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Abortion Industry Quitter of the Month: Paola Lazo

Paola’s maternal love and beauty radiate a tangible warmth as she shares her journey in and out of the abortion industry. The constancy of her own mother’s love throughout her life and career shaped Paola into a woman who cared enough for her own children to support them in the industry, and ultimately love them enough to leave it behind. 
Growing up, Paola had exposure to the church and the Christian faith through her mother.  
“I remember really enjoying church as a child,” Paola said. “I looked forward to it. As I became a teen, it felt forced.” 
At the age of thirteen, Paola stopped attending altogether and left everything she’d learned behind. She was going down a different path with different friends. 
“Church was just a reminder to me of what I shouldn’t have been doing at the time, so I didn’t want to go,” she says. 
As is often the case with many Christan families, abortion was never discussed at home. 
Eventually, Paola became a young mom herself. To support herself she started working as a medical assistant and obtained her license in phlebotomy. Despite her recently obtained degree, she had no success in finding a position.  
“I went to FPA (Family Planning Associates) Women’s Health for an exam, and I talked to the treatment coordinator,” she said. “They were so nice; they gave me a goodie bag. I asked about getting a job there. She said that they were looking for a lab tech.” 
At that time, Paola had no idea that they did abortions.  
When Paola came in for her formal interview, she was told that they perform abortions and was asked her opinion about that. 
“I just said that I thought everyone should have a choice,” Paola said. “When I got home and told my mom, she asked if I really wanted to do that. I told her that I just needed to get in somewhere. I needed to get my foot in the door.” 
At first, Paola was excited to finally find a position where she could work in the phlebotomy field. However, despite being hired to work in that role, she was quickly transitioned to other positions such as a Treatment Coordinator, which was more of a pre-abortion counselor.  
“I would openly share with the clients what a blessing my girls were to me and sometimes they changed their minds,” Paola said. “My supervisor asked me what I was telling the girls. I considered my supervisor a good friend. I was surprised that she was upset when patients left and made a different choice.” 
During this time, Paola started to transition back slowly but surely to her faith as a Christian. She would often play Christian music at her workstation. 
“Apparently some people were leaving without following through with their abortions, and I was told that I needed to think about what I was doing and saying,” Paola explained. 
Paola continued to work at the clinic and was later asked to help with ultrasounds. She thought that this was strange, since she was not licensed to be an ultrasound tech and she had no experience with that task, but the clinic administration and medical staff seemed to be completely unconcerned with that. 
“When I started doing it, all I could think was how beautiful the babies were. How sweet they were when I would see them on the screen,” Paola said. “I actually loved seeing those pictures.  
Paola continued to be exposed to so many situations that left her confused and questioning her choice to be employed at the clinic.  
“One client had 24 abortions,” Paola said. “I was always told not to judge, and I didn’t want to be a judgmental person, but that just upset me so much. I started confiding in my mom about how I was feeling. I didn’t want to work there anymore.” 
Paola’s stepfather said that he would have a conversation with their pastor, who was someone Paola and her family had a great deal of respect for. Paola was shocked when she was told that the pastor’s response was that as long as she was not directly involved in the abortion itself, there was nothing wrong with her being employed at an abortion clinic. 
“After hearing that, I continued to work there,” she said. “Little things would still frustrate me and nag at my conscience.” 
After confronting this pastor herself, Paola later realized that her stepfather had lied, not wanting her conscience to weigh on her, and that the conversation with the pastor had never even happened.  
Paola worked at two different affiliate locations that administered medication abortions only. There was a third location that performed surgical abortions.  
“One day my supervisor called me in and asked me if I would go work at the third building,” Paola said. “I knew I could not do that. I could not be the person piecing the baby parts back together. At least my supervisor, who I considered a friend, respected that. I never had to go to work at that clinic.” 
Over the years, And Then There Were None sent mailers to the clinic.  
“I remember getting a basket from And Then There Were None,” Paola said. “I asked what it was, and my coworkers told me that it was just something from crazy pro-life people. Some of the pro-lifers outside the clinic were always harassing us, calling us ‘baby killers’ and we were told to never talk to them. That made it easy to believe that And Then There Were None was no different.” 
One day, a peaceful sidewalk advocate handed Paola a flyer on her way out of the clinic. This was a crucial moment that paved Paola’s way out of the clinic. The flyer, with ATTWN’s original tagline, simply read, “No one grows up wanting to work in an abortion clinic. We can help.” 
“When I read that, something inside of me clicked,” Paola said. “I asked myself why I was working there. The words on that flyer stayed in the back of my mind for a long time.” 
There was a lab on another floor in the building where Paola worked. 
“One of the ladies was so kind and pleasant to me. I asked if they were hiring, and I put my resumé in.” 
As she continued to work at the clinic to provide for her family, a patient came in for an abortion that Paola will never forget. She was a middle-aged lady who already had six kids. 
