Our History

Who is Birthright?

In 1968, Louise Summerhill, a busy housewife and mother of seven children, opened the first Birthright center in Ontario, Canada in a one room office and $300 for funding.

Louise believed so strongly that something should be done to help women through unplanned pregnancies she forged ahead creating not only one center, but creating Birthright International which serves and helps women all over the world.

Louise believed in relying on the “good hearts and hard work of volunteers.”  For over 50 years, volunteers have been working together in their communities worldwide to give women 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 was saddened that some young unmarried mothers were belittled or ostracized by their relatives and their community.  At Birthright, Louise recreated the supportive homelike environment they deserved.

Louise Summerhill was an ordinary woman who did something extraordinary to help others.

Here at Birthright of Salem, we approach things in the same way Louise Summerhill did.  With caring, respect, one-on-one contact, and support for as long as women need us.

Louise summerhill birthright founder
from then to now

Birthright of Salem

From the very beginning, Birthright has been here for women in need.

Louise Summerhill Founds Birthright

Salem charter secured from Birthright International

Salem location opens at it’s first office on Chemeketa St

Birthright of Salem moves to Washington St.

Birthright of Salem sponsors a Regional Birthright conference at the Aldersgate Conference Center

The first annual Mother’s Day flower sale fundraiser

Birthright of Salem hosts the Regional Conference for PNW chapters

Birthright moves to the current location on Lancaster Dr.

Hosts another Regional Conference, this time at the Oregon Garden

The Salem location celebrates 40 years of helping women


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