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“What Choice Do I Have?”

Founder and CEO of Project Cuddle, Debbe Magnusen - and her kitten, Blue - in Costa Mesa, California

Project Cuddle is a non-profit I started to save abandoned babies and give them a home. Everyone hears that and goes, ‘Oh my God, your work – it’s so terrible. How can you do it? How can you stand it?’

“But you’ve got a baby out there somewhere, stuffed into a duffle bag, dumped in a park – that is happening right now, whether I do Project Cuddle or not. So really, what choice do I have? What is the alternative? There are lives that need saving, period.

“It’s so easy to judge these pregnant girls, to think the worst of them. But these girls are so scared. They’re in a very strong state of denial and terror. They’re full of fear: Fear the baby will die, fear they will die, fear of being found out and beaten up.

“I was working with one pregnant, fourteen-year-old and I asked her, ‘Is there anyone in your life who can help you break the news to your parents about the pregnancy?’ And she goes, ‘Oh, they know. My dad already kicked me in the stomach trying to kill it.’ She said it so flat, like it was the most matter-of-fact thing in the world for a dad to do.

“Their lives are so traumatic already – and then the pregnancy just piles on new trauma – so they are in a state of profound panic and crisis. That is the reality of what we are dealing with, here. I personally choose to see it for what it is, meet them where they’re at, and gently light the path to help them do the right thing for that new life growing inside.”

– Debbe Magnusen, Costa Mesa Resident / Founder & CEO of Project Cuddle

About The Author

Hearts of Costa Mesa

Hearts of Costa Mesa is a curated journey through the rich diversity of Costa Mesa life. We’ll be sharing vignettes and stories through the reflections of Costa Mesa’s residents and regulars. This is an ongoing project, a tapestry we’ll continue to weave over time. Please contact us through the website if you’d like to participate. Read all the Hearts of Costa Mesa vignettes here.

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