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Abortion is in the headlines this week.  On Saturday jsmdlawyer diaried Clarence Thomas' attempt to prevent an imprisoned woman in Missouri from having the abortion to which she was legally entitled, just because she didn't have the $350 she needed to get to the clinic (before we were through with that one, she could have hired a limo, but how much better for women everywhere that she didn't need it after all).  

And this morning none of us was shocked--shocked!-- to hear about Harriet Miers' 1989 promise to support a Constitutional amendment banning abortion altogether.  

But now I'm going to tell you an abortion story that hasn't made the news, and probably won't--a story about the women of Katrina, and about the hurricane relief effort no one talks about--the Katrina aid that dare not speak its name.

How many young women did we all see on our TV screens, bedding down on the floor at the Astrodome in Houston or Reunion Arena in Dallas with their babies and toddlers, surrounded by crumpled plastic bags that held all they had left in the world? There seemed to be thousands of them, and then more thousands.  As in any population of young women, many of them were pregnant.  And for a great number of those young women--the ones for whom unexpected and unwanted pregnancies represented a second disaster--the devastation that their lives had become was worsened by the anxiety of wondering how they could find the help they needed to have a desperately desired abortion.  

Fortunately, they didn't have to depend on FEMA.  Low-income women who are residents of Texas and who cannot afford the cost of an abortion are able to rely on two sources of help--the Lilith Fund and the Texas Equal Access Fund--volunteer nonprofit organizations that immediately expanded their previous scope to offer all possible assistance to displaced women who were relocated to Texas in the aftermath of Katrina.   Lilith and TEA typically provide somewhere from $50-100 in assistance, and as providers, we generally find a way to make up the rest.  

This morning at the clinic I was paged to the phone to take a call that meant bad news for any low-income woman in this very large state who needs an abortion.  Because of the huge additional burdens on its resources since the first part of September, the Lilith Fund has been completely wiped out and will no longer be able to offer help to any woman in Texas for at least the next one to two months. Nothing like this has ever happened before, because the Lilith Fund is a well-managed and extremely responsible organization, but providing care for the women of Katrina has overwhelmed us all, funders and providers alike.  

The need of women who are faced with rebuilding their entire lives is tremendous, and the response of the pro-choice community has been remarkable.  In Arkansas, a state with fewer evacuees, Dr. Jerry Edwards and Dr. William Harrison are offering abortion care without charge to women displaced by Katrina--and quite predictably have been condemned for it by all the usual suspects.  But in the much more highly populated metropolitan areas of Texas, the need has outpaced our ability to provide services to all the women who need us, even at reduced fees.  That's what we get for having kept the regular cost of abortion care so low that, as a colleague in Louisiana often says, we seem to be producing quality medical care out of thin air.

The few national funding groups that usually can assist women in any part of the country now are so depleted that they are unable to help almost anyone but Katrina victims, and the Lilith Fund--which together with the TEA Fund has carried most of the burden here in Texas from the beginning--has been hit so hard during the last couple of months that it can no longer help anyone at all.

And there are so many women who need that help.  Gretchen Dyer of the TEA Fund can tell you about them better than I can.

More than a choice
When Tracy called, she had the curtains closed and the door bolted. She spoke in a low whisper that made it hard to understand her. She was hiding in her apartment with her two children because her ex-boyfriend had threatened to kill her. When she'd contacted the police, they'd informed her that he was a known criminal and advised her to get as far away from him as possible.

This was good advice. The problem was, Tracy was a struggling single mother with no savings, no place to go and no one to protect her. She was also pregnant.

Tracy couldn't manage another child on her own, and she didn't want to bear the man's child or have any further connection to him. So she'd decided to have an abortion. For her, this was more than a choice. It was a chance to survive, to start over and make a safe life for herself and her children.
I speak to dozens of women in difficult situations every week, some more desperate than Tracy's. Most are single mothers working low-wage jobs that don't pay enough to support their families. Some are victims of rape or incest, women on the run from domestic abuse, women with serious health problems or teenagers trying to finish high school and keep from getting thrown out of their homes because they're pregnant.
Last week Charlene called. A few months out of treatment for methadone addiction and only a few days out of a homeless shelter, she's trying to get her life back together. Her child is about to start school, and she's looking for a job. Another baby right now will put her simple goals out of reach.

And then there was Louise, a single mother of two with breast cancer. She was too sick to work, had no medical insurance and had used up her savings on medical bills. The doctor advised her that the pregnancy was life-threatening for her and the radiation treatments an unacceptable risk to the fetus. The decision to abort was a life-and-death decision for her and for her two children who need her. It was a whole lot more than a choice.

As most of you know, Texas covers about the same land area as France.  There were countless Tracys and Charlenes and Louises even before any of us ever heard of Katrina.  And they're still here, and still needing help, along with 41 year-old "Mary" from Slidell, a mother of three with hypertension and diabetes, and 13 year-old "Tiffany" from New Orleans, who just wants to fit in with the other seventh-graders at her new school--both of whom were patients at our clinic on the same day last week.  And the phone just keeps on ringing . . .

Without the partnership provided by the Lilith Fund, the TEA Fund will be left alone to carry the almost unimaginable burden of helping numberless women who are living in circumstances more desperate than most of us have ever known.

