Holly Patterson Story



Beautiful child born to earth,
With golden hair at time of birth.
Eyes that smile for setting free,
All life has inside of she.

Frolic till her hearts delight,
On every soul in full daylight.
Oh, mother, father beat with joy,
Not knowing life's distant ploy.

Child brew inside of thee,
For only now was known to she.
A choice to make at time of strife,
Not knowing it would take her life.

Fear not, for she is ash to earth,
With baby child from time of birth.
An angel who guides those below,
With all life's mysteries and foe.

Linda S. Schoeffner
Copyright ©2004 Linda S. Schoeffner


I first heard of the mifepristone abortion pill, on September 17, 2003, the worst day of my life. A call came, earlier that morning, while I was at work.

A nurse told me my 18-year-old daughter, Holly, was in the hospital and in very serious condition. I asked “What was wrong?” She said, “Mr. Patterson, we’ll explain when you get here, be careful, come as quickly as you can.”

I sped to the hospital which was near the San Francisco suburb of Livermore, where Holly and I lived. Once there, I found her in the intensive care unit, barely conscious, too weak to talk, pale complexion, puffy faced, and struggling to breathe.

"It absolutely made no sense. Holly, a beautiful, blue-eyed blonde, was a fitness buff in perfect health."

As I looked into her confused and scared eyes, I called out and asked her if she could hear me. Whatever it is Holly you’re going to make it. I know you’re strong. Honey, squeeze my hand and let me know you understand.”

Trying to focus, Holly could barely squeeze my hand. I felt so utterly helpless.

While standing at her beside, the doctor came in and briskly explained, “We are doing everything we can for her, but she might not make it. These things sometimes happen as a result of the pill.”

I was completely baffled. “What, the birth control pill?” I asked. “No, the abortion pill,” the doctor replied.

Shocked, I asked him, “What are you talking about? What abortion pill?”

“Oh,” the doctor said awkwardly, “No one’s told you?” I stared at the doctor,

“No, I don’t know anything, no one has told me anything!”

Holly was pregnant? Abortion?

The doctor now realized that I was completely in the dark. He briefly explained Holly had undergone an “early medical pregnancy termination” with the two-drug regimen mifepristone (commonly known as The Abortion Pill, RU-486) and misoprostol.

The doctor said, Holly was suffering from an incomplete abortion and a massive infection. Her vital organs were starting to shut down and her lungs were filling with fluid.

“Septic shock,” is what I was told.

Moments later the crisis had deepened. Holly’s condition was deteriorating rapidly; the doctor called for a ventilator, her blood pressure was dropping. The monitors around Holly started beeping in alarm.

I heard the panicked words "code blue!" and was ushered from the room into the hallway. Staffers, nurses, and doctors raced down the hall and into the room.

I remember our family crying and calling out "Don't give up! We love you, Holly!"

Not being able to take it any longer, I stormed back into the room and threw back the curtain.

“I will carry that image in my mind for the rest of my life.” The hospital staff was working frantically to save Holly’s fragile life.

Someone was pumping on her chest trying to resuscitate her, drugs were being administered, and the monitors were sounding in alarm.

"Holly had flatlined. Everyone looked at me in disbelief and sorrow. Holly died just before 2 p.m."


In August 2003, Holly Patterson, then 17, discovered she had become pregnant with her boyfriend, seven years her senior.

On September 10, shortly after her 18th birthday, the couple went to a Planned Parenthood clinic to terminate her seven-week-old pregnancy. There, she received the first of two drugs in the mifepristone abortion protocol.

At the clinic, Holly was administered an alternative/unapproved regimen of 200-mg mifepristone orally which blocks the hormone progesterone that is required to maintain a pregnancy. At home, 24 hours later, on September 11, she followed the clinics instructions to vaginally insert 800-mcg of misoprostol to induce labor contractions and expel the fetus.

On September 13, Holly repeatedly called the Planned Parenthood clinic hotline to complain of severe cramping. She was told her symptoms were normal and to take the clinic prescribed Tylenol-Codeine painkiller. Later, Holly called the clinic's hotline again and was told to go to a local hospital’s emergency room if the pain continued.

