LINCOLN (SNR) – Birthright, an organization that offers free, non-judgmental help to women facing unplanned pregnancies, has a new office in Lincoln.
“The move we are making is not a big move, as it is down the hall where we currently are,” said volunteer Connie Munguia, “but to us it is an important move.”
The new office location provides more space, with a restroom connected to the counseling room. Munguia said this is one of the best new changes, giving women who come to Birthright for a pregnancy test more privacy and confidentiality.
“Our organization is confidential and non-judgmental,” she said, “so upon entering our new office our women and girls can be assured privacy in all ways because the moment they step in the door no one knows what they are going in for, and no one knows what happens once they are there, so the integrity of their privacy is upheld.”
She stressed again that confidentially is of the utmost importance to the organization. Birthright of Lincoln is a chapter of Birthright Inc. The international organization, which was started in Toronto Canada in 1971 as the first emergency/ crisis pregnancy center, now has more than 300 chapters across the U.S., Canada and Africa. The guiding principle of every Birthright chapter is, “It is the right of every pregnant woman to give birth, and the right of every child to be born.”
Mungia said their counseling room gives the women who come in the ability to feel free to talk without any outside undue pressure.
“Most of the time,” she said, “we listen to what their needs are and, if needed, we do a free pregnancy test. They then encourage the woman to make an appointment with a doctor for confirmation of a pregnancy.
“Our main purpose,” she said, “is to inform (the women) of their developing baby, as well as changes in their bodies. We show positive videos as well as pictures and pre-born baby models to show the development.
“We are totally pro-life but do not use abortion pictures when talking with our ladies,” she added. “We stress the positive.”
Birthright will help their clients with baby items – if needed – until the child is a year old. They provide diapers, wipes, clothing, blankets and toiletries, all of which are donated by private individuals, schools, churches and church groups. They encourage clients to breastfeed and work with MilkWorks of Lincoln for support and supplies.
“Of course the giving of all these items are secondary to what’s most important to what we do,” Mungia said “We provide a listening ear and support and love for the mom and baby. By helping the mother we help the baby… two lives are saved and nurtured.”
Birthright of Lincoln is run totally by volunteers and, Mungia said, is always in need of more volunteers. No one at Birthright has a salary, including the director, and the organization operates totally on donations, both monetary and material.
The women served and the volunteers come from all different faiths, so evangelization is not part of Birthright’s mission.
“A quote we work with,” Mungia said, “is, ‘we don’t talk to our girls about God, we talk to God about our girls.’ We are there for them if they do want us to pray with them.”
Birthright of Lincoln is still working from their old office, as the new space is still being prepared to welcome women who come to Birthright for help. All the improvements to the new office have been purely through donations and work hours through volunteers. Recently the University of Nebraska had their “Big Event” in which 3,000 volunteers from the University spent a day “giving back” to the community, and Birthright was a recipient of their time. The Delta Upsilon fraternity and the Delta Gamma sorority painted the walls in the rooms of Birthright’s new office.
Birthright has an 800 number which allows women or girls in crisis to get in touch with someone 24 hours a day. Even when the office is closed, there is still a trained person on the other end of Birthright’s line to talk to the caller. If the need is immediate, the hotline will call a local office volunteer for her to reach out and help.
“We are always just a phone call away,” Mungia said. “The hotline number is 1-800-550-4900 so in actuality we are always open!”
Office volunteers are always needed, as the ideal shift includes two volunteers. Those who could give three hours per week should contact the local office at 402-466-2609.