September 12, 2010

The Story of Birthright, The Alternative to Abortion

The story of how Louise Summerhill founded Birthright, and how she grew with the organization as it evolved into something bigger than she ever expected, is in her book The Story of Birthright, The Alternative to Abortion.  It is an easy read and well worth it - less than 150 pages. I was drawn in by her humility and her perseverance.  I love how she took one step at a time and put her faith into action throughout many years for the lives of others.  Very uplifting.

From Her Introduction:  "It is a fact that I have not always been willing to accept my role as the founder of Birthright. It has been a constant struggle for me to bring [Birthright] into this world, and then nurture this 'child' I conceived, and to which I gave birth. No mother ever delivered a more 'unwanted child,' nor tried harder to rid herself of what seemed an intolerable burden. It has been by the grace of God, only, that Birthright was never aborted in the embryonic stage."

From the Birthright Web Site:

"Louise Summerhill, a busy housewife and mother of seven children, felt something should be done to help women through an unplanned pregnancy. The grassroots response to her idea was overwhelming, and the Toronto chapter quickly grew into Birthright International, the world's first international crisis pregnancy service. In 2003, Birthright International celebrated its 35th anniversary with over 400 chapters worldwide, including Canada, the United States, and others in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Colombia. Birthright is a fully independent organization, not affiliated with any church or public agency. Its name and logo are trademarks. An estimated 28,000 women make their first visit to a Birthright chapter every month. Birthright also operates a 24-hour North American hotline, at 1-800-550-4900."

"Birthright began...with a one-room office and only $300 in the bank...In later years, Louise was glad the organization did not begin with a lot of money because it caused Birthright to rely on the 'good hearts and hard work of volunteers' to provide 'lots of love and common sense.'"

"Over thirty-five years later, Birthright International remains true to Louise's original vision of personal, one-on-one contact in helping relationships. Louise's Birthright means "approachability and informality" for clients and volunteers......Birthright takes a "non-moralistic, non-judgmental" approach toward helping women [and men] through their pregnancy dilemmas...."

For anyone familiar with Al-Anon, you will find similar underpinnings here.

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