Despite hard times which have made philanthropy hard for many, readers responded to the appeal in my last post for donations for the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, which helps low-income women from all over the country access abortion care. Here’s an e mail I received from WRRAP yesterday, with some details about the situations of the women they’ve been able to help, thanks to you.

Too often, the debates surrounding abortion obscure the women themselves. Right now, for example, we are hearing a lot from pundits like Will Saletan, who argues that women have unwanted pregnancies because they are careless about contraception, conjuring up a picture of lackadaisical sluts who just can’t be bothered to take their pill. Real life is more complicated: chaotic lives, poverty, social isolation, lack of regular access to health care, ignorance, misinformation, drugs, alcohol, male violence and hopelessness all play a part, along with the simple facts that every method has a failure rate and nobody’s perfect. Similarly, it is hard for some people to imagine women so poor that they cannot come up with, let’s say, $500 for a first-trimester abortion — don’t they have friends? won’t the man help? Can’t they just put it on a credit card? Hello, this is a country where millions rely on food stamps and soup kitchens! Where people can’t pay their utilities or their rent!

The descriptions of WRRAP clients below are a tiny window into the struggles of low-income women. More information, and a donation button, can be found at

UPDATE: Keep it up, trolls. Your callous, ignorant and sexist comments have inspired readers to donate over two thousand more dollars to WRRAP since this post went up.

Subject: Thank You is Not Enough

Date: March 30, 2009 12:16:05 PM EDT


Dear Katha:

Your mention of our work brought us donations totaling $955. It was money that was greatly needed and was put to immediate use.

These are the just some of the women we helped since over the last 2 weeks:

A 38 year-old woman with one child from MI. She and her husband are starting a new business that hasn’t yet generated income. Her family and friends are helping them and they needed very little money from us.

A 29 year-old low-income woman who works but her insurance will not cover abortion services.

An 18 year-old doing part-time work with no insurance. Her parents are unemployed. The man beat her and left when he found out she was pregnant.

A 17 year-old student who can’t tell her mother. She went through the system and got a judicial bypass.

A 20 year-old with one child who lives with two sisters and three other children. Works part time at McDonald’s and the man will not help.

A 28 year-old who is a multiple cancer survivor. She and her boyfriend are living in their car.

A 29 year-old with three children. She works part time and receives $200 a month in child support.

A 40 year-old with four children. She makes only $500 per month. Her low-income mother helps her with rent and bills. The man left.

A 34 year-old with the mental capacity of a 6 year old was raped. Her sister is her guardian and is one of the working poor.

A 34 year-old with 5 children lost her job, her insurance, her home and stays with friends while her kids are with their grandmother.

A 26 year-old with one child, lives with her mother on Medicaid and little or no child support. Fetus had profound anomalies that were incompatible with life.

Over 50% of these unwanted pregnancies were the result of failed birth control.

We are so grateful to you and your readers for your generous support of poor women in crisis.

Joyce Schor

Judith Krain