Hilarie Dahlhauser is a patient educator at CHOICES with an incredible passion for reproductive justice and serving our patients. She’s been with us since 2006 as both a volunteer and an employee. Throughout this time she has counseled, encouraged, comforted, and held the hands of countless women facing an unplanned pregnancy, and she knows first-hand how much your donations can impact the lives of these women. Hilarie’s stories from the front lines in the war for reproductive freedom highlight how the needless abortion restrictions recently passed in TN harm the most vulnerable members of our community and how meaningful your donation can truly be.
A tearful19-year-old mother of 3 was sitting in my office. She had been kicked out of her mother’s house, and then, when she became pregnant again, her grandmother kicked her out too. She and her 3 children were living in her car. She wanted an abortion- as much as anyone ‘wants’ an abortion. Of course, she wished circumstances were different and that could provide the love and support every child deserves to another baby, but she didn’t want to bring another child into her life of poverty and uncertainty.
She asked if there was anything we could do to help her pay for the procedure. I told her that with funding from the National Abortion Federation, we could reduce her cost to $455. Because our Patient Assistance Fund had been depleted by other similar cases, we could not offer her any lower fee. She dropped her head into her hands and started to cry.
A year ago, this wouldn’t have happened.
Because of the new Tennessee State law requiring a 48-hour waiting period between appointments, we now have to make women come for two separate visits in order to get an abortion. This means we have to pay our doctor for two full days for each procedure. Because of these new circumstances, we have no choice but to nearly the double cost of an abortion just to be able to keep our doors open. Prior to the new law, the price of an abortion was around $400. With NAF funding, we could get the fee down to as little as $255. Now the price is at least $700, and the absolute lowest we can reduce it with NAF funding is $455. For women who do not have $455 at their disposal, this cost is devastating .
Often, coming up with this money means returning to an abusive partner to ask for cash, forgoing food for themselves and their families, taking out loans, or selling valuable and necessary items.
Your contribution can make sure this doesn’t have to happen to anyone else.
On top of the cost of the procedure, women must now bear the financial burden associated with two visits. Many of our patients travel from Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Alabama to access the services we provide. Before the law passed, we prided ourselves on being able to offer same-day services. Women would only have to make the trek once, and only miss one day of work. We were able to minimize the negative impact that an abortion has on their lives. Now, we have to tell women who are sick, anxious, and filled with dread that they have to go back home and prolong this process.
One woman in my office burst into tears when I told her she had to return for a second visit because she didn’t have a car or know anyone who had one. When I asked her how she had gotten to this visit, she told me she had taken a cab. From Little Rock, Arkansas! That’s a 2 hour cab ride. On top of that, she couldn’t afford a babysitter, so she had left her two small children at home alone.
Abortion is not fun. For anyone. It’s a huge decision, and one that causes many women a great deal of emotional, financially, and physical stress. We cannot change this. What we can do is reduce the added stress of this extreme financial burden.
Your donation can drastically decrease the negative impact that the often difficult decision to have an abortion has on a woman’s life.
All of our donations go directly to our Patient Assistance Fund. Your contribution can lift the pressure that our patients are already feeling, and make sure that they don’t have to put themselves in any further distress. Our lawmakers are trying to make abortion less accessible and less affordable. CHOICES can provide access to affordable, compassionate abortion care, but we need your help.
Please, help us make sure that no more young women have to choose between terminating an unwanted pregnancy and feeding their families.
Visit www.memphischoices.org/protectourchoices today and make a life-changing contribution to our patient assistance fund.