Fall 2006
ACCESS: Making Choice A Reality
The Quarterly E-Newsletter of ACCESS

Dear Friend,

Our e-newsletter for Fall 2006 is finally here! As we got closer and closer to November, we couldn't help but wait to see what changes the election would bring - and boy are we glad we did!! Read below for more exciting news about reproductive rights issues, life at ACCESS and our transitions.

- Save the Date for ACCESS Holiday Party!
- Breaking News: A Good Week for Abortion Rights
- Reproductive Rights Updates
- Staff Changes on the ACCESS Hotline
- Volunteer Voices: Three Interns Share Stories
- Real Women, Real Choices: Life on the Hotline

Save the Date for an ACCESS Party!
Tuesday, December 12th
Please save the date for Tuesday, December 12th, when ACCESS will host our annual holiday party. This year, however, we will be having a special event rather than our regular open house at the office. We hope you will join us to recognize Parker's 10 years of service with ACCESS, meet our new Executive Director, and celebrate the organization's accomplishments as well as its fabulous future! The event will be somewhere BART-friendly in the Bay Area. Details to follow very soon!

Breaking News Post-Election
A Good Week for Abortion Rights!
As you all probably know by now, this past Tuesday voters around the United States sent a strong message to our government, and among other things, we stood up for reproductive rights and access to abortion for ALL women!

Most exciting for ACCESS, California voters soundly defeated Proposition 85 (54% to 46%), once again saying NO to mandated parental notification for abortion. Hopefully our opponents will get the message this time - the people of California will not tolerate attacks on access to abortion or allow the health and rights of our teenagers to be endangered for a political agenda! There were also several other major victories for abortion rights this election. In South Dakota, voters repealed the extreme abortion ban passed earlier this year by their state legislature by a margin of 56% to 44%. And in Oregon, voters defeated a parental notification measure similar to California's Prop 85.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the Supreme Court heard arguments challenging the Federal Abortion Ban, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in 2003. The Ban has already been found unconstitutional by six lower federal courts because it does not offer a health exception and/or because it is so vaguely worded as to potentially apply to all second-trimester abortion procedures. A decision is expected sometime before July 2007, and insiders are cautiously optimistic that we will see another 5 to 4 vote striking down this dangerous and misguided law. More information can be found from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Reproductive Rights Updates
News You Can Use
Prescription-Free Plan B for Women 18 and Over Only

Three years after agreeing to review emergency contraception for over-the-counter (OTC) sale, in August the FDA approved Barr Laboratory's application for the sale of Plan B to women 18 and over without a prescription. This arbitrary age restriction was included despite repeated findings by the FDA's own scientific evaluation panels that Plan B is safe for unrestricted over-the-counter sale to women of all ages. Initially the FDA had indicated that they would likely approve the application allowing Plan B to be sold OTC for women over 16 years of age, but then chose to set the limit at 18 because it would be 'easier to remember.'

Practically speaking, enforcement of this age restriction means that Plan B will actually be available 'behind the counter' at pharmacies and clinics (not out on the shelf with Tylenol or in your local gas station convenience store, for example). Buyers will have to show proof of age and women under 18 will still need a prescription unless they live in a state such as California that already allows prescription-free access to EC. Only men over 18 will be allowed to buy the drug, though they should not be questioned about the age of the woman they are purchasing it for.

Some questions also remain as to how OTC status will affect the cost of obtaining Plan B. Barr Pharmaceuticals has said that they expect costs for the nonprescription version of Plan B, which typically costs $25-40, to increase slightly. In addition, when a drug becomes classified as over-the-counter, insurance providers traditionally cease to cover it, meaning that women will have to pay out of pocket in most states. However, women will not have to pay for a doctor's office visit in order to get a prescription, which could reduce costs. It is unclear whether Medicaid, which currently covers Plan B with a co-payment, will continue to cover the drug for low- income women once it is classified as over-the- counter.

