|Greetings! |Spring is in full rainy swing here in the Pacific Northwest and summer is just around the corner. This edition of Backline's quarterly e-newsletter includes an introduction to our newest board members, a Mother's Day blog piece by one of our volunteer Talk Line advocates, resources that are supporting mothers and families, a very special event invitation, and more! We hope you enjoy it!
If you have ideas to share or would like to contribute a future newsletter article, please just let us know.
Shelly DodsonProgram Manager
Save the Date!
We hope you can join us in Portland on Saturday, July 9th for an event to celebrate Backline and the one year anniversary of the reopening of our Talk Line!
This fun and festive gathering will bring together our volunteers, allied organizations, donors and supporters - everyone who is, was, or wants to be part of the Backline community. Come meet our board, staff and advocates, enjoy great food and drink, and maybe even win a fabulous prize in our raffle!
Mama's Not Just Another Statistic
by Shantae Johnson
This blog post was part of a Mama's Day Series by the Strong Families Initiative.
I never wanted to become a statistic, another young, single black woman with a baby. The same day I found out I was pregnant with my firstborn son at 20 years old, I found out his father was incarcerated and would be for many years after that. I felt doomed and pigeonholed into being labeled unworthy of this new status in womanhood called motherhood. My family did not let me forget either, that I was unworthy of this choice and parenthood was simply not for me. I worked part-time, was a freshman at a community college and living on my own with roommates, barely supporting myself.
Our ideas of who should be a mother and who should not is shaped by what society tells us is right. Many women are haunted by the one prototype of what being a family and mother is supposed to be: a married parental unit, homeowners and careers established. This is so unrealistic and difficult for many families to uphold, let alone me.
Read the rest of Shantae's post here!
Did you know that Backline is more than just a renowned national Talk Line offering unbiased and unconditional support to women and their loved ones? We also promote a reproductive justice approach to pregnancy options through our trainings, presentations and workshops.
In April, Backline was thrilled to be at the National Abortion Federation conference. Shelly presented on a panel along with the Adoption Access Network, Preterm Clinic, and Planned Parenthood of Mohawk Hudson, discussing how abortion providers can approach adoption in their options counseling. It was also wonderful to exhibit our materials and re-connect with providers and allies from all across the US and Canada. We were sincerely moved by the enthusiastic response we received and honored to hear from NAF members how important Backline's unique and vital services are to their patients.
In June, Shelly and Parker will be at the National Network of Abortion Funds Summit, conducting a workshop where participants can explore their values and biases around women's decisions about pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption, and how our personal and organizational values and biases impact the services we provide and how we provide them. We look forward to being surrounded by this incredible activist network and building new relationships with abortion fund members.
Of course Fall is just around the corner, and our next Talk Line Advocate Training will begin in September. If you live in the Portland metro area and are interested in joining Backline's team of amazing volunteer advocates, please visit www.yourbackline.org/volunteer.html.
Are you interested in learning more? Backline's unique professional trainings offer a great opportunity for your organization, community group, or clinic to have a customized workshop on the issues that matter most to you. At Backline, we know just how complicated pregnancy options, abortion, adoption and parenting can be. We are here not only for our callers but also to support those of you whose professional and personal lives are impacted by these issues. Learn more at http://yourbackline.org/professional.
Resource Corner: ParentingBy Parker Dockray
In the Resource Corner we introduce, explore, and highlight organizations that are working to transform the conversations around abortion, adoption, parenting, and across the spectrum of pregnancy experiences. This edition focuses on Parenting.
At Backline, we find that many women who are uncertain about a pregnancy begin weighing their options by considering whether or not they ever wish to be a parent. This question is not one that our society encourages people to reflect on; there is still a pervasive assumption that, of course, everyone wants to raise children. Women, especially, are considered suspect if they do not want to be mothers. Yet, despite this pressure, our society does not provide real support or resources for mothers and families, especially those who dare to challenge the status quo in any way.
And so, in honor of Mother's Day and mothers everywhere, Backline celebrates some of our fierce allies who are demanding dignity and justice for all pregnant women, mothers, and families!
