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New director takes the reins at Birthright

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When a mother is in an unplanned pregnancy, every little bit helps. For more than 40 years, Birthright of Fredericksburg has been present for women in their hour of need. In addition to providing pregnancy tests, they also provide counseling, access to resources, and invaluable moral support before and after birth. Despite their impact, Director Rosemary O’Grady believes the organization is not as widely known as it used to be.

According to O’Grady, when they celebrated their 40th anniversary, people that attended said they remembered Birthright from years before when it was led by the chapter’s founder, Irene Hagerty. But not as much now.

This is something she hopes to change.

Originally from Canada, O’Grady studied nursing in Cleveland, where she also studied to become a podiatrist. She moved to Fredericksburg with her husband in 1985 where they raised their son. O’Grady opened and ran her podiatry practice for 32 years.

Her passion for the pro-life cause grew out of her love for her family and her seven siblings. It was sharpened after experiencing four miscarriages.

Her involvement with Birthright began in the aftermath of the 2014 Senate race, which many people saw as a loss for the pro-life community.

Discussing her frustration with a friend led to an invitation to start volunteering at Birthright. O’Grady worked side by side fellow volunteers for four years, providing mothers with a safe place to confront roadblocks to pregnancy and being their ally throughout the pregnancy journey.

“I can’t change how people vote but I can do this,” said O’Grady. “I thought, if somewhere along the line if I could save one mother from having an abortion, then I would have done what I need to do here.”

She became director in October 2018 and began looking for opportunities for community outreach in schools, health centers and the general population.

Their first big break came when she saw an ad for a $3,000 grant from Rappahannock General Electric to purchase infant car seats. They applied for the grant and were notified in April that they were selected. According to O’Grady, receiving this grant will provide 33 mothers with car seats and promote Birthright.

In addition to recruiting and training volunteers, O’Grady hopes to foster the organization’s relationships with other nearby pro-life organizations such as Bethany Adoption Services, Choices Women’s Center and Mary’s Shelter.

Birthright recently invited volunteers from these organizations to attend a talk on human trafficking at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg Oct. 24.

For O’Grady, the best part of working with Birthright is the volunteers.

“They are women who are all of the same mindset, and I have complete confidence in them,” said O’Grady. “The work that we do and the good people that I do it with — you can’t buy that. It is totally freely given, a gift to another person.”

Kassock is a freelance writer in Fredericksburg

Birthright Centers in Virginia

Woodbridge Birthright

4207 Dale Blvd., Woodbridge, Va.

703/583-1178

birthrightofwoodbridge.org

Leesburg Birthright

16 Royal St. SE, Leesburg, Va. 20175

703/777-7272

birthright.org

Manassas Birthright

10752 Ambassador Dr. Ste B, Manassas, Va.

703/361-9769

birthright.org

 Fredericksburg Birthright

2006 Lafayette Blvd. Ste 202, Fredericksburg

540/898-8558

birthrightoffredericksburg.com

 

 

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019