Reproductive oppression will end when individuals and communities are equipped with the power to effectively control their reproductive destinies. Educate! Volunteer! Take Action!
Reproductive oppression will end when individuals and communities are equipped with the power to effectively control their reproductive destinies. Educate! Volunteer! Take Action!
Want to talk to someone about your pregnancy options? Need help paying for your abortion? Want to talk about your abortion experience with someone who understands? Looking for unbiased information and resources on abortion, adoption, and parenting? We are here to help.
Individuals like you are essential to our success. Because we provide unbiased pregnancy options and information, we do not receive any government or large institutional funding. We rely on the generous support of a handful of committed foundations and dedicated individuals like you to support our one-of-a-kind programs.
Pro-Choice Resources helped me in 2015
Pregnant. I never thought I could get pregnant, having irregular periods — gaps of 6 months to a year. But one day I was not feeling well, so I took two pregnancy tests. Both were positive. The next day, I went to my local clinic where they confirmed the pregnancy. After reviewing my options, I decided abortion was the best choice for me. I made an appointment for the next day. I was able to gather $600 by cashing my entire paycheck in addition to a loan from a friend. Unfortunately, I found out I was 19 weeks along. I needed to come up with an additional $1,100 and have the abortion immediately before it was too late. The clinic gave me a resource sheet listing Pro-Choice Resources. I called PCR and they offered to cover the entire cost of the abortion procedure through their MA Gap Fund. I had my procedure the next day. Since then, I have continued my education, preparing me for a good job and giving me time to support my community.
“This was the best thing that could happen. I feel for all the people in my situation. It was hard and PCR helped me so much. No one should have to parent because they don’t have the money for an abortion. I will donate to PCR and I ask you to donate too. I know firsthand that it helps a person so much.” – Monse
Pro-Choice Resources helped me in 1969
Prior to Roe vs. Wade, in 1969 when abortion was still illegal, Pro-Choice Resources helped me when I was 20 years old and pregnant. Supporting myself on student loans while going to the University of Minnesota, I knew I wanted to end the pregnancy, but my boyfriend would not support my decision. A friend of mine referred me to a doctor, who referred me to Abortion Counseling Services – now Pro-Choice Resources. I received all-options counseling, but I knew I wanted to end the pregnancy. They called me back and referred me to a clinic in Rapid City, South Dakota where the next day I had the procedure. I graduated from college the following year. 23 years later, I volunteered to be the Legislative Coordinator for Pro-Choice Resources. After five months, I realized that this was the same organization that helped me access a safe abortion so many years earlier; “I’d come full circle.” I wear this button (right), and when someone asks me who’s pictured with me, I say, “It’s the doctor who did my illegal abortion.” It makes me feel good to tell my truth.”
“If you do not have control over your body, you cannot control anything else in your life. Money does make a difference. I made my first donation of $100 to PCR in 1991. I was able to make the right choice for me and now I can help others. Please join me.” – Kat
Before reading my story, please note that although it is a story filled with hope, is also talks about sexual abuse and my abortion. Parts of this story were difficult to write and those parts may be difficult to read. If you chose to read my story please take care of yourself and do whatever makes you feel most grounded and safe before, during and after your read my words.
Four Down and Five Across
Although I didn’t know it as a child, every knitter, quilter or needle worker knows that through the contemplative process of their handwork, world conflicts are managed, personal problems are solved and a sense of peace pervades the crafter, gently prodding them to keep on living through the hard times. For knitters, this is done through continuous stitch patterns: “knit one, purl two.” Quilters pull the thread “up and down.” For Hardanger needlework, it’s the repetitive count, “four down and five across.”
My Grandmother Ledell first introduced me to needlework. She was born in 1900 and by the time my family had moved to Wisconsin to live closer to her she was 72 years old. I loved watching my grandmother sew. Really though, I loved watching her do anything. She was incredible.
My grandma taught me, with great patience, how to thread the needle, insert it into the fabric and pull at different angles to create stitches. Embroidery came naturally to me, god only knows how, because I was such a gender non-conforming kid.
While sewing, my grandma would purse her lips, gently breathing in and out of her rounded mouth. It was as if she was in a Vinyasa yoga pose with its deep, meditative breathing. I always wondered what she was thinking, as she spent hour upon hour pulling the thread “up and down” over and over again.
That’s me holding a piece of my Hardanger. This one says, “Choice.” I would like to thank you in advance for supporting Pro-Choice Resouces by making a gift today. Your support ensures access to safe abortion care for women throughout the Midwest and beyond.
