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In this issue
God uses pregnancy to transform a drug addict's life
Sanctity of Human Life Vigil to be held Sunday, January 28
New nationwide Voice for Life ministry project:
Spreading the news about babies saved from the abortion holocaust
Fifth Annual Mexican Dinner and Auction
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December 2000

God uses pregnancy to transform a drug addict's life

In a few weeks, "Trina," 32, will give birth to her sixth baby. Trina almost aborted the baby in June, when she was an inmate in a Kern County jail.

"I'm having a clean and sober baby, which hasn't always been the case. I used [drugs] during a couple of my pregnancies," Trina admitted this week, "I'm not proud of that fact."

God has used Trina's pregnancy and incarceration to help her overcome a lifelong struggle with drug addiction. "The first time I tried any drugs, I was about 13 years old," Trina said. "An older friend gave me acid. When I was 15, she got me started on cocaine."

"I married Michael when I was 17, and Michael and I dabbled a little with drinking and drugs. I had my first baby when I was 17," Trina explained. She started using "crank" when she was 18.

By the time Trina was 21, she was pregnant with her second child, using drugs throughout the pregnancy.

As a mother of two small children, Trina began to realize that her drug habit was harming her family. She and her husband began regularly attending the small church Trina had gone to on and off throughout her life. For several years, Trina was completely drug-free.

She fervently prayed that God would help her father to escape the trap of drug addiction, as she had. "One day, my Dad's girlfriend told me that he was sick. I wanted to go see him, but my husband didn't let me," Trina recalled.

"At three o'clock the next morning, my uncle came banging on my door, telling me that my Dad was dead," Trina said. He died from a drug overdose. "'If you would have let me go, my Dad might not be dead,' I told my husband."

Trina reacted to the death of her father by resenting her husband, and becoming angry with God. Soon, she was divorced, and using crank again. "What I went through with crank is my version of hell," Trina said.

Within a few months, Trina was arrested for using drugs, and ordered to go into a drug diversion program. Trina ignored the judge's order. "I blew it off because I wanted to get high," Trina admitted. A warrant for her arrest was issued.


"Mentally, I don't think I could have handled going through an abortion. My babies have given me more of a reason now to stay sober."

Trina became pregnant again, and gave birth to another child almost two years ago. Her baby's father was eventually incarcerated for his drug use. Earlier this year, with her baby's father in jail, Trina became pregnant again, from another man. "He was just a party pal, a tweaker buddy; I wasn't supposed to get pregnant. I still wanted to be with my baby's Dad, but unfortunately stuff happens a lot of times when you do drugs or alcohol you wind up having sex."

One Friday morning in May, Trina noticed the "Free Pregnancy Test" banner outside the LifeHouse pregnancy help center in downtown Bakersfield.

The LifeHouse isn't usually open on Fridays, but a phone has been installed outside the front door, so that even if a woman comes when the LifeHouse is closed, she can still talk to someone from LifeSavers Ministries about her situation.

Terri Palmquist answered the phone when Trina called, and told Trina that she would be coming to the LifeHouse soon. After waiting several minutes, Trina became impatient, and decided to see if she could get a pregnancy test across the street at "Family Planning Associates."

"They were very rude," Trina said, so she came back to the LifeHouse and waited for Terri to arrive.

After seeing the results of the pregnancy test, Trina didn't consider aborting her baby, but she knew that she would need to get off of drugs. Terri gave her a Bible. "You helped me dust myself off, and realize that somebody's here to help me," Trina said.

Trina began to slowly wean herself off of drugs. "I went from $70 a day to $5 a day," she said. "I felt that it would be more traumatic to quit all at once." But within a few weeks, she was arrested on the old warrant.

When she was brought to Bakersfield's downtown jail, Trina asked a guard if she could have a Bible, and told the guard she was pregnant. "They had a doctor come talk to me," Trina explained. "He didn't examine me, listen to the heartbeat, give me a prenatal, or anything; he just verified that I was pregnant, asked how far along I was, and said I had such-and-such amount of time to decide whether I want an abortion." (Abortions for Kern County inmates are paid for by County tax dollars.)

"All these emotions that I wasn't feeling when I was high started coming and hitting me all at once," Trina said. Her mind filled with fear, as she thought, "I'm gonna be alone when I have my baby; nobody's going to be there for me, I've burnt all my bridges."

"I was at my lowest point," Trina confessed. She agreed to the abortion, but she still wasn't sure that was really what she wanted.

"I had no prenatal care after I decided to have the abortion. It was their suggestion to do it, they put it in my head at a vulnerable state and time, when I was coming off the drugs, missing my baby, and knowing I hadn't been a responsible parent before," Trina said.

"While I was sitting in that cell, bawling my eyes out, an older lady took the time to sit down and talk to me. She knew alot about the Bible. I started opening up to her, saying that I needed help getting back to the relationship I once had with God. This lady wound up praying with me."

Trina told the woman that she was scheduled for an abortion. "She told me how wrong it was, and told me to pray about it and search my heart for what God was trying to tell me."

