NIFLA Pregnancy Center Impact Stories: The Elle Project

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“My choice was – I become homeless, or I get an abortion.”

These are the opening words to a powerful video posted by Alternatives Pregnancy Center, part of NIFLA’s network of 1,500-plus pregnancy centers across the U.S.

These words were spoken by a 19-year-old woman, “Elle,” who came to Alternatives.

“My parents looked right at me and said, ‘you’re not old enough to have this child, and if you do, you cannot live under our roof,’” the actress portraying the woman says in the video.

Elle’s parents handed her Planned Parenthood’s phone number and “walked away.” Elle said that even though she was adopted, “they wouldn’t let me do the same for my baby.”

At Planned Parenthood the next day, they gave Elle two abortion pills and then four more pills to take at home. “They said it would be easy and painless. I was all alone—waiting,” Elle said. She had no doctors, parents, or boyfriend to be with her while she went through this ordeal.

A week later, her bleeding was not letting up. When Elle went to the emergency room, they told her the abortion was incomplete, and that if she hadn’t come to the hospital when she did that she would have died.

“The doctors let me take home the remains of my baby to bury,” Elle said.

“I lost the one thing I’d always wanted more than anything. I wanted to keep my baby. I wanted to be a mother. I wanted options but had none. I couldn’t trust my parents and my friends disowned me. I was in a dark place, contemplating why to live, who I had become, and what future I had. Wanting to take my own life,” Elle said.

What Elle experienced didn’t have to happen. According to The Justice Foundation’s website, there are resources for young women being forced into abortions by their parents.

“No one—not even her parents—can legally force a pregnant teen mother to have an abortion. But sometimes these teens, their parents, school counselors, and perhaps even pregnancy center staff may not be aware of this fact. The Justice Foundation in cooperation with Care Net, Heartbeat and NIFLA, will provide pregnancy centers with new tools to empower and help protect these young women from the horrible trauma of forced abortion,” the website states, along with practical tips and resources.

A week after her abortion, Elle sat down with Alternatives Pregnancy Center. “If not for them, I wouldn’t be alive today,” Elle said.

Her client advocate was the mother she needed. “For the first time, someone encouraged me. They helped me see how brave I was for getting help and facing my trauma. They showed me that I was healing, that I was getting stronger. They believed in me when no one else did,” Elle said.

“I’ve been meeting with my client advocate for six months now. Nothing can ever bring my baby back. But thanks to Alternatives Pregnancy Center, I can dream of being a mother again. If it weren’t for them that dream would have died, and I wouldn’t have been alive to live it,” Elle said.

Pro-life pregnancy centers assist women both before and after an abortion. While we always hope mothers choose life, when they don’t, we are still here for them in their grief and help them to recover.

We hope that Elle’s story shows the important work that pro-life pregnancy centers are doing not only for babies, but also for women. Pregnancy centers like Alternatives Pregnancy Center are truly whole-life, focusing on the emotional, mental and spiritual health of a woman and her baby, not just the physical.

NIFLA envisions an America where all life, born and unborn, regardless of age, handicaps or infirmities, is cherished and protected under the law. We hope no woman will feel that she has no other option but to abort her child. But even in such situations, we are here for her in her grief and pain—always.

To learn more about what NIFLA is doing to help protect and equip pregnancy centers so they can serve abortion-vulnerable women, children and families nationwide, please visit NIFLA’s “About” page on nifla.org. To learn more about how you can partner in NIFLA’s 2020 vision to expand training, fight threatening legislation and update critical resources, please visit our donate page.

This original blog post was written by Olivia Briscoe, a pro-life journalist and media professional. All rights are reserved. Please email the NIFLA media team at [email protected] for interview requests or reprint permission.