8.28.2011

35 Calls Per Night, and Climbing-- July 2011

I picked up a hotline shift for the first time in a while and I was shocked at the 35 messages left in 1 day! Message after message, usually a calm but plaintive voice beseechingly requested assistance. Places, names, situations all varied but all were in the same predicament-- struggling financially with little or no extra money. I prioritized the clients that were further along or approaching a price change in their abortion price. The one story that really touched me was of a woman that had recently immigrated to the US when her and her husband found via amniocentesis that their baby had genetic defects. Already struggling to support their existing family through her partner's job driving a taxi, they knew having another child with serious medical needs would stress their family and finances beyond what would be capable. Lilith was able to help this family.

And thanks to State Senate Bill 7, an included provision will be cutting off the use of local tax dollars to fund elective abortions (thank you Representative Wayne Christian of Nacogdoches). Of course, the only place in Texas where this funding is occurring is in Travis County, where patients of the county-established indigent healthcare system can obtain an elective termination of a first trimester pregnancy with a $25 copay.

At the last Central Health Board Meeting, this matter was discussed in a closed portion of the meeting.

So 40, 45 calls per night soon? The need is overwhelming...

10.16.2009

Brook

Brook is 25 years old with three children. She recently separated from her husband. After her third children she decided that she didn’t want to have any more children so she had her tubes tied. You can imagine her surprise when she found out that she was pregnant. Upset when she called the Lilith Fund, we were glad that we could help her get control of her life.

10.14.2009

Jenny

Jenny, a 23 year-old single mom with two children, is trying to improve her situation in life by attending college. Her contraceptive method of choice is the birth control pill. When she came down with strep throat she was prescribed an antibiotic. She should have been told to take additional precautions when having intercourse because the pill is less effective when taking an antibiotic. Unfortunately she wasn’t told and she got pregnant. She was devastated when she discovered the cost of having the abortion. The clinic referred her to the Lilith Fund and we were able to help.

10.13.2009

Symantha

Symantha is a victim of domestic violence. She was in a shelter for 2 months, she is finally in an apartment. Beyond her daily challenges she also struggles with depression, and the loss of her job. She has 3 children and is trying very hard to get her life under control. The Lilith Fund was able to help with a $100 voucher.

8.09.2009

Health Care Reform for Women

It has been shown repeatedly that women, especially the working poor, are much more adversely affected by the current health care system that can choose to deny them coverage for spurious reasons or legally charge them twice as much as their male counterparts for the exact same coverage. Abortion is already rarely funded by private insurance companies and women on Medicaid are prevented from having the procedure funded due to the Hyde Amendment. The current debate over healthcare reform (and especially the role of abortion within that debate) has the potential to include help for the women who need it the most, or yet again shut women out of fair and affordable healthcare.

The National Women's Law Center has a great advocacy kit for women's health care reform up on their site; it has specific suggestions for what to during the August congressional recess to further the fight for women's health care reform.

If you are interested in an easy way to make your voice heard for women's health care, join us at the N. Lamar Central Market on Wed. Aug 19th, 6:30pm for a letter writing party! Make sure your representative knows that you support their pro-choice and pro-women efforts, or let them know why the women of Texas need their support now during this critical health care debate.

1.09.2009

letter from a mother

This summer, my seventeen year-old daughter was sick more than usual. For three months she was throwing-up, unable to tolerate certain odors, and extremely moody with everyone, be it family or friends. I asked her over and over if she was pregnant, and she answered, "No mama, no mama." But a visit to the doctor revealed that she was seventeen weeks along. This news weakened all of us and left us speechless. My daughter had four weeks left until the start of her senior year. And she had dreams that she wanted to pursue that she knew would be shattered if she had to take on the responsibility of a child. She decided to have an abortion. But then we were then told that her procedure would cost $1350. There was no way I would be able to come up with that amount on my own.

Only by grace was I connected with the Lilith Fund. Our Lilith volunteer not only helped us obtain partial payment for services and assisted with travel arrangements, but she also helped mentally and emotionally with her constant words of kindness. Her care was genuine and sincere. The Lilith Fund has been a blessing in disguise. The volunteers on staff understand the value of the old statement, "It takes a village to raise a child." I am glad to be part of this village.

Thank you for donating to the Lilith Fund and for helping our family more forward and continue on our journey of life.

