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Abortion Payment
January 7, 2013 12:07 PM   Subscribe

My male friend has impregnated his girlfriend - she has set conditions that must be met in order for her to have the abortion.

He must pay for the abortion - he consents. However, she has decided that he also cannot be present at the clinic at the time of the appointment - therefore the question is of the transmittance of funds. The clinic only accepts debit, credit, or cash at the time of the appointment.

What can he do to avoid simply handing her cash?

I know this is odd but he wants this to end, as soon as possible, with the termination of the child. Prior to conception they consented upon abortion as the step to taken upon that event, and upon the event she has reneged their agreement.

Thank you for any answers
posted by past to Law & Government (87 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Will they accept a credit card number over the phone? If so, perhaps when his girlfriend arrives at the clinic they can call your friend and do the transaction while she's there.
posted by walla at 12:09 PM on January 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Can they charge a credit card over the phone?
posted by ignignokt at 12:10 PM on January 7, 2013


Can he prepay at the clinic? That language is usually used to make sure nobody thinks they are leaving after the procedure without paying. Paying earlier is usually not a problem.
posted by COD at 12:10 PM on January 7, 2013 [12 favorites]


So the question is, how can you give someone else cash without seeing them? Paypal; cash concealed in an envelope and placed in their mailbox; cash handed by a mutual friend; any of the previous two with a check made out to the clinic...
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:11 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is he sure she's pregnant?
posted by lalex at 12:12 PM on January 7, 2013 [18 favorites]


Why not have her pay and he pays her back on proof with a receipt? Morbid as it sounds, even abortion clinics issue receipts.
posted by GuyZero at 12:12 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't understand. Call them and give them a credit card number.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:12 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would call the clinic, find the full price, fees included and write her a check prior to the appointment.

There'd be record of it in your friend's bank account and his girlfriend's.

I'd also make sure the little "used for" line says "girlfriend's name abortion scheduled on 1/7/2013 at Clinic Place" or something to that effect.
posted by royalsong at 12:13 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


He should call the clinic and ask about prepay options. This is not the weirdest question they have fielded.
posted by rtha at 12:13 PM on January 7, 2013 [25 favorites]


This sounds fishy enough to me that he should not agree to it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:13 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


He might be able to call and ask about pre-payment, but they might not be willing to confirm to him over the phone that she is a patient there under HIPPA; I would think an abortion clinic would/should be particularly careful about that kind of thing. She may need to call with the credit card number.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:15 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Walk into the clinic ahead of time with a check or cash, they've certainly handled weirder things.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:16 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, (ex?) girlfriend says "I will have an abortion, but you need to pay for it, and I don't want you at the clinic." Or is she suddenly saying she has changed her mind about abortion now that she is pregnant and is trying to postpone the abortion long enough that she won't get one because she doesn't actually want one?

If it's the first, he can ask the clinic how he can prepay for an abortion -- they'll have some way of working it out. If it's the second, there's not really much he can do.
posted by jeather at 12:17 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


He could buy her a Visa gift card with the appropriate balance.

Some banks (I know Bank of America does) offer the ability to create a "virtual" credit card number with an arbitrary dollar limit and expiration date. He could create one of them and give her the number to bring with her.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:18 PM on January 7, 2013 [14 favorites]


He has called the clinic, they do not accept prepayment. Payment will only be accepted when the person undergoing the operation is present in the clinic - therefore, this is out.

He just wants this to end.
posted by past at 12:19 PM on January 7, 2013


The other option would be for him to go with her to the appointment, pay, and then leave. Which I think should be a fair request on his part to make.
posted by royalsong at 12:20 PM on January 7, 2013 [23 favorites]


So the question is, how can you give someone else cash without seeing them?

I don't know where you are, but in Canada if we need to easily send money among friends we can do Interac transfers, basically through your online banking you can enter an email address and security question and send off money. Of course they need online banking on their end as well but up here it works for any bank...
posted by yellowbinder at 12:21 PM on January 7, 2013


Pre-Paid Visa. You can get them at drugstores and supermarkets.

That's the way to do it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:21 PM on January 7, 2013 [14 favorites]


What royalsong said.

Or, he can find another clinic for her to go to that does accept prepayment.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:22 PM on January 7, 2013


Your friend would be better served to use a credit card if there is any way to swing it. Refunds go back to the card so if for any reason the procedure doesn't happen the funds will be returned to him.