During our lessons she would iron embroidery patterns on a white dishtowel, and teach me how to stitch over the lines. The images were little girl bears with bows in their hair, engaging in domestic chores with a day of the week printed underneath. Monday laundry, Tuesday mending, Wednesday ironing, and so on. I was proud of the work that I did. I tried to purse my lips and breathe in and out as she did, thinking the breathing was an integral part of the sewing lesson.
My mother was a great knitter, and later on in life, a great quilter. She spent hour upon hour “knitting one and purling two.” My mom knitted sweaters for everybody: me, my father, my siblings and their spouses, and then grandchildren. If you had a torso, she would cover it with a sweater.
When I was in junior high school my mother taught me to knit. But at that time, I was more interested in riding my bike around the neighborhood, and the knitting never took hold. When I was 13, knitting needles were for twirling around your fingers while watching TV in the family room, or transforming into drum sticks and beating them on an array of carefully placed couch pillows as if they were a massive drum set.
As I entered high school, life for my parents and for I began to get… complicated. The distance between my parents and I had become greater and greater. I found myself entering the family room, where my mother knitted, less and less. Sometimes, I would go down there, not knowing that they were having a fight, and my father would simply look up at me as I entered the room, and say, “good-bye.” I felt humiliated and shamed by such a greeting, and I would immediately leave the room. After awhile, I wouldn’t even enter the family room any more, I’d just walk out the door. Out the door, and into the wilderness.
A significant correlation exists between childhood sexual abuse and teen pregnancy. An estimated 60 percent of teen girls’ first pregnancies are preceded by experiences of molestation, rape, or attempted rape. Pro-Choice Resources’ abortion fund serves these young people every day.
Out in the wilderness, I met a man who was filled with darkness and violence. He was a teacher of mine. The sexual abuse that he inflicted upon me began slowly during my sophomore year of high school. It progressed in severity until after I graduated in 1983. During those two and a half years of rape, molestation and psychological torment that place in the wilderness became my own sort of “family room.” I was manipulated, coerced and threatened into hanging out there all the time. I was lucky to get out alive.
In the fall of my senior year, while the rapes and abuse accelerated, my period was late. After two weeks of a late period, I knew I was pregnant. I had absolutely no clue what to do. Roe v. Wade had been in effect for almost a decade, but in my situation, a safe abortion in a doctor’s office was completely inaccessible. I was young, surviving horrendous rapes, had no money of my own, and no transportation.
I was home in the family room with my mother, nervously twirling one of her knitting needles through my fingers while she was watching TV. I left the room and called him in a panic. He was sly and manipulative. He said that he would take care of it, we would make the 45 minute drive to the state capital, and go to a clinic. He would say that he was my father and sign the papers for me to have an abortion.
It seemed like a good idea; what else was I supposed to do? But when I got off the phone, still twirling the knitting needle through my fingers, a voice came from within, “Drive in a car with him for 45 minutes on a highway? No way!” By that time, driving in his car was like driving in an automotive torture chamber.
Sometimes when I talk about the abuse I don’t like to get specific. Truthfully though, it’s hard for me to form the words. Most of the time, when I think of the abuse and the rapes, I tend think and then speak in one word sentences. “60 mph”, “torture”, “trapped” seems like adequate communication to me.
Knowing that a 45-minute ride in a car with him meant “trapped” I turned my eyes to the problem at hand, and then to the twirling knitting needle. I hung up the phone and went straight to the bathroom.
Behind the toilet was a wall, and on the other side of the wall sat my mother in the family room. I have racked my brain for years, again and again, to figure out how far she was from me. Was the wall 6 inches deep or wider? Abuse and violence tend to separate people. In reality, my mother was miles away from me. I knew that I had to do this alone. “Poke, pain, blood.”
I don’t do much knitting these days. It’s not that I am terrified of knitting needles and the awful association that I have with them. I am not triggered every time I see a knitting needle, although sometimes I am. What upsets me most though, in recalling the abortion that I gave myself, was the dangerous and isolated desperation that I was in. A dangerous desperation that many women and girls all over the world experience today, even in the U.S. I was lucky to have survived: many who give themselves abortions do not.
In reality, I don’t do too much knitting because it is expensive, and I still can’t understand a basic knitting pattern. Instead, I do Hardanger needlework, and lots of it.
Hardanger is a form of needlework brought over with the Norwegians as they immigrated to America. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas are filled with the descendants of those immigrants, and I am one of them. Hardanger is traditionally sewn on white linen cloth with white colored floss. The patterns are geometrical and have “open work,” which involves cutting and removing threads to create a lacy design. It incorporates different stitches that have been handed down over generations, like the “Norwegian Star” or the “Ship Motif.” The basic building block of a piece is called the “Kloister Block.” It involves sewing 4 down and 5 across over and over in a geometrical circle that is the frame of the piece. It is one of the easiest stitches to do, and also the hardest. If you do not check your work and are not continuously counting 4 down and 5 across as you stitch around your piece, then you may arrive at the end of your circle one stitch off. And this, of course, will not do. One missed stitch has the ability to throw off an entire piece. And it is at this moment, that most Norwegian women say, “Uff Da.” I tend to say things a bit more… colorful.