1.05.2009

PATRICIA

Eighteen-year-old Patricia is married with one child. Although she was using Depo-Provera as her contraceptive method, she didn't have enough money to continue her series and the inevitable happened--she became pregnant. Patricia's husband is now in jail, but fortunately her in-laws are taking care of her and her child. She states that she just couldn't bring another child into this unstable environment. Patricia though she had enough money when she went tot he clinic for an abortion, only to find out that she had to pay an additional fee for a sonogram too. Fortunately, the Lilith Fund was able to help.

10.14.2008

SABRINA

Sabrina is single, diabetic, Rh negative, and 12 weeks pregnant. She is the mother of a 15 month old son who was born with multiple birth defects-an underdeveloped arm with no thumb, a missing kidney, neck deformities requiring surgery, and others. Sabrina cannot work because her son requires so much of her attention. Sabrina's only income is her son's disability check and her son's father refuses to help them financially. Sabrina is afraid to have another child with such a debilitating deformity and her doctor has recommended against it due to the possibility of recurring birth defects. Her procedure will cost $650 and Lilith Fund is assisting her with $100.

7.29.2008

TRISHA

After realizing their daughter had become sexually active, Trisha’s parents took her to a local clinic to begin birth control. Despite starting birth control, Trisha became pregnant. Her parents now think she was either pregnant at the time she started birth control or she got pregnant shortly thereafter. Trisha is 14 years old and 25 weeks pregnant. Trisha’s father recently became disabled and hasn’t started receiving his disability payments yet. He is unable to work because of his disability. Due to the stage of her pregnancy, there are only a few clinics in the country that can perform the three-day procedure. The estimated cost of her abortion is $10,000. Trisha’s family got loans from every friend, family member, and resource they could find and amazingly raised $8,000. A call for help went out from her home state abortion fund to all National Network Abortion Fund members and the Lilith Fund responded with a promise of $200. We wish Trisha and her family all the best with her procedure.

Mrs. Carter

Mrs. Carter, a married woman in her thirties, immigrated with her husband to the U.S. a few years ago. She was taking birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, but she forgot her pills while traveling and subsequently became pregnant. Unfortunately, the Carters make very little money and they already have one child to support on their meager salary. They can’t afford to take care of another child right now. The Carters have been working hard to improve their lives in this country; Mrs. Carter is currently studying to take the licensing exam to become a practicing American physician. She doesn't want to sacrifice her career and her family’s future by having another child. The cost of terminating her pregnancy was $400 and because of the help of our generous donors, Lilith was able to offer financial assistance towards her abortion. Mrs. Carter was grateful for our help and she recently called our hotline to express her thanks and to report that her procedure went well.

5.02.2008

JUANITA

Juanita is divorced and has five children - her youngest two are 4-year-old twins. One of the twins suffers from kidney failure and needs dialysis treatment 3 times per week. Juanita can't work because she has to be with her sick child. The family lives on SSI payments. When she
delivered the twins, Juanita asked to have her tubes tied. She has now learned that because the hospital a Catholic hospital, they did not perform the procedure AND they never told her. Juanita is pregnant again.

4.02.2008

Speaking Out: Manipulated By a CPC

by Allyson Kirk

When I called the National Abortion Federation Hotline in January 2005 looking for help finding an abortion clinic in my area, I had never even heard of a Crisis Pregnancy Center. I was 23 years old and in college completing my biology degree when I found out I was pregnant. Although I was in a committed relationship and deeply in love with my partner, I was not ready for a child at that time and chose to seek an abortion. The NAF Hotline operator gave me the location of a women's health clinic in my area, which I promptly called and made an appointment for an exam.

The day of my appointment, I pulled into the parking lot where the women's clinic was located and parked in front of the first building I saw. The sign in the window said "AAA Women for Choice" next to another smaller sign advertising "Free Pregnancy Testing." I was slightly confused by the bumper stickers on the SUV in front of the building with many anti-abortion, religious statements such as "It's a Child, Not a Choice," but didn't think much of it due to the prevalence of these anti-choice ideas in my area.

When I walked in the front door of the clinic, an older man sitting behind the counter welcomed me. I quickly gave my name and said that I had a two o'clock appointment. He acted like they were expecting me and asked me to have a seat in the empty waiting room while they prepared for my appointment. The waiting room looked like any family medical practice: there were magazines and children's books, and a basket filled with toys and stuffed animals for children to play with as they waited. Within minutes, a middle-aged woman, dressed professionally and appearing like a nurse, came out to escort me to my appointment.