Every donation that Lilith and TEA receive goes directly to a woman who needs it. For a woman from Louisiana still cooped up in a motel and buying no-name macaroni and cheese to feed her kids on the shrinking balance of her FEMA check--or for a Texas woman sleeping in her car with her two year-old because she's afraid to go home--no amount is too small to make a difference.  By the very nature of their work, Lilith and TEA have the strictest of privacy policies. There are no third party middlemen, and their operating expenses pretty much consist of a toll-free phone number, a few cell phones and a checkbook.  

When I took that call this morning, my first thought after "Oh, my God, no" was that I knew a lot of good people who would want to help Tracy and Charlene and Louise and Mary and Tiffany just as much as Lilith and TEA and I do.

The Lilith Fund

The Texas Equal Access Fund

For all of them, for every one of them, thanks a lot for anything you can do.

UPDATE: I said last night that I felt overwhelmed by the deep caring and generous response of everyone here. Today I spoke with volunteers from both Lilith and TEA, and they're feeling sort of overwhelmed, too, as they usually are -- but this time, overwhelmed in the best possible way. I'm just one person in one clinic, but I spoke with women who were helped today because you care. From them, from the women at Lilith and TEA, and from me, thank you all so very much for being who you are.

Originally posted to moiv on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 07:29 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recommended (4.00)
  •  an urgent call (3.92)
    thank you moiv.

    I don't have any money at all to give right now - my own bad situation. I wish I could help.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 07:35:02 PM PDT

    •  You've helped already (4.00)
      From each, according to her ability . . . :-)

      NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

      by moiv on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 07:54:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Donated for you, bumblebums (4.00)
      I gave my donation, and added $30 for you.  

      Thanks, moiv, for alerting us to this need.  

      Now a New Mexican, and much the better for it.

      by Dallasdoc on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 06:13:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just now saw this, doc (4.00)
        You're a mensch. Thank you, hugely.

        Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

        by bumblebums on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 04:05:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  how many times can i say it (none)
        I love doctors.

        I'd be very interested to hear more of your opinions on this issue - as a physician.  I put up a diary about this last night - a bit of a discussion got going and Moiv offered to diary more about it later, as did a few others.

        I work with doctors and nurses all the time (I do IT) but this is a taboo topic at work.

        •  Sorry I missed your diary (none)
          My opinions on this subject are little informed by my work as a physician.  The most pertinent and vital observations come courtesy of my status as an empathetic human being, which is the single most important qualification to work in my profession.

          Now a New Mexican, and much the better for it.

          by Dallasdoc on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 11:31:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  exactly my point (none)
            the single most important qualification to work in my profession.

            That's exactly it.  The more I work with physicians, the more of a respect I have for how much they really care for their patients.  I think with so many of these social issues, very little respect is given to docs and their judgment.  Especially abortion - I think that decision is one that is best handled between a patient and her doctor.  It just blows my mind that anyone would think a doc would take that sort of thing lightly or do anything other than the best thing for the health of the patient.

            •  Don't overidealize us (none)
              There are any number of asshole docs.  And many more who have the empathy and idealism beaten out of them by a dysfunctional system.

              But with abortion, probably nobody but a patient's best girlfriend knows as much about what goes into her decision-making process as her health care provider.  

              How total strangers can feel that they have standing to impose their own religious beliefs -- truths which are true only for them -- in such a painful and personal process, will always be mysterious to me.  

              That's one of the root causes of trouble in the world, IMHO:  people who take their own opinions far too seriously.

              Now a New Mexican, and much the better for it.

              by Dallasdoc on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 04:49:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Oh Moiv... (4.00)
    I only wish there was more I could do...I don't have any cash now to give...I'll see what I can do after the 1st of the month. These stories are the meantime I'll do all I can and recommend this...
  •  Womn need to come out of the closet on this issue. (4.00)
    Women need to stand up for their rights, and not be afraid to do it anymore. The stories you share here are the unfortunate TRUTH about women who seek abortion. Not the loose slut, who uses abortion as birth control.  (They may exist, but are as deserving of privacy as anyone else).

    Maybe there could be a website, or a book, a platfom where women could tell the truth about abortion.

    •  Our bodies (3.94)
      Our Bodies Ourselves has a couple of links to places where women who have had abortions tell their stories.

      I do have to disagree with the idea that some women who get abortions are "loose sluts who use abortion as birth control." Abortion is birth control. It controls whether or not a woman gives birth.

      To even make a distinction does a great disservice to the entire issue and is falling into the anti-choice bs. Nobody is in a position to judge women who get abortions, or who have multiple sex partners, or whatever. No woman is more deserving of an abortion that any other woman. IMHO.

      First they came for MY choice...

      by sassy texan on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:14:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been thinking of you so much (4.00)
        Sassy, I've been thinking about you so much lately.   I read in one of your comments that you are getting a divorce.  Even when we're looking forward to being single again, it's a difficult thing to go through.  

        You are in my heart and in my thoughts.   If you want to talk you have my email, I'm only a mouse click away, my friend.  

        Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less. Susan B. Anthony

        by caliberal on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:19:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thank you (4.00)
          I think of you and our ERA often. I am still going to fight that fight Caliberal, I promise. We will get our rights, we will.

          I always enjoy running into you in great diaries like this :) Keep gracing us with your passionate words, ok? Yours is one of my favorite voices around.

          First they came for MY choice...

          by sassy texan on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:45:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Allow me to congratulate you (4.00)
            on your excellent taste. :)

            NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

            by moiv on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:59:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You are a constant inspiration to so many (4.00)
            Sassy, I know we will get our rights, how can we not when we have so many amazingly gifted women to fight for them with?   Today's women are every bit as tenacious and steadfast as our predecessors were.  We'll make them proud, the time is coming and it's soon.

