The idea was revolutionary: be there for women. To be there, to love, and to not judge. Welcome to Birthright International.
Birthright was founded in 1968 shortly after abortion became legal in Canada. Louise Summerhill, a mother of seven who had experienced unplanned pregnancy herself, felt that the best way to act against this unjust law was to act justly toward women in a way that did not include picketing and slinging insults at politicians. No, Birthright has always been non-political and it refuses the label of “anti-abortion.” They are pro-love and pro-having-babies-with-love. “We can save millions of babies. We can get the laws of abortion changed, but if we have not love, we are nothing, we are just nothing." (Georgia Bulletin)
In addition to face to face counseling, Birthright offers a hotline, free pregnancy tests, diapers, and other assorted baby items. It is run entirely by donation and every Birthright member is a volunteer.
Many of the volunteers happen to be Catholic—as is, of course, Louise Summerhill—but the organization is interdenominational. The mission to tend to our sisters is not reserved for Catholics alone, but Birthright is no less universal, with over 600 offices around the world.
There isn’t much on the net on Summerhill’s personal life, but her vision speaks volumes about her character as a woman of Christ.
More on Louise Summerhill:
The Story of Birthright (Google books)