The phone starts ringing as soon as Rita Murray enters the office of the Birthright House in Richmond, Indiana. A teenage girl asks for information about a free pregnancy test. While Rita is scheduling an appointment for the girl, a new mother comes in needing diapers and formula for her baby. Rita starts for the diapers, but another mother walks in the door bringing a bag full of baby clothes and a handmade quilt to donate.
Just as the office begins to settle, two girls, "Christy" and "Heather," walk in without an appointment wanting pregnancy tests. After the tests are given, the girls wait for the results and watch a video of fetal development. Rita returns ...view middle of the document...
If further assistance is needed, Birthright may refer a client to additional community services, including affordable medical services, legal services, housing, maternity homes for unwed mothers, adoption information, educational guidance, and employment assistance. If the client is in serious financial need, Birthright will offer its assistance.
Financial and material support for Richmond's Birthright comes from various individuals, organizations, and churches. Without this support, Birthright could not function. In 1991, with the help of these supporters, Birthright received 2,794 phone calls, had 2,028 office visits, gave 750 pregnancy tests, and gave away over 2,000 diapers.
Besides providing help to those in need, Rita and other Birthright volunteers educate the public about pregnancy and abortion by giving presentations at local schools, colleges, churches, and organizational meetings.
Rita volunteered for Birthright in September, 1990, and trained for her job in the spring of 1991. "I volunteered to work at Birthright . . . [because of] my strong belief that all life is precious, especially the life of a defenseless unborn child. I believe abortion is murder. What else can you call it when it destroys life? Abortion has been proven to cause the baby a great deal of pain. It is nothing less than the torture of an innocent life," Rita said.
After four nights of intensive training sessions with experienced volunteers, Rita began her job. "I was so nervous on my first day. There was so much to learn and remember. It was confusing at times: pregnancy tests being done, phone calls one after another, donated clothing being cleaned and given away, counseling arranged. There was so much going on at the same time. Birthright is a very busy place with people coming and going all the time, and I'm glad it is. We enjoy helping those who need our service," she admitted.
Rita remembers her first counseling session with a client dealing with a pregnancy. "I was afraid that I would not remember what to say or do. You never know what situation you will be facing. Each case is different, and it is impossible to be prepared beforehand. We try to put ourselves in our client's shoes and view their situation through their eyes. You have to be very compassionate, loving, and understanding. You really have to have a love for these young mothers," she said.
Though Birthright serves women in different situations, of different ages, of different races, many clients "are unmarried teen mothers who are uneducated about fetal development and abortion methods. When they hear the truth about the physical and psychological effects of abortion, many of them end up wanting to keep their babies or at least give them to a loving couple for adoption," Rita explained.
Rita's favorite story from her work at Birthright is one about a young woman with a small child, who felt she would not be able to raise another baby at...