In California, emergency contraception has been available from pharmacists without a prescription since 2002, for women of all ages. As a result, the FDA ruling will have less of a dramatic impact on the reality of access to emergency contraception in California than in other states. We have also been assured by the Dept of Health Services that Plan B will continue to be covered by Family PACT even when it becomes truly available over-the-counter.

Although this is only a partial victory, it is certainly a step in the right direction and a huge benefit to millions of women living in states where EC has been very difficult to obtain. Barr and the FDA predict that Plan B should be available nationally at pharmacies before the end of the year. Although Plan B is most effective the sooner it is taken, it can be taken for up to five days after unprotected sex. Any woman including minors! can request an advance prescription from her doctor or a family planning clinic to have on hand in case of emergency. Or call ACCESS or 1-888-NOT-2-LATE for more info on where to find emergency contraception in your area!

Federally Funded Pregnancy Resource Centers Incorrectly Inform About Abortion

An undercover survey of 25 federally funded pregnancy resource centers (often referred to as crisis pregnancy centers) released this past summer confirmed what many reproductive rights advocates have been saying for years. According to the study released by Rep. Henry Waxman, investigators who posed as 17-year-old teens seeking information about their unintended pregnancies were frequently told that "abortion leads to breast cancer, infertility, and mental illness." According to the report, the pregnancy centers gave out misleading information about abortion 87% of the time (20 of the 23 centers reached by telephone). Not surprisingly, the report concluded that these federally funded centers "may be effective in frightening pregnant teenagers and women and discouraging abortions," and noted that denying women accurate information and preventing informed decision-making is a clear violation of accepted public health practice.

It is disturbing enough that privately funded crisis pregnancy centers continue to promote their anti- abortion agenda by tricking vulnerable women into believing that they offer information on 'all options' when in fact they provide false, biased propaganda. Worse yet, since 2001 our federal government has provided more than $30 billion to such organizations in at least 15 states (including funds for abstinence- only education as well as capacity-building). The Waxman Report is a step toward revealing the true nature and scope of this problem. However, the Department of Health and Human Services, which received the report in mid-July, has not yet commented on the findings of the Waxman report. For more info or to download a copy of the report, click here.

NAPW Leads Opposition to C.R.A.C.K./Project Prevention

Proposition 85 is not the only issue resurfacing this year; C.R.A.C.K. (aka Project Prevention) is also back in the news. The program, originally called Children Require a Caring Kommunity, offers currently and formerly drug-addicted women $300 cash to be sterilized or go on a long-term birth control method. C.R.A.C.K. was started by a woman named Barbara Harris after she adopted several children born to a woman addicted to crack cocaine.

Groups such as ACCESS and National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) oppose C.R.A.C.K./Project Prevention on the grounds that it is coercive, bigoted, and in violation of basic informed consent principles. The program also perpetuates misinformation and stereotypes about pregnancy, drug use, access to drug treatment and access to contraception. Rather than fighting for affordable drug and alcohol treatment programs, publicly funded reproductive health services, and better support for women and families, C.R.A.C.K. simply targets women who are desperately addicted to drugs and offers them cash in exchange for their fertility. This is one of the most short-sighted and cynical approaches to drug addiction imaginable.

C.R.A.C.K. also reveals its bias by focusing on a relatively small number of women of color in poor neighborhoods who are addicted to crack cocaine, rather than campaigning to reach the many thousands of women whose newborns suffer health consequences from alcohol or cigarette exposure. Why? Because those women are more likely to be white, middle-income or otherwise have rights that are harder to stomp on. Yet according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women in the U.S. are 20 times more likely to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes than to use cocaine during pregnancy. In fact, current research suggests that many of the health consequences previously blamed on cocaine use during pregnancy may actually be due to cigarettes and alcohol, since virtually all cocaine users also drink and smoke.

In a recent article in the Journal of Law in Society, Lynn Paltrow of NAPW wrote: "Under the guise of openness, 'voluntary' choice, and personal empowerment, C.R.A.C.K. not only promotes a vicious image of the 'eternal drug addict,' it has won significant support for a program and an ideology that is at the core of civil rights violations and eugenic population control efforts." For more information on this and other issues affecting the rights of pregnant women, visit the NAPW web site.

