FirstChoice Clinic Helps Effect First Local Medical Abortion Reversal


FirstChoice Clinic recently experienced a life-saving "first" when staff helped guide a client through a medical-abortion reversal, undoing the effects of the RU486 drug that would have ended the life of the client's baby.

It happened on a Wednesday, the day abortions take place at the local abortion facility downtown Fargo.

According to Denise Cota, Client Services Director, that morning staff had gathered to pray as always that hearts would be transformed and minds changed.

"There is a sense of urgency on Wednesdays, but also a sense of hope that these mothers and fathers will be heroes for their children and choose to carry these babies," she explains.

Though prayers continue well past Wednesday and after the staff goes home for the evening, the fruits of their prayers don't always become clear. However, this Wednesday was different.

A client who had been conflicted over her decision to abort her child through medical means began to have doubts after ingesting one of three pills given to her by the Red River Women's Clinic.

As Denise notes, the client had sought out FirstChoice earlier for counseling regarding what seemed a truly impossible situation. Thankfully, cell phone numbers had been exchanged at that time, and the client sent a text to her that evening to ask whether it was too late to change her mind.

Earlier, she'd called the abortion facility, but was told it was too late, and that she should just consume all three pills and move forward with the abortion. But the client had done some online research indicating a reversal could be possible, and FirstChoice staff knew this as well, and that it was still early enough to try.

"We connected her with our medical director, Dr. Richard Vetter, who was able to counsel her on the reversal of the pill," Denise says. "By the next morning, we had her prescription called into the pharmacy, and an ultrasound scheduled at our clinic. And soon, we had the joy of witnessing the beautiful visual of a baby with a heartbeat safely tucked into his or her mother's womb."

Three weeks later, the mother went in for her first obstetrician visit at her hometown clinic. She asked Denise to travel and meet her at that appointment, which she gratefully did.

"The ultrasound image showed a healthy baby, which brought relief and happiness to our client," Denise says. "She's since expressed her conviction of the choice that she made and, and how aware she's become of the powerful instinct of motherly protection."

Angela Wambach, Executive Director, says the staff's coordination that helped bring about the reversal was a tremendous achievement, and that much gratitude goes to Dr. Vetter for his willingness to be called during evening hours, and respond with his professional advice to save a child's life.

She also notes that, despite the fact that the client wasn't from Fargo, because the abortion facility is, the Fargo location continues to be important, in that its staff is sometimes the "first responder" in such a crisis, and would never turn away a client regardless of their home base location. Currently, the client is continuing with prenatal and parenting education at a pregnancy center in her hometown.

"On that Wednesday night, we all learned a valuable lesson. Our client learned what a gift it is to be a mother, and what it's like to feel like a heroine," Denise says. "We, as a staff, learned that even when things seem hopeless, quickly that can change to hopeful."

*UPDATE* Baby boy has arrived! Both mom and baby are doing well.




Mirijana came to FirstChoice Clinic after counseling at the local abortion facility for a suction abortion. At that appointment, she discovered that she was 12 weeks pregnant with twins. Already a mom of a one-year old daughter, Milla, she knew the challenges that came with single motherhood.

During her first visit, Mirijana spent hours pouring out her fears and concerns with her nurse at FirstChoice. This, along with an offer to help her find a place to live, financial referrals and assistance, and emotional support, encouraged Mirjana to make the brave decision to parent.

Surrounded by the love and support YOU make possible, Mirijana chose life for her babies. 

She immediately began looking for a full-time job, which she obtained, and has been supporting herself and her girls. She regularly attended the Earn While You Learn program, earned many items for her babies, Leila and Lyla, and continues to come to the clinic for parenting lessons when she can fit it into her schedule.

Mirijana is an amazing mom who has done whatever it takes to make a home for her children. We have been blessed to be a part of this wonderful family’s life!




Even Without a Car, Couple Finds Their Way to FirstChoice


They’ve definitely impressed the staff at the FirstChoice Devils Lake. Despite lack of a car, Derik and Starla, a young couple in their early 20s, would not miss a beat in coming to their Earn While You Learn (EWYL) educational sessions in order to better equip them for parenting.

“I’ve loved working with this beautiful family,” says Meg Nelson, nurse manager. “They are so dedicated in coming to classes, learning, and asking many questions in order to become the best parents they can be. Their desire to learn is refreshing.”

Their daughter, Kiana, was born on June 17, weighing 9 lbs., 8 oz. But their journey toward giving her the best life possible started on Nov. 23, 2015, when they showed up at FirstChoice Clinic. “They’ve been so eager to learn, and have shown up rain or shine,” Meg adds. “One time I had to call them to tell them not to come because it was too icy. They walk everywhere.”