National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) works to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of all women, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women, and those who are most vulnerable - low income women, women of color, and drug-using women. They actively work on a variety of levels including litigation, litigation support and legal advocacy; local and national organizing; public policy development, public education and outreach. Learn more about NAPW at www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/
Strong Families is a 10-year national initiative of Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice (ACRJ), designed to change the way people think, feel and act in support of families. Along with this culture shift, Strong Families seeks to build broad public support for local, state and national policies that enable families of all kinds to thrive. Strong Families focuses on families who have the least amount of resources and are most under attack: families of color, low-income families, immigrant families, LGBT families and single parent families. Learn more at www.reproductivejustice.org/strong-families
Mother Outlaws is an initiative of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) in Toronto. Mother Outlaws recognize that mothers and children benefit when the mother lives her life, and practices mothering, from a position of agency, authority, authenticity and autonomy. Mother Outlaws includes a Feminist Mothers' discussion group, a Mother Outlaws' Speakers Series, events, activist activities, and assisting with the start-ups of Mother Outlaws groups elsewhere. Learn more at http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/motheroutlaws.html
Please contact us if you would like to recommend other resources on parenting, or if you have suggestions for future Resource Corner highlights!
Meet Our Growing Board of Directors
Backline has expanded our Board of Directors nationally and welcomed three amazing women as our newest members - Amanda Allen, Sabrina Andrus and Angel Foster. We are excited to have their considerable talents, insights and energy on the board as we work together to promote support and resources for pregnancy, parenting, abortion and adoption. You can learn a bit about each of them below, and read more about all our board members at http://yourbackline.org/board.html.
Amanda Allen is the Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Legal
Program at the Center for Reproductive
Rights in New York City, where she
performs legal and policy analysis on bills that will impact women's access to reproductive
health care services introduced in states acro
ss the country.
Sabrina Andrus began her legal career as a legal aid attorney helping pro se litigants navigate the judicial system in the areas of domestic violence, consumer protection, public benefits, and housing. She is now the Membership & Mobilization Coordinator for Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ), based in Oakland, CA.
Dr. Angel Foster is Senior Associate at Ibis Reproductive Health in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she leads a program of social science and health policy research dedicated to reproductive health issues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Last month, Backline also bid farewell to two board members who have seen the organization through the ups and downs of the past three years. Melissa Busch and Rebekah Schiefer have each had a huge impact on Backline and will continue to be a valued part of our community. Thank you both for your hard work and commitment - we'll miss you!
Backline . PO Box 6772 . Portland OR 97228
503.287.4344 . yourbackline.org
Call us, we're here to listen.
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Backline promotes conversation, connection and support around all aspects of pregnancy, parenting, abortion and adoption. Our vision is of a world where women have the resources they need to make the pregnancy decisions that are best for their lives.
Staff & Board
J. Parker Dockray
"Thank you so much for being there. I am so appreciative for feeling as though I have someone on my side. No one else in my life really understood how I was feeling or what I was going through in making this decision."
~ Backline Caller
Dr. George Tiller,
In Memoriam * Abortion Care Network * Access for Women; The Office of Amy Cousins * ACCESS Women's Health Justice * Allentown Women's Center * Aurora Medical Services * Cherry Hill Women's Center * Family Planning Associates Medical Group * Friends in Adoption * Hartford GYN Center * Houston Women's Clinic * Lovejoy Surgicenter * National Advocates for Pregnant Women * Open Adoption and Family Services * Philadelphia Women's Center * Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/ Willamette * Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest * Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains * Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon * Preterm * Red River Women's Clinic * Spence Chapin Adoption Services * A Woman's Choice of Raleigh & Jacksonville * Women's Options Center at SFGH
Join Our Community Ally Program Today!
"I am incredibly proud to be a part of an organization that offers a safe, supportive space for women whose lives have been changed by a pregnancy. It's a rare thing to be able to discuss all sides of a decision with another person knowing that there will be no pressure and no judgment."
~ Gayle, advocate since October 2010