The Los Altos/Mountain View branch of the American Association of University Women hosted a Zoom seminar Jan. 22 to mark the 48th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which ensured women’s right to choose whether to maintain a pregnancy.
Laurie Bertram Roberts, founder and executive director of the Yellowhammer Fund, explained to the more than 50 attendees how the abortion fund and reproductive justice organization has evolved.
From a beginning providing funds for abortions to low-income women in Alabama, the organization now offers a variety of support services to low-income women, including child care, adoption services, contraceptive supplies, diapers and financial assistance. During the pandemic, the fund also has supplied bleach and sanitizers.
“Poverty is not a one-time thing,” Bertram Roberts said, noting that inability to support a large family is only one aspect of the economic burden low-income families face.
The Yellowhammer Fund serves between 200-250 clients per month from all over the state of Alabama. Its clients are all low-income, and disproportionately Black/Indigenous/people of color, “because that’s who is poor in the South,” Bertram Roberts said. Two-thirds of the clients are already parents of at least one child and cannot afford a larger family.
For a time, the fund also maintained an abortion clinic, but it is temporarily out of service as its sole doctor is in quarantine for COVID-19, and because of travel restrictions, volunteer backup doctors cannot enter Alabama. According to Bertram Roberts, when a clinic closes in one location, it puts additional pressure on other clinics, and currently there are only three clinics that offer abortion services in Alabama.
Bertram Roberts said she hopes the Biden administration will repeal the Hyde Amendment, legislation that forbids federal funds from paying for abortion services or counseling.
“No one should have to be crowdfunding to get health care,” she said.
She also wants the Biden administration to put forth a federal policy regarding access to abortion, so that women in need will not have to go out of their state to find help.
Bertram Roberts’ fear is that the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade, which would likely leave no access to abortion in any state east of New Mexico and south of the Mason-Dixon line.