Schwarzenegger Vetoes SB 840 and Universal Health Coverage

Nearly 1 in 5 Californians (19%) are uninsured. According to the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, half of every dollar spent on health care is wasted on administration, insurance company profits, and overpriced pharmaceuticals. SB 840 (Kuehl), the California Health Insurance Reliability Act, offered a comprehensive plan to save money while providing health coverage for all Californians. The bill was passed in both the State Assembly and the State Senate, making it the first time in the history of California that the legislature sent such a comprehensive health care reform bill to the governors desk.

Unfortunately, SB 840 was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, who erroneously said the bill would create a 'government-run system of socialized medicine' (a mistake that is not surprising given his refusal to meet even once with Senator Kuehl to discuss the actual bill). In reality, SB 840 proposed to provide health insurance not health care to all California residents through a single-payer program run by a new organization, the California Health Insurance Agency. The program would be funded by current state healthcare funds as well as payments from consumers and employers. Healthcare would be provided by independent doctors, clinics and hospitals that would remain privately or publicly run just as they are now, and each individual would be allowed to choose his or her own doctor without the convoluted restrictions currently required by most managed-care plans.

It is estimated that SB 840 would save the state, businesses and working families nearly $8 billion just in the first year. Fortunately, Senator Kuehl has until 2008 (when she will be forced out of office due to term limits) to fight for universal health care for all Californians so stay informed and involved and maybe well win next year!!

Teen Endangerment Act Fails to Pass Senate - This Time

Last month, the Senate narrowly averted disaster for young women throughout the United States by refusing to consider the "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act" (CIANA), more commonly known among reproductive rights advocates as the Teen Endangerment Act.

CIANA is comprised of two main parts. First, it criminalizes any adult who assists a young woman in crossing state lines to get an abortion without first complying with any parental notification or consent laws required by her home state. There is no exception for relatives such an aunt or grandmother, and the law would apply to groups like ACCESS and other abortion funds that pay for bus tickets or provide volunteer rides across state lines. In addition, CIANA would create a federal parental notification law by requiring that anytime a young woman seeking an abortion is a resident of a state other than the state where the abortion is performed, the physician who performs the abortion must provide 24 hours notice to a parent of the minor before performing the abortion, regardless of the laws in her home state.

Since only 13 percent of counties in the U.S. have any known abortion providers, women of all ages are often forced to travel to another state to get an abortion. The reality is that not all young women can go to a parent when faced with this situation. Laws like CIANA would simply prevent the most vulnerable teens from turning to another trusted adult for help and support leaving them with the frightening option of going alone.

This bill is a threat that has been and will likely continue to be with us for a while. As you may remember, the House of Representatives originally passed CIANA (HR 748) back in April 2005. In July of this year, the Senate passed a similar law titled the "Child Custody Protection Act" (CCPA S 403), which did not include CIANAs provision requiring mandatory parental notification for all out-of-state minors regardless of the laws of their home states. Because the bills were not identical, one of two things had to happen in order for the bill to become law during this session:1) A conference could be called to resolve the differences between the two versions; or 2) The House could opt to take up and pass a bill identical to S.403, which would then be sent to the President for his signature.

Unwilling to give up the more draconian aspects of CIANA, Majority Leader Bill Frist made a formal request to go to conference to resolve differences between the Senate and House versions, but Senate Democrats objected and refused to name conferees, thereby blocking the conference. In a last ditch effort to push the bill through before the Senate recessed for the fall elections, a cloture motion was filed to overcome the objection. When the cloture vote finally came up at 10pm on a Friday night, however, CIANA supporters fell three votes short of the 60 votes required to end debate and force a vote on the bill. As a result, the disparities between CCPA and CIANA remain unresolved and the bill will not become law, leaving the entire debate to resume again next session. So stay tuned - especially now that we have a new Congress!

