Birth Choice Center of Oklahoma
was founded in 1973. My contact at the center, Barbara Chisko was one of the original founders and is currently the Executive Director. Birth Choice is a resource center for pregnant women with four offices in the metropolitan Oklahoma City area (Bethany, Edmond, Norman, and South Oklahoma City), with four other offices throughout the state (El Reno, Lawton, Nowata, and Stillwater).
WHAT DOES BIRTH CHOICE PROVIDE FOR THEIR CLIENTS?
Services provided by the center include: pregnancy testing, limited ultrasound, medical care and community resources such as access to a food pantry, clothing and financial assistance. The Oklahoma city location is also equipped with a chapel for the spiritual needs of the mothers and families who come for information and assistance. Housing is also available for qualifying women through partnership with the Rose Home which can host up to six women during their pregnancy and until three months after their baby is born.
WHO WORKS AT BIRTH CHOICE?
Paid staff consists of mainly administrative positions and the directors. Volunteers are an important aspect of the center as well. The center has a partnership with Langston school of Nursing which has students volunteer at the center. Barbara told me that some of these students have changed their viewpoints on the abortion issue after their experience is over which I think is another very important and very positive aspect of the work done. Other volunteers include social work interns, college volunteers and church volunteers. The center also has a connection with St. Anthony’s hospital which has residents coming to their pre-natal clinic caring for medical needs of the women.
WHEN WOMEN SEEK SERVICES, WHAT HAPPENS?
Many of the women who come to the center have heard of it by word of mouth. Some have heard from a friend and want to access the available resources, while others are simply coming for information and want to be informed before moving forward with a decision to keep their baby or abort. At the first visit, women are first asked to fill out a questionnaire. They may speak with a counselor who tries to find out their needs and match them with the resources available. Barbara made it clear that when women come to the centers for help that there is no judgement on their situation, and no preaching. There is also no referral to a doctor or organization who would perform an abortion if the women decided to chose that path.
The mission statement for the center is:”Birth Choice exists to encourage any pregnant woman to choose the gift of life for herself and her unborn baby by providing the means to do so.”
Celeste Woodman is a third year participant (2 years support crew, 1 year rider). “I am very excited to be a cyclist in the 2016 Biking for Babies ride! I first came on board for the 2014 ride as a support crew member and it was a very rewarding experience. In everyday life it can feel sometimes like you are alone in your beliefs as a catholic or a pro-life individual but in doing a fundraiser like this, you get to see how strong the movement really is. I was awed by the generosity of the many people who helped us reach our goals whether it was through prayers, donations or allowing us to stay in their homes for the night and I look forward to making new friends and contacts this year! A little about me: I am a registered dental hygienist living in Winter Springs FL and I enjoy spending time with friends & family, reading and making jewelry.”