Birthright of Great Bend quietly fulfills its pro-life mission by providing free and confidential services to pregnant women and new mothers.
“It is the right of every pregnant woman to give birth, and the right of every child to be born,” Director Betty Schneider said. “We assist all pregnant girls or women, regardless of age, religion, marital status or financial situation.”
The Birthright mission statement notes, “We believe every child is a sacred gift from God. We can save the world, one baby at a time.” Sponsors acknowledge that being pregnant brings change, and change can be scary and overwhelming. It can feel like an ending, but it is a beginning too. Volunteers at Birthright remind expecting mothers that “you are a person of worth and dignity, and more especially so because of the new life you carry.”
Birthright is here to help pregnant women find hope with friendship, listening and love. They are not alone. It also provides material items, including free pregnancy tests, maternity clothes, baby clothes, diapers, cribs, car seats, blankets, shampoo, lotion, etc.
Because some expectant mothers already have children at home, this year Schneider bought some coats for boys and girls. The organization maintains a close partnership with another non-profit, Catholic Charities, so if they don’t have something a mother needs they are often able to find it.
Schneider said some regional Birthright offices have closed in recent years, so the Great Bend office has expanded its service area. “We’ve seen more women in the last two years than we did the previous 10 years,” she estimated. The women seeking Birthright’s services have also changed. Women in their teens and early 20s were the most typical clients for many years but today there are more women in their late 20s and into their 30s, who may already have children and are struggling with the prospect of having another.
“The need is out there,” said Schneider. “We’ve expanded because of the needs of the community.”
She’s thankful that a generous community has supported their efforts, and there are several volunteers. Even the house at 1420 Wilson St. that serves as their base in Great Bend was donated, by Father Dermot F. Tighe.
Donations to Birthright may be mailed to 1420 Wilson St., Great Bend, KS 67530. Hours are 2-4 p.m. on Monday, 1-3 p.m. on Tuesday, 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, and 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Thursday. The telephone number is 620-792-3316 and anyone who needs to come at a different time can leave a message to schedule an appointment.
Birthright International maintains a 24/7 helpline, 800-550-4900, and a website at birthright.org.