Also as he is the one paying for it he should be getting the receipt so he can claim the procedure on his taxes.
posted by Mitheral at 12:22 PM on January 7, 2013


He just wants this to end.

Well, no. If he wanted it to end, he'd just give her the money and be done with it. Does he not trust that she will use the money for the abortion? If we knew what the problem with giving her cash was, there could be more useful advice.
posted by jeather at 12:23 PM on January 7, 2013 [31 favorites]


Is there a third party he can hand the money to and make the payment, but whom he can also trust and is acceptable to her?
posted by Jehan at 12:23 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why would a Visa gift card nullify the ability to spend the funds elsewhere than the clinic? Couldn't she just go to a store and spend that pre-payment?
posted by past at 12:23 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Or he can just show up. What's she going to do--storm out? He shows up, pays, leaves. And loses her number.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:24 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Abortion clinics usually don't allow some one to attend the procedure but do allow someone to go in with you to pay. Payment is taken prior to procedure. He could prepay with credit card but hipaa makes it unlikely they would release that info over the phone. I believe even payment over the phone is very tricky - it may unwillingly verify a patients status. Abortion clinics are very private. The only way he could truly verify would be to accompany through the payment status. I volunteered for many years in an abortion clinic.
posted by lasamana at 12:24 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


He opens a second bank account. He transfers into it only enough money to pay for the abortion. Alternatively, he transfers all of his money into the new account except what's required to pay for the abortion.

He hands her the debit card to the account he wants her to use before she goes to the the clinic, along with his PIN. He's told the bank not to allow overdraft on the account. She gives him back his card afterwards. He changes the PIN/closes the account.

He also, without being asked, pays for a taxi ride both ways, in cash, upfront, as a sign of goodwill.

He thanks his lucky stars that he got out of raising a kid he doesn't want for the price of an abortion and a taxi ride.
posted by Dasein at 12:24 PM on January 7, 2013 [17 favorites]


Couldn't she just go to a store and spend that pre-payment?

If his girlfriend isn't going to have the abortion then he has bigger problems than that she's going to spend his money on shoes. He should get some freaking perspective.
posted by Dasein at 12:25 PM on January 7, 2013 [54 favorites]


If they don't take checks (lot of places do not now) will they take a money order (or perhaps traveler's checks, (they are pretty much $ equivalent)? If so, make one out directly to the clinic and she can bring it in.
posted by edgeways at 12:26 PM on January 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


Want to add if he shows up without her permission the clinic may seek official help if she feels threatened.
posted by lasamana at 12:26 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Payment will only be accepted when the person undergoing the operation is present in the clinic - therefore, this is out.

They don't have to run it until she's physically in there. Or he can write a check to the clinic, and she can present it to them. If they want ID, he can come in after her appointment.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:26 PM on January 7, 2013


Your update leaves out a lot. Is there a pregnancy test? WHY does she not want him at the clinic?

As the patient, she has a right not to have him present.

That said, there is usually a looooong wait at clinics. I see no reason he can't show up after she checks into the clinic, the he pays at the front desk, and leaves. She will likely have to be at the front desk with him to make the payment.

This real problem here is that these two people are not getting along. Unless you are counseling your friend to show compassion and kindness, you should stay out of this.

Wanting to go to the clinic alone is not "reneging." Your friend sounds like he is being suspicious and mean during a difficult time. If he wants this to stop, he should stop being unkind towards his ex girlfriend.
posted by jbenben at 12:27 PM on January 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think the point is not just to avoid handing her cash, but to avoid conferring upon her any negotiable funds, i.e., anything that she might be able to use on something other than an abortion. So pre-paid cards, etc., aren't going to work. And the place won't take a personal checks or accept pre-payment.

I see precisely three ways around that.

One: see if they'll take a cashier's check. If so, he can get that and send it with her. They're more likely to take that form of payment, as those are a lot safer than personal checks. And because that would be made out to the clinic, she'd have a hard time spending it.

Two: see if they'll take payment over the phone.

Three: show up to the clinic, pay and leave.

There is no way I can see of giving her the means to pay which will be acceptable given the parameters of this problem other than a cashier's check made out to the clinic.
posted by valkyryn at 12:28 PM on January 7, 2013 [21 favorites]


Depending on what credit cards he currently has, there is a service where the credit card company creates a virtual credit card number and three digit CIV and expiration date that will only work with one pre-designated retailer. The account will be declined if someone tries to use it anywhere else. I have only used this service online, however. Not sure how it would fly at a face-to-face payment window.
posted by 99percentfake at 12:30 PM on January 7, 2013


I see no reason he can't show up after she checks into the clinic, the he pays at the front desk, and leaves. She will likely have to be at the front desk with him to make the payment.