She brought me into a different room and gave me a form to fill out. The form asked for basic contact information, but also asked for the personal information of my partner or spouse. The form asked about my medical history, including how many times I had been pregnant, obtained an abortion, and if I had children. As I was filling out the form, the woman began asking me questions, too. She asked why I was seeking an abortion, if I was sure that I was pregnant, and how many weeks I was into the pregnancy. She then began asking questions about my partner, such as did he know I was pregnant, did he want me to terminate the pregnancy, and why he wasn't there with me. I answered her questions, but began to feel guarded.

She then asked me about my religious beliefs. I was immediately defensive at this point. I asked her why this was a relevant question to ask in a medical facility. "Because I can't properly counsel you on the issue of abortion unless I know your moral standing," she said. I decided that this was not the kind of place I felt comfortable seeking medical care so I asked her to complete the free pregnancy test and then I would be on my way. I gave her a urine sample and she agreed to run the test, but only if I watched an educational video while the results were processing.

The video I was forced to watch made false claims including: doctors who provide abortions graduate at the bottom of their classes and can't get real jobs; abortion is dangerous and often results in serious injury, even death, to women, and abortion causes severe psychological and emotional damage to women. The woman on the video said many women who have abortions have nightmares of babies crying and have guilt about their decision so intense that it sends them into depression.

The second portion of the video showed an illustrated enactment of a surgical abortion procedure. A picture of a uterus with a fully formed fetus inside filled the TV screen as illustrated metal instruments appeared. The instruments were shown probing inside the uterus and dismembering the fetus. Then a suction device entered the screen, pulling the fetus out of the illustrated uterus for disposal.

I was appalled and insulted.

I stood up to walk out of the room just as the woman was re-entering. She must have seen the look on my face because she stopped and asked if everything was okay. The older man at the counter was just behind her in the waiting room. I told them that I wasn't sure what kind of an operation this was, but they should be ashamed of themselves. I said they were obviously using fear tactics to manipulate women who come to them looking for guidance in an emotionally unsteady state. I walked out the front door without ever getting the results of my pregnancy test.

After calling the NAF Hotline again, I found out this anti-choice organization was called a Crisis Pregnancy Center. They had strategically picked a name and displayed signs in their windows to fool women like me into coming there, thinking that they were visiting the women's reproductive health clinic just two doors down. The more I read about these places, I couldn't believe that what they were doing was legal: blatantly lying to women about medical procedures, using fear and guilt to force them into completing pregnancies. I have since been speaking out in support of stricter regulation of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, and I hope my story helps prevent women from being misled by these fake clinics.

4.01.2008

Targeting the Vulnerable: Crisis Pregnancy Centers Deceive

Imagine you are a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy. After careful consideration, you decide to obtain an abortion and schedule an appointment at a clinic listed under "abortion services" in your local phone book. When you arrive for your appointment you are forced to listen to a religious lecture, given misinformation about the risks of abortion, and refused referrals to actual abortion providers. Imagine your surprise when you realize you are not at a legitimate reproductive health care clinic, but rather have been fooled into visiting a Crisis Pregnancy Center. This sounds like an April Fool's Day prank, but this scenario happens to real women seeking reproductive health care every day and it's no laughing matter.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) have a long history of intentionally misleading women to prevent them from accessing abortion care. The first CPCs were established in the 1960s after state legislatures repealed their laws criminalizing abortion. Today there are as many as 4,000 CPCs in the United States, compared to the less than 2,000 facilities that actually provide abortion care for women.

Many CPCs use deceptive advertising practices to fool women into thinking that they are legitimate medical clinics that provide a variety of reproductive health care services, including family planning and abortion care. In reality, most CPCs do not provide full options counseling and generally will not refer for abortion care or birth control.

These fake clinics use deceptive advertising practices such as intentionally placing advertisements under the "abortion services" heading of phone and Internet directories and choosing names that are similar to abortion clinics to confuse women about what types of services they provide. Many CPCs are connected with religious organizations, but few disclose that fact in their advertising. Additionally, CPCs often locate themselves in close proximity to legitimate reproductive health care facilities. We have heard from many patients who mistakenly visited a CPC because it was on the same street-or even next door-to the actual abortion provider where they had an appointment.

