Alicia was 12 weeks pregnant and wanted an abortion. After finding what she thought was an abortion clinic in Bellaire, Texas, she called them and made an appointment. At the time, Alicia didn’t know that the number she called belonged to a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) and that they would do anything in their power to keep her from having an abortion.
The woman that Alicia* spoke with on the phone, Joanne*, gave her the building address but did not give her the suite number. Instead, she waited for Alicia in the parking lot and then led her into an unmarked room in the unmarked building. Alicia told Joanne that she wanted an abortion and Joanne said that they could do that after she filled out some paperwork. Alicia filled out generic medical paperwork and gave the woman at the front desk her driver’s license before being led back into another room. Joanne told her that if she wanted to have an abortion, she had to watch video footage of an abortion first. The video was graphic and disturbing. After watching the video, Alicia still wanted an abortion. They scheduled the procedure for a week and a half later. Alicia asked the woman at the front desk several times if she could have her license back, but each time the woman responded by giving her another pamphlet. Alicia became distracted when some other people came in, and she left without her license.
It wasn’t until the next day that Alicia realized that she had left her license at the CPC. She called them, but they would not verify whether they had it or not and said they had to wait for Joanne to come to work. They didn’t call her back about her license for four days. When Joanne finally called Alicia, she told her that she would have to come back to get her license. When Alicia went back to the CPC, they suggested that since she was already there they should go ahead and do an ultrasound. After the ultrasound, Joanne told Alicia that she was too far along in her pregnancy to have an abortion. She told Alicia that they could help and offered her baby clothes and diapers. Alicia insisted that she wanted an abortion. Joanne said that they would have to reschedule her abortion for another time, and then she continued to push back the appointment until Alicia was 18 weeks pregnant. At that point, Joanne told Alicia that there were a lot of people who would pay to have a baby and said, “Don’t do this to yourself, you’ll mess up your life.”
Alicia was able to make an appointment at a real abortion clinic and have the procedure at 18.5 weeks; she barely made the 20-week cut–off for abortions in Texas. Even though Alicia stopped visiting the CPC and taking their calls, Joanne didn’t give up. She continued to call Alicia daily, leaving voicemails that said, “Do you believe in God? I don’t think you do because everyone has a purpose and you’re taking this from this innocent baby.” Joanne called from different numbers multiple times a day in an attempt to get Alicia to answer the phone, and called continuously they day of Alicia’s abortion procedure. When Alicia told Joanne that she had already had the abortion, Joanne responded by telling her not to go on birth control because it would give her cancer. Joanne continued to call and harass Alicia even after she had an abortion.
*- These names have been changed to protect their identities.