The reason is that she has explicitly said she doesn't want him there. That's up to her, not the OP's friend.
posted by Dasein at 12:30 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seconding Dasein's suggestion. That way he can instruct his bank to only approve the charges if they come from a specific vendor, or, alternatively, dispute the charges if they go toward something other than the clinic bill.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:30 PM on January 7, 2013


Even if he figures out a way to give money to the clinic and not to his girlfriend, he knows that she can still change her mind before the procedure starts, right? There is no way to force her to have an abortion. Does he have reason to think she won't have one other than her not wanting him at the clinic?
posted by jeather at 12:31 PM on January 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


Why would a Visa gift card nullify the ability to spend the funds elsewhere than the clinic? Couldn't she just go to a store and spend that pre-payment?

Well, it wouldn't. Other than a check, made out to the clinic, that he hands to her, he has no way of controlling this. There's no way to guarranty that this is going to end. If she is indeed pregnant with his baby, and she's dicking around playing games, guess what, he's now tied to her for at least 18 years, perhaps longer,

I think what we all suspect is that this chick is pulling a fast one. Either she's not pregnant and just wants some money from him, or she is pregnant and wants to have the baby.

Either way, it isn't going to work for her the exact way she wants it to. Why doesn't he get a say in this?

"I'll meet you at the clinic and I'll pay for the procedure in person. If you don't want me to wait around, I won't, but the clinic won't work with me on this, and I don't trust you to do this."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:32 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


She has no choice if she wants him to pay. If I were in his shoes I would seriously doubt her ability/willingness to follow through, and would not give her cash in advance. I would not give her a pre-paid card. He has to be there to pay with a credit card or checque, she has to deal with it. It is the difference between being responsible for the procedure OR being responsible for the child should she decide otherwise.
posted by Gungho at 12:34 PM on January 7, 2013


Seconding Dasein's suggestion. That way he can instruct his bank to only approve the charges if they come from a specific vendor

Thanks eustacescrubb , but my suggestion was actually designed to avoid having to lock down charges to only those coming from specific vendors. We don't know how the clinic will show up - maybe they use a numbered company for discretion, so "ACME Abortion Clinic" doesn't show up on some teenager's bank statement that her father is looking at. Basically, I think it's worth risking the $500 or whatever. OP's friend does NOT want a situation where his card is declined at the clinic.
posted by Dasein at 12:34 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone not wanting a boyfriend that things have gone sour with to be present at one's abortion is a really really super understandable thing to want and is not the least bit suspicious. If your friend has other reasons to not be trusting or whatever that could be totally reasonable maybe, but this is really surer incredibly understandable.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:35 PM on January 7, 2013 [34 favorites]


Why can't he just do a check to the clinic, post-dated for date of the procedure?
posted by batmonkey at 12:35 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think this probably a case where we should answer the question as asked (and clarified) and not assume too much about any of the participants in this situation.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:36 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


batmonkey: Why can't he just do a check to the clinic, post-dated for date of the procedure?

They don't take checks.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:36 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has he called them and specifically verified that the below course of action is not possible?

-She goes to the clinic, alone
-She gives permission to the clinic for them to acknowledge the procedure to him
-She calls him (from a clinic phone if they want) and hands the phone to a clinic worker, who gets his credit card information from him over the phone

He should be as nice as possible to clinic staff so they will want to work with him on this. It sounds like he (and you) have a lot of suspicion about her actions and motivations. Please bear in mind, not wanting to have an abortion is a perfectly fine thing to do, even if you thought you would beforehand. I say this someone who thinks abortion is a wonderful option for lots of people, and who used to work at an abortion clinic. If she doesn't want to have an abortion, no financial workarounds are going to change her mind.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 12:36 PM on January 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


We don't know how the clinic will show up

Ah, yes, that's a very good point. But he can definitely still dispute the charges later.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:37 PM on January 7, 2013


I think all the talk of 'she has no say' may be a little preemptive without being directly involved in the situation. The question is "how can THIS be achieved, given that there are THESE restrictions."
posted by edgeways at 12:37 PM on January 7, 2013


I think there's some missing info making it harder for folks to answer this.