CPCs target young and low-income women. They lease buildings near colleges and universities, advertise in school newspapers, and lure women into their facilities with the offer of a free pregnancy test and options counseling.

Once they get women inside their doors, CPCs often force women to watch graphic, misleading videos; pressure women with religious sermons; and provide medically inaccurate information about a false link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer, the effects of abortion on future fertility, and the mental health effects of abortion. Some CPCs further mislead women by giving them false pregnancy test results so that they will postpone obtaining abortion care. Others have been known to give women ultrasounds depicting gestational ages more advanced than their actual pregnancies in order to make them think that they are too far along to access abortion services. In some cases CPCs even promise to provide financial assistance to women if they carry their pregnancies to term, but this assistance usually doesn't last once a woman's pregnancy has advanced past the legal termination limit in her state. Even after women leave CPCs, they sometimes continue to be mistreated. In a clear violation of patient confidentiality, many CPCs call women and harass them about their decision to obtain abortion care for weeks after they visit the center.

Many CPCs even receive federal funding. Under the Bush Administration, CPCs have received more than $30 million in federal funding, and legislators frequently attempt to fund CPCs at the state level through state-sponsored programs, specific grants, or tax credits. In 2006, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) released a study, which found that 87% of the federally funded CPCs provided inaccurate and misleading information including the false link between abortion and breast cancer, the effects of abortion on future fertility, and the mental health effects of abortion. It is reprehensible that federal taxpayer dollars are being used to support fake clinics that deliberately deceive women with false medical information.

CPCs should not be allowed to threaten women's health through deception and mistreatment. Last year NAF worked with Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) who introduced the "Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act" in the U.S. House of Representatives. Specifically, this legislation authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to regulate the deceptive advertising practices of CPCs, which regularly advertise that they provide abortion care when they in fact do not provide such care. We congratulate Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for taking the lead in the Senate to introduce companion legislation today on April Fool's Day-to prevent women from being further fooled and harmed by these fake clinics.

Today is a day of action, and we are calling on activists to contact their Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the "Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act." Members of Congress need to understand how women are harmed by fake clinics masquerading as reproductive health care facilities. To learn more about ways you can take action against CPCs and to find contact information for your elected officials, visit our website http://www.prochoice.org/.

Women facing an unplanned pregnancy deserve accurate and complete information. For unbiased information about pregnancy options, referrals to providers of quality abortion care, and funding assistance, contact the toll-free NAF Hotline at 1-800-772-9100.

3.12.2008

The National Network of Abortion Funds Denounces the Vitter Amendment

BOSTON - February 29 - The National Network of Abortion Funds condemns passage of the Vitter Amendment (S.Amdt. 3896) as part of the Indian Health Services Act (S.1200). Passed by the Senate earlier this week, the amendment adds language to the Indian Health Services Act prohibiting the use of IHS funds for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. This legislation duplicates existing policy which already unfairly restricts coverage of abortion in the Indian Health Service. IHS is subject to the Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976, which prohibits federal Medicaid dollars from being used to pay for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the woman.

For the more than 12 million women who depend on Medicaid and other federal programs, the impact of the Hyde Amendment and the funding bans enacted in 33 states is staggering. Prior to 1976, when Medicaid funds paid for abortion nationally, one-third of all abortions were fully covered. Since the Hyde Amendment took away abortion coverage, federal Medicaid has paid for less than one percent of abortions.

The restrictions in Vitter and Hyde unfairly discriminate against Native American women for whom the Indian Health Service is their primary healthcare provider. A survey conducted by the Native American Women’s Health Education Resources Center (NAWHERC) in 2002 found widespread non-compliance and confusion about the abortion restrictions. 85% of the service units contacted denied women services even in cases where they were legally entitled to coverage.

Historically, Native American women have faced other governmental policies restricting their reproductive lives. Native American children were removed from their communities and placed by the government in non-Indian boarding schools, foster homes and adoptive families. In the 1970s, involuntary sterilization by Indian Health Services was exposed as a civil rights violation in a lawsuit brought by Norma Jean Serena of the Creek-Shawnee. In the 1980s, although Depo Provera was banned by the FDA because of inadequate health and safety studies, it was administered to Native American women who were said to be “mentally impaired,” without their consent.

