by Ashley Atkin
With all of the information surrounding Planned Parenthood in the media right now, I wanted to put my experience out there.
In 2010, just weeks after getting married, I found out I was pregnant. It was an unplanned pregnancy. My husband and I were both terrified. We were broke and I was without health insurance. But let me be perfectly clear, our baby was unplanned but NOT unwanted.
Because we did not have health insurance to cover the pregnancy, I had to get a “proof of pregnancy” in order to qualify for state healthcare. I made an appointment and went to Planned Parenthood to get an ultrasound to obtain my proof of pregnancy. The nurse did a vaginal ultrasound and told me that my pregnancy was not viable and in order to avoid infection, I needed to have a procedure done to “flush out the pregnancy”.
I was told that based on the date of my last period there should be a heartbeat and they couldn’t find one. (I have irregular periods and based on the date of my last period I was only weeks along and it is perfectly normal not to see the flicker of the heart beat yet.) I was also told that I had a misshaped uterus that would cause problems with my pregnancy.
I was heartbroken.
I was twenty years old, newly pregnant, alone, having my first ever vaginal ultrasound. I was terrified.
I told the nurse that if the pregnancy wasn’t viable, I would rather miscarry naturally. This was a Friday. I was told I had to come back Monday and they would take blood to see if my hCG levels had risen. I was told if there was no increase in my levels, I needed to have a D&C [abortion] done or I would get an infection.
That evening I went to my parents’ house to celebrate my mom’s birthday. I didn’t want to give my parents the bad news on a day we should be celebrating but they could tell I was upset. I told them everything the nurse had told me and my mom said she would be with me when I went back on Monday.
Over the weekend I prayed without ceasing that if it was God’s will, that He would let me have this baby and that He would protect my baby. I had peace knowing that whatever happened, it was in God’s hands.
Monday morning my mom and I went back to Planned Parenthood. They took me back, alone – they wouldn’t allow my mom to come with me. They took my blood and saw that my levels had more than doubled. They reminded me of the issues with my uterus and told me to see an obstetrician ASAP.
I did. My uterus is perfect. I did have issues with my pregnancy, but not in any way related to my uterus. In December 2010 my beautiful daughter Madeline was born.
At twenty years old, I was terrified at the thought of having a baby, but the thought of not keeping my baby was never an option. I feel that I was stereotyped when I walked into Planned Parenthood. I was young, alone and afraid and I believe that they were trying to push me into getting rid of my pregnancy. I wonder how many girls in my shoes walk into Planned Parenthood and listen to the advice of the doctors telling them they NEED to get rid of their pregnancy.
Doctors are supposed to be trustworthy, they are supposed to have our best interest in mind.
Whatever your opinion is on abortion, Planned Parenthood tried to take my choice away by telling me that I had to have this procedure done for my health and wellbeing. I praise God for being with me in that moment or I may have taken their advice.
Ashley and her husband have been married for five years and have two beautiful daughters – ages four and two. They live outside of Denver in Colorado, where she works as a hairstylist.