            Thanks for your kind words, I can't seem to keep my mouth shut so you seem to be stuck with my words.

            Coincidentially, I was reading through our ERA emails earlier today.  I got that determination back in a flash.  I know in my heart it's time has finally come once again.  33 years is long enough, it's women's time for equality.  

            Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less. Susan B. Anthony

            by caliberal on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:01:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Me too (4.00)
            I didn't realize you're going through a divorce, and I certainly don't know you're circumstances. Know though, as a divorcee and a mother who lost custody to a drug addicted, unemployed deadbeat, that it can be ugly, demeaning, and depressing.

            And my prayers are with you, no matter what you face. Blessed be...

            Just because the USA is a republic doesn't mean it's REPUBLICAN!

            by Auntie Neo Kawn on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 10:55:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I meant it as the stereotype- (4.00)
        No judgement coming from me, I think many people use that stereotype as an inflammatory tool.  

        I should have worded what I meant better.

      •  That is also my considered view (4.00)
        sometimes people who believe this are afraid to say they believe this, but I wish they were not.  The view is philosophically and ethically defensible, and, more to the point, correct.

        The view is called: On demand, without apology.

        Sightly off-topic, sorry.  But I get my cankers up when the issue is even raised.

        "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

        by LithiumCola on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 10:10:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let's all repeat after LithiumCola: (4.00)
          On demand, without apology.

          You're right, just saying that is something important.  Creating an environment in which women can stand up and say "I have had an abortion and don't regret it" is important - and MSOC, among others, deserves a lot of thanks around here for her insistence on that point.

      •  Here's one more (4.00)

        All women are welcome to post their own stories.

        NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

        by moiv on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 10:33:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Abortion is health care (4.00)
        and health care is a basic human right

        Bush is "oblivious, in denial, dangerous."

        by magic1 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 04:03:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here is a Canadian reference... (4.00)
      Do a google search on Henry Morgentaler; he is the Canadian who is almost single-handedly responsible for de-criminalizing abortion in Canada.

      Born in Poland in 1923, Dr. Henry Morgentaler survived the concentration camp of Auschwitz and went on to become one of this country’s most controversial public figures. During the late 1960s, he emerged as a leader of the pro-choice movement, and played a key role in the eventual overturning of Canada’s abortion law. Though he has been reviled and imprisoned, and his clinics attacked with firebombs and acid, Morgentaler has never faltered in his determination to ensure that Canadian women have freedom of choice on abortion. A committed humanist, he believes that all children should be wanted and loved. And he regrets nothing in his life, except for the pain his notoriety has brought to his family.   

  •  Recommended! (4.00)
    And I posted a quote to one of my hangouts where lots of pro-choicers may see it.
  •  thank you (4.00)
    so wonderful of you to spread the word on this. I will donate tomorrow and in the future - and will especially remember them next time there is a disaster. These are better places for my money than the Red Cross, for sure! Thanks.

    First they came for MY choice...

    by sassy texan on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:19:04 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for reminding everyone of this. (4.00)
    I posted a diary on 9/2/05

    What women seeking abortion in the Gulf need to know

    Abortion providers are reaching out in a tremendous way to help the women of Katrina.  

    There's more information at:
    Abortion Clinics OnLine

    HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

    by annrose on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:30:54 PM PDT

  •  Sarah Weddington (4.00)
    Spoke at my college graduation, and I've never forgotten it. (My own life was pretty weird at that moment.) I don't usually get up on my soap box about things, but this issue is so important. What good is it being legal if you are prevented access to it because of circumstances over which you have no control. Thank you for writing about this. I've been away from Texas for a little while now, thank the Deity, but I know they haven't changed. In honor of my own daughter and all the other women in Texas, I will be sending money tomorrow to Lilith Fund. However, I didn't see a link on the TEA page to do anything but PayPal, and I don't do PayPal. Could they possibly publish a PO box?
    •  sassy texan posted this below (4.00)
      but here are the regular mail addresses for both funds--and thanks so much!

      Lilith: A Fund for Reproductive Equity
      P.O. Box 684949
      Austin, TX 78768-4949

      Telephone 1-877-659-4304
      Administrative Line 1-877-355-1463
      Espanol: 1-877-355-1461

      Texas Equal Access Fund
      501 Wynnewood Village #386
      Dallas, TX 75224


      NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

      by moiv on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:08:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just donated! (4.00)
    On behalf of my grandma who always stood up for womens rights!

    Can you update us at some point on how the fundraising is going?  Not specific amounts, just if the need is being met.....

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." -Governor George W Bush (R-TX)

    by espresso on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:39:49 PM PDT

    •  I can (4.00)
      and I will. Thank your grandma for me -- I had one just like her!

      NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

      by moiv on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:00:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My grandmother (4.00)
      married my grandfather in West Virginia when she was almost nine months pregnant, hoping that a miracle would happen and she wouldn't have to marry him. It was a disaster, he was a drunk wife beater and she ran from him in the 1940's only returning to nurse him when he was dying of cancer in 1946. I hope no young woman will have to live that kind of life. All my grandmother wanted to do is go to high school and become a teacher (that was enough education to be a teacher then) and her American Taliban father said "no girl of mine is gonna ride a bus" which she would have had to do to attend high school. We educated women have to use our money and power to support those who are being manipulated for political reasons and then abandoned to poverty and despair.
  •  I was just sitting down to pay bills, (4.00)
    and If there is anything extra, it will go there way...and I also committed something to the laptop I just need to find that link.