Is she actually his GF, a fling, or an ex?

Does he not trust her? What is he hoping to accomplish by not giving her money outright?

Does he have reason to suspect that she is not actually pregnant? Does he know she is pregnant but she also has reservations about getting an abortion?
posted by bunderful at 12:37 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seconding cashier's check. They're pretty different from regular checks, so even though they don't take checks its worth seeing if they take those. Cashier's checks are pretty safe from their perspective, unlike personal checks, and are non-transferrable.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:38 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can she text him when she is done waiting in the waiting room/as she is called in for the procedure? Then he knows he can enter the clinic and pay while she is in her appointment. She does not see him, they are never in the same room at the same time, but he knows she is there and he knows where his money is going.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 12:38 PM on January 7, 2013


I think what we all suspect is that this chick is pulling a fast one.

I don't suspect that. Although the post asserts she "reneged" her agreement, in fact she appears to remain willing to have the abortion. All she's asking is that he pay for it (reasonable, given that she has to bear the physical and potentially emotional trauma and maybe she has less money) and that he not attend the appointment (reasonable, given that it's intensely personal and it sounds like the relationship has deteriorated).

I think valkryn has outlined the options pretty well.
posted by brain_drain at 12:38 PM on January 7, 2013 [14 favorites]


Send someone else with cash and clear instructions. She said he couldn't be there, not that SOMEONE could be there. Particularly if he has a friend that he trusts and she knows...
posted by milqman at 12:39 PM on January 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


A cashier's check or a money order. Even if the clinic doesn't accept personal checks, they might accept a cashier's check or a money order. It wouldn't hurt to ask.
posted by nought at 12:41 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Two ways to do this:

1. Girlfriend goes to the clinic, calls the boyfriend, hands the phone to the front desk, he reads off his credit card information. I've done this repeatedly as paymaster for a project—never was a problem.

2. Bank check/cashier's check/money order. I would call and confirm with the clinic's front desk that this will be no problem before actually drawing a cashier's check, but really, it should be no problem.
posted by adamrice at 12:46 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hope a money order or cashiers check solves the issue.

Call the clinic and confirm they will accept a money order or cashiers check before going that route.
posted by jbenben at 12:46 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it is hard to do this in advance, but I think he can definitely find out if she reneged by not going to the agreed upon clinic. If the primary concern is losing the money, then he needs to use one of those suggestions above. If the primary concern is confirmation that she had the abortion, then I would use the suggestion of setting up a new bank account, adding just enough to cover the cost, give her the pin and wait to see what shows up on the bank statement as to where the money was spent.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:49 PM on January 7, 2013


[Folks, this is a lot more workable as a concrete logistics question than as a by-proxy interrogation of or speculation about the asker's friend and that person's girlfriend. Please try to keep to focused on solutions to the specific payment issue and leave the other stuff by the wayside.]
posted by cortex at 12:51 PM on January 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Another option is that she could pay for the procedure using her credit card or however she prefers and he could pay her back immediately.

Perhaps he could give the money to a mutual friend or some intermediary, prior to the procedure, and then when she returns from the procedure with the paperwork, receipt, or whatever she shows it to the intermediary who then gives her the money.

This accomplishes all objectives:

- Boyfriend pays for the procedure
- Though girlfriend does have to pay at the clinic (which is pretty difficult to get around if she won't allow the boyfriend to come to the clinic), she is assured of being reimbursed immediately
- Boyfriend is assured the money is spent on the procure and not on something else
- Boyfriend doesn't need to be at the clinic at all

Of course, if mutual friend could accompany girlfriend to the clinic and handle the payment that might be even better--but maybe girlfriend doesn't want anyone at the clinic with her, even a friend, or maybe friend doesn't want to or can't go to the clinic at the prescribed time.
posted by flug at 12:52 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


If she will not allow him to be present, will she allow a third party to be present at time of payment? If he gives someone trustworthy the cash and that person goes with her to the clinic, then all needs are met.
posted by sciencegeek at 12:52 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


past, you haven't really answered the key question here. Is this a logistics question or an "is this girl going to scam him somehow" question? Because if it's a logistics question, just give her the money.

