Inside the Nation’s Only Abortion Fund For Native Americans

Founded by reproductive rights activist Rae Lorenzo, Indigenous Women Rising is a safe space for Indigenous people to tell their own stories—on their terms.

SEP 1, 2022

At 13 weeks pregnant, Rae Lorenzo ended up in the emergency room with contractions, extreme pain, and excessive bleeding. “I didn’t fully understand my rights as a patient or the protocols of hospitals—what they’re legally obligated to do or how they can restrict care based on personal beliefs,” says Lorenzo, a 32-year-old queer New Mexico reproductive rights activist (Mescalero Apache/Laguna Pueblo/Xicana) who uses the pronouns they/them.

As the pain become more and more unbearable, it became clear to them that an abortion was necessary. But the white male ER doctor refused, telling Lorenzo: “I know what you need right now, but I can’t help you.” They were left alone to wait it out, bleeding through the hospital bed sheets and suffering without proper pain management. It took 90 minutes for a female obstetrician to step in and provide the necessary abortion care. Lorenzo calls the experience, which happened back in 2013, “dehumanizing.”