By Monica Walton
FLOWOOD – Birthright of Jackson will hold an open house on Saturday, May 17, from 9 – 11 a.m. at its new location, 644 Lakeland East Drive, Suite C, in Flowood (between Airport Road and Flynt Drive). Everyone is invited to tour the new center, meet the current volunteers and gain a better understanding of Birthright’s services.
After more than 20 years in its South Jackson location, Birthright moved to Rankin County in hopes of being able to reach more women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Birthright of Jackson is a unique place where any woman can receive free, non-judgmental help, hope, love and support while making a realistic plan for herself and her unborn child.
“Our priority is to focus on service to our clients, and to be available for them,” said Dennis Riecke, president of the Birthright of Jackson board of directors. “This move is a good opportunity for growth for Birthright,” said Riecke. “We need more volunteers, and after months of research, contemplation and prayer, we decided to move to a more central location to the Metro Jackson area. This makes it more convenient for volunteers while still being accessible to clients.”
Birthright of Jackson is one of hundreds of Birthright chapters spread across the U.S., Canada and Africa. It was founded 45 years ago by the late Louise Summerhill in Toronto. Summerhill saw an abundance of help and resources for young, unmarried, pregnant women to obtain an abortion, but there was no place for these women to turn when they needed help to carry a child to term. In response, she made a place with a homelike environment, and trained volunteers with friendly faces and good hearts.
“Birthright clients come from all walks of life,” said Tracy Huddleston, a Birthright volunteer since 2007.
“Each woman often just needs someone to listen without judging, understand her situation, and help gather information so she can make the best decision for herself and her child.”
Birthright helps any girl or woman regardless of her age, religion, marital status or financial situation. Absolutely nothing is asked of her in return. Anyone who comes for help receives it, beginning with a free pregnancy test, and following her pregnancy to the birth of her child.
Last year, Birthright of Jackson had more than 800 contacts with clients. They administered 76 pregnancy tests, consulted with 23 women considering abortion, and 22 babies were reported born.
All Birthright services are free and confidential. Reach Birthright through its 24-hour hotline, 1-800-550-4900, or call the local Birthright volunteers at 601-371-7711.