If it's the second, which is he worried about, that she will spend the money on something else and then not have the abortion because she doesn't have the money, or that she doesn't want the abortion but is pretending to get one so that she can steal a few hundred dollars (which, holy Christ, worst plan ever considering how much it costs to actually raise a child, unless she is planning on a private adoption for which she would get paid and just nickel-and-diming every penny she can get out of the situation)? Or that she isn't pregnant, but just running a scam to take him for a few hundred dollars?

If it's just "how to get money there at the proper time because she might space out and spend it on crack" then he can hire a Brink's guard or other security person to transport the money, if she's not comfortable with his sending a female friend with the money.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:59 PM on January 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


Find a different clinic?
posted by zizzle at 1:00 PM on January 7, 2013


Ah, not sure how I missed the lack of "check" in payment options.

He could hire a courier to take the money to the clinic. It can be in a sealed envelope. The courier can get the receipt and return it to friend or stick it in an included SASE and pop it in the mail.
posted by batmonkey at 1:06 PM on January 7, 2013


Restrictions:

- He can't go with her
- He doesn't want to hand her cash beforehand
- Clinic will only take payment at time of appointment, and a check won't do it

Options:

- He sends money with trusted (by both) third party
- She gets there, checks in, calls him, gives phone to clinic worker, he give CC number
- She decides it's okay for him to show up for five minutes to pay

That's what I see. For those advocating finding a different clinic, depending on where you are in the U.S. (assuming this is in the U.S.), this really may not be practical or possible.
posted by rtha at 1:11 PM on January 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


The problem with the 'go to a different clinic' suggestions is, SHE is the one who is to undergo a medical procedure, and so SHE is the only one who gets to choose WHERE that medical procedure will be done. Even if they were still and planned to remain a couple, the choice of location is entirely hers.

As for payment: a cashier's check *made out to the clinic* sounds like the best plan; if not, then perhaps a neutral friend-of-both could go with her and take them the cash --- surely the clinic will require her to have SOMEONE accompany her.

I wouldn't give a close relative or friend my credit card number, so I can understand why he wouldn't want to do that; it'd be too easy to deny he'd ever given her cash; and filling out the memo line doesn't require a personal check to be used for that purpose and no other.
posted by easily confused at 1:25 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a negotiation problem. Both sides seem to mistrust the other's actions and intentions. In this type of situation you have to look at who has the power; power depends on motivation and leverage. The person with the least motivation has more power. The person with the most ability to change the situation has the leverage. He has high motivation and no leverage. He is screwing himself over to not agree to her (in my opinion not overly unreasonable) conditions - probably the only leverage he could have is to not make this situation worse or more stressful for her. Sending a third party to someone's medical appointment (especially one that is so polarising!) is a supremely bad idea.

If your friend wants it "over", give her the cash (or prepaid visa) as requested. Otherwise, he is escalating the drama in a negotiating situation where he is already one-down and both sides know he is powerless.
posted by saucysault at 1:26 PM on January 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


"surely the clinic will require her to have SOMEONE accompany her"

I didn't have anyone accompany me for either visit.
posted by Monday at 1:34 PM on January 7, 2013


Most clinics don't require accompaniment. It would be a barrier issue for most patients.
posted by batmonkey at 1:35 PM on January 7, 2013


Can he give money to a trusted third party who can go and pay in his place and leave? Maybe a friend of the ex that is on good terms with both of them (or good enough terms)?
posted by amycup at 1:55 PM on January 7, 2013


There is no negotiating here to make some sort of escrow transaction. There are two options:

1. Hand her the cash. I am sure he doesn't want to do this because he doesn't want her to spend it on personal purchases such as shoes and iPhone accessories, or worse yet, that she isn't pregnant at all. That's too bad, but he has zero leverage. Of course, she could still not get the abortion anyway. He could consider it a down payment on child support.

2. Not hand her cash. As in the case of him paying, she'll either have the abortion or not. I find it hard to believe that a person would give birth for spite over a matter of a few hundred dollars, but I imagine it has happened before.

At the end of the day, he can't make her have the abortion. He can do with that recognition what he will.
posted by Tanizaki at 1:58 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Give her a bank card to an account with the money for the abortion on it. Call up the abortion clinic and give the receptionist the PIN so that it can be entered by clinic staff.
posted by Jairus at 2:06 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


He gives her cash, but not "simply"; she gives him some form of collateral of equal or greater value, which he returns to her after she shows him a receipt from the clinic.
posted by nicwolff at 2:14 PM on January 7, 2013


Cashier's cheque is your only effective option. I would be shocked if they don't take them.
posted by smoke at 2:21 PM on January 7, 2013


I would be shocked if they don't take them.

