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Before going to Planned Parenthood, I went to Support Circle

I have gone to Planned Parenthood since I was 17 years old and planned to go there for an abortion. But my college roommate suggested I go to Support Circle Clinics for a free pregnancy verification.

My boyfriend and I had met at a frat party in freshman year. We took our time getting to know each other and by our junior year, we were in a committed relationship. Early into our senior year, Matt broke up with me. I was devastated and lost. I started partying more to get through the stress of senior year and our breakup. I had rebound sex with guys I didn’t even know. It seemed manageable until my period didn’t show up.

Cassie, my roommate, bought me a home pregnancy test. Just as we feared, it was positive. I was devastated. It felt like I had made a bad situation worse.  I was pregnant and didn’t know who the father was! I had to have an abortion. Cassie told me she had an abortion in high school.  She said I would need a pregnancy verification before getting an abortion at Planned Parenthood. I scheduled the appointment but it would be two weeks before I could get in. Cassie said I should go to Support Circle first for the pregnancy verification because they do them for free and take walk-ins.

When the Support Circle nurse did the ultrasound, she dated my pregnancy further along than I had thought I was. Based on the pregnancy dating, it was my ex-boyfriend’s baby. I was more confused and unsure than ever. It felt like a no brainer to have an abortion when I didn’t know who the father was. But to not have Matt’s baby, even though we had broken up, just didn’t sit right with me. I am glad the patient advocate was there to talk to. She listened and helped me to process my thoughts and emotions. She was supportive as I came up with a new game plan and even gave me suggestions on how to facilitate the conversation with Matt.

Matt and I had a long conversation and we are taking a little time to decide what to do next. I’m glad I went to Support Circle Clinics first, before going to Planned Parenthood for an abortion. I really felt heard and supported at Support Circle.

Find a Support Circle clinic near you.


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I felt desperate to find an abortion clinic in Oakland

“When I realized I was pregnant, I was desperate to find an abortion clinic in Oakland. I felt trapped and that the only way out was to have an abortion as soon as possible.” This is what one of our recent patients said, whose real name and identity have been changed for her protection.

Oftentimes, women who are considering abortion are facing very difficult challenges. This is what our nurses and patient advocates are trained to do. Our professional staff come alongside women to help them process through these difficult challenges. Here are some of the life challenges that this young woman was facing when she came to Support Circle.

“My husband and I had been married for three years and had two-year-old twin daughters. The first pregnancy had been planned but the twins part was a shock. And, our younger daughter, Megan, having special needs, discovered shortly after the twins delivery was the hardest shock to adjust to. Megan requires a lot of time, energy and financial resources. Each week, she has multiple therapies in addition to dealing with her feeding tube and any appointments with specialists. It’s a lot to deal with. I feel like, next to Megan, I am the one most affected. But my husband couldn’t handle it and moved out of our family home shortly after we threw a first birthday party for our daughters.

At first, Keith refused to go to marriage counseling or family therapy. It seemed like our marriage was not going to survive. I started dating again. Then, to my surprise, Keith agreed to counseling and then moved back home. A few weeks later, I realized I was pregnant. I went to Support Circle to confirm the pregnancy and to find out how far along I was.

It was easy to get an appointment at Support Circle that fit my crazy schedule. I was a little anxious about having the ultrasound but the nurse was very professional and I felt relaxed. That is, until she told me how far along I was. It meant that Keith could not possibly be the father. I panicked. I told her I desperately wanted to save my marriage and I had to find an abortion clinic in Oakland immediately. The nurse explained my pregnancy options and the abortion process to me.

After the nurse, I met with a patient advocate at Support Circle who was able to help me calm down. She listened and didn’t judge me.  I was able to talk through my situation and felt like I had a better handle on things by the time I left.

When I found out I was pregnant with a child that was not my husband’s, I was desperate to find an abortion clinic in Oakland. I’m thankful for the calm, non-judgmental care I received from Support Circle during that difficult time in my life.”

If you find yourself in a similarly difficult situation, Support Circle is a safe place for you.

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Abortion Clinic Oakland

I was sitting in an abortion clinic in Oakland, CA, wondering how my life had taken this turn. There was a couple in the waiting room, holding hands tightly but not talking. I wished by boyfriend could be here with me but I hadn’t even told him I was pregnant.

The staff at the clinic was professional and explained my abortion options. At seven weeks pregnant, I could choose the abortion pill or to have a surgical abortion. It felt like they thought the abortion pill was my best option. I had heard of the abortion pill from a friend but didn’t know very much about it. I decided to go home and think about it.

