By Gayle Irwin, Pregnancy Help News
Earlier this year, 19-year-old Loraine wanted to find a way to save her baby after starting a chemical abortion. She found that hope and help at First Choice Pregnancy Services.
The medical director for the Las Vegas-based pregnancy medical clinic, Dr. Hadiza Hamza, took the call from Heartbeat International’s Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) hotline and spoke to the young woman on a March evening.
Loraine’s own mother, pregnant herself, coerced the young woman to abort. After taking the first abortion pill at the provider’s office, Loraine turned to her grandmother, finding comfort and encouragement from the elder woman. They researched options to reverse the effect of the abortion pill, and Loraine recalled seeing information about First Choice when going into the abortion clinic. The pregnancy help center is located on the same road as the abortion facility.
Finding the help she needed
“Our staff reached out the next day, April Fool’s Day, to bring Loraine in for a scan and see what other resources she might need,” Jessica Ancell, logistic services specialist for First Choice, told Pregnancy Help News. “Our calls went straight to voicemail. We grew discouraged.”
Later that day, Loraine returned the phone calls. She wanted to come into the clinic but said she didn’t have transportation. First Choice staff offered to pay for a ride-share, and the young woman accepted. The staff stayed on the line with her all the way to the center, Ancell said.
“Once she arrived, she went straight to the ultrasound, her one-year-old baby girl in tow,” she said. “On the screen, (there was) a healthy, thriving six-week baby, and, music to their ears, a strong heartbeat coming from the doppler.”
“From there, she just needed some encouraging words,” Ancell added, “arrangements to pick up her lifesaving prescription, and dedicated follow-up to ensure she was set up for success.”
Two weeks passed. Loraine missed some ultrasound appointments. Center staff became concerned that she either went through with the abortion or she had a miscarriage. They continued to pray for the young woman and her unborn child.
God had an unexpected blessing on tap. Volunteer sonographer, Tammy Mahaneyan, an abortion pill reversal (APR) nurse who’d recently moved away, came to town and dropped in unexpectedly, Ancell said.
“‘I only have two hours to serve today,’” Ancell recalled Mahaneyan saying. “In God’s perfect timing, what happened next amazed us all.”
Loraine walked in the clinic doors as the sonographer was finishing with her last patient. First Choice welcomed the young woman with open arms and grateful smiles.
“That very second, we knew that Tammy (the volunteer sonographer) was there for Loraine, and Loraine was there for Tammy, and that God had orchestrated every bit of this experience,” said Ancell. “We were unsure what her ultrasound results would be.”
Although they were uncertain what the ultrasound would find, God knew, and He choregraphed another beautiful surprise.
“An eight-week, one-day healthy, happy, and thriving baby danced on the screen!” Ancell said.
And the Lord wasn’t finished. The due date revealed a special day – the baby’s big sister’s birthday!
“A little extra confirmation from God that Loraine made the right choice!” Ancell told Pregnancy Help News.
A history of saving lives in Sin City
Loraine and her baby are just one story of many women and unborn babies saved from the deadly grip of abortion. She is also one of thousands coerced into the procedure, even by people who profess to love the woman. Thanks to APR, with a 15-year record of saving unborn lives, and Heartbeat’s Abortion Pill Rescue Network, more than 4,500 unborn lives have been saved, meaning at least that many women have been spared the intense emotional and physical pain experienced by many who have experienced abortion.
First Choice has been part of the APRN for nearly five years, said executive director Deborah Costello. Their first case was a mother with twins. The center and medical director have conducted 20 reversals this year. In 2021, they had nearly 60.
The pregnancy help medical clinic is located along a cul-de-sac across the street from the busiest late-term abortion facility in the state of Nevada, Costello said.
“In order to get to them, you have to pass us,” she said. “God uses our location to bring many of their abortion appointments into our center.”
A sandwich board sign stands out front of First Choice advertising APR. Street intercessors and sidewalk counselors from 40 Days for Life and Jesus for Life help abortion-determined women, and those coming out of the abortion facility, understand the services First Choice provides, including APR, Ancell said.
“So, they are seeing signs that if they regret [the abortion], there’s hope,” said Costello.
Nearly two decades of helping Las Vegas women
First Choice opened its doors in 2004. Costello, who founded a pregnancy resource center in the Kansas City, Mo., area, was tapped to help start the Las Vegas center, which went medical in its first year of operation. Several clients have experienced multiple abortions, as many as 10 and 16, primarily due to the pressures within the sex and entertainment industry. First Choice has also seen clients trapped in human trafficking. Each woman is treated with love and respect, no matter her background.
Many abortion-determined women have changed their minds after seeing the ultrasound and hearing their unborn child’s heartbeat via doppler. To date, nearly 42,000 babies have been saved from abortion due to the work of First Choice staff and volunteers. Costello said.
“Love to be there”
Meeting women who seek APR brings joy, Ancell said.
“They’re seeking this help because they are regretting their decision,” she said. “Like Loraine – she was pressured into doing it, and she found reprieve in her grandma who empowered her to say ‘No, we can find something to stop this.’”
“And in doing so, they found First Choice,” said Ancell, “and she remembered First Choice as she was coming out of the abortion facility.
“We just love to be there for these women who are desperate for help,” she added. “They don’t know what to do, and they just need someone to speak that love of Christ and the next steps of what they can do.”
Empowering women is part of the mission.
“They need someone to uplift them and encourage them to choose life,” Ancell said. “We help empower them to face things [in life] and equip them with resources that help them overcome the fear that led them to the choice of abortion in the first place.”
“God’s grace abounds”
Amid their daily work, at times including APR services, Costello, Ancell, and the rest of the staff and volunteers, including the center’s board, are also preparing for their gala event, which is scheduled for October 6, 2023. An abortion survivor is scheduled to speak. Last year’s event saw 14 clients come onto the stage, several of whom went through the APR protocol and others were abortion-determined but chose life after visiting First Choice.
In the town often called “Sin City” God’s light shines, thanks to the endeavors of First Choice Pregnancy Services.
“It’s definitely a dark city, but God’s grace abounds,” Costello said, “right here on our block!”
Editor’s note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News. First Choice Pregnancy Services was targeted for attack recently by abortion advocates who vandalized the center. The attack followed online attacks and harassment. See the Pregnancy Help News report HERE.