two days after the rules went into effect at Highland Lifecare Center, a man came in wanting to donate his old crib. When Margee told him the news, he said that he would just have to burn it. Given the cost of cribs and the number of times she had driven cribs over to people for the lifecare center, she decided to tell him she herself would take it. As a private citizen she could take the crib, have her husband Denny fix it up, and give it to a woman in need. “That was the one that started it all,” she tells me over her kitchen table.

Similar rules were handed down concerning used car seats, so she started taking those off of people’s hands, too. Pretty soon, because no organizations were doing this, people were calling her from all over. Countless individuals, but also other lifecare centers, women’s shelters, charities, local hospitals, Child Protective Services, school districts, Head Start, social workers. Margee shows me a list of about 40 different agencies she’s worked with that she wrote down off the top of her head. A number of organizations started printing cards with Margee and Denny’s contact information to give to people. All were trying to get cribs or car seats for people who needed them. One social worker called because a poor woman with only a bed on a hard concrete floor in her basement apartment had had her baby roll off and get seriously injured. She needed a crib, the social worker said, or the baby might die next time.

In this day of computerized organization, Margee and Denny keep it simple. She shows me a sheaf of papers with boxes on each line for: name, telephone number, address, items, and the date delivered. On these are records of every time they have given something away over the last dozen years. The list of items includes more than simply car seats and cribs. They have given out baby swings, clothing, blankets, bedding, furniture, toys, and many other items. Toddler beds soon became an item they would take and give away since early on they would encounter poor families with older children asking, “Can you give me a bed?” Concerning the clothing, Margee only keeps small sizes to give out to the women with babies, but in certain cases she and Denny have procured clothing for older siblings and even the parents. One man, who had worked with the U. S. Government in Afghanistan, had no shoes when he managed to make it out of the country. Denny got him a pair. For needs they can’t match, they connect people with other groups.

Next to the sheaf of papers listing the people helped are several stacks of smaller papers—post-it notes, index cards, and scraps—held together with paper clips and on which are written new names and contact information along with new needs to be met. There are multiple stacks because Margee organizes them according to the greatest needs—and women who are expecting children take priority. “I always get the pregnant women taken care of before their babies are born.”

Just as people contacted them to give their needs, so too people started contacting them with supplies to fill those needs. Margee shows me her front porch with about a dozen cribs that have been given to them from a Montessori School that has gotten new ones. Denny will fix, clean up, and prepare them for delivery. (Given the origins of their work, they always put brackets on old drop-side cribs to prevent the drop from working, though she observes that many of the women don’t like them; she suspects many of them take them off again.) Also on the porch are a few car seats and a swing to give away. Inside the house in the front room, the halls, and even in the kitchen where we sit are cribs, mattresses, blankets, sheets, car seats, and clothing ready to be given away. She tells me that the father of Matt Birk, the retired NFL star who is the likely lieutenant governor candidate, offered the Adrians a warehouse to store equipment in, but she would rather keep it in their house.

Because Denny is up north helping one of their kids get a cabin ready for the summer, Margee is on a bit of a break from her deliveries. “All I did this morning was go to Mass—and then relax and wait for you to come over.” She’s 72 and Denny’s 73, so their deliveries all over the Twin Cities are a team effort “unless it’s something small.” She estimates that they average about three deliveries a day, six or seven days a week. One of their daughters doesn’t like it that they often drive over to crime-ridden North Minneapolis and go into apartment complexes and housing projects. “You don’t listen to me!” her daughter tells her, to which Margee, reminding her of her teenage years, always replies, “Payback!”

Margee’s guess is that they spend about $2000 a year on their work, though I suspect she’s not including gas for all these deliveries. In any case, they give away much more than $2000 of materials per year. With each crib they give away a mattress, bedding, blankets, and some small clothes such as sleepers and onesies. The donations, Margee thinks, have been sent to her by God because he wants them to keep going. She often gets donations of blankets from several churches, Catholic and Protestant. She had a couple of ladies working consistently for her for years on blankets and quilts. One recently died and the other didn’t think she could go on. Then, shortly afterward, they ran into a woman Denny hadn’t seen since grade school. Turns out she makes blankets herself and just last week she started bringing them over.

There are many more stories like that. Whenever there is a need, Margee has seen how God fills it. “I can’t even tell you the small miracles that have happened.” One time they had a bunch of cribs but no mattresses. Suddenly St. Vincent de Paul called, “We just got a pallet full of mattresses and don’t know what to do with them.” Another time, she needed some car seats and got a call from a guy who had some. When she went over, he gave her forty dollars to buy more. He then started sending her money regularly. “Tell me God isn’t putting these people in my path,” Margee tells me.

Even when it comes to those deliveries, she says, they always pray for a good parking spot since they are hauling beds and mattresses. Nine times out of ten, she tells me, they have one open up just as they arrive.    