When I got home, I read the material they gave me and searched the internet for the differences between the abortion pill and a surgical abortion. I asked a couple of friends that had been to the abortion clinic in Oakland about their experiences. What stood out for me was that one friend said she didn’t realize how emotional taking the abortion pill abortion would be. And, she said it was not just like going into the abortion clinic and getting a pill, and that’s all. It was a much longer process.

The way they were talking about it at the abortion clinic, it felt like it was just going to be like taking a Tylenol. But once I started reading actual stories online from women who used the abortion pill, I realized it is way more involved than that. These women were saying how it was horrible and they thought they were going to die. They had nausea and vomiting and bad cramping and they bled for weeks. I got scared reading about the abortion pill. It seems like a long and involved process. I wondered why women would even choose the abortion pill. I was more confused after reading about the differences between the abortion pill and the surgical abortion.

During my search for information, I learned about Support Circle. On their website, they shared accurate and easy to understand information.  I felt comfortable going to them to ask questions. When I went to Support Circle, they were friendly and helpful. I felt immediately at ease. It was easy to talk and share my thoughts and concerns, like I would with a best friend. For the first time since discovering my pregnancy, it felt like I could breathe and I felt like there was hope. If you are pregnant and considering an abortion, I would recommend going to Support Circle before going to an abortion clinic in Oakland.

Abortion Near Me

I am a middle-aged mom so I was very confused when I opened my computer to find a search for “abortion near me” in my browser history.  Then it dawned on me. My daughter’s cell phone had died and she borrowed my computer. She must have forgotten to close the browser tab. Was Ariana pregnant and looking for an abortion?

Ariana was wrapping up her sophomore year at college and about to start an internship at the firm where my brother worked. Not exactly the best timing. And, she was an adult. Even though she did the search on my computer, I wasn’t sure if I should say something to her about it. I didn’t want her to think I was snooping or judging her. I hoped she would come to me on her own. When I looked at the search results, I saw Support Circle on the list. I remembered talking to them at a local health fair a few weeks before.

Within a few days, Ariana shared that she had taken a pregnancy test and it had been positive. She asked what she should do. I don’t want Ariana to have an abortion but I know I have to let her make this decision on her own. Instead, I hugged Ariana and told her I loved her and would support whatever decision she made but I couldn’t make this decision for her. We had a raw, honest conversation. I was honest and told her that when I had opened my browser, I saw her “abortion clinic near me” search. I then shared about my abortion as a teenager and how I had wished I had known about Support Circle back then. I gave her the contact information for Support Circle and offered to go with her if she wanted me to. I wanted to be supportive of my daughter without being intrusive. She did make an appointment with Support Circle and decided to go with her best friend.

When she returned home, Ariana shared that the nurse at Support Circle gave her a pregnancy test and an ultrasound to date her pregnancy. Turns out, regardless of Ariana’s decision, she will need the pregnancy verification they gave her to obtain any services or procedures. She said the patient advocate really listened and gave her the time and space to talk and to think. When I told Ariana that she seemed more at peace, she said she feels hopeful for the first time in weeks.

Ariana is in the process of weighing her options. I don’t know what she will end up deciding but I’m glad Support Circle is here for Ariana. Finding the “abortion near me” search on my computer was not the end of the world but rather, it was the beginning of a conversation between Ariana and me. And, I’m really glad the staff at Support Circle are coming alongside Ariana to help her as she decides.

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Pregnant? Considering your options?

Pregnant? Considering abortion? Considering your pregnancy options?

Need someone to talk to? We can help.

Oakland: 510-891-9998

San Francisco: 415-627-9175

Redwood City: 650-261-9115

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How Do I Tell My Boss I Am Pregnant?

Pregnancy can be a wonderful time of hope and excitement while awaiting your newest family member. It can also be a time of uncertainty, especially where your employment is concerned. Some employers have positive attitudes and policies regarding maternity leave and parenting, while other employers have a less than welcoming approach. The good news is that there are laws to protect pregnant women and most employers fall somewhere in the middle of the extremes.

Often, telling our boss that we are pregnant can be the biggest stress hurdle. Here are some helpful tips to help you tell your employer that you are pregnant:

1. Know your rights. Read your company’s policy on maternity leave and parental leave and familiarize yourself with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and state laws regarding maternity leave. The U.S. does not have paid maternity leave laws. California is one of only four states that have paid maternity leave laws in addition to FMLA. It might tip your hand to ask HR for the company’s maternity leave policies. You should be able to access company policies in your initial employment paperwork, by requesting a copy of the employee handbook/policy manual from HR, or it may be in an employee online portal.

2. When to tell. Many women wait until they are into the second trimester (four to six months) before telling an employer of their pregnancy. Often, this is when women begin to “show” but it is also considered a “safe” time since most miscarriages occur in the first trimester (three months) of a pregnancy. Some women have such severe morning sickness that they may need to share the news with their employer early in their pregnancy as it could become a medical issue impacting their performance.

