An open house for Birthright

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Birthright International was founded in 1968 in Toronto, Canada, to help women deal with unplanned pregnancies. It is an organization that proudly announces that it's focused on "loving the mother, reminding her that there is hope and ensuring she is not alone."

The group believes that it is the right of every woman to give birth, and the right of every baby to be born.

There are 300 chapters around the world and four in the Arlington Diocese: Woodbridge, Leesburg, Fredericksburg and Manassas.

Birthright of Manassas will celebrate 40 years of service to the Prince William County area at an open house in September.

Kathleen Madsen, director, said that the center offers women free pregnancy testing, medical and legal referrals, referrals to social service agencies, professional counseling and clothing. Their mission is simple.

"We provide friendship and support to women experiencing a troubled pregnancy," said Madsen.

She said that they are non-judgmental because some women feel abandoned and trapped.

"They feel they have no options," she said.

She also said that they have a good reputation in the community and that although most of their customers come through word-of-mouth, they are trying to build a Web and social media presence.

Madsen said that they receive financial help from the Knights of Columbus council at All Saints Church in Manassas, as well as support from the Church of the Nativity in Burke.

The Manassas group has 10 volunteer counselors who help several hundred women each year.

The group of volunteers is close.

"It's a community," said Madsen. "We support each other."

The open house is Sept. 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. at 10752B Ambassador Drive, Manassas.

To donate

To make a tax-deductible donation to Birthright of Manassas, mail a check to 10752B Ambassador Drive Manassas, Va. 20109.

Material goods such as infant clothing to size 9 months, maternity clothing and diapers can be dropped off during business hours (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday and Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

To volunteer

Call 703/361-9769 or email manassas@birthright.org.

If you need help

Those who need help can go to the office during business hours or call 703/361-9769. There is a 24-hour helpline at 800/550-4900

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015