Birthright closes in Bow after 29 years

Nearly 30 years after opening their doors in Custer County, Birthright is closing its Broken Bow office.Birthright was started in Broken Bow in October 1983, by a group of local women involved with Right to Life. The Birthright office was located in the basement of the hospital for the first 10 years or so, before moving to the second floor of the post office, where it has remained since.Sue Cole, now a retired registered nurse, has been with the office for 27 years, and she says at least one volunteer has been there that long also. Cole says a decrease in the number of clients, and financial issues, has led to the decision to close the Broken Bow chapter.Birthright’s mission is to provide caring, non-judgmental support to girls and women who are distressed by an unplanned pregnancy. Cole says the most utilized service is pregnancy testing. However, she says with the increased availability of home pregnancy tests there is less demand for that service.Cole explains that the volunteers at the Birthright office spend time getting to know the clients and what their needs are. They can then direct the women to different services that may be available to them in the community.“We help the clients really think through their decisions and options,” says Cole.The Birthright office is not a clinic, and does not perform any type of medical services nor does it provide birth control. They simply offer pregnancy testing, counseling and support. Birthright helps any girl or woman regardless of age, race, creed, marital or economic status, who feels distressed by an unplanned pregnancy.Birthright is there for every woman who calls for help. Whether that call is for nothing more than an anonymous pregnancy test or for friendship and support lasting through the delivery and beyond. Cole says the local chapter has received updates and baby pictures from the clients they have served. Its services are offered free of charge. As a tax-exempt, charitable organization, Birth-right exists because of the support of its donors and volunteers. It is independent, interdenominational, and not affiliated with any religious or political group or public agency.“The community has always been very supportive and gone out of their way to help,” says Cole.The last day of operation for the Broken Bow Birthright office will be Aug. 30.“Sometimes you just have to walk away from something and examine where the need is, and plug into something else,” explains Cole. “We feel somewhere down the line there might be another need, and we can meet that.”Though Cole and the staff of volunteers at Birthright have their own opinions and philosophies, they are careful to not pass judgment.“Our philosophy has been, don’t talk to that person about God, because we don’t want to judge. Rather, we talk to God about that person.”