With three out of four women who choose abortion doing so because of stressors brought on by financial or life circumstances, it’s hard to overstate the significance a simple change in perspective can make.
For April, a mother of four in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the size of her car was the one factor she couldn’t seem to get past when she found out she was pregnant with number five in early 2015.
In fact, April may need to ask a friend or family member for a little help to get the kids out trick-or-treating this Halloween—which also marks the first birthday of her youngest, “Blessing Jubilee.”
All it will take is a quick phone call to solve that transportation conundrum, but things certainly didn’t seem nearly that simple a year and nine months ago.
The Difficulties of a New Pregnancy
“I’ve been pregnant before, so I wasn’t really shocked,” April said. “The only thing different for this pregnancy is that I don’t have a vehicle big enough for me and five children, so I already had in my mind that I was going to have an abortion.”
After years of enduring a difficult relationship with the father of her first four children—the two had been together since they were preteens—April had turned over a new leaf, including getting involved with her local church as a volunteer with the youth group.
But her on-again, off-again relationship with the children’s father came into play after a traumatic experience with one of their kids. April’s first pregnancy test—taken at night—turned up a negative result, but she tested positive the next morning, setting her into a tailspin as she wrestled through her situation.
“I remember every day with all four of them, I was like, ‘Man, if I had an abortion, nobody would know. My life would just be easier,’” April said. “There was just a lot of fear.”
‘Pretty Much No Way Out’
This wasn’t the first time April had contemplated abortion. She was just a teenager when she was pregnant with her first child. When she broke the news to her family, her mother immediately scheduled her for an abortion.
Though her mom would reverse course and help April with her first baby, the guilt of burdening her family with more children subtly mounted for April. That levy would break when April saw the results of her tie-breaking pregnancy test, this time taken at Turning Point of Las Cruces.
“When [the nurse] came in and gave me the results, that’s when all of the emotions came back,” April said. “That’s when I realized that this was reality, that I was pregnant. I was going to have to get an abortion.”
Looking back on that first visit to Turning Point—a pro-life medical clinic founded in part by former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino—April said the stress she was under caused the entire appointment to feel like a blur.
“It is just amazing to think how stressed I was,” April said. “There was pretty much no way out. I really wanted an abortion and I was firm on that, even though my family kept trying to convince me not to.”
An Unanticipated Window
Started in October 2010, Turning Point opened as a fully medical clinic, with ultrasound and STD/STI testing, in addition to material aid that meets the needs of a city where 30 percent residents live at or below the federal poverty rate—twice the national average.
In just the past three years, Turning Point has tripled its client load, a trend that started with a call from a school nurse to its executive director, Deborah Taylor. The nurse had called Taylor on behalf of a high school student who’d found out she was pregnant, and Taylor came down to the school and talked with both the girl and the school nurse.
When she was finished and the student walked out of the room, the nurse turned to Taylor and said she was surprised to hear any mention of abortion—let alone relevant information on the procedure—from a pro-life advocate.
“I said, ‘We’re absolutely about educating and we’re absolutely about the truth,’” Taylor told the nurse. “And I said, ‘The truth is that abortion is one of her options and she’s never going to go into it uneducated and not knowing what she’s getting into if we can help it. We use the truth, and that’s always most effective. We don’t use scare tactics, but we do educate.’”
It was that atmosphere of education that led April to come back to Turning Point for an ultrasound after her pregnancy test—even though she’d already booked an appointment for an abortion.
Even as she was getting prepped for the ultrasound, April told herself there was one thing that would keep her from going through with the abortion.
“I remember telling myself, ‘I’m not killing my baby if there is a heartbeat,’” April said. “‘But if there’s a heartbeat, then that’s going to be the decision-maker.’ Sure enough, right after I thought that, the nurse caught the heartbeat on the ultrasound. It was in that moment I knew I would be killing a person. I would be killing my child. It was just in that moment that I completely—my mind switched and I just couldn’t do it.”
‘Hold Your Head Up High’
While that moment would prove to be pivotal, the weeks and months that followed would require—and produce—a strength in April she didn’t know she had. At her church, April had to step down from her position as a youth group leader and fight through the silent glances and whispers she felt were all aimed directly at her.
But she kept moving forward, refusing to run from her fears or take the easy way out. Part of what held her up during that time was a CD Turning Point had sent her home with, which captured audio and pictures from her ultrasound.
Another piece to the puzzle came from her mother.
“‘Hold your head up high,’” April recalls her mother saying. “‘You’re doing something not many girls can do.’”
Through the pain of those first months, April began to feel a new sense of purpose. Her pregnancy wasn’t an accident, and neither was “Blessing Jubilee”—April’s baby girl, named to remind her and others just how valuable and welcomed this new life was.
In a city with an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent—two points higher than the national average—Blessing Jubilee is actually the main reason April has been able to join the workforce this year. Early in 2016, April brought her daughter into Turning Point for free newborn pictures—the first newborn pictures she’s ever been able to get with any of her kids—and within a matter of weeks, she had been hired onto the staff as an office manager.
“As soon as I’d walked through the doors to get Blessing’s pictures, I knew I was supposed to be here,” April said. “I just really want God to be glorified through all of this, because without Him putting that conviction in my heart, showing me that heartbeat, I would be lost.”