Watch Marie’s testimony of how she chose life for her baby.

Read the full story of how she found hope and support through one of our clinics on the way to an abortion.


I was raised Christian, in a church where people were silent when it came to dirty laundry. Gossip spread quicker than love. I was also raised in a broken home where Christianity was a mask over my family’s brokenness. Mistakes were met with shame and judgment. Sadly these were the only Christians I knew. That is, until I went to Ava Health.


I now know God and his people very differently.


There’s a little bit of a story before I first ended up at Ava Health. I learned about sex in sixth grade at school, having no prior education about it; it was not something that was talked about at home. While other kids were already involved in sexual activity, I was the “good” kid. I got perfect grades, was liked by everyone. I was also broken and covered it up by seeking perfection in every outward showing area that I could – I wanted to please everyone so I could hide the pain and hurt underneath. My teacher at length told us how terrible having a baby was and how having one would ruin every good thing in my life. I wondered how it would be if I ended up pregnant.


I confronted my mom after that class and blurted out, “What would you do if I got pregnant?” She got very quiet, but then her answer came quickly and clearly. She said, “You probably wouldn’t be allowed to live here anymore. I would kick you out.” That sentence changed my life. From that day forward my BIGGEST fear was having a child.


Fast forward to my freshman year of high school. I worked to be good. I was in all advanced classes and I was helping take care of my grandparents, playing sports and working on the side to save money for school. I was exhausted, lonely, my parents fought all the time, my brother was doing drugs, my sister never talked to me, and all my “good” wasn’t filling the holes in my heart.


Then one day I met someone. He was a young adult, graduating late. He was smooth; I was 14. He called me beautiful and saw how broken I was. And I didn’t know that once I got in I couldn’t get out, that when he got angry he got violent. I didn’t know that he noticed my brokenness not because he wanted to love me, but because he wanted to own me. I didn’t know until one night he had a few drinks, took advantage of my innocence, overpowered me, and took what wasn’t his.


Four years of my life slowly washed down the drain. Being abused, used, and manipulated. I was so young, so alone. Nobody knew what going on.


You didn’t air your dirty laundry.


I was in that abusive relationship until 2013.


One day, my biggest fear came true. I was pregnant and I knew it.


I had no idea what to do. So I went to Planned Parenthood because that’s where everyone says to go. “They’ll take care of you there,” I thought.


I went to the clinic to get a test, feeling like I couldn’t be more invisible. I signed in, then retreated to the back of the waiting room to sit and wait. I waited for four treacherous hours. I cried, I thought about leaving, but then I stayed.


I waited until I was the only person left. A nurse finally came out and asked what I was waiting for. I told her I’d been waiting four hours for a pregnancy test. It turns out that they had pulled off the sign-up sheet without noticing my name at the bottom.


Looking back at it, I think that was God giving me time to walk out of there. Sadly I didn’t see it then. Instead I had a very unapologetic and unfriendly manager tend to me, and take me back for a test. I took it and then was put in a sterile, unfriendly room to wait for the results alone again. She came back a little while later and sat down in front of me. Too casually, she said “Yeah. You’re 6 weeks 5 days pregnant.” I started to cry. She started sifting through some papers, asking me questions. “Is the dad around? Is he supportive of the pregnancy? Do you think your family would be supportive? Are you finished with school?” All “no’s.”


I cried more with each question. She looked at me and said, “Well, just so you know, it is unhealthy. It’s not a viable pregnancy. It won’t survive. But we offer options, abortions here at the clinic, and at this point you could have the pill…” She went on, but all I could hear was that one sentence. It’s not a viable pregnancy. I thought that my heart was shattered until I heard that. Then I felt it break.


Even though being pregnant was my biggest fear, as soon as she told me I was pregnant, I was a mom; that was my child. To hear someone say that I couldn’t have that, to say abortion would “take care of it” changed my biggest fear from having a child, to not being able to have my child.


I was still terrified of course. I thought my mom would kick me out. I knew the child’s dad wouldn’t take care of her.  I had huge responsibilities and was in the middle of finishing my associate’s degree and now I had a baby. But I didn’t because they said she wasn’t viable. She wouldn’t survive. I believed that because they were there to help me, they’re the experts.


I planned to get the abortion pill. I had to. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t right.


So I found myself online the night before I was supposed to get the abortion pill. I started looking for pregnancy resources and there it was: Ava Health.


I looked through the website and it was so different. I could tell that it was God’s work, but I’d never seen Christianity offer so much love to people who were like that; like me. I wrote down the address, and I didn’t know why – because what could they do? It wasn’t viable.


The next morning I got up and started driving to Planned Parenthood. I was going to have the abortion. But on the way I decided to stop at Ava Health. I didn’t know why, but I walked in, stood in the doorway, and the receptionist smiled at me and said, “Hi! How can I help you?”


“Um…I’m pregnant. And I was just on my way to get an abortion, because I can’t have the baby… And um. I don’t really know. I just thought I would stop here.”


It’s been just over 2 years since I walked through those doors. About two years since I had my first ultrasound and I saw a little lima bean with a heartbeat. And I cried. And this time because she WAS viable. She was there.


She was strong, and she never let me sleep because she always kicked at night. She put me through 38 hours of labor.


She saved my life because my abuser left when I got pregnant.  Now she is 20 months old. She is so fun, and my life is still hard. BUT MY LIFE IS SO GOOD. I almost threw that all away.


But I came to Ava Health and they took my dirty laundry and said “Here, let me help you.”


They washed it, folded it, handled it with care, and they gave me back exactly what I had before, but covered in love, not lies. It was covered in value instead of shame. They showed me that my child and my life weren’t worthless. That it was the most valuable thing I had.


I just needed to wash off the dirt that had been rubbed into it to see the treasure underneath. And they helped me do that.