    Midwest Center for American Values - Progressive ideas in an easy to swallow pill.

    by ETinKC on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:40:30 PM PDT

  •  I'm in. (4.00)
    It wasn't a whole lot, but I just cleaned out the Paypal account and sent it all to The Texas Equal Access Fund.

    I encourage anyone who can to do the same. After all, do you really need that junk you were going to buy on Ebay?

  •  The way I figure, (4.00)
    I gave about the equivalent of one meal in a restaurant.  I shouldn't eat out much anyway, since I have no way of knowing if they sneak gluten in on me.

    Thanks for letting us know about this, moiv.  Recommended, of course.

  •  This is all so insane, dammit, it's just insane (4.00)
    I was talking to Sam earlier tonight about women and how we thrive with the love of other women.  Moroccan women are just now coming into a form of equality they have never known before.  Sam was telling me about an association women have set up in the small fishing village where we will be making our home.  He says they meet everyday to tell stories of their lives, to share the good things and the bad things, to create businesses so they can have a better quality of life and to encourage each other, share information and to support and love one another.

    Then he hesitated and told me that of course I knew all of that about women because it is what we do in this country.  He said in America, he never calls it the United States, women don't have to worry about violence or about being in the streets.  He said in America they would never allow women to suffer like they do in other places in the world.  He said American women have opportunities to be educated, to go out into the world and be whatever they want to be.  He said women are important in and to America.

    Tears streamed down my face just as they are falling from my eyes now after reading this diary.  America used to be the land of promise and freedom.  America used to be the country that women from all around the world looked at as a beacon of hope.   America offered the best chance at equality, true equality than so many nations offered.  

    Then a Muslim country rewrites it's Consitution and in it women are equal to men.   I told Sam today that women's rights are changing quickly in our two countries.  In Morocco women are being given rights they have fought for for many years.  In America women are losing rights we have already fought for and are now watching them being taken away.  Moroccan women are on the way up in their country while women in America are on our way down in ours.  

    He asked me how could that be, this is America, I had to be wrong.  He asked me to explain.  I told him the truth about this country is that every 9 seconds a woman is the victim of violence, that every day 3 women die because of domestic abuse.  I told him that hundreds of thousands of women are raped every year, the exact figure we don't know because only between 5 to 20% report them because of shame and fear.  I told him men too often don't have to worry about being punished because few are taken to trial and many are not convicted.  If they are they usually spend only a few years in prison.

    He just kept saying I must be wrong, that none of this can be possible in America.  We have had these discussions many, many times.  He just can't imagine or believe that women are not honored or valued anymore than this in America.   In Morocco a rape case is never closed until the rapist is caught, tried and sentenced.  The rapist then spends the rest of his life in prison.  He doesn't have the chance to rape again because he is never allowed to walk as a free man, he never sees the light of day again.  

    I apologize because this is off topic but it strikes to the core of how women are treated in this world.  I said it to Sam earlier today and I will say it again here, I just can't understand why women are treated so badly, so much violence and abuse.  I can't for the life of me even begin to know what it is women have done to deserve all of this.  It cannot and does not make any sense.

    Thanks for what you do everyday Moiv for women in America.   Thank God we have each other, thank God for women.  Thank you for giving us a way to help.  I've given to both of the funds and I'm going to email the link to this diary to my women's group and to my email list, both women and men.  I wish I could do more, dammit, I wish we had answers to all of this.  

    Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less. Susan B. Anthony

    by caliberal on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:48:39 PM PDT

    •  I'd try to think of something (4.00)
      to say, but anything I could say, you already know.

      You know . . .

      NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

      by moiv on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:03:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You have warmed a heart once more (4.00)
        Moiv, diaries and threads like these feel like we are all sitting around on big pillows in front of a fireplace in one of our homes, women laying all over each other with our favorite drinks and snacks comforting each other and healing our wounds, telling stories about our lives, past and present, and basking in a warmth that is so natural amongst women.

        You create this for us, it's magical and so very necessary.  Wouldn't you know it, women can gather anywhere, even the internets, and get what we need and want, just as long as we have each other.  We are, in a word, phenomenally astounding.  Well actually two words, which for me, is amazing in itself.  

        Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less. Susan B. Anthony

        by caliberal on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:12:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  thanks for writing that nt (none)
  •  contact info (4.00)
    Just in case it helps, here is additional contact info for those not comfortable with online payment options:

    Lilith: A Fund for Reproductive Equity
    P.O. Box 684949 Austin, TX 78768-4949
    Telephone 1-877-659-4304
    Administrative Line 1-877-355-1463
    Espanol: 1-877-355-1461

    Texas Equal Access Fund
    501 Wynnewood Village #386
    Dallas, TX 75224

    First they came for MY choice...

    by sassy texan on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:53:18 PM PDT

  •  I'm in (4.00)
    and glad to do it. Thanks for the heads up, moiv. Excellent, as usual.
  •  If we weren't so dead broke (4.00)
    I'd be writing a check now. I wish I could help. When I was a rape cris voluntere counselor years ago, we sometimes had to struggle to help victims find ht emoney--or a doctor who'd prescribe the 1970s version of Plan B.  It was heart breaking.