Many who have seen my Hardanger know that I add or subtract things from the original pattern to make it my own. Usually the center of a piece will be plain or will have “Norwegian Star” sewn in. I use this space to sew in words or images that might seem a bit…well… unconventional. The first piece that I completed, I sewed the words “fuck you” in the center panel. Another piece has a skull and cross bones. One has the word “choice” sewn into it. Lately, I have wanted to sew in something like, “stop limiting women’s access to safe and legal abortions, women’s bodies do not spontaneously prevent pregnancy due to a rape, driving 400 miles to the nearest abortion clinic is not my idea of accessibility, abortion care is health care, and even if abortion becomes outlawed, women will (and already do) resort to “back alley” procedures.” But that seems a bit wordy, and certainly too lengthy for a table runner. But who knows, I’m crazy enough to do it. Perhaps, a tablecloth?
I think upon the generations of Norwegian women or women of other cultures who might have wanted to sew in the same words as I do in their own handwork. If I were to design my own set of dish towels, they would be something more along the lines of Monday: get the hell out of here, Tuesday: file for a restraining order, Wednesday: donate to Pro-Choice Resources.
This past summer I was fortunate to attend PCR’s after-abortion support and discussion group, Emerge. Here, I was finally able to share my story. Each week I was met with competent and caring facilitators as they helped me and the other participants navigate our experiences.
Now that I’m older, I understand the contemplative process that is intrinsic to needle work. It is my daily meditation as I continue to heal from the sexual torture that I endured, the abortion that I gave myself, and the difficult management of the complex and multifaceted PTSD that I live with daily.
I purse my lips and slowly breathe in and out through my rounded mouth, “four down and five across” over and over again. When I complete my piece of Hardanger, tears pour from my eyes, a gentle peace falls upon me and I feel a little bit more whole. I smile and grin. I roll it up and store it in a box, and then I start a new piece.
I am honored to share my story. It is a basic human right for all people to have access to safe abortion care in a doctor’s office, and to know they live in a world that supports and embraces their decisions. I hope that you will join me in ensuring this human right by making a donation to Pro-Choice Resources today.
– Kelly Waterman, PCR Supporter and Program Participant
Pro-Choice Resources supports the EACH Woman Act because we envision a world free of reproductive oppression. Denying a person abortion access for any reason is an act of reproductive oppression. The EACH Woman Act would secure abortion coverage for millions of people and represent a giant step forward for reproductive justice. Join us, sign on to the EACH Woman Act, and add your personal message which we’ll deliver to policy makers in Minnesota and in Washington D.C.
Emerge is a secular (non-religious) discussion and support group for anyone who has had an abortion. Emerge was created to fill the gap in after-abortion care – providing non-judgmental, emotional support for anyone.
Race, religion or age
Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Gender Expression
Political or philosophical perspective
How did Emerge begin?
In 2004, a group of women approached PCR for after-abortion care support.
In the summer of 2005, Abortion Provider Expansion Project Externship students researched the need for program, and then PCR developed Emerge based on the medical students research.
In early 2006, PCR collaborated with Chrysalis and the first Emerge group began in August 2006.
Emerge aims to provide confidential, safe, private, and non-judgmental support for people who have had an abortion.
Emerge provides a place for people who have had an abortion to talk about abortion without judgement or stigma. Emerge participants cover topics such as guilt, stigma, isolation, grieving, and forgiveness. All of the sessions are adapted to each individual group’s specific needs.
Emerge is there to help reduce feelings of isolation, reinforce coping mechanisms, talk about life goals, and work towards the acceptance of negative and positive feelings about abortion.
The Emerge Curriculum
Participants meet once a week for 6 weeks and each meeting lasts two hours. It begins and ends with the same group of women. This allows the participants to develop relationships so they can receive and provide support to one another.
To learn more about Emerge, click here.
No cost to attend, registration required.
To learn more about Emerge or to register to participate, contact us at 612-825-2000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For other after abortion support resources, click here.
“Am I Ready for Sex?” – Choosing to have or not have sex is a big decision, as well as a personal one. Please click here for for some questions and thoughts that will help guide you through this decision making process.
“How Do I Talk To My Parents About Sex?” – We know that talking to your parents, guardians, or other caring adults about sex can be difficult. Click here for a guide created by teens for teens to use in having this difficult conversations with adults.