Meg says the couple has shown great eagerness in caring for their daughter, and works together to make it happen. Though there’s been limited support from extended family, it’s not been enough to cover all their needs of parenting a baby on one income.

Starla shared that the learning was especially important to her, along with receiving provisions for their daughter that would not have been possible otherwise. “It’s been good to know that we can always come here and ask questions and have them answered,” she remarked. Derik says he, too, has loved to come, and finds FirstChoice very helpful, including the family boutique.

“Derik has been a very supportive and dedicated father,” Meg says. “He has come every time with Starla, completing 17 lessons since December 2015. He’s also very hard-working; he works a night shift to support the family.”

All this just another example, she indicates, of how FirstChoice makes a real difference in the lives of our communities.



Couple Finds Hope and Chooses Parenthood


A quote from a Facebook post attests to FirstChoice Clinic’s life-affirming, loving work helping
abortion-vulnerable clients, and the gratitude from those who seek and receive assistance in making informed choices.

“Shout out to FirstChoice Clinic! They are the most loving, supportive people I have ever met. I don’t think I would be seeing my 2-month-old daughter’s smile every morning without them. I recommend FirstChoice Clinic to any first-time, young mother going through an unexpected pregnancy. Please let them know there is a place for them to go for help. They are not alone! There is HOPE!”
Desiree, Client FirstChoice Clinic, Bismarck

“When Desiree first arrived at our clinic in Bismarck, she was very scared and unsure what to do,” said the site manager. “She was 19 and had just found out she was expecting a baby. Her parents were not very supportive and were pushing her to give the baby up for adoption.”

Desiree and her boyfriend wanted to keep the baby, but Desiree was uncertain she could raise a child. She began coming to FirstChoice and participating in its “Earn While You Learn” program, and eventually, she changed her mind and heart.

Kandace Wilkens, Ultrasonographer at the Bismarck clinic, says Desiree shared with her that without FirstChoice Clinic, due to the pressure she was facing, she would not have been able to keep her child. Ivyanna was born in November 2016.

Notes like Desiree’s “reaffirms that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Kandace says. Knowing she’s impacted someone’s life, she adds, means everything. “I’m able to support those who don’t have support from anyone else. Even if we can change one mind, it’s worth it.”

While instructing Desiree in the educational program, Kandace says, she’s watched her become more responsible and gain confidence. “She was accepted into nursing school and she didn’t have to give up on any of her dreams just because she had a baby.”

Desiree is now a full-time nursing student, and enjoying being a mother as well. “She’s a very proud mom. You can just see how much she loves her daughter,” Kandace notes. “Having a child doesn’t mean your success needs to stop. With support, you can still reach for your dreams.”




“Without this clinic, I wouldn’t have my family…so, thank you.”

Sam, Mitch and Stella’s Story


It was spring break, 2014, when the pregnancy test turned positive. Sam had endured an abusive relationship, several years before, with a man who forced her to have two abortions. She and her recent boyfriend, Mitch, were struggling in their relationship and had even begun seeing other people.  

Feeling alone, scared and unsure of their future, Sam and Mitch came to FirstChoice Clinic. 

Their nurse led them back to the counseling room.  There was another positive pregnancy test, options counseling and an ultrasound.  Sam now tearfully recalls, “With my previous pregnancies, I had never actually seen the baby.  We came here and I remember seeing the ultrasound for the first time.  You could see her heartbeat, and we both started crying.”  Mitch says,

I don’t think I was 100% ready to go with this until we saw that first ultrasound, but just instantly it was like, ‘Wow!  This is a heart.  That’s your kid.’  It helped me realize that, ‘I need to man up…I’m going to have to be ready to be a dad.  I need to be by [Sam’s] side.  I need to make sure she’s okay.  Whether or not we’re doing fine, she’s carrying my kid and there’s a certain level of respect that’s got to go with that.’  I think that was a turning point.  That’s when we finally started getting better.  

The following months were a time of healing and growth for Sam and Mitch.  By the time they welcomed their beautiful daughter, Stella, in November, life had changed so much!  According to Sam, participating in the Earn While You Learn Program “helped them to figure things out together.”  Mitch describes it as their “outlet” and “neutral zone”—where “we spent time together to focus on what we were going to do when our kid was born.”

Your generous support helps families in our community—families like Sam, Mitch and Stella. 

“Thank you for making me the happiest I have ever been and ever thought I would be.”  -Sam

“If it wasn’t for this clinic, I wouldn’t have my family right now.  So, thank you.”  -Mitch