By September 14, Holly was still experiencing extreme cramping and bleeding, and visited the emergency room of Valley Care Medical Center in Pleasanton on the fourth day after her initial visit to Planned Parenthood. The doctor there, whom she told about her abortion, sent her home after an injection of narcotics and yet more painkillers.

The severity of the pain continued. Holly was weak, vomiting, and unable to walk.

In the early morning hours of September 17, she was re-admitted to Valley Care Medical Center. She died later that afternoon with her father — who had just learned of the pregnancy — at her side.

"Holly died on the seventh day after starting the mifepristone/misoprostol medical abortion regimen and on the same day she was scheduled to return to Planned Parenthood for a follow up visit to make sure her abortion had been completed."


In October 31, 2003, the Alameda, California coroner’s office issued a report concluding that Holly Patterson died from Septic Shock, due to endomyometritis (uterus related blood infection),due to a therapeutic, drug induced abortion.

Months after her death, in 2004, it was discovered that Holly had tested positive for Clostridium sordellii toxic shock syndrome following medical abortion. (See BOXED WARNINGS)

Holly’s death was the first case of  a Clostridium sordellii toxic shock infection after medical abortion reported in the United States.

Since 2001, there have been 12 reported deaths from sepsis (serious infection involving the blood) and 9 of these were from Clostridium sordellii.


Everything that could go wrong went wrong.

A young, healthy, and unmarried woman decides not to discuss her untimely unplanned pregnancy with her parents. At 18 years old, Holly had her whole life ahead of her. The decision to terminate an early pregnancy by medical abortion was a fatal choice.

After Holly’s funeral, I learned that she had relied on information from the internet in addition to the advice she had received from her abortion provider (Planned Parenthood) about the risks of medical abortion.

Holly must have been convinced that she would not be at risk of health complications or death.

"Medical abortion is promoted as safe and effective. The information she was able to obtain about medical abortion cost Holly her life."

Holly was an intelligent young woman. She could have made a better choice if she had accurate facts about the mifepristone abortion pill to terminate pregnancy.

Holly’s death left us all in shock. We didn’t know what to think except something was terribly wrong.

I was going to find out what happened and do something about it.


Trips to Washington D.C., meeting with officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the White House, countless interviews with the media, spending thousands of hours researching medical abortion and Clostridium sordellii toxic shock syndrome, much as been learned about what really happened to Holly as well as other women who have been seriously injured or have died.

Holly felt it was important to help other people in life. In her death, much has been learned from Holly’s and other women’s medical abortion experience and it deserves to be shared.

Holly used the internet as source of information to help make a decision about her medical abortion. She did not have all the information she needed to make an informed choice.  If Holly had survived her experience, she may have built a website as a voice to be heard.

“No woman should risk her life or her health because she lacks factual and accurate medical abortion information to make a well-informed decision when terminating an early pregnancy with Mifepristone and Misoprostol."

The website, Abortionpillrisks.org – Just the Facts, is a way for women and families to learn about the risks of medical abortion and to be able to share their experiences and stories with others.


Monty L. Patterson


Page Last Updated: 9/18/2012

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Tahlia Carcarello October 21, 2011

Just a note to say that we are thinking of you Monty, and grateful for your courage…all the way from Australia!  Our federal government removed a ban on RU486 in early 2006, I was one of many who made appointments with politicians taking a 'conscience' vote on the matter and tried to use Holly's memory for good.  Unfortunately the vote was, just, in favour of removing the ban but I know Holly's story affected many of those I shared it with.  I am so sorry for your loss, and hope that you are comforted by the knowledge that your story is affecting people on this side of the world.


Anonymous October 24, 2011

Thank you for sharing your story. I am 35 yrs old and just found out that I am pregnant. My husband had a vasectomy 3 yrs ago so we really were not interested in having another child. I signed onto the internet to research the abortion pill when I noticed an e-mail about abortion in my mailbox. In that e-mail was a link to your site. After looking at your site and reading Holly's Story, my husband and I have agreed to keep our child. We are happy and at peace with our decision. God works in such mysterious ways.
May your beautiful daughter Holly and her child rest in the arms of God. My husband and I are forever grateful to you.


Michael pattison December 6, 2011

Dear Mr. Patterson:
  I just read the SFGATE story.  I am very very sorry for you loss. It is tragic, and I know my words can't help, but I had to say something.


