Meet the Girl Who's Crowdfunding Her Abortion
Sep 5 2014
Photo via Bailey's GoFundMe page
Crowdfunding is all the rage for folks who are hungry for potato salad, or in need of some dough for their stupid orchestra, but sometimes people reach out to the masses out of desperation. Meet Bailey. Bailey needs an abortion. So she went to GoFundMe.com (tagline: “Crowdfunding for Everyone!”) to ask for $2,500 for the operation. Like anything remotely related to fetuses, it’s drawn some considerable attention in less than a week and was even removed from the site for a while.
Her GoFundMe page, originally titled the "Stop Bailey From Breeding Fund," informs visitors that “Bailey is currently unemployed, completely broke, in debt, and in no position to hold down a job due to severe symptoms of a rough, unplanned and unexpected pregnancy.” Having just moved to Chicago from Phoenix, Arizona, Bailey says she’s 23, likes to read and go to shows, and really, really doesn’t want to be a mom.
In the past, GoFundMe has been used for some pretty noble projects, such as collecting donations for one of the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing, and helping raise money to operate on the brain tumor of a morbidly obese 12-year-old. Somewhat more controversially, GoFundMe was used recently to support Officer Darren Wilson, who famously shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown, resulting in the Ferguson, Missouri demonstrations. I guess you could say the operators of GoFundMe aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
I called Bailey to ask about her plans to kickstart the termination of her fetus.
VICE: Hi Bailey, how are you doing?
Bailey: I’m doing pretty well. How are you?
Can I ask who is the father?
Can I say no to that?
Sorry for stalking you, but Facebook tells me you’re dating someone named Lücifer Ryzing, right?
Oh, no, that’s totally fine. I understand. There’s some other people who have figured out stuff, that don’t have any sort of good intentions, and they're doing more intense things. [laughs] But yeah, Lücifer Ryzing is someone I’ve known for a long time, that I’m sweet with. He started the GoFundMe page. He’s the one that’s really managing that.
How far along are you with the pregnancy?
I just got the ultrasound on Tuesday, the second of September and the ultrasound said 19 weeks and five days, but ultrasounds can be anywhere from seven to ten days off. It could be about 19 weeks, or I could be 20 weeks along exactly.
Why did you choose to use GoFundMe for your abortion?
We’re broke kids who really need to have this abortion, and you see crowdsourcing for all kinds of things. You see it for things like, "Help me press this record!" or "Help me pay my rent!" We saw that Kickstarter that made a bunch of money for the potato salad thing. If people want to donate, they can, which is a lot easier than going and asking people.
I’m hoping people will [donate], but it’s also totally fine if people don’t. I know if I saw something like this I’d be like, I want to help this person to make sure they live the life they want to live. It’s more time-sensitive than some of the other things that you see.
I heard the page got taken down for a bit. What happened?
We [initially] offered these rewards, expecting it would only be our friends that would see this. One of these rewards for $25 was Lücifer would make a custom edit of a photo. He’s really good at editing photographs, so for $25 [he would] make a custom edit of a photo of your choice. And then for $50 we’ll do your grocery shopping and give you a hug. Then for $100, we’d clean your house and as much clothing as you wanted. Which was a joke, an absolute joke, that we expected no one to take us up on.
But it did get a lot of attention and it also got a lot of like negative attention. Then people also objected to the language. So it was reported, and it got flagged for adult content. We emailed the people at GoFundMe and said, "That was a joke! We didn’t expect this kind of a response!" So GoFundMe took that off, and the page was able to go back up. I guess they thought we were serious and we weren’t.
There’ve been a lot of negative responses. How have you been taking them?
I expected to get negative responses. There are people who are really vocal. I was prepared, to a certain extent, to receive a lot of hate, or venom or even threats, but I have definitely been surprised. There have been moments when I almost had a panic attack or just was really, really taken aback at what kind of responses we’ve gotten: how many assumptions, how many projections, I guess how angry it makes people that this is something that we’re trying to do.
I’m sure you can see on the actual fundraiser, there’ve also been things I’ve seen on Facebook you wouldn’t see otherwise. Threads of 200 or 400 comments that are really hateful, or violent, or threatening. I’ve had a few people threaten to dox me, log my IP address, and find out where I live [so they can] come hurt me in some way, or come hurt Lüci. There have definitely been moments where we’ve been like, Holy fuck. Really? Really?
Are you nervous about the procedure?
Yeah, I’m nervous. It’s scary. It’s a surgery. In Illinois it’s a two-day surgery. And it’s painful, like any surgery is going to be. It’s just an absolutely necessary thing, so I’m more nervous about running out of time than any pain.
According to the page, you’ve been having pregnancy complications, correct?
Do you want to elaborate at all?
It’s just been really, really painful. Like I said, I just got the ultrasound done and haven’t really been to the doctor very much, so I can’t say there’s a specific condition, but I know that it’s worse than any menstrual cramps I’ve ever had. Sometimes the pain is so bad that I can’t get out of bed, and I can’t go to the bathroom. When I cough, it feels like my organs being shredded inside of me. For a second, I was afraid it was ectopic, because that’s supposed to be incredibly painful, but it’s not. I don’t know if there’s any medical terms for what it is, but it’s difficult.
I also saw on Facebook—again, sorry for stalking you—that you’re getting a kitten?
[Laughs] Yeah, actually. One of my friends just moved into a house, and they’re talking about getting a kitten. So it’s not actually gonna be my kitten, but it’s going to live in the same house that I stay at, so I’m going to pretend it’s my kitten.
Alright, Bailey. Thanks for talking with me.
UPDATE: September 5, 10 AM – Bailey's GoFundMe page has been removed again.
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