Consider timing your announcement until after an upcoming performance review, project deadline or deal. Telling your supervisor before a pending company reorganization could be mutually beneficial if you don’t plan on returning after the baby is born. It could be a good time to part ways and possibly leave with a severance package or unemployment benefits instead of just quitting after the baby is born. Conversely, if you plan to return after the baby is born, you might consider holding off on sharing your pregnancy news. Employers are not legally permitted to fire you for being pregnant but they can let you go under the guise of the reorganization.

3. Who to tell. Often, co-workers are close friends so women are most likely share their pregnancy news with them first – or with social media. However, it would be best to share your pregnancy news with your direct supervisor or human resources first. Which leads us to best practices on how to tell your employer you are pregnant.

4. How to tell. Face-to-face is the best way to tell your employer. This enables you to gauge her reaction and give you an insight into how she and/or the company may feel about pregnant employees, maternity leave, and accommodating working parents. If you are concerned about your direct supervisor’s reaction, consider sharing the news with HR first or requesting a meeting with HR, you and your supervisor.

5. What to say. The initial announcement should be brief to share that you are pregnant and the baby’s due date. Don’t overshare about the details – save those for your personal friends over lunch or dinner. You may want to assure your employer that you have given this much thought but all of the logistics (like this maternity leave plan) can be worked out in the coming months. Don’t lock yourself into any promises or commitments early on (i.e. Do not say: “I plan to work right up until my due date,” or, “I will only need six weeks off.”) because you won’t know details until you and your doctor discuss your medical needs in the coming months.

6. Email Follow Up. It’s always good to have an electronic record of the date and nature of your conversation. The face-to-face should be followed up with a simple email the same day: “Susan, Thanks for your time today so I could share my pregnancy announcement with you. The baby’s due date is… I look forward to working out the logistics for my leave in the coming months.”

With a little advance planning, telling your boss that you are pregnant can be a simple and positive experience. If you are pregnant and unsure of your pregnancy decision, the client advocates at Support Circle can listen and help you make a decision that is in line with your values. We can also help prepare for your conversation with your employer by helping you to talk it through and role play.

To schedule an appointment at one of our three Bay Area clinics, call 888-252-1822 or visit: supportcircle.org/today.


Helpful Links
Overcoming Anxiety

Professional Counseling

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Reference Links
Dept. of Labor. Federal Law on Maternity Leave

California Legislature. California Law on Paid Maternity Leave 

Fairy God Boss. How to Create a Maternity Leave Plan


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Common Misconceptions About Unplanned Pregnancies

Common Misconceptions About Unplanned Pregnancies

We asked our patient advocate team to share some of the most common misconceptions about unplanned pregnancies they encounter when meeting with women in our three Bay Area pregnancy clinics.  We are sharing these so that you also can be educated about these common misconceptions about unplanned pregnancies.

Misconception 1:  There are no good options

A common statement women make is: “There aren’t any good options.” Women often feel that the only options are to parent completely on their own or to abort. It is very common to feel this way, especially right after discovering you are unexpectedly pregnant. Oftentimes, women say there aren’t any good options because they are thinking of their current situation as it is right now and can’t see the solution. But if they were to sit down with a patient advocate to weigh their options and identify the supportive people in their lives, it changes the equation. People that were not in the picture might come in and be helpful. People that could be helpful with work or schooling can be brought in and make the situation better. There are many community resources that women are often not aware of that they can greatly benefit from. Many times, our clients have commented that exploring options was good because there were many avenues they did not know existed.

Misconception 2:  It is irresponsible to have an unintended pregnancy

Half of all pregnancies in America are unplanned. With great diversity to the backgrounds and circumstances of each pregnancy, it is a false stereotype to categorically say it’s irresponsible to have an unintended pregnancy. But what is irresponsible is, now that you are pregnant, to make a rash decision without evaluating the short and long-term consequences of your options. The caring staff at Support Circle is dedicated to helping our clients be well-informed about their pregnancy decision. We encourage you to take time to evaluate your core values and the repercussions of your pregnancy decision, whichever decision you end up making.

Misconception 3:  The Morning After Pill can be taken at any time during the cycle

The “Morning After Pill” is a common name for emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) designed to be taken within hours of unprotected sex — the sooner the better — because it works by preventing ovulation. The longer you wait, the greater the chance of ovulating. ECPs work to prevent ovulation before it occurs so if you have unprotected sex after ovulation (usually days 10–14 of your cycle), ECPs may not stop a pregnancy. Emergency contraception should not be used as a regular birth control method to prevent pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex in the days after ovulation, there is a risk of becoming pregnant. You can find out if you are pregnant by taking a free, lab-quality pregnancy test at one of our three Bay Area medical clinics. The pregnancy tests administered by Support Circle nurses are more than 99% accurate and are able to detect a pregnancy as early as 10 days after conception.

