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Friday, 10 April 2020
Marianne Petersen and her family. As a pregnant teen 30 years ago, she chose life for her first of four children. Marianne Petersen and her family. As a pregnant teen 30 years ago, she chose life for her first of four children. Photo Courtesy: Marianne Petersen

Pregnant at 19, I Called Planned Parenthood. I Thank God Every Day They Missed My Call.

Time to look back 30 years at what feels like yesterday.

No. I can't be thinking this. Am I? Could I be? This question shouldn’t even be here.  

My fearful thoughts were soaking my pillow: I’m different!  I’m a Christian now.  I can't be! Can I? No. I’m only 19 and living at home. I have great career plans and…and no, I can’t. God, I pleaded for your forgiveness so…so why would you allow this to be possible? I can’t be pregnant. 

Twenty million of those thoughts had me rolling over on my pillow, left and right, left and right. My pillow must have felt like screaming, “Be still Marianne!”  

A few days later, after making sure my parents were gone, I grabbed the Yellow Pages and ran to my room. Back in 1986, there was no keeping an iPhone or laptop right next to your bed to look up phone numbers. During all the page flipping, it felt like I was a spy who was taking forever to find an important number.  

I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe I need one. I guess I’ll look under 'Pregnancy Test.' Okay, let's see. How about this larger typed name—Planned Parenthood. This sure wasn’t planned, but I guess I have to plan something. 

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That was the first one I noticed. After all, that's what the bold wording is supposed to do, right? Make you notice. Well, it worked. I was so nervous pressing those numbers.

Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ring.

Hmmm. No answer. Darn it. I'll try another one. Let's see.  Flipping backwards a bit through the phone book I went, Crisis Pregnancy Center. This sure is a crisis for me if I'm pregnant. I have to try this one. 

Ring, ring. Ring, ring.

Oh, please. Oh, please be open! PLEASE be op…

“Hello. Crisis Pregnancy Center. How can I help you?”

I can still picture that building and how I felt as I drove up. But more so, I can picture the look on my face once I learned what the pregnancy test result ‘Positive’ meant. I also learned what feeling numb felt like. After a short spell, the lady asked, “Is it okay if I ask you, now that this test shows you are pregnant, what you think you should do?”

I took a deep breath, feeling like I needed to be strong and not fall into a pit of despair.  

Tweet This: 30 years ago, she called @PPAct. No answer. That no-answer saved her daughter's life. #prolife

“Yes, you can. I…I think I should get an abortion. I can't be a bad example as a Christian. You may not understand what I mean by that, but I want to please God and be a good witness to others.” Deep down, escaping the embarrassment was a big reason as well.

Those next few minutes were priceless, as I learned the place I was in was a Christian organization. God used that one woman to open my eyes to a few facts I needed to know. Those facts?  God is my Father, He loves me, and He knew this baby that was forming inside me.

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I left that building fully at peace. Yes, I knew a tough road just might be ahead but knew God would be right there with me.

She could tell I was young and uninformed, so her showing me verse after verse of what God’s Word says about abortion was valuable. Learning how God knew this baby was forming in me, and that he or she was planned, changed my entire view on abortion. Watching a video showing what a five-week-old in the womb actually looked like had me in tears for even thinking of having an abortion. 

I know when I made that first phone call, the one to Planned Parenthood, it was in God’s hands; His perfect timing. That first call I made was not answered. If it was, I’m almost certain Planned Parenthood would have let my emotions take over and resort to abortion. God still hears my thanks to this day, 30 years later.

Even though those first few months played out like a soap opera, God had better plans. Shortly after my daughter, Cassie, was born, He put me in the arms of my wonderful husband of 28 years. Together, we’ve added three more children to our family.

Tweet This: "Things may not be picture-perfect, but God's plans are for our good." #prolife @7winnipoops7

Hard to believe, but all four are now moved out. What's harder to believe is that I’m now a grandma to four beautiful children, starting with Cassie and her husband’s 7-year-old daughter.

Things may not turn out picture-perfect, but God’s plans are always for our good. I have four children and four grandchildren who remind me of His goodness every day.

Marianne Petersen is a former volunteer at a local pregnancy help organization and is actively involved in her local pro-life community. She is also a member of Northwest Christian Writers Association and author of a forthcoming memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @7winnipoops7 and read more at her blog,

Marianne Petersen and her daughter, Cassie, in 1987.

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