Surprise Upon Surprise

At her appointment, “Sally” came in stating she was planning to have an abortion by taking the abortion pill. She and her husband had a one-year-old child at home, and they agreed that abortion was the best plan for them. They had moved to the USA a few years prior, but their families still lived overseas. Sally feared raising another baby without family or community around her to help. Though somewhat religious and following very moral behaviors in other areas of life, including waiting for sex until marriage and remaining faithful to their marriage, based on their culture and beliefs, abortion was not an act that they consider unethical.  

Sally recounted her recent discovery of her unplanned pregnancy. Two and a half weeks prior, she had gone to her doctor for a birth control appointment. She was quite surprised to learn instead that she was already pregnant. She shared that she was told she was about 5 weeks pregnant based on blood work and that when she found out, she immediately told her doctor she planned to abort. Her doctor then referred her to an abortion clinic.

Sally somehow was not able to get to the abortion clinic. It’s unclear if she lost the referral or found it too difficult to go to another city or state to get an abortion, but for some reason, she went to the internet to find an abortion clinic location. When she searched, an ad for Assurance’s services popped up. She called the number listed and was encouraged to come to Assurance to have an ultrasound and gather more information regarding her pregnancy before having an abortion. Once at Assurance, she was able to discuss her options and learn about the abortion procedure that she was aiming for, including the possible risks identified in medical literature. She received all this information in a safe and warm, non-judgmental atmosphere.

Next, she was offered an ultrasound, and she accepted. As the nurse explained to her, this is an important next step to seek to answer three questions that are pertinent in early pregnancy: 1. Is the pregnancy in the uterus? 2. Is the pregnancy viable? 3. How far along is the pregnancy?

As soon as the ultrasound probe touched Sally’s abdomen, there was another surprise. Movement was evident, and she commented upon seeing a very active and much larger than anticipated baby, “I don’t think I can do this if it is further than 10 weeks.”  After measurements were taken, it was discovered that she was indeed further in her pregnancy than estimated by her doctor based upon blood work alone. Instead of being about 8 weeks, she was estimated to be into her 15th week of pregnancy! Sally did, in fact, decide right then and there to have her baby.

As discharge instructions were reviewed, Sally was offered pictures of her baby from the ultrasound, which she accepted, as well as other pregnancy information and a prescription for prenatal vitamins. She made a plan to connect with her doctor and begin prenatal care and was confident that once she shared what she learned with her husband, he would support her carrying the baby.

What a difference the whole picture makes to a woman who is planning to abort. The opportunity to become fully informed before any medical procedure is crucial, but especially so when it is a life-and-death decision. Though she initially came to Assurance determined to have an abortion, Sally left Assurance with excitement to tell her husband she was keeping the baby. She walked away with the image of her child on an ultrasound picture and a smile on her face – what a transformation that God alone can offer!