At Support Circle, we often encounter common misconceptions about unplanned pregnancies.  Our professional nurses and patient advocates are dedicated to providing time, space and support to women in unintended pregnancies. Our clients love our relational approach built on respect, trust and confidentiality. Thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, we are able to offer our services free of charge.



Pregnancy Options

Morning After Pill

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What are the top fears of men facing an unintended pregnancy?

What are the top fears of men facing an unintended pregnancy?

What does society know about men facing unintended pregnancies? Honestly, not much. The majority of the attention is focused on the woman and her decision. At Support Circle, we know that men have fears and concerns too. We know that men need a safe, civil place where they can address their most pressing concerns when faced with an unintended pregnancy. 

What are His fears?
A Public Opinion Strategies survey of men ages 18 – 30 was conducted in six major metropolitan cities in 2014. The men were asked to think about their most immediate concerns when faced with an unintended pregnancy and to describe their biggest concern. These were their biggest concerns:

  • Ability to financially support a child
  • Life will change too much
  • Relationship status- i.e. is there a future with the mother of the baby
  • How this will impact work and career
  • Ability to emotionally support a child
  • Emotions and stresses
  • What girlfriend/partner/wife will think
  • What parents and family will think
  • How this will impact school or education

Where do men go to discuss their fears? Who gives men the time, space and support he needs to address his biggest concerns? In the same survey, over two-thirds of men said that they would “definitely go to to counseling” or they would actively seek counseling on their own even if their partner was unwilling! Our firsthand experience at Support Circle has proven this to be true. Last year over 70% of the men were actively involved in counseling with our clients.

Support Circle is a safe, civil place where a woman and a man can address their most pressing needs, fears and concerns. It is a place they can both come and have a professional counselor facilitate a discussion so they can both really hear each other. She Matters. And so does He.


For Men

She Matters. And So Does HE

She Matters. Not Just Her Decision


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She Matters. And So Does HE.

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Posed by model

She Matters. And So Does He.
At Support Circle, She Matters. And so does He. Support Circle offers tangible help by providing medical and counseling services where women can come to address their most pressing needs and fears when facing an unplanned pregnancy. We offer this to each woman because we believe She Matters. And so does He. Recent research by Public Opinion Strategies showed that for women unsure about their unplanned pregnancy, the number one concern/factor in their decision is the relationship with the father of the baby. The research also showed that most men would like to be involved with their partner in the decision-making process.

Support Circle recognizes that men need support as well in this situation and provides the following services for men:

  • Addressing financial questions and concerns in an individual counseling setting
  • Insurance assistance and enrollment
  • Answers to medical questions related to the pregnancy
  • Discussion facilitation – Sometimes conversations can be difficult with sensitive issues like an unintended pregnancy. Having a qualified third party facilitate discussion between the woman and the man is extremely helpful. Our professional counselors specialize in facilitating discussions with couples who are “unsure” of their pregnancy decision. All sessions are confidential and free.
  • Individual counseling – Enables the man to sort out his own thoughts and plans in complete confidentiality with a professional counselor.
  • Relationship counseling
  • Co-parenting counseling

Support Circle is a safe, civil place where a woman and a man can address their most pressing needs. It is a place they can both come and have a professional counselor facilitate a discussion so they can both really hear each other. She Matters. And so does He.


Services for Men at Support Circle

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She Matters, not just her decision

Posed by model

Posed by model

She Matters

Not just her decision

At Support Circle, She Matters, not just her decision. From the moment she contacts Support Circle, we want her to know that She Matters. That is why we offer her multiple ways to contact us on her terms. She can search our website, chat with a nurse or schedule an appointment to meet our medical and counseling professionals.

We offer her a non-pressured environment that provides enough flexibility to address her specific needs. Her well-being is the priority during her appointments at Support Circle. Our friendly and professional staff at Support Circle’s three licensed Bay Area medical clinics provide her with a genuine opportunity to receive critical medical information and process her thoughts and feelings. And our counseling staff provides long-term, relational support for the coming year. Why? Because She Matters, not just her decision.

We offer her tangible help by providing a safe, civil place where she can come to address her most pressing needs and fears when facing an unplanned pregnancy. A place where people are not jumping all over her, demanding that she make one decision or another. But rather, a place that gives her deference so she can sort out her own thoughts and feelings to make a well-informed choice that she can own. A place where She Matters. Your financial support helps Support Circle provide a safe, civil place for her, where She Matters, not just her decision.


She Matters and So Does He

What are the top fears of men facing an unintended pregnancy?

A safe, civil place in the midst of fear

What to Expect at Support Circle

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