The Hotline helps hundreds of people each week. Here are some real stories of women we've helped on the Hotline. Their names have been changed to protect the privacy of our callers.
"Carla" called the NAF Hotline during her struggle to obtain abortion care. Carla had gotten a night job to save money for her procedure, and had put up flyers advertising babysitting. Unfortunately, members of the community who were aware of her situation ripped them down. Carla was determined, however, and spoke to one of her more sympathetic neighbors, an elderly woman who needed help around her house. With her support, Carla had her abortion and returned to school.
"Saundra" was unemployed, recently divorced, and raising her children by herself. When Saundra called the NAF Hotline, she was very upset. She had just found out that she was pregnant and the man involved in her pregnancy was extremely anti-choice and had threatened to kill her if she had an abortion. The Hotline staff member who spoke to Saundra referred her to some local domestic violence service providers in her area. As a result of their help, she was able to have the abortion without worrying that her life was threatened.
"Miranda" had a severe fetal anomaly that gave the fetus almost no chance of survival. Miranda had also had multiple cesarean sections, which, for medical reasons, made having an abortion more difficult. In addition, Miranda was undocumented and spoke no English. She reached out to friends and family for support, but her few friends in the United States were too poor to help her pay for the procedure and her family's small income left little to spare. The NAF Case Manager contacted national abortion funds on her behalf, and with the help of those funds and some money from her husband, Miranda was able to have an abortion.
"Carmen" was HIV-positive and had recently been diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer. She was also pregnant. Her doctor had informed her that continuing the pregnancy would put her life in danger due to her general poor health, the advanced stage of the cancer, and because treatment for the cancer could not begin unless she was no longer pregnant. Carmen received Medicaid, which (under the Hyde Amendment) covers abortion in cases where a woman's life is in danger. However, when she called the Medicaid office, she was told not only that there was no such thing as a medically necessary abortion, but that she was selfish for wanting to terminate her pregnancy. After speaking with Carmen, the NAF Case Manager reached out to a local abortion fund, which was able to make a significant contribution towards the cost of her abortion. Once the procedure was completed, Carmen was able to begin cancer treatment.
"Faith" had been demanding an amniocentesis from her doctor for six weeks before he finally gave in and ran the test. The results indicated that Faith's fetus had a multicystic dysplasctic kidney disorder, but Faith's doctor assured her that after delivery her baby would be fine and have a normal life. Faith was not so sure; she'd heard that this was a serious fetal anomaly. She called the NAF Hotline because she did not know where to turn for an honest opinion about the quality of life for a person with this disease. The NAF Hotline staff was able to find names and numbers of pro-choice genetic counselors in Faith's area that could speak with her. As a result of this information, Faith was able to make an informed decision about whether or not to carry her wanted pregnancy to term.
"Melissa" had a severe heart condition that made it life-threatening for her to carry her pregnancy to term. After her doctor put her on bed rest with only one hour of mobility each day, Melissa called the NAF Hotline. Her life literally depended on whether or not she could procure the funds to have an abortion. To help Melissa, her doctor had gone before his hospital board to request that they cover the cost, but the board rejected the request on the grounds that she was not in "imminent danger," a situation they defined as "requiring resuscitation." Melissa's father had just been released from prison, her mother was dead, and the man involved wanted her to carry to the pregnancy to term in spite of the risk to her life. She'd also been laid off six weeks previously, so was not yet eligible for Medicaid. After hearing Melissa's story, the NAF Case Manager worked quickly to secure funding for her and managed to raise the amount she needed within a week. After her abortion was completed, Melissa called the NAF Hotline to express her thanks and to inquire about how she could start a local fund to help women in similar situations.