"I cried every day I was in there. I didn't get any peace until I started borrowing her Bible. I read about love--for the first time in my life I was comprehending what I was reading! This time it just came so easy to me," Trina said.

On the day of her abortion appointment, she was handcuffed and brought to the "Family Planning Associates" abortion chamber in a Sheriff's car. The Sheriff's deputy told Trina "I've brought a lot of girls here."

Standing on the sidewalk as Trina was being led up the stairs to the waiting room, Terri knew that Trina looked familiar, but didn't immediately recognize her. Even though communicating with prisoners can be considered a crime, Terri called out to Trina. "She told me that God would love me even if I did it, but that I should save my baby, and she said she would accept my call from jail," Trina said. "When I saw Terri, I knew I couldn't do it."

Inside the abortion chamber, Trina asked for literature about abortion. "I wanted to see what this was going to do to me. They didn't have any counseling."

Trina had a pelvic exam and an ultrasound. "I'm thinking, 'I can't be doing this,'" Trina said. "I'm scared to back out because I know I'm going to go back to jail, and they'll think I just used this as an excuse to get out."

"During the ultrasound, I saw the baby. I saw the heartbeat, and I asked him can you tell if it's a boy or a girl?' He said we don't do that here.' I had already made up my mind that I wasn't going to do it at that point." Trina was told that she was too far along for a one-day abortion, and that she would have to come back in the following week for a two-day procedure.

When Trina was brought back down the stairs from the abortion chamber, Terri was across the street at the LifeHouse helping with a pregnancy test. Trina saw Carlotta Fondren (a LifeSavers team member) on the sidewalk, and mouthed "tell her I didn't do it." As the deputy left, he told Carlotta, "I guess it worked!"

"I felt so relieved. I thought "oh my God, I almost killed my baby!" Trina exclaimed.

"I made the right decision. I saw the heartbeat, it was a living thing, it wasn't just tissue. I was fortunate I didn't have to go through what a lot of women go through that don't snap out of it before it's too late."

The next day, Trina placed a collect call to LifeSavers Ministries from the jail. Terri received the call while she was driving to Utah to be with her dying mother. Trina thanked Terri for being outside the abortion chamber and offering to help her.

A few days later, Trina was transferred to Kern County's Lerdo Detention Facility. She again requested a Bible (because her previous request for a Bible had never been fulfilled). She finally received a Bible just a few days before her release. In spite of the delay, Trina was thankful that she eventually received the Bible. "There were girls in there asking for Bibles left & right, they weren't getting them," Trina remembered.

Trina called LifeSavers Ministries several times over the following days, sometimes because she was hurting and needed someone to pray for her, and sometimes because she was trying to persuade other pregnant inmates not to abort their babies.

One woman was five or six months pregnant, and was having a three-day abortion procedure. Sadly, she went through with it. But two other inmates decided not to abort their babies after Trina told them what happened to her.

After 32 days in jail, Trina appeared before a judge. She was hoping to be allowed to undergo drug testing instead of serving the remainder of her sentence, but her probation officer was not sympathetic ("he wanted me to go back to jail," Trina said).

"I prayed while I was in court that God would put a soft spot in the judge's heart for me, and He did. The judge said she believed I needed a second chance."

In order to be released, Trina needed someone to sponsor her first month of drug testing. (LifeSavers Ministries had been having problems just making the monthly LifeHouse payments, so no extra LSM funds were available.) Tim Palmquist called the church Trina had attended, but the pastor's wife said they couldn't help. So Tim called the church Trina hoped to attend (where her baby's grandparents attend), and the pastor agreed to sponsor Trina.

Regrettably, after only one test, the pastor reneged on his promise, so with only a few hours notice before Trina needed to be tested again, Tim looked for another sponsor. First Baptist Church of Greenacres agreed to meet the need.

"At this point I have nothing but clean tests, and good reports from my counseling," Trina said this week. She attends two "twelve-step" recovery programs, and even goes to extra meetings.

"I knew what I had to do in order to get right. You have to have a relationship with God in order to break yourself from something like addiction. If you give God His time, He'll give you yours," Trina explained.

"Mentally, I don't think I could have handled going through an abortion. My babies have given me more of a reason now to stay sober. I'm learning how to deal with my 2-year old, I'm dealing with life on life's terms."

Trina feels especially grateful to God for the help she received from LifeSavers Ministries and First Baptist Church of Greenacres. "You guys were my hand up. You talked to me when I needed to talk, you prayed with me when I was in jail and I needed someone to pray with. You guys were a blessing and God put you in my path for that reason. Nobody else (friends or family) was there for me," Trina said.

"If it wasn't for you guys sticking your neck out, I probably wouldn't still be clean; I wouldn't be having a sober and clean baby; I probably wouldn't still be alive."

(Further background on "Trina's" experiences can be found in the LifeSavers Weekly Ministry Focus, issues 26, 27, and 28.

"Trina" is scheduled to be at the upcoming Mexican Dinner, along with other women who have been ministered to by LifeSavers Ministries. Click here for details.


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