Me too. And if the bean-counter at the front desk gives her crap about it, ask to talk to a manager or something, i.e., someone with a freaking clue.
posted by valkyryn at 2:32 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's any number of odd shenanigans you could do here to protect the cash outlay, with varying degrees of success. Get a locking cash drop bag like we used to use in the retail business to make night drops and provide the key to the clinic and the bag to her, for example.

But really, all this hoop-jumping - your friend needs to accept that if she's really determined to take his money under false pretenses then she'll probably find a way to get away with it. If for no other reason than that the clinic doesn't want to get drawn into your bs. They have enough problems with having nutters wanting to blow them up. Who can blame them for wanting to have a process that is as friction-less as possible? Weird arrangements smell of trouble and they get enough of that without agreeing to be willing participants.

In his shoes I'd do one of several things in order of preference.

One, just hand her the cash and chalk up the risk to the cost of living life. It sucks, but I think you need to accept the risk to reward tradeoff here and decide that if he wants not to be an unwilling father then this is the best of a number of bad choices.

Two, send the money with a third party. I don't know what sort of security arrangements this clinic has but if they're not onerous maybe they don't even have to arrive together.

Three, call the clinic and ask if he can personally drop off the payment in a sealed envelope. They don't have to open it before she gets there and if she never comes in then he'll come back in a month or two and pick it up. Throw yourself on their mercy, agree that they're not going to take responsibility for its loss. To that end the best thing he could do is get a prepaid visa card so if it goes missing he can make an attempt to challenge it.

I think if you consider these other sorts of arrangement, whatever it may be, you have to realize that they're not much more foolproof than simply trusting this woman with the money up-front. If he's worried she'll snort it or shoot it then he could go the prepaid credit card route. She could convert that to cash but it'd remove some temptation if that's the worry.

If he just worries she'll cheat him... honestly, he needs to just suck it up and roll the dice. It sucks that this is asymmetrical but it sucks that she as a women takes on all the risk of being pregnant. Life ain't always fair.
posted by phearlez at 2:46 PM on January 7, 2013 [17 favorites]


Cashier's check

The problem is that once you buy a cashier's check, the money is lost to you. Even if she was faking and never deposits it because there was no abortion, you're still out $1000 (or whatever).

Some sort of prepaid card or account, that is viable only at one vendor but can also be cancelled if unused, is a better solution.
posted by kellybird at 3:23 PM on January 7, 2013


In my state (Massachusetts, US) you can get a refund on a cashier's check if it is lost, stolen destroyed, or diverted. "Never reached the named payee" would count as "lost" or "diverted".

This is going to vary by state banking regulation and bank policy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:45 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of course we don't know if the clinic takes cashier's checks.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:47 PM on January 7, 2013


An abortion clinic I have knowledge of will not allow anyone to enter who is not announced and approved of by a patient. Guards, buzzers, secure elevator, bullet-proof glass were all in obvious evidence. As mentioned above, they have enormous security and privacy requirements. If this woman doesn't want him to enter, he won't be able to, and they will rightly refuse to acknowledge whether she is a patient. I don't see any way other than either cash or by asking if the clinic will take alternate payment, such as a money order payable to them.

I do have a somewhat peripheral thought, though the poster's original post describes the male's agreeing to pay as an absolute. I know someone who had an abortion fairly recently, and it was entirely covered by medical insurance. Of course, this woman may not be insured or might be on Medicaid, or in the military - both will not cover abortion. Or this demand might be intended to twist the knife in the boyfriend's back - tough to know without knowing more of the circumstances. Just a thought.
posted by citygirl at 4:30 PM on January 7, 2013


The problem is that once you buy a cashier's check, the money is lost to you.

Wrong. It's true that the money comes out of your account right away--that's how cashier's checks work--but as long as it hasn't been cashed, you can put a stop payment order on it just like any other check. It'll cost you a few bucks, but you can do it, and your money will be refunded. You don't even need to give a reason. "I changed my mind" is sufficient. The bank will confirm that the check has not been cashed, and then they'll give you your money back.

This is one of the reasons it's wise to call and confirm that a cashier's check is valid before depositing it, but the ability to do that is precisely why cashier's checks are around in the first place.