Staff Changes on The ACCESS Hotline
Welcome Lupe Rodriguez!
This past June, after more than four years at ACCESS, our wonderful Program Manager Alma Avila- Pilchman decided it was time to move on in search of her next adventure. Although we all miss Alma's warmth and spirit very much, we know that she will continue to do great work wherever she goes.

Fortunately, we found a wonderful new Hotline Manager to keep moving ACCESS and our bilingual hotline services forward! Guadalupe Rodriguez, who goes by Lupe, has been with us for a few months now and is busily answering hotline calls, coordinating practical support, training interns, and doing outreach in the community. (Lupe is pictured, center, surrounded by interns Helen Ning, Andrea Jergesen, Janet O'Connor, and Miriam Boxerman.)

Originally from Mexico City, Lupe was raised in San Jose and recently returned to the Bay Area after spending time abroad working for Salud Integral Para la Mujer, an organization dedicated to promoting and defending women's sexual and reproductive rights in Mexico. She received her Bachelor's degree in biology from Harvard University in 2005. When not studying, Lupe worked with various community and non-profit organizations in Boston to advocate for social resources for disadvantaged families, promote equal access to health care, and mentor children with special needs. Read more about Lupe in her own words below!

"Just a year ago, I never thought I would be in the wonderful place I am today. When I first started college I was programmed to go straight through school from undergrad to medical school and beyond. I had no idea then that my life would change by the spontaneous, unplanned choices I would make, which were so uncharacteristic of me before.

Throughout college I worked at the amazing Boston Medical Center with a student run advocacy and social service program called Project HEALTH. While in Project HEALTH, I not only learned about social service systems, advocacy, and addressing the causes behind the poor health and quality of life of the underserved in Boston, but the rigid plans I had for my life began to change. The thought of going straight through school and becoming a doctor in a neat few years wasnt as important to me anymore. Nevertheless, because I really didnt know what else I could do, I prepared to apply to medical school at the end of my junior year. Then, my course completely changed when a fellow Project HEALTH volunteer told me about a women's health and rights organization in Mexico called Salud Integral Para La Mujer (SIPAM). Learning about SIPAM was the final push I needed to break out of the safe path I had designed for myself. So instead of medical school applications, that summer I was filling out fellowship applications.

With a generous Harvard fellowship I soon set off to Mexico to learn and 'do' great things. In retrospect, my time in Mexico was one of the best experiences, even though at the time I felt pretty useless. All I was doing, I thought, was reading and writing about people's misery and their declining quality of life. I wasn't in action or changing what I saw as blatant injustices. Still, I was so intrigued and inspired by the work SIPAM was doing that I knew I wasnt ready to go back to school just yet.

So when I came back to the US, I started looking for the "perfect" job. It wasnt until July that I found the listing for an open position as the Hotline Manager at ACCESS. It was the only job that caught my attention as something I would love to do and could do really well with the experience I had. Even though it was only a couple of days before the deadline to apply, I was determined to get my foot in the door. I scrambled once or twice, but I turned in the application and fortuitously joined ACCESS as the new Hotline Manager.

Now several months later, I'm living and breathing the stories and lives of the women I work with here at ACCESS everyday. I've only been here a short time, but I think I already understand the depth and importance of the work we do, and all women have to do, to save and nurture our reproductive rights. I only hope that my passion for the work can help ACCESS grow, and more importantly, help change the systems that create barriers for women in the first place. I also look forward to getting to know all of you who help ACCESS make choice a reality for women!"

ACCESS Volunteer Voices
Three Interns Share Their Stories
Andrea Jergesen:

In reflecting on the time I've spent working as a hotline intern at ACCESS, I have been surprised and pleased to realize how much I have learned in these few short months. When I started taking calls, it quickly became clear that while a hotline service provides for anonymity and thus a certain sense of distance between caller and counselor, it also opens a safe space that allows for a level of honesty and openness that rarely exists between strangers. I have been touched by the diversity of the stories, emotions, and ways that the men and women I have spoken with are processing their experiences. This has confirmed for me that there will forever be multiple approaches to addressing reproductive health issues, and personal life challenges in general.