Barry Mckinney December 6, 2011

I am very sorry about Holly.
Her story will change the world. I will pass this on to every young woman and man I know.
Thank You


charlotte December 6, 2011

Dear Monty,
Sorry for your loss, I had a horrible experience with a medical abortion which resulted in extreme blood loss for 3 months, 5 blood transfusions and an emergency surgical abortion. There must be more research and more information about this, when my situation turned into an anti-abortion advertisement no one would hold themselves accountable. I hope your daughter rests in peace xx


Lil December 7, 2011

Monty – I was so sad to read of your daughter's senseless death.  You are so right, it is ALL about the education & you are doing a wonderful thing in the aftermath of a horrible tragedy.  I want to thank you for not making this about abortion itself, I too think it is a personal choice.  Please ignore the utterly insensitive & cruel comments you are sure to receive and press on the path you have choosen.  If even one woman reads this & becomes aware enough to know that there are serious risks, you have done well.  Thank you & I am so sorry for your loss.


Nektarios' Mom December 8, 2011

Our daughter is turning 18 this month.  Aside from the blue eyes and blonde hair, our daughters are similar.  I read your story and cried so hard.  I am so sorry for your experience and the great loss in your life.  I wish peace to Holly and her baby.  I wish I had an ounce of the courage and strength you seem to have working on educating all of us.  Education and knowledge is SO key to any decision and we need the medical professionals and organizations in this world to be more complete and upfront with patients.  I have lost my husband and our son, in both cases had I had more clear facts and knowledge both could have been saved.  God bless you and your family and thank you sooo much for being sooo strong.


Bonnie Gatewood January 23, 2012

Dear Monty,
Thank you for telling Holly's story to the world because she represents all of us who have experienced the dark side of abortion.
We will always keep her memory alive.
Love, Bonnie Gatewood


chelsea November 8, 2012

I am so sorry for your loss, but I thank you for the information you provided me. I am 16 years old, 6 weeks pregnant, and my parents don't know. The dad wants nothing to do with the baby, and claims it is not his. Had I not read this I would have most likely taken the abortion pill, but now I feel as though I should consult my doctor, and my parents before making this decision.

Thank You!


Linda S. February 4, 2013

Great website.  Holly would be proud!


Karla September 2, 2013

I am so deeply sorry .


Elizabeth Senderewich December 4, 2013

Dear Mr Patterson,

Thankyou for being brave enough to share the loss of your lovely daughter as a result of a complication of a chemical abortion. This information will save many lives as many young women will change their minds about having a procedure that may very well cause their own demise.

Elizabeth Senderewich


Mandy January 8, 2015

We will never forget the beautiful, sweet Holly! I find it admirably great you shared her story and stood up for what should rightfully be known. Warm wishes and hugs to you and your family through the years as well as her other friends.


Scared and confused August 5, 2015

I was referred to plan parenthood by my obgyn. I have extreme health problems and was in formed the “safest” way to do a “medical miscarriage” (they use this term so women like me who want to keep their babies but know it would kill them don’t feel bad about aborting) is by using the abortion pill. I have heavy periods, I have a history of endometriosis. Now I’m scared. I’m doing this so I don’t die now it sounds like no matter what I do, I’m gonna die. I’m upset that my doctors informed me this kind of abortion, I don’t care if it out ways the risks of a d&e I can’t leave the babies I have. I may look in to another facility since planned parenthood does a lot of hush hush


Sophie August 8, 2015

Just a little comment to make sure you know Holly is not forgotten. There's a video on Facebook that's going viral and her name is mentioned in this video. The video was based on abortion and it's telling people briefly not to have abortions but mainly not to take what holly took. Thoughts are with you still xxx


Rachael May 6, 2016

Hi Monty, I am so so sorry about what happened to your daughter, I cannot imagine the pain of losing your child. I want to thank you for starting this website and sharing Holly's story, this is so important. Too many women are being lied to and told they are being given a "choice", when in fact their choices are being rudely ripped from them. I am continuing to learn more about abortion so that I can help other women be aware of what it actually is and involves. The work you are doing is so important, may God bless, comfort, and strengthen you.