    Women's issues are desperately underfunded. Thsi adminstration seems to want to drive us back to the Victorian Age medically and politically--where we were divided into  good girls (virgins and mommies who really didn't like icky sex but did to make babies) and whores.  I'm waiitng for them to legalize laudanum again, opium in alcohol solution.  And mandate the wearign of high collars and bustles and corsets (well, I actually like wearing VIctorian costuems occasionally--but not if they're mandated).

    We need to stand up and shout, "NEVER AGAIN!".

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:07:48 PM PDT

    •  I shout it all the time (4.00)
      and have posted it a time or two.

      My much younger coworkers at the clinic think I'm a little extreme on the subject--until they've been there for a couple of months and understand how desperately bad things really are.

      I haven't said before, but I enjoy your posts and I'm very glad you've joined us here. We need all the strong women we can gather in one place.

      NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

      by moiv on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 10:13:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought liberal men (4.00)
        would be more supportive of women's issues than, say, conservatives.  I leave the comp each night, muttering that I am horrified by the comemtns I see here about women's issues.  Mu hsuband then apologizes for the jerks among hsi sex,a nd I am intensely grateful that I ofund him tomarry.

        Thanks for the comliment.

        I am an odd mix. I am a strongfeminsit who is  kinky, and who thinks that therefusal of groups like NOW to be anti-sex (as in t
        heir refusal to haveanything to do with sex workers' issues--HIV in the adult industry, reform of prostituiton laws, the put-down of owmen in kinky relationships whoa re often submissive ONLY by choice and in the bedroom and pwoerhouses everywhere).  I prfer the approach of somene like Suzie Bright who is pro-sex.  I am REALLY intense on issues liek rape and sexual ahrassment.  I think women in the miltiary often get a really raw deal (but some of them cause real problems by getting pregnant to get out of a deployment--I knowof a couple of cases personally--though mos don't).  I get tired ofhearing idiots whine about welfare cheats and SSI fraud--sure,t ere is some,but you don't destroy a program becasue 8% cheat (that was the only figure I couldfind for SSI fraud, BTW).

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:05:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A hundred dollars (4.00)
    is in the mail to Lilith
  •  The Lilith Fund should provide protection to (none)
    women who face threats from their ex-boyfriends rather than money for abortions.

    If not the Lilith Fund, then someone should protect these women.  Couldn't she have gotten into her state's victim's and witnesses relocation program?

    War is hell. Execute Order 66.

    by raymundo on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 10:23:49 PM PDT

    •  Sometimes (4.00)
      an abortion is the best such protection.  Haven't you heard of women being murdered because of pregnancy before?

      How can we get over it when people died for the right to vote? -- John Lewis

      by furryjester on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:54:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe (4.00)
        homicide is now the #1 cause of death for pregnant women.


        •  Actually (4.00)
          I have to be a librarian about this one - I think it's the second leading cause, so far as the data shows.  

          There was a paper published by JAMA a while back that showed homicide as the leading cause of death for women in Maryland, I believe, but critics argued that car accident rates weren't figured in.  

          Here's a WAPO article on the CDC report (44 percent of pregnant women's deaths caused by cars, 31 by homicide)

          Cars are still the greatest danger to any of us.

          But, second place doesn't make it any less horrible.

          "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

          by sarac on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:46:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  leading cause of death (none)
            'for pregnant women' is what it should say in the second paragraph!  

            (though 'for women' might be true too, no time to look it up though)

            "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

            by sarac on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 03:00:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not having time to look it up myself (none)
            I prefaced with "I believe".  Intersting that the results of the Maryland study are often cited without reference to the fact that it was a one-state study.
  •  I sent it (4.00)
    "dedicated" to moiv. It was on the form. When quiet long time Kossack moiv sends out the call the members listen. moiv has set us straight on choice issues over the last couple of years, she knows the reality and what's just rhetoric.

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. - Mark Twain

    by Rolfyboy6 on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 10:25:11 PM PDT

    •  rolfyboy, I said it at Booman (none)
      so I'm saying it here, too. You rascal, you made me cry, but only in the nicest possible way.

      NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

      by moiv on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 06:50:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Aw shucks (none)
        It was merely the truth, we all know it. You work on the "front lines" and separate the reality from the talking points. You're the one looking into people's eyes.

        Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. - Mark Twain

        by Rolfyboy6 on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 11:42:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  $50 (4.00)
    I just spent that much on groceries today, and it can change the life of a woman.  Wish I could give more.
  •  ok just got the word out (4.00)
    to about 600 people on a LiveJournal pro-choice community.  Hope that helps.
  •  I am overwhelmed (4.00)
    by the heart and soul and generosity of every one of you. We are all asked for more than we can do, all the time.

    It would be so easy to say, "I just can't anymore." But you, we, all of us, somehow manage to do it anyway.

    And I am overwhelmed. Thank you, all of you, all of us.

    NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

    by moiv on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 11:02:18 PM PDT

  •  The usual suspects (4.00)
    Dr. Jerry Edwards and Dr. William Harrison are offering abortion care without charge to women displaced by Katrina--and quite predictably have been condemned for it by all the usual suspects.

    These are the same people who would have us believe that prominent, never-married proponents of the family-way or the highway for women -- Condoleezza Rice, Anne Coulter and indeed, Harriet Miers herself to name a few -- are childless from practicing abstinence.

    Thanks for the info, moiv. I'm sending a donation to Lilith.

    Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Denis Diderot

    by Peanut on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 11:12:39 PM PDT

  •  my response - please check this out and discuss (4.00)
    You got me curious.  I started thinking about giving money.  Do I give?  How much?  You said $50-$100 could cover an abortion.  I gave $50.  The ACLU can get paid later... this seems more important now.

