Ten years ago in Portland, Oregon, Backline was founded by a group of women who knew first hand how difficult it is to find unbiased support for all pregnancy options. Their personal and professional experiences led them to create an organization that would provide and promote unconditional, judgment-free support for pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption.
Last night in Portland, we celebrated Backline’s 10th Birthday at a fabulous party co-hosted by our founding President, Grayson Dempsey, and founding Vice-President, Megan Wentworth. It was a wonderful gathering of current and former Talkline Advocates and board members, longtime donors, and new supporters.
We shared stories about how we got involved with Backline, the impact that doing this work has had in our lives, and our dreams for the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. And we reflected that, even with all the ways Backline has grown and changed in the past ten years, the heart of our work has stayed the same – supporting people in all their experiences with pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption, without judgment, or bias, or strings attached.
In this 2007 interview in the Willamette Week, Grayson talks about Backline’s approach and her vision for changing the terms of the pro-choice debate. She talks about the need to broaden our focus to the whole context of women’s lives, and notes that there are too few places for people to talk about complex feelings about abortion. She even notes that crisis pregnancy centers have the potential to meet important needs by offering resources – like free diapers – that mainstream pro-choice organizations are not.
Today, as Backline celebrates 10 years of judgment-free support and we prepare to launch the very first All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center, it is inspiring to read Grayson’s words and see how our dreams today reflect a vision that goes all the way back to our roots.