“Joanna” was 27, worked full time and lived with her partner. She found out that she was 10 weeks pregnant, but felt that she could not tell her partner or her family about the pregnancy. She knew that her partner would pressure her to keep it, and her conservative family would not have approved of her pregnancy out of wedlock, let alone an abortion.
Joanna was able to schedule an abortion appointment for a Saturday morning when she did not have to work, and went with the only friend she could trust. The CAIR Project granted her $50 so she could have the procedure immediately and not have to keep it hidden any longer.
“Lisa” was 30 years old and had a five year-old child. She knew she was pregnant but had a feeling that something was wrong; she'd become severely ill and was unable to work. Lisa visited the emergency room and was told that the fetus was malformed and probably would not survive. Lisa and her partner felt that an abortion was the right decision for them.
But even under these conditions, her employer's health insurance would not cover the cost of an abortion. She and her partner were forced to come up with the money for an abortion immediately. They called The CAIR Project, and we granted them $100 toward the abortion. This grant made it possible for Lisa to have the abortion right away instead of having to wait–while in great physical pain–to scrape together the money.
“Maria” and her new husband wanted a family and talked about getting pregnant as soon as possible after they were married. But shortly after their wedding, her husband turned violent. The abuse became severe in a very short period of time, and Maria left her husband. Right after doing so, she discovered she was pregnant and, given her husband's violence, was determined to terminate her pregnancy.
Unsure of her options, she borrowed $150 and made an initial appointment at a clinic. Because she was nearing the end of her 1st trimester, Maria needed to have her abortion soon or the price would increase and she would have to travel outside her state to find a clinic that performed 2nd trimester abortions.
The clinic agreed to discount their services by $100 and referred her to The CAIR Project. We granted her $150 and called another fund on her behalf, ultimately funding the last $100 so Maria could have her procedure close to her home and in the 1st trimester.
“Nicole” was 19 years old and nine weeks pregnant. Her monthly income was $327 (from Aid to Families with Dependent Children), and she had just given birth to twins four months ago. In addition to taking care of her new babies, she also cared for her disabled mother, and thus could not work a full-time job.
She was able to get a discount from a nearby local clinic—$100 off a $450 abortion procedure—but she still needed money to help cover the remaining cost. Despite these obstacles, Nicole remained overwhelmingly positive and worked hard to figure out a way to make this happen. Even though Nicole still needed to raise more funds, she said that the $80 grant from The CAIR Project made a difference and helped her feel that there were people out there who supported her.
Donor and volunteer
I have been involved in all aspects of CAIR's work–its planning, development, and on the hotline, as a donor, volunteer, trainer/facilitator and activist for more than six years. It is rare to see such an effective and professional nonprofit, staffed almost entirely by volunteers.
The hotline runs smoothly and well–dealing with women in crisis and walking them through the steps to be able to move on with their lives. The training provided to hotline volunteers is excellent–and CAIR's experienced lead volunteers have come to my aid more than once when I have had a hotline client with a special need.
I have assisted the Board in strategic planning, development and fundraising. They are enthusiastic, excited and competent. If a CAIR board member agrees to a task, it usually happens, and if not, it's for a good reason.
Finally, I have been a donor to the CAIR Project for longer than I can remember. I can't see a more effective use of my funds directly serving a client base in crisis than CAIR. Women need that money for abortion procedures, safe medical advice and care, childcare, travel and housing.
Clients never take advantage of the system and CAIR volunteers work hard to exhaust all sources of funding to spread their own budgets as far as possible. Trust me–it is terrible to tell a woman in crisis who happens to call at the end of your weekly shift that you are out of funds–and that she needs to wait. We need CAIR to assist those in the Northwest who have no other resources, and no resources to support another child. Thanks to all who participate–I am honored to be a part of this group.
I first heard of the CAIR Project while working at NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. Reproductive rights had long been an important issue to me, but I had been wanting to get involved directly with the women who actually needed services. I've been volunteering for CAIR for about three years. Two one-week long shifts on the hotline per year is the perfect commitment and something I can maintain while in school.
It is so rewarding to be able to help the women who call in such dire need of funding. Everyone's stories are so varied and the women who call have faced such different circumstances. But every woman shares the same relief and gratitude at being able to get the help they need–and that's ultimately why I volunteer.