    Once you got me thinking about it, I couldn't stop.  I started writing this as a comment, then an email, and now it's a diary (it got long).  Please take a look here:

    I hope people do actually read this and discuss it.

  •  thank you (4.00)
    For posting on this. I expect there may be some blowback from people who will say terrible things. Do not ignore them, but remember none are more blind than those who choose not to see.
  •  Pardon the reality dose, moiv, what cut is (4.00)
    "Network for Good" taking for processing the donations?

    Network for Good is the Internet's leading charitable resource -- an e-philanthropy site where individuals can donate, volunteer and get involved with the issues they care about. The organization's goal is to connect people to charities via the Internet -- using the virtual world to deliver real resources to nonprofits and communities.

    Founded in 2001 by the Time Warner Foundation and AOL, Inc.; the Cisco Foundation and Cisco Systems, Inc.; and Yahoo! Inc., Network for Good is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Bethesda, MD.

    If it's even 3%, I'd rather cut a check. And... Lilith fund might consider finding another way to take $$. (And maybe I missed something, maybe they ahve another method.)

    OK, I found it, it's 3%.

    In troubling times, it's good to read true stories about real people doing good things. HeroicStories, free

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 04:35:25 AM PDT

  •  gave, recommended, forwarded (4.00)
    Thanks for the alert.
  •  thank you again, moiv (4.00)
    Recommended and have a check ready to go out in today's mail. Wish I could send more.

    My LiveJournal isn't much trafficked, but I'll be posting a link to your diary there as well as the Lilith Fund and the TEA.

    Thank you for letting us know about how to help.

    Always be yourself. Unless you suck. ~ Joss Whedon

    by lunacat on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:23:34 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (4.00)
    this is a cause near and dear to my heart. $100 going out today, and I will e-mail this diary to other women I know.
  •  I just made a donation to Lilith Fund (4.00)
    I'm glad I can afford to.

    I know that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one... John Lennon

    by MagentaMN on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:20:40 AM PDT

  •  Fundraiser in Dallas on Sunday (4.00)
    The TEA is having a "Pro-Choice Tea Party" fundraiser in Dallas on Sunday at Tempest Tea, 5600 W. Lovers Lane, Suite 111, from 3-5 p.m.

    Cost is $10 per person, and there will be a silent auction, wine, chair massage, and live music.

    Come support "the Katrina aid that dare not speak its name" and meet some like-minded folks.

  •  Done (4.00)
    I contributed and I forwarded the diary to my email lists.  Thanks for all you do.
  •  Duly blogged... (4.00)
    Here. Link is a permalink. This is important stuff.

    Econ: -4.63 Soc: -6.92
    Just an aging Punk Rocker from the Valley...

    by MamasGun on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 03:42:41 PM PDT

  •  Just donated (4.00)
    $25 to TEA.  Thanks for getting the word out, moiv.
  •  Can't thank you enough (4.00)
    I have been searching for a way to donate money to victims of Hurricane Katrina that meant something to me and that would have a immediate impact. I can't thank you enough for posting this information here.

    I've sent a donation to both organizations and sent the link to this post to all I know will support it.

    This is nothing that the power of determined women and the mass communication power of the Internet can't solve!

  •  $25 to Lilith (4.00)
    ...I had previously donated online to Planned Parenthood's program right after Katrina.  Thanks for reminding us how important it is.

    Rubus Eradicandus Est.

    by Randomfactor on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 04:58:34 PM PDT

  •   Thanks for the diary and snail address (4.00)
      I heard about this on npr, minus the sad storys. It saddens me to see how much ground women have lost in this country.  I am old enough to remember the republicans using the argument women will have to fight in war to defeat the equal rights amendment.  So every time i heard about a dead female soldier, or trying to keep them off the frontlines {which all of a sudden they don't support that} it makes me see red.  Children should be wanted.  I could't have any, and don't think i would have got one but i see so many neglected kids it is heart wrenching.  When i was little i watched romper room, that woman had six kids and then had an abortion and i think it ruined her career.  Not positive about the kid no. but women's choice should remain a womans choice. Sorry to ramble, but glad to see this.  I can send a little.
    •  "Frivolous" (4.00)
      I remember once reading an article -- long ago, maybe even in the 1980s -- that quoted a man who said he'd seen women getting abortions "for frivolous reasons."  Don't remember who he was or what position he was in to make such a judgment.

      What I do remember is TOTALLY losing it when I read that comment.  When in the hell is the decision to bring a child into this world ever, ever a "frivolous" one?  It seems like the most serious of decisions, to me.  More and more, as the world becomes an ever-scarier place.

      I have no patience for anyone who judges a woman for making a choice.  Are we going to force the anti-choice people to have abortions?  Huh?  Huh?  I never see THAT brought up in all their rallies and propaganda, because of course we're not about forcing anything.

      Oh, Christ, losing temper now.  Please keep up the good work.

  •  Thank you for posting this (4.00)
    This is REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT, and I wish I could triple-recommend this diary and get it higher up on the list!

    I've made a donation to Lilith Fund through Network for Good, and will make one to the Texas Equal Access Fund next.

    Again, thank you - I would like to think that someone would have done this for me when I was a young woman and hadn't had thorough insurance coverage.

  •  Moiv, maybe you want to send a brief letter (4.00)
    ... to Eric Alterman?  His blog gets read widely, and he does publish letters from readers.  You could link it to the Miers debacle for relevancy.