We oppose the Vitter and Hyde Amendments and all restrictive legislation that undermines a woman’s ability to make her own decisions about childbearing and her health. “All women must have the power and resources to make healthy decisions about their bodies and their families; it’s a matter of dignity and justice” said Stephanie Poggi, Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds.


The National Network of Abortion Funds is an association of more than 100 community-based groups in 43 states that provide financial assistance to low-income women seeking abortions. Each year, member groups of the Network raise over $2.5 million and help more than 20,000 women and girls nationwide. The Network provides support and training to its member Funds and advocates for a humane future where public funding of abortion – and all reproductive health care – is a reality. The Network coordinates The Hyde – 30 Years is Enough! Campaign, a national coalition of more than 70 social justice organizations, dedicated to repealing the Hyde Amendment.

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3.04.2008

JANICE

Janice became pregnant as the result of a rape, but wanted to keep the baby. However, the ultrasounds showed that the fetus had a large tumor growing behind its neck and it is predicted that the child will most likely be severely brain damaged. Janice is 21 weeks pregnant, and it would be at least 5 weeks before treatment could be attempted for the fetus. She is heartbroken, but she doesn't want to risk not having the choice to terminate if the treatment fails. She has two other children to care for, and she couldn't bring herself to risk bringing a severely disabled child into a family that is just barely making it. Her abortion costs $2400, and she was still $600 short when Lilith was able to contribute another $100.

2.27.2008

National Abortion Federation Opposes C-484

Saporta: Because this bill does nothing to protect women and because its possible consequences include casting doubt over well-established Canadian law, NAF opposes C-484. We believe that the Canadian government should adopt a more reasoned approach that would protect women from violence and offer concrete solutions to the problem of violence against women.


Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF):

The National Abortion Federation (NAF) opposes C-484. On its face, this bill creates a new crime of causing injury to or the death of a foetus. The dangerous reality of the bill, however, is that it could elevate the legal status of the foetus to that of an adult human being. This is unprecedented in Canadian law. The involuntary loss of a pregnancy is a tragedy, but solutions should be real, not political. Bill C-484 is not the right solution.

This bill elevates the foetus - even an embryo only weeks old - to a status equal with that of the adult woman who suffers the primary injury to her body, along with the additional harm of losing or damaging her pregnancy.

By recognizing a developing foetus as a victim of a crime, this legislation could erode Canadian women's right to a safe and legal abortion by treading closer to the line of recognizing fetal personhood, a concept clearly at odds with existing Canadian law. Such a law could create tension with numerous Supreme Court rulings finding that a person must be born to have legal status in Canada.

The sponsor of this legislation claims that this bill is not about abortion because it exempts legal abortions, some medical treatment, and the conduct of women. But, it is impossible to separate this proposed legislation from its sponsor, a known opponent of legal abortion.

Nowhere in the bill is the harm to the woman resulting from an involuntary termination of her pregnancy mentioned. Violence against women continues to be a significant problem in Canada, and violence often increases when a woman is pregnant. Instead of focusing on real solutions to violence against women, the bill deliberately shifts the focus away from the women who are truly the victims of these heinous crimes.

NAF fully supports a woman's right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term. Because this bill does nothing to protect women and because its possible consequences include casting doubt over well-established Canadian law, NAF opposes C-484. We believe that the Canadian government should adopt a more reasoned approach that would protect women from violence and offer concrete solutions to the problem of violence against women.

Therefore, NAF calls on the Federal Government to increase funding to programs for the prevention of violence against women. We further ask the Government to eliminate the restrictions they have put in place on research and advocacy groups requesting funding for issues relating to violence against women.

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The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in Canada and the United States. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. Our members include health care professionals at clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals, who together care for more than half the women in both countries who choose abortion each year. For more information, visit our website at www.prochoice.org.

2.21.2008

Countering Anti-Choice 'Black Genocide' Lies

By Pamela Merritt, RH Reality Check. Posted February 19, 2008

Reproductive justice advocates need to reach out to communities of color in order to fight rumors and battle racisms past and present.


What would you expect to pop up on your computer screen if you Googled the words black genocide? Probably several web sites detailing the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide, right? Not quite. Google black genocide and a multitude of web sites indicting Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health service providers for perpetrating genocide on black people fill the computer screen. Most of these web sites claim that service providers are on a racist crusade to kill off black people through abortion and sterilization.