As we sit, she shows me pictures of many of the people they help. Adults and children of all races, ethnicities, and colors. Places that are often run down and pretty empty. The smiles are beautiful. In one photo are three small children in toddler beds. Having never had beds, they wanted their picture taken in them. Margee tells me that they refused to leave them and waved to Denny and her through the window while still in those beds. In another photo, an African immigrant, heavily pregnant, beams as she sits next to Margee in a photo. Margee tells me that this woman, abandoned by her boyfriend and trying to make ends meet, had managed to find a small apartment but, in her third trimester, had no chair on which to sit down.

Margee says that almost all of the people she has helped have been grateful. They often want to give a gift in return, even if it is only a glass of water. Recounting one family in Minneapolis trapped in a neighborhood in which one of the whizzing bullets had gone through the window that week, Margee observes, “Most of them want peace.” Many of the children look incredulous and ask, “We don’t have to pay for this?” They hug Margee and Denny and say, “I love you.” One little boy whose father was in prison hung on and crawled on Denny as they visited. Margee says, “You don’t realize the depth of why they are hugging you.” In the Adrians’ experience, only one in a hundred responds with entitlement.            

Just as God provides for the needs, they believe, so too he points them to the people bearing those needs. Margee recalls going to a delivery a few years ago. A man had called her for a crib. When Denny asked her what the street address was, she said without looking down, “240.” When they got to the door and said they were bringing a crib, the man at the door asked with wide eyes, “Are you an angel?” It turns out the man who had called was actually two doors down, but “240” was where a poor family with twins and no crib lived. They delivered the original crib to the right address but came back that afternoon to the house they didn’t know—but God did—needed a crib.

Their work, they believe, is the work God gave them. “To be a disciple you have to do God’s work. We feel grateful that we know what God wants us to do. We’re the only one in this crib and car seat ministry. He is sustaining us.” It isn’t necessarily what they had planned, however. “If God had said,” Margee says, “‘Would you give out 3000 cribs?’ I might not have done it. But it started small.” They tell their grandkids there’s a lesson in this. “If God’s calling you to a calling, you don’t always know what you should do. But if he gives you something small, he may be leading you to something bigger.” They are pleased that their kids and grandkids have been working with them. One of her granddaughters, who happens to be a friend of my son, has had birthday parties in which she doesn’t ask for presents for herself. Instead, she asks for stuff that her grandparents need to help people whose names are written down in Margee’s paper-clipped stacks but also in their hearts. Margee and Denny are going to keep doing what they’re doing as long as they have strength.

What’s going to happen when Roe falls? Congresswoman Hinson and Senator Rubio are showing the way with new legislation to help young women know that the choice is not between their future and that of the children they carry. And Margee and Denny Adrian, among countless other people, will keep doing what they have been doing all these years: taking care of the women and children who need them.

David P. Deavel is editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, and a visiting professor at the University of St. Thomas (MN). He is the co-host of the Deep Down Things podcast. Follow him on GETTR @davidpdeavel.


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Stephanie Staker
1 month ago

What I don’t see discussed here and do I rarely see anywhere is the idea of waiting to have sex! It is wonderful what this couple is doing to help these women/families with their needs. I am not discounting that at all. God is definitely helping them and I love to see His hand move like this. But what happened to abstinence before marriage? I know that our culture/society has cheapened sex so it’s more like a hand-shake than the consummation of marriage. I see young people hop into bed with complete strangers with no thought of the emotional/spiritual consequences. I know I sound like an old fogy (and I am!). I made wrong choices myself. Thank God I did not get pregnant because when Roe was passed, I was already married and had 2 children! When I made the choice to have sex before marriage, it changed me. It changed me spiritually because I knew it was against God’s law and it changed me emotionally. I felt a change in my self-esteem for one thing. I didn’t like myself as much. Maybe it was just me but understand that this was the mid-60’s. Yes, let’s help needy women/families. I am all for it. But can we have conversations with our young about waiting for marriage?

Ronnie
1 month ago

This is what America is about. This is who we are. We are not entitled we are free to give and receive love not entitlement!

Art
1 month ago

How about we start with contraception? It is great to have all of this support but what if the pregnancy never got started? I believe that Planned Parenthood did have prevention as its first priority not abortion.

Becky
1 month ago

This is absolutely wonderful. Good people doing what is needed….and what they are capable of doing.
THIS is our America.

Joanne4 justice
1 month ago

Oops delete the question marks in my comment it’s a typo ????

Joanne4 justice
1 month ago

The article content gives me a “warm fuzzy feeling ” by reading that many Senators , and American people are supporting , and doing worthwhile meaningful things at this time ! ❤????????????

Linda
1 month ago

I love this story. God bless this couple who truly care about meeting the needs of children rather than killing them.
It’s so nice to hear some positive news for a change.
I also want to let members know about Care Portal.
Care Portal is a nationwide site that churches, businesses, and individuals can go on to see the needs that are needed in their community to help supply the needs families need to keep children with family.
careportal.org.

