*Zoey, a quiet and smart 17 year-old girl from a small town in Texas called the hotline when she was just two weeks along in her pregnancy. “I can only talk at night,” she told me, “so I’m really glad your hotline is 24/7.” Zoey was calling from her mother’s phone because hers had been shut off when they couldn’t afford to pay the last phone bill. She could use her mother’s phone to call us—but only once her mother was asleep. She could then delete the call log. If her mom found out what she was doing, Zoey told me, she would be homeless in an instant.
Zoey lived in an old trailer with her mother and several younger siblings. Her father was nowhere to be found. Zoey, at 4’10 and 70 pounds, was difficult to imagine pregnant. “Even if I wanted to,” she said, “I don’t think I could have a baby.” Zoey had a laundry list of health problems that she already had trouble managing without insurance.
Coming from a highly religious home, Zoey was always taught that abortion was wrong. “My mom told me a long time ago that if I ever got pregnant, I’d have to have it no matter what.” In talking with Zoey, however, it became clear that although she was raised to believe abortion was wrong, with time and experience she had come to her own conclusions.
“I think this should be my decision,” she told me. I thought so too.
Getting Zoey to court and to the clinic—each twice—was difficult. With $27 to her name and no transportation in and out of her rural town, it took a small army to get her safely and timely to and from her appointments and to get her costs covered. But with help from our partners at the Texas Equal Access Fund and Fund Texas Choice, along with attorneys and supporters, Zoey got her fair day in court and received safe, comprehensive medical treatment.
Someday, she promised, she would give back. “If I ever win the lottery,” she told me, “I want to buy you a mansion.”
Zoey starts college this month on a full scholarship.
Emily Rooke-Ley is our hotline coordinator and the director of this project. Please contact her at [email protected] with any questions or inquiries.
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