Birthright began very humbly in 1968, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Louise Summerhill, a busy housewife and mother of seven children, felt something should be done to help women through an unplanned pregnancy. Events in Louise’s life helped her understand the feelings pregnant girls might experience, including feelings of loneliness, fear of criticism, tension with parents, and even the shock of finding oneself unexpectedly pregnant.
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 45 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, instead of bureaucracy and meetings in highly-structured, business-like environments.
Birthright takes a "non-moralistic, non-judgmental" approach toward helping women through their pregnancy dilemmas. Louise regretted the fact that some young unmarried mothers were belittled or ostracized by their relatives for teen pregnancy: "I can never see anything wrong with any of them." Louise recreated the supportive, home-like environment they deserved to have. Moreover, Louise helped formulate a Charter, followed by all Birthright chapters worldwide, to define Birthright's services, to ensure that pregnant women receive the same considerate treatment at every Birthright chapter, and to help volunteers preserve Birthright's good reputation.
Today, Birthright of Atlanta is proud to keep the mission of Louise Summerhill alive. Founded in 1969 by Terry Weaver, Birthright of Atlanta was the first organization of its kind in the United States and continues to offer a judgment-free atmosphere where a pregnant woman can express her concerns and find both practical and emotional support. We’ll do everything we can in order to assist you in making the best decision about your pregnancy. We also provide a variety of other services in order to help you make a workable plan for your future.