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Abortion Pill Reversal gives New Jersey couple cause for celebration

by | Jan 9, 2024

By Gayle Irwin

APR baby Francesca Celeste and family and
Bridge Women’s Center staff
Photo: Bridge Women’s Center

After JoAnna took the first abortion pill in the autumn of 2022, she and her partner Tommy regretted the decision. Thanks to Abortion Pill Reversal they will celebrate the holiday season with their healthy baby girl.

Like many couples who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant, JoAnna and Tommy experienced fear and uncertainty. They both already had children from previous relationships, and their own relationship was just a few months old. They went to Planned Parenthood where JoAnna was given the first abortion pill.

“If you take a look from the outside in, it’s not the most ideal situation,” Tommy told Pregnancy Help News. “We listened to the voices inside our heads of other people. The negativity in our heads led us there.” 

“I was focused on what everyone else would think,” JoAnna said.

After the New Jersey couple returned to JoAnna’s home, guilt and sorrow set in.

“We both knew we had made the wrong choice,” Tommy said. “It wasn’t something we should have done. My soul was ripped from me.” 

He recalled trying to talk with JoAnna about what happened, but she told him, “I need time.” 

“I was left alone,” he said.

Tommy remembers thinking, “I can’t live with this.”

He also recalled looking out the window of JoAnna’s home and seeing a little girl’s birthday party next door, a yard filled with people, laughter, and balloons.

“They were celebrating life and look at what we had done. It just killed me,” Tommy said. 

Searching for help

“I went on a run to just clear my mind,” Tommy said. “When I came back, I thought, ‘This just can’t be it.’ So, I immediately went to the internet, and I started searching ‘how do you reverse this?’”

He found success stories and information about the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN). Hope arose, and Tommy acted.

“I called APR,” he said. “I spoke to the nurses there, and they said, ‘We can’t do anything without her.’ I pleaded with JoAnna to call them. She had her concerns as well, but I had done the research, and I said, ‘No, people are saying it’s possible.’ I begged her to talk with them.”

JoAnna said her primary concern was that the first abortion pill had harmed the baby, but she made the call. She said the nurses reassured her that would not be the case, but they also told her taking the second pill could be detrimental and that timing was crucial – getting to a doctor and starting the progesterone process as soon as possible was an important factor.

“We were able to connect with a provider that night, and he prescribed it [progesterone],” JoAnna told Pregnancy Help News.

Within a few days, JoAnna and Tommy connected with Bridge Women’s Center for an ultrasound. They were brought aboard one of the center’s mobile units for the sonogram.

“Everything was fine, thank God!” JoAnna said.

She said the abortion clinic staff did not offer her information on any other pregnancy options, but that they did tell her there was no way to reverse or stop the abortion.

“I wanted to vomit up that [first] pill,” she recalled. “They said the abortion couldn’t be reversed.”

They were wrong.

A life saved

Bridge nurses monitored JoAnna’s pregnancy for several months through ultrasound while she continued the progesterone. This past summer, JoAnna gave birth to a healthy little girl. She and Tommy named their child Francesca Celeste, meaning ‘free’ and ‘heavenly,’ respectfully.

“She’s beautiful, and she’s a blessing,” JoAnna said.

“There’s very little crying. Every time you look at her, she’s got a smile on her face,” Tommy said. “I can’t help to think that because of what she’s been through and what we’ve been through, she’s a testament to that [APR success].”

Their daughter is among more than 4,500 babies saved through Heartbeat International’s Abortion Pill Rescue® Network and centers’ and doctors’ provision of APR, according to the APRN’s 2022 Impact Report. Around the world, 1,300 providers, clinics, and hospitals are part of the APRN. That includes physicians in New Jersey where JoAnna and Tommy live, and Bridge Women’s Center.

Earlier this fall, the couple introduced their little girl to Bridge staff members, including the organization’s new director, Victoria Dean.

“After she had the baby, she called and wanted us to see her,” Dean said. “She’s a beautiful little girl.”

Bridge Women’s Center has been involved with APRN for more than two years. Dean said she and her staff are happy to provide ultrasounds for APR patients. Through their mobile units parked near abortion clinics, the staff and volunteers watch women walk out “with that bag in their hand.” They take opportunity to let those women know about APR.

“We know they’ve taken that first pill [and] we can tell them ‘You can reverse it, there’s time,’” Dean said. “We have done that so many times. Just knowing that [APR] is there, the phone number is there, knowing that option is available, is huge.”

Life-changing” in several ways

Tommy and JoAnna are thankful for the Bridge Women’s Center mobile unit, something Tommy said he hadn’t known about.

“I’ve never seen that before,” he said. “To see that – you know, this is a community. I felt safe instantly.” 

“Those women on that bus are doing God’s work,” said Tommy.

“They were amazing, wonderful,” JoAnna said. “They were life-changing actually.”

Not only did Bridge Women’s Center help save the life of their baby, but staff encouraged them to deepen their faith walk. 

“We invited her to church, and they’ve been coming to church,” Dean said.

“They really did transform me into restoring my faith in Christ and really just being on fire for more,” Tommy said. “I really felt connected with their message, and to me, that is what a Christian is. They are out there, boots on the ground, trying to save lives; it aligned with me so much. Now I go walking around with a Bible. I joke that if you would have known me a year-and-a-half-ago, I wouldn’t have been walking around with a Bible.” 

“They call Calvary their home church,” Dean said. “We just love on them whenever we see them.”

Thankfully celebrating

Just as Tommy watched that family celebrate a little girl’s birthday last year, he and JoAnna and their children are joyfully and thankfully celebrating this holiday season with their baby girl.

“God gave us a second chance,” Tommy said.

“Our baby has siblings, and they love her,” JoAnna added.

“There’s nothing like holding your own child in your hands,” Tommy said. “All those thoughts of how you’re going to do it and what you’re going to do, you just get it done. You figure out a way. And if you put your faith in God, you give him those problems, and it will all work out.”

Dean is also thankful.

“With APR and being in the APRN, women have another option, a second chance,” she said. “Even just giving them the information – that helps.”

“Most women don’t know they have that option after taking the abortion pill,” said Dean. “To be connected with Heartbeat, to know they can call that number and to know they are going to be immediately connected with us and we can help them, is very important.”

Editor’s note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News. Reposted with permission.