Willie
1 month ago

The choice should still be put in Gods hands stop murdering babies. Trust in God and the right choice will be made.

Joanne4 justice
1 month ago
Reply to  Willie

Yes . It is a religious concern and topic. I most certainly support the church decision to ex communicate Nasty Nancy !

Sharon Ormsby
1 month ago

What a fantastic couple these people are, it’s great to hear about them.

Barb304
1 month ago

If Roe-v-Wade is overturned it will result in the reappearance of illegal abortions. Is this really what these people want? The ‘babies’ will continue to die but along with them many of the mothers will die along with them. I am prochoice so I am not in favor of abortion but there are times when they are needed. That is a choice that should be made by the family and no one else.

David
1 month ago
Reply to  Barb304

Abortions will be choice of the states. They will not be made illegal.

Dan W.
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Roughly half of the states have already decided to make abortions illegal before a woman would typically know that she was pregnant effective on the date that Roe is overturned.

Becky
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Except for pig-headed states like Michigan where they are all banned. THAT was what caused Roe vs Wade in the first place.

Sharon Ormsby
1 month ago
Reply to  Barb304

It merely returns it to the states, it doesn’t end abortions at all.

Dan W.
1 month ago
Reply to  Sharon Ormsby

Most of the states have already decided.

Abortions will be mostly available in the Northeast, in Illinois and in states along the West Coast and mostly unavailable everywhere else.

George
1 month ago

I grew up in an era where almost all abortions were not legal and went to school with a boy whose grandmother was an abortionist (a cultural transfer from the country she emigrated from). My wife and I personally knew of two women who had the usual “back alley” abortions. The outcome was almost deadly. So, I understand having an abortion during the first trimester by medical professionals, but after, it is my opinion the act constitutes infanticide. I saw the abortion movement go from helping a woman in early trouble to full blown child killing for convenience. I cannot understand how a child in the birth canal can be considered just a “clump of cells” but after birth, a human being. It seems that to be human is just a matter of geography. To find out that fetuses are being torn apart in the womb just to sell body part for experimentation appalls me. I feel the any old when and how for abortion leads to a cheapening of life as may be seen by the Maryland Senate having a bill introduced that would allow “abortions” up to 28 days post partem.

Joanne4 justice
1 month ago
Reply to  George

Simply , said I agree with you❤

Elaine
1 month ago

Are there any compassionate people out there who can lend a hand to someone who needs help?
I am appalled at the harsh comments listed below. I thank the couple who are selfless in their giving and the help they are giving not just for the mothers and/or families, but for the babies in need. Who knows they may someday be the future leaders of our country that remember the care they received.
Just my thoughts as a Grandmother and Great Grandmother.
God help us to see each person (that you created) as You see them.

Granny
1 month ago

This is a wonderful story. I only takes a few of these to change the world. Thank you to all who are helping with this effort. Baby things are very expensive and I know they must have bene spending a lot of their own money in the start-up of this. God will bless them.

Dan W.
1 month ago

This anecdotal evidence of good intentions doesn’t prove anything.

States need to provide much better child care assistance; family leave programs; nutritional and medical services; and pre-school programs for families with young children.

Let me know which states are willing to spend on these programs that assist all families with young children before you tell me how rosy their future looks.

Nobody’s Business
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan W.

Why should I have to pay for you taking care of your kid or skipping work to stay home and play on your computer while your kid is neglected in your own home. Plus I’m suppose to feed your kid too? What did you have a kid for if you can’t take care of it? I took care on my kids growing up and didn’t ask for someone else to take care of them. Shame on you lazy ;$&&? For expecting me to raise your kid!

Dan W.
1 month ago

The point is to disincentivize both legal and illegal abortions.

If you have any better ideas, let’s hear them.

Philip Hammersley
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan W.

Teach the kids responsibilty, not how to have sex. Clearly show the consequences of sex AND abortion; spiritual, medical, and emotional damage. Quit glamorizing Hollywood TRASH who act like rabbits instead of sentient human beings!

Dan W.
1 month ago

That was the gist of sex education when I was in middle/high school. I’m not sure how effective it was given how many abortions occur each year.

anna hubert
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan W.

why not place the child right after birth into a gov. institution it could be called we do it all for you

Dan W.
1 month ago
Reply to  anna hubert

Sounds like you’ve been reading Oliver Twist. Pass the gruel.

J. Farley
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan W.

I can’t believe how many people want Big Brother involved, and spend more of my money, why don’t people go out and spend their own money, my wife and I are going broke because of Big Government, and when we are broke how many of you are willing to chip in a few bucks to make are Bank Account whole again, Big Government is not the solution, it’s the problem

Dan W.
1 month ago
Reply to  J. Farley

Don’t disagree. Just trying to minimize the number of legal and illegal abortions by whatever means available.

Richard Moots
1 month ago

What about the 192 republicans who voted against helping with the baby formula shortage? You must have this baby, good luck feeding it

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