This has taught me that though there may be moments during a call when I want to reach through the phone and shake, or more often, hug and assure the caller, it is not my place to do so. The job of a hotline intern is to be a source of information and education, a sounding board for emotions, a source of validation, compassion, and support but not of solutions or answers or fixes. That work the search for correct actions, for balance and reconciliation is that of the caller. Considering the diversity of individual approaches to challenges, the caller is the only one who will know what is right in her situation. One of the greatest lessons I have learned this summer is how important it is to provide not only support, but also an appropriate amount of space, so that an individual may best exercise her agency and choice.

During the moments at ACCESS when I have not been taking calls, I have been constantly inspired by the work that the other interns and staff around me are doing to protect such a sense of choice. Learning firsthand about the cultural, societal, and institutional barriers that stand in the way of women receiving the care and empowerment they need and are entitled to has made me angry and concerned. But when I come to work every week, what I see in the office and hear on the phone has given me so much hope that all people, but women particularly, do have the strength and power to make changes happen.

I am thankful for the opportunity I've had to work with and by the women at ACCESS, and for the encouragement that they have given me. I know that what I have learned here will be of great service to me as I pursue post-graduate studies to become a women's health care practitioner, and also as I continue to grow in general as a woman myself.

Miriam Boxerman:

As the summer Reproductive Justice Advocacy Intern at ACCESS, a major part of my job was to research policies affecting access to reproductive health services, and to help create materials for advocacy and community education. Most of my time was focused on two issues: Medi-Cal reimbursement for abortion and the declining number of abortion providers that accept Medi-Cal, and the new federal regulations under the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) that require citizens applying for Medicaid to prove their citizenship with a birth certificate or passport.

One of the more fun but also disturbing aspects of my work involved surveying providers and agencies to see what regular women would actually be told about their options for obtaining services. These calls made it all too clear that misinformation surrounding abortion whether due to ignorance or malice causes confusion and barriers for many women seeking reproductive health services.

For example, when I called the Medi-Cal patient hotline to ask a question about reimbursement rates for abortion, I was told that Medi-Cal doesnt cover abortion. When I said that this was erroneous information, the customer service rep was incredulous. "Really?" she replied. "Is that a new policy?" Although new is a relative term, Medi-Cal has covered abortions since the late 1980s. Unfortunately, this is not a fact that many people know apparently including Medi-Cal officials.

This exchange led me to play a plethora of what-if questions in my head. What if I had been an enrollee who wanted to know her right to abortion under Medi- Cal? What if I had been interested in signing up for Medi-Cal because I was pregnant and I wanted to terminate the pregnancy? What if I didnt know to call ACCESS where a hotline volunteer would dispel the myth that Medi-Cal doesnt cover abortion?

After a summer at ACCESS, I have become acutely aware of the reality of reproductive rights and access to abortion in California. Sure, we discuss the impediments to accessing quality health care in my public health classes at UCLA, but this internship has allowed me to see the difference between the policies on paper that protect a womans right to abortion and the barriers to actually receiving these services. And I definitely plan to stay involved with ACCESS when I return to the Bay Area next year!

Helen Ning:

I came into ACCESS as a person that didn't relate too much to the community of her gender or have much idea what women's reproductive rights were. Before exposing myself to this small but wonderful group of women who work hard to ensure all other women are guaranteed a choice, I used to be an activist only in international issues such as anti-war rallies or immigrants' rights. I usually take a liberal stand on social issues but just wasn't quite convinced on abortion and reproductive rights due to lack of knowledge and little affiliation with this issue. After just a few weeks at ACCESS, however, I learned from listening to stories of all types of women with limited access to the choice they really want to make for their bodies, and I realized how important the work done at ACCESS is.