“When we took her into the ultrasound room, they discovered that the woman was carrying triplets,” Paola said. “She just started sobbing. She kept saying that she did not want to kill her babies, but that she could not have nine children. I will never forget how mean and cold the ultrasound tech was to her. She said things like, ‘What were you expecting?’ and called her names. I came home that day ready to quit. It didn’t matter if I had another job lined up or not. Suddenly, everything added up.” 
Paola remembered that flyer that had been handed to her. That night, she called And Then There Were None.  
“They were so encouraging and gave me the motivation I needed,” she said. “She prayed with me, said they would help me with resumé writing, and help me find a job. She said that ATTWN would be there for me through every step of the process, including financial and other practical assistance. She explained that they have therapy tailored to those who have worked in the industry, and all the other resources.” 
Although Paola wanted to give two weeks’ notice due to the relationship she had with her coworkers and didn’t want a stain on her work reputation, she resigned immediately. 
“I received a check from ATTWN to cover the time I was not working,” she said. “Then I was so thrilled to hear from the lab offering me the job I applied for.” 
Paola was quick to put the abortion industry in her rearview mirror and move on from the entire experience. She did not maintain much contact with ATTWN for a while and just worked and spent time with her family. 
My ATTWN advocate continued to reach out and gently let me know that she was there to help,” she said. “She invited me to attend a retreat, but at that time, I just wasn’t feeling it. I finally did go.” 
At Paola’s first retreat, she had the feeling that she did not really belong there.  
“I felt like all the other girls had been through so much more than me. They had done so much more than me,” she said. “I told my advocate that these retreats were not for me because my involvement was not the same as what the others had experienced. She told me that the fact that I had not seen more was God’s protection.” 
After that first retreat, Paola scaled back on her interaction with ATTWN. Her advocate faithfully and gently continued to reach out to let her know that she was there if she ever needed to talk.  
“I knew she genuinely cared about me, and we had a great relationship.” 
It wasn’t until Paola’s mom was diagnosed with cancer that Paola turned to her advocate. 
“She recommended that I try counseling. I had never had counseling in my life,” Paola said. “No one in my family had ever had counseling. It is not something that is done in our culture. I was extremely resistant.” 
However, Paola was in crisis as she faced her mother’s serious illness. So, she decided to give ATTWN’s counselor a chance. 
“Much to my surprise, over the years, Amanda became my person.” 
Even when Paola faced a completely unplanned pregnancy that caused her to feel deep confusion and crisis, her client advocate and counselor were there for her. 
“Amanda was never judgmental,” Paola said. “She was so kind, helpful, and walked through that very difficult time with me.” 
“Amanda’s counseling sessions were the thing that kept me sane during that period. After the birth, I experienced postpartum depression and Amanda continued to be such an encouragement to me and offered me so much grace, even in my darkest times.” 
Without ATTWN, Paola feels that she would have been lacking the critical support she desperately needed after the birth of her daughter and through the next phases of her life. 
“I feel so peaceful when I am talking with Amanda or anyone from ATTWN,” Paola says. “It is like they know what I need without me saying it. I was struggling at Christmas and ATTWN supported me when I did not expect it but needed it the most. No one has ever done anything like that for me. I felt so supported and loved.” 
Paola has continued to be an involved and valued member of the “Quitter Tribe.” She has attended conferences and other retreats.  
Today, Paola works in a completely different field. She enjoys working a job that is flexible and allows her time to be there for her kids and meet their needs. While she hopes to volunteer at a pregnancy resource center in the future, Paola is content for now to work and mother her four beautiful daughters, ages 14, 13, 3, and 11 months. 
“They are such good girls,” Paola says. “Despite my struggles, they have been wonderful. They are honor roll students and through parenting them, I have grown so much.” 
One relationship that has been a blessing in Paola’s life is her bond with a woman named Yvonne. While Paola was drawing her blood one day, Paola noticed that she had a book about the infamous Gosnell clinic at her station. Paola asked about it and mentioned that she used to work at an abortion clinic. Yvonne said she was the one that handed Paola the ATTWN flyer that day…the same flyer that planted the seed which grew into the knowledge that she needed to get out of the abortion industry. 
“Yvonne was also there for me when my mom was sick,” Paola said. “She prayed for me. With her support along with ProLove Ministries, a complete registry was filled for my baby. Yvonne and I are just such good friends right now. It is a blessing.” 
If you are an abortion clinic worker who has considered calling ATTWN or are curious about other options you have, Paola urges you to take the first step and reach out.  
“You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” she said. “I can’t emphasize enough my gratitude for Abby and her team. Your advocate will be heaven-sent for you like they were for me. Sure, I was scared. I had no idea what would happen next. Participate in the retreats and become a part of the sisterhood. Do counseling with Amanda. She continues to have a positive impact on me. I look forward to our check-ins and weekly encouragement videos so much. You will not regret it. Contact ATTWN. No matter how long you have been there or how long you have been out. Just do it.”