By Sarah Thomas
Birthright, an organization that assists pregnant mothers, recently moved to the Westside due to safety concerns at their previous office downtown.
The organization used to be located at 41 N. Skidmore St., behind Holy Family Catholic Church.
According to the director for Birthright in Columbus, Barbara McMullen, the revitalization of the Franklinton area has pushed many of the homeless population to their area.
“We always had a good relationship with the homeless down there,” McMullen said, but they were seeing an increased number and many were using their porch as a sleeping area.
“They would leave their sleeping blankets, their clothes, discarded food, trash, it was a mess,” she said. “We just didn’t feel safe there anymore.”
Kathy Foley, one of the founding members of Birthright in Columbus and still a member of the board of directors, found the solution to the problem. She had gone to Aristocrat Hair, Nail and Tanning on West Mound Street for many years and noticed the space beside it was available, and that became their new home.
Birthright moved into the space at 2453 W. Mound St. on Sept. 1. McMullen said she likes the busy street and residential area.
“This is it,” she said.
However, the population of women they serve hasn’t changed. The top two zip codes of their clients are 43204 and 43223. The new office is closer to their clients than before. McMullen says the move might even make it more convenient for them.
Birthright is an international organization that started in Toronto. Their motto says, “It is the right of every woman to give birth…and the right of every child to be born.”
Birthright opened in Columbus on Oct. 1, 1972. Edna Whitacre has volunteered for Birthright since their first location on the third floor of a doctor’s office on Town Street.
“You see some amazing people,” she said.
They focus on being a “friend to every pregnant woman,” said McMullen.
They offer counseling and education to pregnant women, as well as referrals. A potentially pregnant woman can also take a free pregnancy test.
The organization does not refer for birth control or abortion, because they believe that is between the woman and her doctor, said McMullen. Birthright does not advocate for abortion, and leaves the decision up to the mother, but wants to provide education to the pregnant woman so she can make an informed decision.
Birthright also provides gently used maternity clothes and baby clothes, as well as hats and blankets. Volunteers crochet baby hats and booties that are given to the woman when pregnancy is confirmed.
In addition to the Westside location, Birthright in Columbus also has an office on the North end at 4767 N. High St. This location also houses a thrift shop, which provides income for the organization.
Birthright has a 24/7 helpline that can be reached at 1-800-550-4900.