By Faith Wallace, FirstLook’s Front Office Manager
In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, abortion clinics in Texas temporarily suspended surgical abortions at the hand of Governor Abbott. We at FirstLook knew this would mean an increase in the number of abortion-minded clients we would see, but none of us could have possibly known just how many we would really get to speak with. I have been at FirstLook for a year, and as the Front Office Manager one of my main jobs is answering the phones and scheduling appointments. I call and text many women on a daily basis, but as soon as the surgical abortions were suspended, the number of people contacting FirstLook almost doubled.
I have the unique opportunity to be the first point of contact for clients seeking help from FirstLook. One of the ways that abortion-minded clients find our services is from our Google Ads, where they can call, text, or submit a request for an appointment form. Many women seeking abortions contacted us in desperation and willingly poured out their hearts to me over the phone. I had several days in March and April where I got over 10 phone calls with the first words being, “I need an abortion.” After explaining to them that we do not provide or refer for abortions but do offer many other services free of cost, they often hung up. Having these conversations so many times over several weeks truly broke my heart, leaving me wondering how they will receive the assistance they truly need.
But there were many positive days too. Several abortion-minded women chose life for their babies! In fact, when we look at our year-to-date numbers so far in 2020, 90% of women at risk for abortion chose life! 90%!
One story that really warmed my heart is about Sandra. She came to FirstLook after becoming pregnant and saw no way out of her situation other than abortion. She was living in another city and was referred to FirstLook by the clinic in her town because they were closed due to COVID-19. We were able to see her the next day. When she started her appointment, she would not consider any option other than abortion, but after some discussion and a beautiful ultrasound, she knew that the life inside of her deserved a chance! Sandra made an appointment to meet with an adoption agency, and she called us 2 months later to let us know that she was still pregnant and looking forward to having her baby and going to college in the Fall!
Another story that I will always remember is Rachel’s. I received a call from her family member and was informed that she had an appointment at an abortion clinic later that week. After moving around appointments, we were able to see Rachel the day before her appointment at the abortion clinic. She spoke extensively with Brooke, FirstLook’s Case Manager, and after her parenting options counseling, she called and cancelled her appointment at the abortion clinic! The nurse performed her ultrasound, and Rachel got to witness the precious life inside of her. Everyone in the center cried tears of joy for this sweet client that day. Rachel is now taking prenatal classes with Brooke and is excited to be a young mother of a little baby!
FirstLook has kept its doors open during COVID-19 to be present for the women that are pregnant and scared of what comes next. Some days it was very hard to stay positive through this time, but I personally am very thankful for every call and every message that came in, because it meant women were looking for help, and we got to be there for them to support and love them and their unborn babies. FirstLook has been a light in the darkness for so many during this pandemic, and we have been so blessed to help lead so many of them to embrace life!