    Also what about a letter to The Nation?

    Meanwhile I'm sending notes to friends linking to this diary.

    I am so grateful that you are doing this hard and important work.

    And yes, NO APOLOGIES.

  •  Keep abortion (4.00)
    When I was young, legal abortions were not available.  Women were using coat hangers and illicit drugs and pills to abort, with often life altering results.  Death was common.  Sterility was common.  And much the same as the far supposed religious right damning of the woman and societal shunning.  Not the guy, mind you, he was just having a little fun and sowing his oats.  NO MAN has a right to say whether a woman should or should not get and abortion.  NO MAN has a right to make abortion illegal again.  When a man ever gets pregnant, then he can talk.  Until then shut up!
    •  More of these stories (4.00)
      My aunt tells me stories about living in the 60's as a young woman. She has told me about women bleeding out at work. Using coat hangers. Dying. And she is committed to never going back to that.

      We need to hear more of these stories. I'm afraid we've lost some of this perspective. Young women need to hear these stories.

      •  Are you sure you want to hear details (none)
        of these stories?

        In troubling times, it's good to read true stories about real people doing good things. HeroicStories, free

        by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:00:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm afraid it's the forgetting of these details (4.00)
          ... that has contributed to the current climate.  I don't want to dwell on morbid horrible things either, but we're going to be LIVING with this again -- if the current administration has its way.  I'm beginning to think it's time to start setting up "Jane" networks again.
          •  Jane networks? (none)
            For those of us who've never heard of these, what are "Jane networks" please?
            •  What's a "good old boy" network? (none)
              What would a Jane network be, then?

              In troubling times, it's good to read true stories about real people doing good things. HeroicStories, free

              by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:56:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  "Jane" (none)
              A woman who needed an abortion and was in the know could contact a group of women who were all anonymous - so all called Jane - who could guide them toward a relative safe provider.

              I was a small child in the 60s so do not have details.

            •  See a couple of messages below n/t (none)
              •  I mean, a couple of messages above (none)
                Which is what I get for being in a hurry and late to work
                •  Jane (none)
                  Jane in Chicago was an underground collective. It began as the "Abortion Counseling Service of Women's Liberation", they also provided sexuality information.

                  Jane always viewed abortion as one critical component of the broader goal of women's liberation.

                  From the opening paragraph of Jane's pamphlet, their statement of purpose;

                  "We are women whose ultimate goal is the liberation of women in society. One important way we are working toward that goal is by helping any woman who wants an abortion to get one as safely and cheaply as possible under existing conditions."

                  Over time, they grew increasingly frustrated with the quality of care they could offer through referals.

                  Long story short, the womyn in the referal service eventually discovered one of their 'doctors' wasn't a doctor at all- which opened an entirely new possibility for them- abortion in lay hands.

                  And more importantly, womyn's health in womyn's hands.

                  Some of the Janes learned how to do the abortions themselves and everything changed. Quality of care went up, prices came way down- for starters.

                  Rich womyn were leaving the country to get their abortions, Jane did abortions for womyn who were not rich.

                  Former members estimate Jane did more than 11,000 abortions over the course of 4 years, with one fatality- which is a story unto itself. They were raided in 1972, Seven womyn were arrested for performing illegal abortions. This led to the "abortion 7 case", but the key here is that Jane managed to restart services in another location in less than 24 hours.

                  It's important to understand the situation they were in though, they had other medical people as support who they could call on, and they were more of an open secret than you might expect- Chicago cops brought their girlfriends etc. They also got some clergy support and referals- keep in mind, this was back in the age of the clergy consultation service. They even had a number listed in the Chicago phone book.

                  Jane disbanded in '73 with the Roe and Doe decisions. Some of the Jane womyn were very concerned that this meant abortion back in the hands of doctors and the medical establishment, they were concerned about quality of care and the expense- and naturally, their fears were justified.

                  Jane had provided any womyn an abortion without demanding a 'reason' and had let womyn pay whatever price they could afford. When we lost Jane, womyn lost much more than a provider, they lost the framework of Womyn's Liberation in relation to abortion.

                  Today's climate is utterly different. IMHO, any notion of just starting Jane up again exactly as it was is pure fantasy.

                  That does not mean Jane is not critically important.

                  Here's a link that provides some raw documentation-

                  Laura Kaplan's book- "The Story of Jane"

                  but I'd advise looking at news articles and doing some websearches.

          •  Exactly. n/t (none)

            In troubling times, it's good to read true stories about real people doing good things. HeroicStories, free

            by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:55:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So start the diary then (none)
            Solicit the stories from people who know.

            I personally think it'd be hijacking this diary to start posting them here.

            Or perhaps better, google and see if they're already out there.

            In troubling times, it's good to read true stories about real people doing good things. HeroicStories, free

            by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:59:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  We're lost if we forget those times... (4.00)
          "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

          The Life of Reason (1905)
          George Santayana (16 December 1863 - 26 September 1952)

      •  A friend who was young in the 60s (4.00)
        Told me about what it was like to visit an underground abortion provider (she was fortunate enough to have the resources to be able to do that).  There was no painkiller whatsoever, so he would turn up the radio so that his neighbors would not hear his patients screaming in pain.

        Sit with that for a moment, Clarence Thomas and Harriet Miers.  Sit with it and be ashamed of yourselves.  (Yes, wishful thinking, but I can wish, can't I?  They haven't taken THAT away yet.)

