NNAF is sad to announce the death of Barbara Melrose, one of the co-founders of the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), and an active board member of Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts (ARFWM) until she moved to Seattle in 2009. ARFWM reflects that while she may have looked like a gentle soul, she could be fierce, as the 4-H Center learned when they refused to put NNAF’s name on the sign at the first conference center the organization held space in. The prime organizer of NNAF’s this founding conference, she quickly changed their minds.
As a passionate advocate for abortion access, Barabara was dedicated to making both ARFWM the need for accessible abortion and the fund more visible, urging the fund to place ads on television, radio, and buses. At a time when knowledge about Emergency Contraception was sparse, she led ARFWM’s outreach campaigns to heighten awareness.
Barbara was vigilant about national and local abortion politics. She led the writing of a letter to the editor calling attention to every restrictive law and policy that impeded abortion access. Advocacy was part of who she was; there seemed to be no limits. When she went on vacation to New Mexico, she looked up the local abortion clinic, and recruited the clinic director to the NNAF board.
Her vision, her energy, and her compassion will be missed.
No public memorial service is planned. At the family’s request, memorial donations may be sent or made online to the National Network of Abortion Funds (P.O. Box 22457, Philadelphia, PA 19110 or www.staging.abortionfunds.org/donate), EarthJustice (50 California St, Ste. 500, San Francisco, CA 94111 or http://bit.ly/2FZPane) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104 or https://www.splcenter.org/support-us).