Using my skills as a trilingual woman (I speak Mandarin, Spanish and English), my first project at ACCESS was making phone calls to confirm the language accessibility at abortion providers and other clinics around California. Many places claimed to have Spanish or Chinese language ability but failed the test of being able to take a phone call from a woman who did not speak English. The realization that many places are not truly accessible to monolingual women brought me to my next project, outreaching to the Asian community service organizations in the Bay Area.

As an Asian woman, I feel strongly related to the underprivileged Asian populations that have been left out of access to medical services that the mainstream population enjoys, due to scarcity of services in some neighborhoods and to language barriers. In order to understand the issue better, I talked to several wonderful organizations that are currently doing their best to serve the Asian and Pacific Islander community in the Bay Area. I received lots of great advice from these organizations on how ACCESS can work more closely with these organizations and offer more complete services to women of different backgrounds.

Despite the short time I spent at ACCESS over summer, I truly appreciate what I have learned from the people I met especially Parker, who gave me this great opportunity and I will surely keep being an activist in fight for reproductive choice and better access for women of all kinds!

Real Women, Real Choices
Life on the ACCESS Hotlines
All names and other identifying information have been changed to protect our callers' confidentiality.

Lacy wanted to know if she could get pregnant if she had unprotected sex while she was on her period. I explained that the chances were low. She has been pregnant before and she feels the symptoms of pregnancy, she wanted places where she could be tested. I gave her some referrals. She asked if these places also do abortions and I explained that they don't and that there are no abortion providers in her county, she said that's okay. I told her that if she finds out that she is pregnant and needs an abortion referral, to call us back so we can find something in a county that is close to her.

Sara called ACCESS needing help paying for abortion services. Uninsured, she was having a hard time raising money to pay for the procedure herself, and the longer it took her to raise money the higher the cost of an abortion became as her pregnancy went farther along. The clinics she called did not offer payment plans, and no one mentioned anything about Medi-Cal. When Sara called ACCESS she was shocked to learn that she could apply for Medi-Cal and it would cover her abortion. Janet, a hotline volunteer, helped Sara figure out how to apply so she could obtain her abortion without further delay or frustration.

Kate didn't know she was pregnant until a couple weeks ago. She had an appointment for an abortion today but was told that she is 29-30 weeks pregnant. This was a surprise to her, she thought she'd be 3 months max. She's pretty shaken up. I asked if she had a support system and she said probably because she has to call and tell people since she wasn't expecting this. She heard there were out of state referrals that would still do an abortion. I gave her the numbers but told her it wasn't certain that they would see her and if they did it could be as much as $10,000 with travel, hotel, etc. She said that was ok. I told her to feel free to call us back after she told people or if she just wanted to talk about anything. I also asked if she had considered adoption or keeping the baby and she said she was set on abortion.

Rosemary was trying to find the abortion clinic in Sacramento that Planned Parenthood had referred her to she's 21 weeks pregnant and has Emergency Medi-Cal. I told her that none of the places in Sacramento take Medi-Cal past 20 weeks anymore. She asked how much it would cost to pay in cash, so I told her the bad news (at least $1,500). I recommended San Francisco General Hospital and she said she just got an appointment on standby for Tuesday. I told her that's her best bet other than raising money. She thanked me.

Miguel called saying that he was worried that his girlfriend might be pregnant. They had sex one week ago for the first time. It was 4 days after his girlfriend ended her period, and Miguel used a condom. In the days after having sex, his girlfriend spoke with her pregnant cousin who mentioned that she had felt sleepy and had some spotting at the beginning of the first trimester. Miguel's girlfriend said that in the past few days she has experienced those same symptoms, and now she is convinced that she is pregnant. I assured Miguel that sleepiness and spotting are not sure signs of pregnancy. I asked about his girlfriend's menstrual cycle, and he said that it is very regular. I explained that over the course of one 28-day cycle, there are only a limited number of days in which a woman can actually get pregnant, and that these days generally are in the middle of the cycle. Because they had sex only 4 days after her period ended, and because he had used protection, the chance that she was pregnant is very low. I reminded him that the only way to know for sure either way would be to do a pregnancy test, and suggested he talk about that with his girlfriend. He said he didnt know what he'd do if the test came out positive he's just not ready for a child and his dad would disapprove. I told him that ACCESS has information about abortion, prenatal care, and adoption, and that we could help him get insurance without his dad finding out. I said we'd be happy to help him explore those options in the future if need be, but also suggested that he try to take one thing at a time.

