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Birthing center coming to Kansas City, Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Wyandotte County has one of the highest infant death rates in the state with about 30 babies dying each year. A community action team has identified a lack of access to prenatal care as one factor. Now a new place for women to receive that care and deliver their babies is coming to the heart of Kansas City, Kansas.

The billboard on I-635 says "Incredible Birth Days Coming to Kansas City." Renovation is underway of the Mercy and Truth Medical Missions Building on 31st street. Five years after birthing center closed there, a new one, called New Birth Company, will open.

Co-founder Cathy Gordon also has a birthing center by that name in Overland Park, and says women in KCK need the same prenatal education and care and deliveries by certified nurse midwives.

"What's in it for us is changing the vital statistics. It's embarrassing almost in our state to have this county right next to Johnson County having such bad birth outcomes, We need to change that," said Gordon.

Geofrey Kigenji, executive director of Mercy and Truth, added, "Just not enough providers, absolutely just not enough providers for the population east of 635."

Kigenji says families will be able to get seamless care close to home once the birthing center joins the primary care clinic that's been in the building for a decade.

"We say 635 all the way to State Line or to the river, there is very limited maternity health care and there's only two hospitals in the area that deliver babies and that's KU and Providence," said Gordon.

Some women, like Roche Garcia, don't want the hospital experience. She just delivered her son at the Overland Park birthing center, but lives in KCK.

"I'm glad it's coming back. I'm not having no more kids, but for other women, I think it's a great idea," she said.

The birthing center is scheduled to open by Thanksgiving.

Mercy and Truth is a non-profit organization. Kansas tax credits are available to those who donate to the renovation program. The state will refund half of each donation.