  •  Funds & mostly lost public funding (4.00)
    Ok, brief history lesson.

    This is a good opportunity to talk about one of the many things we lost.

    Between the time the Roe and Doe cases legalized access to abortion nationally (keep in mind some states legalized abortion before 1973) and the passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976-77 on federal Medicaid funds for abortion- womyn had at least some access to federally funded abortions. (I'll let you do your own research on the Hyde Amendment- it, and its effects are far too huge a topic for a comment here.)

    Some states still provide some state Medicaid funds for abortions for womyn in their states, but most are highly restricted down to cases like threat to the womyn's life- and even then, abortion providers do not always receive the state funding reimbursement. State funds can pay for more than Federal, but not less. Some states that have state Medicaid funds on the books may not have funded any actual abortions any time recently.

    All of which is a form of ultimate irony, as Medicaid itself was a program was created in part to deal with disparities in health care access between those who could afford health care, and those who could not.

    After 1977, Hyde, as an immediate measure to deal with the fact that you had womyn who needed access and couldn't afford it, various funds were created, sometimes by clinics themselves, sometimes by activist organizations to help fill in that funding gap. They were an emergency measure to help provide funding where there was simply no other access.

    Unfortunately, once the Hyde Amendment was in place, we never regained full federal funding. What this meant is that womyn in need have either had to rely on any given clinic's ability to eat the cost, or the various emergency funds around the country- which can often only provide part of the total cost.

    Almost universally, there is more need than cash. Whatever cash the funds have may go towards cost of the procedure, transportation, even food or childcare- as so many states now have 24 hour harassment ("waiting) periods.

    The aftermath of Katrina has only shown how easily overwhelmed what little we have can be eroded. More to the point, it shows how easily the small efforts we have been able to put in place are simply not enough- they are duct tape- not the solution.

    Short term- yes, give money to the emergency funds. Not just now, but when you can- there's not a fund across the country that couldn't use a check. Take a look at the National Network of Abortion Funds to get some idea of what's out there- If you have time to do more than just write a check, get involved- raise funds help get the word out- you know the drill.

    But this can ultimately only be a reactive position- as these funds rely on you and me sending checks when we can. It's not enough.

    Proactively, and longer term, full funding for abortion needs to be treated as part of health care in this country. (As should contraceptives etc. but of course, that's a response to a different point in time, throwing contraceptives at a womyn who's already pregnant non-consensually is like trying to close the barn door after the horse's already out.) Abortion is health care for womyn, it should be treated as such- again, as it once was.

    Katrina is only one of many, many, many telltale signs of how screwed we are. If you tell other people and send a check, that's good. But if it stops there, without working towards restoration of full funding you've only applied a band-aid.

    •  Absolutely true (4.00)
      across the board. In the quoted excerpt from Gretchen Dyer's article, the woman named Louise who had breast cancer couldn't have had a literally lifesaving abortion without help from TEA--and since the two funds cooperated to provide funding for her, from Lilith as well.

      Louise had Medicaid. Since her oncologist faxed us over 20 pages of medical records and a letter attesting that her pregnancy was a life-threatening condition, under the Hyde Amendment Medicaid should have covered the cost of her abortion, and Louise shouldn't have needed outside financial help.

      But given the urgent nature of her situation, in good conscience we couldn't wait for Medicaid approval that probably would never come. In the year 2000, about 77,000 abortion procedures were performed in the state of Texas. Medicaid claims were filed for only eleven of those, and someone I know in the state health department told me that only eight claims were actually considered for payment.

      Eight out of 77,000. Louise's instinct for survival must have told her that she was better off calling Gretchen and whoever answered the phone at Lilith than calling the government.

      NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

      by moiv on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:32:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My heart and my soul are full, there are no words (none)
        Both of you are my heroes.  It is so true, it's one thing to sit behind a computer and send links to all of our friends, family and like-minded organizations for help.  It's quite another to do the work you do as a lifetime commitment to help women across this country.  

        I've already heard back from women I sent the link to who not only read the diary and acted on it but also read the amazing, heartfelt comments.  None of them had a dry eye.  They have all said they are so proud to be a woman when there are women like you who man the frontlines every single day.

        I couldn't agree more.  You make me so damned proud to be a woman.  The comments and support from women to women in these threads is so, I don't even know what word to use, it's stunningly beautiful is the best I can do but really it's so, so, so much more.  

        Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less. Susan B. Anthony

        by caliberal on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:41:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Clarification (none)
          Um, just to be clear, in case anyone has made any incorrect assumptions about me;

          I do not work in a clinic, never have. I have worked for abortion access both politically and as a street activist and researcher. I've worked with providers, but am not a provider myself.

          They're the real heroes- because as I've said before, without providers what I do doesn't mean much, now does it?

          Wanna let providers know what they mean to us? March 10th every year is National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers.

          •  March 10 (none)
            because that is the anniversary of the murder of Dr. David Gunn in Florida in 1993.

            And March 10, 1993, was also the very day that I first walked into our clinic for a job interview. The woman who was to become my supervisor, and then held the job that is mine now, explained that the clinic staff was holding an emergency security meeting, and apologized for having to reschedule my interview.

            Then she asked me whether what had happened to Dr. Gunn had changed how I felt about possibly working there. I hadn't meant to, but for some reason I heard myself saying, "Yes. Now I want to be here even more, so I really hope you'll hire me."

            And they did.

            NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

            by moiv on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 12:43:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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