“How Do I Talk to My Kids About Sex?” – The best and most important learning takes place at home. If you don’t teach your children about healthy sexuality, where will your children get their information from? For tips, ideas, and suggestions about how to have this conversation, click here.
Sexually Transmitted Infections. “Am I at Risk?” – Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are the same thing as STDs or Sexually Transmitted Diseases. STIs are passed during sex and other close body contact. Most symptoms appear in the genital area, but many can affect your entire body. All are treatable and many but not all, are curable. If left untreated, all STIs can have serious health effects. Learn more about risks, safety, prevention, and protection here.
“What Should I Know About Oral Sex?” – Oral Sex is when someone puts their mouth on their partner’s genitals to create sexual pleasure for their partner. Even though there is almost no risk of pregnancy with oral sex, you can still get Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). For more information on oral sex, click here.
Safer Sex Between People Designated Female At Birth – Many people believe the myth that sex between designated female at birth (DFAB) people is a low risk activity, but DFAB people who are sexual with each other are not immune to sexually transmitted infections. Click here for additional information on safer sex between female-bodied people.
Birth Control Pills, Emergency Contraception, The Abortion Pill (RU486) – What are these pills? Where do I get them? Find the answers to these questions and more by clicking here.
“I’m Pregnant. What Can I Do?” – You have three choices, all of which are options for people of any age in Minnesota:
Need help paying for an abortion?
Pro-Choice Resources’ Abortion Assistance Fund can help.
We provide no-interest loans and grants to people who would like to have an abortion but are unable to afford it.
If you live in or are having your procedure in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa or Wisconsin, here’s how it works:
Our loan amounts average between $200-$400 per person.
This is a no-interest loan. We will never send your name to a collection agency. Your repayment will help another person pay for the abortion care they need.
Funds given to minors do not need to be repaid.
For a list of other abortion funds click here. For a list of clinics that provide abortions in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin click on Clinic List 2016.
If there’s any questions or concerns, please contact us at 612-825-2000 ext. 1.
If we are going to end Reproductive Oppression in Minnesota and the Midwest, advocating for Reproductive Justice must be an integral part of our lives. People need to know that everyone deserves the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children they have in healthy and safe environments. We can make this happen by educating ourselves, our communities, and our policy makers about the barriers people and families face in accessing reproductive health care and raising children, and how those barriers are a direct result of systemic forms of oppression that target people based on their race, sex, sexual orientation, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, and immigration status.
Sound like something you want to be a part of? Fill out the form below. We will invite you to one of our regular volunteer trainings/workshops where you will increase your understanding of Reproductive Justice, develop your personal narrative around reproductive justice, and gain the tools necessary to become a reproductive justice advocate.
We also facilitate Reproductive Justice Educational Gatherings at people’s homes or a venue of their choosing. This is a great opportunity to bring together the people in your life and to connect about the issues you care about.
Pro-Choice Resources is working to end reproductive oppression through:
Human rights violations based on sexual and reproductive health will end when we equip individuals and communities to leverage their power for effective grassroots change.
Pregnant people will only be able to make the decisions that are best for themselves and their families when they have access to unbiased information and assistance, and they can have an abortion, make an adoption plan or decide to parent without stigma.
We will continue to have our human rights violated until we have access and education to unbiased information about our bodies, sexuality and reproductive health.
Our strategic plan summarizes the results of Pro-Choice Resources' staff, board and stakeholders work with strategic planning consultants Cincinnatus. This plan represents an intentional shift in our work from Reproductive Health (a direct service model) to Reproductive Justice (a social change model). We believe this shift is necessary to focus attention on the social, political, and economic inequalities among marginalized communities that contribute to infringements of their human rights specific to sexuality and reproduction. This plan also includes a theory of change guided by our mission. These tools, in addition to our mission, vision, promise and values, guide us in our work. Click on the images below to review our strategic plan or theory of change in their entirety.
Now hiring at Pro-Choice Resources:
As a charitable corporation, exempt from income tax, we are required to file Form 990 annually with the federal government. The 990 provides information on a nonprofit organization’s finances, mission, and programs, and the financial statements included in the 990 are presented in accordance with IRS regulations. Below are our two most recent Forms 990, in PDF format for download.
We have also included our most recent annual report. The report details our accomplishments and how donations to our organizations our used to defend and advance Reproductive Justice.
If you would like to discuss our financials in more detail, please contact us at email@example.com or via phone at 612-825-2000.
Please make checks or money orders payable to: Pro-Choice Resources, 528 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55403
If would like to discuss donating stock, including Pro-Choice Resources in your will or if you have any problems contributing please contact Karen Law by phone: 612-825-2000 ex. 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pro-Choice Resources is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Pro-Choice Resources is committed to using each donation in the most effective way possible.