The owner of a small-town hotel in Michigan is offering a free room and transport for women who are in need of an abortion.
Grandmother-of-seven Shelley O’Brien is the manager of the Yale Hotel, located near the state’s eastern boundary in the small town of Yale, and as women across the US find their rights ever-more constricted by changing laws she is offering a helping hand.
With Alabama, Ohio, Georgia, Arkansas and Missouri all having restricted access to abortion, Shelley decided to do what she could to make things easier and took to Facebook to make her announcement.
Dear sisters that live in Alabama, Ohio, Georgia, Arkansas, Missouri, or any of the other states that follow with similar laws restricting access,
We cannot do anything about the way you are being treated in your home-state.
But, if you can make it to Michigan, we will support you with several nights lodging, and transportation to and from your appointment.
Her generous post was shared over 3,000 times on Facebook and while she received a lot of support her announcement was also met with backlash from pro-life readers.
However the grandmother stood by her decision and told CNN women should have autonomy over their own bodies.
If we do not have control over our own bodies, then this is not a free world.
After first sharing the post, Shelley added an update which revealed she’d had offers from people willing to help those in need to get to the hotel. No one has taken the manager up on her offer yet, but Shelley has a room ready for when someone does.
Shelly O’Brien is the Manager at The Yale Hotel in Yale, Michigan.
She’s offering free stays to women that are traveling to Michigan to get an abortion due to repugnant laws in some states.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) June 10, 2019
Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, the owner clarified her offer extended to ‘anybody that needs help anywhere’; not just in the states mentioned in her post.
This is important. This is my line. There’s no coming back from this. You start taking away the right for women to control their own bodies, and we’re done for as a civilization.
I can’t stop what’s happening, but I have the resources to maybe help someone in that position, and especially knowing that women are coming from other states already.
I have a feeling that Shelly O'Brien would probably be very grateful for any donations. Yale is a very tiny town in Michigan and her hotel is modest. I love our Sisterhood.
— jan dodge (@tenajd) June 10, 2019
In the past few months, Alabama passed a near-total ban on abortion, while states such as Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio have passed ‘heartbeat’ bills which ban the procedure after a foetal heartbeat can be detected – which can be at a point before women even realise they’re pregnant.
Shelley’s offer is truly important; while it’s a simple gesture, it could mean so much to someone who needs it.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.