Why access is the name of the game

The National Abortion Funds’ Blogger Bowl-a-Thon ends tomorrow! But we still have time to make a difference in the lives of women all over America! (You can donate – pretty, pretty please – by clicking here.)

But maybe you’ve never heard about National Abortion Funds. What are they?

Abortion Funds are local, grassroots groups that provide direct financial assistance to women who need money to pay for their abortions. Many abortion Funds also help pay for emergency contraception and offer additional information and support. Some abortion Funds provide related services, including transportation to a clinic, housing for women who must travel far from home to reach a clinic, child care during the procedure, options counseling, and additional funding for ultrasound, pregnancy testing, or follow-up care.

That’s a big deal! There are still at least three states in our country that have no abortion provider at all and 87 percent of counties that don’t either (including some in Nevada)! So Abortion Funds helps women in those communities (and even big fancy ones like Las Vegas) get the access they need.

I don’t know these women, but I can easily imagine myself in their shoes. As many long-time readers know, I grew up in Wasilla, Alaska. It was a small pit-stop town (it’s now a little bit bigger) about an hour outside Anchorage. It was completely surrounded by the wildness of Alaska on all sides. You couldn’t see the valley for the trees, literally. In fact, there was only one way to get from Wasilla to Anchorage back then — an old two-lane highway through a desolate stretch of land called The Flats.

The Flats is an enormous stretch of dead forest — many, many square miles wide on all sides. It is the result of the great 1964 earthquake, also known as The Good Friday Earthquake, which killed hundreds of people all across the southern portion of Alaska. It was a magnitude 9.2 earthquake. (For reference, the earthquake in China this week was a 6.9, the Baja California quake a couple weeks ago was 7.2 and Haiti was 5.9.) In some places, land was immediately thrust up 10-30 feet high and in others, like The Flats, land suddenly plummeted 8 or more feet resulting in it dropping below the water table and creating this marshy, unstable, lifeless forest. All the trees and plant life immediately died, leaving behind an eery landscape of tall, black, dead trees. (Animals died, too.) Even now, some 46 years later, no new plant life grows in The Flats. And it is almost impossible to build anything on or near The Flats.

So this is just to paint the picture of where I grew up. I grew up in wild country. And there was a big, black void between me and “the big city” of Anchorage. There was no bus service between the two. No cab would drive you that far. No trains. No nothing. And let me remind you that I’m talking about Alaska. You aren’t going to want to hitchhike on the side of the highway in the dark, cold winter.

Likewise, there was no hospital (at that time) and I don’t remember any doctors’ offices, but there may have been one or two in Wasilla. We traveled to the next town over, Palmer, where there was a hospital and more doctors and things for medical care. So there again, you’re talking about driving 30 minutes to the next town over (they were farther apart back then).

So, if you were a teenage girl in Wasilla who found herself with an unwanted pregnancy … well you might have just been shit outa luck. Fortunately, that was never me. But I knew some girls. If they couldn’t find an adult (which may or may not have been a parent) to drive them to Anchorage; if that adult needed to have childcare for his/her own children; if that adult had to take time off work; if the girl didn’t have the money for the procedure … she had no access. No options. No choices.

But you don’t have to go as far away as Alaska to find a very similar kind of experience. There are women of all ages, marital status’, sexual orientations, races, economic backgrounds … you name it … right here in our very own community that don’t have access. What if instead of being a teenage girl in Wasilla, you are a teenage girl in Tonopah? What if you are a mother of three who can’t afford to have another baby (because you don’t want to go on welfare or Medicaid)? What if you were raped?

These women aren’t hypothetical situations. These women are real! And they need our help. Please consider donating to the Abortion Funds bowl-a-thon today to help these women have choices.

2 thoughts on “Why access is the name of the game

  1. Pingback: The gift of access, courtesy of Sin City Siren readers « The Sin City Siren

  2. Pingback: Abortion and the maternal instinct « The Sin City Siren

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