BILLERICA — Deedee Dorrington describes herself as “extremely pro-life.”
When it comes to the divisive topic of abortion, the Billerica resident said she also takes a pragmatic approach. Dorrington’s research and consideration on the topic has led her to believe abortion will most likely always be an option for those considering one.
“I wish women would never feel a need to abort their children,” Dorrington said. “I wish that would never happen, but the bottom line is — and this is my opinion — we do need to accept abortion to an extent. I say that being vehemently pro-life.”
In April 2018, Dorrington formed a group called Life Alliance with a goal to encourage legislators to modify state abortion laws. Abortion is legal in Massachusetts for any reason up to 24 weeks of pregnancy — a length of time Dorrington calls “barbaric.”
In January 2019, Life Alliance decided to pursue a compromise. They submitted a petitioner’s bill to legislators that would limit legal abortions on demand up to the 12th week of pregnancy. After that time legal abortions would be provided to only those deemed medically necessary to save the life of the mother. The bill didn’t succeed, but Life Alliance hopes that will change in the future.
In the meantime, Life Alliance continues on with its mission to take “life affirming actions that help others, and help our community to be more compassionate,” Dorrington said.
“Being pro-life is not a political position,” she added. “It’s about finding ways we can help those around us and asking ourselves, ‘How can we make other people’s lives better? How can we make life enjoyable and more meaningful?’”
Dorrington recently took time to flip through the pages of a meticulously laid out scrapbook that’s been nearly two years in the making. The 58-year-old mother of two goes over each colorful page full of photos, clippings and notes that capture the volunteer work carried out by Life Alliance.
Made up of eight “guiding members,” Life Alliance goes beyond the politics and supports various nonprofits involved with the lives of women, children and families by serving as “the boots on the ground.”
“We find needs in our community and then seek out established organizations who already serve these needs,” she said. “Then we ask them what we can do to help, take that idea to our community, and then their generosity takes over.”
Flipping through the pages of her scrapbook, Dorrington provides a glimpse into the group’s efforts. For example, a pair of fundraisers by Life Alliance resulted in about $18,600 raised for the Heartbeat Pregnancy Health Center in Burlington.
The nonprofit offers things like free pregnancy tests and prenatal and infant care education, the group’s website states. The Heartbeat Pregnancy Health Center also provides maternity and baby clothes, cribs and car seats for its clients.
Life Alliance also collected toys, clothing and shoes for the Dracut-based group home named Little Heroes Home. The organization provides “a home-like environment where children can develop the skills to manage complex trauma or mental health symptoms in order to successfully transition to a permanent placement in the community,” according to their website.
The group’s mission extends beyond fundraisers. Life Alliance sponsored an event last May that allowed Jasmine Grace, author of “The Diary of Jasmine Grace” and a sex trafficking abolitionist, to share her story.
During the event, Grace detailed her ability to overcome a tumultuous past that led to her time as a domestic sex trafficking victim. Attendees packed the VFW Post in Billerica to see and hear Grace speak.
Other groups helped by Life Alliance include My Father’s House, The Wish Project and Solutions for Living. The group also raised money to help fathers and their daughters attend the Shamrock Ball in Billerica.
Dorrington gets to the end of her scrapbook that contains a number of empty pages. Plans are already in the works to fill them, she points out.
The latest cause Life Alliance is focused on includes donating undergarments to area hospitals to provide to sexual assault victims. Dorrington explains sexual assault victims are forced to turn their undergarments over to police as evidence, leaving them without the personal items when they exit the hospital.
According to Dorrington, Life Alliance is currently working out the logistics of the latest charity idea.
“The way our community is, I know Billerica is going to come through 100%,” she said.
Life Alliance has experienced criticism from some members of the community, which Dorrington said stems from a misrepresentation of who they are.
“People hear the words ‘pro-life’ and automatically dismiss us as a group of close-minded individuals who only want to hurt women and take away their rights and it’s quite the opposite,” Dorrington said. “We have nothing but compassion for women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy, and women who have abortions, and who may need healing and understanding after the fact.”
Talking about her time with Life Alliance, group member Kathleen Scanlon said it brings joy and fulfillment to her life.
“I love being able to give some of my time to help fundraise and give support to women, children and families who need to know someone out there cares about their story, their struggles and who believes they matter,” she said.
Life Alliance member Andrew Robertson expressed similar feelings about his time with the group.
“Life is short,” he said. “People need to know that they are not alone and that they are loved.”
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis