A large dresser is filled with pastel baby clothes of all
sizes. In another room, cans of formula line the wall. Two
small offices are furnished with comfy chairs meant to invite
conversation, and television sets to show educational films.
A desk, bookshelves and a picture of the Virgin Mary fill
Associate Director Tessy Trissell's office. Outside, a sign
for A Woman's Choice greets visitors at the door of the brick
office building. In short, the pregnancy resource center in
Herndon is ready for business.
While the center has been open to clients for a few weeks, A
Woman's Choice Herndon celebrated their grand opening with
volunteers and donors Aug. 18. Father Thomas P. Ferguson,
vicar general of the diocese, blessed the new facility, which
will provide free pregnancy tests, counseling and material
support for women in need.
The original "A Woman's Choice" in Falls Church opened the
new center in Herndon after seeing a need in that area. "The
next closest pregnancy centers are out in Lansdowne and
Dolores Wisecarver , executive director.
Already they've seen the new location make an impact.
Recently, a Sterling woman came in for a pregnancy test and
when Trissell asked how she heard about the center, the woman
responded, "I looked online and you were it."
In the past three years, three abortion clinics in Northern
Virginia have closed their doors -
NOVA Women's Healthcare in Fairfax in 2013,
Amethyst Health Center for Women in Manassas in 2015, and
most recently, Planned Parenthood in Falls Church. Meanwhile,
pro-life organizations such as A Woman's Choice show signs of
Paul Stefan Foundation maternity home in Orange began
renovations in May on a 27-room facility. Another women's
Mary's Shelter in Fredericksburg, is slowly transitioning
from rented property to purchasing permanent homes.
Throughout the diocese, there are dozens of pro-life medical
centers, maternity homes and resource centers that work
independently and together to help women bring their children
into the world.
A few years back, A Woman's Choice helped found the Pregnancy
Support Network, made up of 25 local pro-life organizations.
The group meets quarterly and interacts online even more
frequently to share ideas and resources. "This really is a
team. This is cooperation," said Wisecarver.
Recently, Wisecarver said, an au pair came to A Woman's
Choice when she was fired from her job after becoming
pregnant. Project Gabriel, a diocesan program for pregnant
women in need, was funding her pre-natal doctor's visit to
Tepeyac Family Center in Fairfax, but she was going to be
homeless in a matter of days.
A Woman's Choice called Mary's Shelter and found the woman a
place to live. They paid for the train tickets that took her
from Fredericksburg to her doctor's visits. "It was all of us
working together that saved this baby's life," said
While Wisecarver has been at A Woman's Choice for years,
Trissell, a medical technologist, became involved when she
was hired to head the Herndon office. Her husband heard about
the job opening at a Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast at
their parish, St. Catherine of Siena Church in Great Falls.
"I think it was the Holy Spirit," she said. "They were
looking for someone who was truly prolife, who was bilingual
and who had a medical or a counseling background, and he
thought of me."
While the center is up and running, Trissell is still looking
for more volunteers and financial and material support. So
far, the center has been blessed with many donations,
including the furniture and decorations, said Trissell.
During the grand opening, one woman brought a bag of handmade
baby blankets. Earlier in the day, an ecumenical sewing group
promised to donate 17 maternity blouses.
Ultimately, A Woman's Choice hopes to offer women an
ultrasound of their unborn baby on-site. But for now, they
are excited to see the new possibilities this facility will
bring them. "Our mission is to love pregnant woman so much
that abortion becomes unthinkable," said Wisecarver.
Find out more about A Woman's Choice, call 703-304-6522 or
visit A Woman's
Di Mauro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on