The only real question here is whether the clinic will accept them. If it will, problem solved. If it won't, then the only solutions are to either find a trustworthy third-party to act as a kind of escrow, or to make the payment yourself.
posted by valkyryn at 5:07 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I know this is weird, but you could ask if they issue gift certificates and get one in the amount of the abortion to give to her. Planned Parenthoods of Indiana offered gift certificates a few years back (Fox News shit themselves). It's worth asking I guess. Or he can call the clinic, explain the situation, and see what they recommend.
posted by greta simone at 5:51 PM on January 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why not draw up a contract that they both sign specifying the amount of money, its intended use, etc?

But yeah, failing that a trackable money order is probably the best bet.
posted by windykites at 6:04 PM on January 7, 2013


Can he just call the clinic and ask them what they recommend, and what will work for them? That sounds like the most direct route to solving his problem. We can come up with possible solutions all day long, but in the end, he is going to have to confirm with the clinic anyways.
posted by Vaike at 6:10 PM on January 7, 2013 [15 favorites]


Despite being widely supplanted by debut cards, travelers' checks still exist, are similarly equivalent to cash as cashier's checks are, and are recoverable by the original purchaser if they are lost/stolen/unused.

I agree with the above that a cashier's check is the best sounding option. But if a cashier's check is not refundable for him, your friend should check that travelers' checks are acceptable to the clinic and then get the check(s) in appropriate denominations from his bank or credit card company, made out to the clinic.

It's still entirely possible that she may pay for the procedure and then decide at last not to get the abortion, and the clinic may not give refunds.
posted by nicebookrack at 6:13 PM on January 7, 2013


Third-party friend showing up at the clinic and paying on behalf of the boyfriend seems the easiest and simplest way to comply with the girlfriend's restrictions.

Better yet, it's still consistent with the clinic's definition of "paying for the abortion" being something that must be done at the clinic once the patient arrives for her appointment. Him handing over cash at an earlier time would not "technically" be "paying for the abortion" from the clinic's perspective.

Yes, this is pedantically literal, but maybe depersonalizing it like this could allow everyone to go ahead and move forward.
posted by desuetude at 10:26 PM on January 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oops, didn't know cashier's checks were refundable! How cool is that? Mods, feel free to delete that previous post due to inaccuracy...
posted by kellybird at 4:45 AM on January 8, 2013


Why not draw up a contract that they both sign specifying the amount of money, its intended use, etc?

Because I bet you dollar to doughnuts that the contract would be unenforceable as a matter of public policy. The court's not going to enforce a contract regarding whether or not an abortion occurs, which is what this contract would be asking.

The question assumes, as do most comments here, "If he pays, she'll get the abortion. If he doesn't pay, she won't." These are false assumptions. The boyfriend can't make the girlfriend get an abortion or not get an abortion. She is going to get or not based solely on what she wants. She holds all the cards.

If the boyfriend gives her a cashier's check, what's the backup plan if she rips it in front of his face and demands cash? None that I can imagine. He is in a position to demand nothing of her. The law has no remedy for him in this case.
posted by Tanizaki at 6:32 AM on January 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


But, he can make a good faith effort to honor some not unreasonable requests. If the follow-on is further stipulations then at some point the conclusion will be that she does not want an abortion, which is an entirely viable option, at which point both of them will (hopefully) act like mature adults in the raising and care of the kid.

Worse case scenario is either a) she is not pregnant and it is a scam for money, or b) cash is handed over and an abortion is not preformed.

If it is "a)" then frankly, in the long run a few hundred (or whatever it does cost ?) to be out from under someone who would pull that is a good investment. If it is "b)" then her actions will speak to her wishes and if she decides to have the kid then that first payment will be the first in a long long line for 18+ years to come.

But, providing everyone is an honest actor here, there have been numerous suggestions offered that could work (Cashiers Check/Money Order/Travelers Checks, a temporary bank account, a third party acting as courier, reimbursing her from a receipt post procedure) and failing all of that the suggestion to just call the damn place and ask their advice is perhaps the most pertinent. Or, you know, they could actually talk to one another and he could ask, out of these options which one will work for you?
posted by edgeways at 8:13 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses. I apologize for not responding until now.

In the end, it turned out there was one person both parties trusted enough to both handle the transaction and be present at the clinic itself. That person is me, and I'll be accompanying the young lady this Saturday.

Thank you again!
posted by past at 2:38 AM on January 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


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