Heidi had already missed three abortion appointments because she couldn't get a ride to the nearest provider in Sacramento, which was over an hour away from her home in Amador County. Thankfully, when Heidi contacted the Public Health Department she talked to a social worker who told her about ACCESS and our Practical Support Network. We helped Heidi buy a bus ticket so that she could make it to Sacramento for her fourth appointment. She was more than 17 weeks pregnant when she was finally able to receive her abortion.

Elysha called looking for an abortion referral in the Santa Cruz area. As she and Alma talked, it became clear that the insurance Elysha was planning on using to pay for the abortion was for people in the military, which would not cover abortion (under the Hyde Amendment, federal funds are banned from paying for abortions). Elysha did not know this, and had no other way to pay for the abortion. She was relieved to learn about Emergency Medi-Cal, which pays for abortion for low-income women who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover abortion. At 10 weeks pregnant, however, Elysha had just a week or two to get Medi-Cal and obtain her abortion at the local clinic in Santa Cruz. If it took too long and she went past 12 weeks she would have to travel 1-2 hours away to get to another clinic.

Amanda called after she was turned away from a clinic because they don't accept Medi-Cal for abortions if the woman is over 20 weeks pregnant. She had another appointment at a clinic a couple of hours away and said she could find transportation and money to pay for a hotel. Her boyfriend would accompany her and care for her 2-year-old son, who she needed to bring along. Amanda was still concerned however, because she lives with her mother and will have to come up with an excuse to explain her 2-day absence. Tearfully, Amanda told me that with her last pregnancy, her mother had been extremely disapproving, and tried to force her to get an abortion. On the way to the clinic, however, Amanda realized how much she wanted to keep the baby, and at the last minute refused to go through with the procedure. When she found out about this pregnancy, she had initially wanted to keep it as well. As time went on though, Amanda decided that it would be too difficult to make her mother angry and cause additional stress in the family. When I asked what she wanted for herself, she said, "even though I want to, I just can't have this baby." Financially, she explained, it would be impossible. I asked if she had anyone else she could talk to, and she mentioned her boyfriend. I encouraged her to call us back at any time with questions, or just to talk about how she was doing. She said she would.

Janey called from Placer County. She knew there were no abortion providers in her area but was having trouble finding anyone, even a few hours away in Sacramento, who would accept her private insurance. The one doctor covered by her insurance couldn't see her for several weeks, which would put her into the second trimester. As we talked, Janey mentioned that she'd have to pay a $500 deductible for the abortion. I offered her other clinics that could see her sooner and would be as much as $200 cheaper if she just paid for the abortion herself without using insurance. Janey was grateful for the information but frustrated that her insurance was basically useless in her situation.

phone: 510-923-0739

Mission: ACCESS exists to make reproductive health and choice a concrete reality - not just a theoretical right - for ALL women. Our programs promote real reproductive options and access to quality health care for low-income and uninsured women, young women, women of color, immigrants and women in rural or isolated areas. No other California organization provides the same range of support to women who are considering or seeking abortions.

Board of Directors: Sepi Aghdaee, Nora Dye, Zoe Harte, Reichi Lee, Jerrie Meadows, Christine Powell, Shailushi Baxi Ritchie, Ellen Schwerin

Staff: J. Parker Dockray, Lupe Rodriguez

Interns: Lisa Banh, Francesca Barua, Miriam Boxerman, Andrea Jergesen, Katherine Johnston, Ella Milliken-Detro, Silivia Estrada Murillo, Helen Ning, Janet OConnor, Adriana Quintero, Sophia Song, Nina Spring, Pamela Stephens