It's tempting to scoff at such claims as the delusional ranting of the lunatic fringe, but that wouldn't be wise. The black genocide charge has shown a staying power not unlike the rumor that drinking carbonated soda laced with Pop Rocks killed that kid from the Life cereal commercials. Unchallenged, claims of genocide become accepted as fact and achieve their goal of discouraging women from seek counseling or treatment from legitimate healthcare providers.

I first encountered the black genocide charge when I began volunteering at a women's shelter that serves homeless pregnant women. My work includes providing information about family planning and reproductive health resources. Almost from the beginning some of my students expressed distrust towards well-known reproductive health service providers. Eventually these students shared that their concerns revolved around rumors that certain service providers aggressively push patients to have abortions or take medicine that results in permanent sterilization. Through family, friends, church and the word on the street these women had been warned that well-known reproductive health service providers in America are organized to perpetrate black genocide.

Motivated more by my student's response than curiosity over the actual charge of black genocide, I did some research and found information on efforts like the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). The Genocide Awareness Project, which is sponsored by the anti-choice Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, tours college campuses with photos comparing abortion with recognized images of genocide. GAP attempts to link abortion with genocide through the use of visual images and the manipulation of language, challenging the legitimacy of reproductive choice by comparing it to slavery. In this way, GAP reaches out to black communities through a campaign dressed up to look like a black empowerment movement.

In many ways supporters of GAP and like organizations are attempting to reap what others sowed years ago. The American eugenics movement of the 1930s and 1940s claimed to better society by preventing carriers of defective genetic traits from reproducing. Family planning was often code for the compulsory sterilization of so-called lesser people, many from poor disenfranchised groups. It is estimated that some 64,000 Americans were sterilized between 1900 and 1970. Forced sterilization of black women reached its height in the 1950s and 1960s. A trip to the hospital to give birth often resulted in sterilization without consent or the patient's knowledge.

Groups like The Genocide Awareness Project hope to build upon a pre-existing foundation of mistrust. On their web site and through college tours, GAP promotes a Sanctity of Life Curriculum for black churches and encourages the study of the history of eugenics to further "document" their claims of an organized genocide against black people.

Books and articles exploring the potential benefits of abortion in lowering crime rates also fuels mistrust. While critics laud the intellectual "courage" demonstrated by exploring the potential decrease in crime rates through an increase in black abortions, many cringe at the seemingly callous discussion of what is still not-so-distant black history.

That brings me back to my students and rumors that should not be ignored.

Charges that reproductive health service providers are conspiring to commit black genocide are a kind of intellectual mold that flourishes in the absence of the facts. Either by design or circumstance, legislation seeking to restrict access to clinics and end educational outreach programs often acts in concert with campaigns like The Genocide Awareness Project to cultivate fear of abortion providers and resentment. Constant harassment by anti-choice groups and the very real threat of violence also prevent clinics from being visible within the communities they serve, exacerbating the sense that they are not true partners and perpetuating mistrust.

Reproductive health service providers and pro-choice volunteers must continue our outreach into communities of color to prevent such claims from being accepted as the truth. In keeping with that goal, the history of eugenics and sterilization abuse in America requires that claims like those of black genocide made against reproductive service providers not be met with casual disregard. Such claims must be challenged head on even as we acknowledge a tragic history and work to insure that such acts never happen again.

Pamela Merritt is a staff writer for RH Reality Check, a contributor to the Shakespeare's Sister blog, and a featured contributor on National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin. Her work has been published in the Chicago Sun-Times, on Salon.com and featured in Salon.com's Broadsheet. Pamela serves as PAC Chair for PROMO (Missouri’s Statewide LGBT Equality Rights Group), is a mentor through Big Sisters and teaches various classes at several shelters in St. Louis, Missouri. She also writes and maintains her personal blog.



2.19.2008

CORONA

Corona was just separated from her husband of seven years. They have one child together, and Corona has not worked since that child was born four years ago. Only days after her husband moved out, leaving her to pay the rent and utilities and single-handedly support their child, she discovered that she was pregnant. Although her husband has a steady income, he is unwilling to support her and has refused her requests for assistance in paying to terminate her pregnancy. Through her local clinic, Corona learned about the Lilith Fund. We were able to assist her with 25% of the cost of her abortion and were also able to refer her to another fund that could provide additional assistance. Because of this funding, Corona was able to pay for her abortion and alleviate at least a small portion of the substantial stress in her life right now.