Since the early 1990s, our community, web site and support forums were known as A Heartbreaking Choice® and could be found online at aheartbreakingchoice dot com.
We feel it’s important share the reasons for our name change. Those who submitted their stories to us or have been involved in our support community under our old name may wonder what their stories are doing here under a new name (and why an ugly commercial trademark symbol must now be pasted at the end of our old name). Rest assured, this is the original community founded by Maribeth Doerr in 1996, supported and managed by most (but not all) of the original administrators. Only the name is new.
In February of 2015, we were forced to change our name under threat of lawsuit by the trademark owner via her sock puppet, Broach Hooper. The good news is, we like the new name, Ending a Wanted Pregnancy, better because it is clearer as to what we’re all about.
More importantly, it distances our old site which was stolen from us in 2012 and converted to what we believe is a donation scam that preys on the grieving.
If you’re interested in the history, read on.
How we always did things from 1996 on
We had never been a fundraising organization, relying instead on our admins to pool their own money when it came time to pay for web domain or hosting service renewals. These things are not particularly expensive. All site maintenance and support group administration was handled by volunteers. The whole purpose of our mission was to support individuals who had made the decision to end a wanted pregnancy for medical reasons. Our approach has always been to provide a safe platform where parents who had been through this experience could share their stories and offer emotional support and encouragement to others going through it. That is not and has never been an expensive proposition that required ongoing fundraising. Every few years our web hosting would come up for renewal and admins and a couple of dedicated members would pitch in to cover it.
The PayPal issue, the site lockout and the domain theft
In 2012 our newest web site admin—let’s call her Ms. H.—went rogue and plastered that site with PayPal donation links which went straight to her personal bank account, with no accountability. (She claims Grace gave her permission to do this. Nope. She was only given permission to request donations for site hosting fees once, when they were up for renewal in 2008, and only on our Yuku forums.) When the other admins called Ms. H. out on those PayPal links on the website, she immediately locked them out of the site. On further investigation we learned that she had unilaterally removed the original domain owners from the domain registry and appointed herself sole owner. Ms. H. then quickly moved the the domain to a Mexican registry service making it impossible for us, the original owners, to reclaim the domain we’d maintained since 1996.
What happened when we tried to get our stolen site back
In a nutshell, the old registry service said, “We don’t have that domain anymore, you’ll have to complain to the new registry” and the new registry service said “Her name was on it when she transferred it here, there is nothing we can do. Talk to the old registry service.” We made a follow up complaint with ICANN, the organization that oversees domain registrars, and were told
“You have, in essence, a private dispute between you and the person who allegedly replaced the information listed! in Whois of the affected domain name. You may want to contact a law enforcement agency in your jurisdiction or retain legal counsel to determine what rights and remedies are available to you.”
The problem with this is that the US has no legal reciprocity with Belize. (It’s a key reason a lot scam artists choose to expatriate there—US courts can’t touch them.)
As for Ms. H’s recent claim that:
“Contrary to what you may have heard or read, the aheartbreakingchoice.com website was not stolen. If it were even possible to steal a website, you would see this occurring on a daily basis. The facts are that ICANN follows extremely strict rules which prevents this from happening.”
It is quite possible to steal a web site, in fact it happens all the time, and there is very little ICANN or anyone else can do when it happens. All it took to steal the domain (URL) was for her to convince us to trust her with our login info at our domain registrar. Stealing the site itself was as a simple as changing a password—before she did that, every admin on our Yuku support had the password to the web site.
Locked out of the site, helpless to remove her “donation” links that we believe preyed on the grieving, and unable to reclaim our original, well-known and well-connected domain, we rebuilt the entire site from scratch at aheartbreakingchoice dot net.
The trademark complaints
Meanwhile, Ms. H. filed for a trademark on the words “Heartbreaking Choice” —a euphemistic phrase coined for this community by Maribeth Wilder-Doerr back in 1996, many years before Ms. H. was even made an admin, let alone had even heard of this web site. Although Ms. H. resides in Belize, Central America, in order to get a US trademark she swore under penalty of perjury that her address was in Reno, Nevada. Unfortunately, the trademark was granted to her.
In early 2015 she filed complaint after complaint against us with the hosting service of our rebuilt site, demanding our entire site be taken down because it violated “her” trademark—blatantly violating her promise to our community that she would not abuse her trademark ownership this way. She even tried to demand that Domains by Proxy give her our aheartbreakingchoice dot net domain … after she’d already stolen our aheartbreakingchoice dot com and dot org domains.
The bottom line
Because our hosting service can only go by what’s trademarked and can’t make legal or moral determinations (such as, we were using A Heartbreaking Choice many years before Ms. H came along and trademarked the phrase), they would have no choice but to remove our entire site if we did not change our name.
So we changed it. Welcome to Ending a Wanted Pregnancy.
The legal harassment continues
On February 16th, 2015 Ms. H. filed yet another complaint against us with our site host, claiming the very page you are reading was in violation of her trademark—despite our careful use of the ® symbol next to the name, our clear and unequivocal acknowledgement of her status as the trademark owner and even our direct link to her trademark documentation at USPTO. She also complained about another page where the words “heartbreaking” and “choice” were sequenced together as a merely descriptive term referring to the decision to end a wanted pregnancy. She is using the trademark to suppress the way we refer to our grief, to deny us the right to discuss it in ways that are meaningful to us, and to prevent grieving parents from innocently using a common euphemism that predates her involvement in this community (indeed, it even predates her abortion) by well over a decade.
On July 9, 2015, we received yet another trademark complaint from Ms. H. again posing as “Broach Hooper.” At this point we’d long since gone to extraordinary lengths in scouring the site of our original name, and further replacing every single story and article on the site that were duplicated on the site she’d stolen from us. Yet somehow she’d dug up a long-forgotten subdirectory that contained the original AHC site which Grace had built in the mid-2000s. Not a word of text in that subdirectory was written or edited by Ms. H. (indeed, that content predated her abortion), and even its html was hand-coded by Grace. Nothing in that forgotten sub-directory was linked to or in any way accessible by navigating the Ending a Wanted Pregnancy site.
Pathetic. We don’t even know what she wants at this point. Attention, probably. Well, frankly we’re all pretty bored with her games by now.
The Yuku attack and misappropriation of our Yuku URL
By the end of February, she had filed a total of four legal complaints against us, including a complaint against our 10-year-old Yuku support forums where the grief journeys of nearly 2,000 bereaved parents exist. At the time of her complaint we had already changed the name of our Yuku board to Ending a Wanted Pregnancy. Only the URL, which is not something you can just change yourself at Yuku, included the “offending” term “Heartbreaking Choice.”
That complaint resulted in our grief support board being completely deleted. That’s right, 10 years worth of grief journeys of nearly 2,000 members of our community were deleted, thanks to Ms. H’s greed and trademark power trip. Fortunately, the Yuku team listened to reason and supported us by rescuing our data and restoring it at endingawantedpregnancy.yuku.com. Shortly afterwards, Ms. H. snatched our original Yuku URL (it became available to the public when it was taken away from us) and redirected it to point to the web site she stole from us. Once again, Yuku came through for us: They spotted what she had done and took the URL away from her, since using a Yuku URL merely to redirect traffic to a non-Yuku site is a Yuku Terms of Service violation.
The real shame of forcing us to change the Yuku URL is it makes our old support site nearly impossible for our old members to find. Their journeys are there, but when they go to their bookmarked Yuku URL they get a 404 error. If you’re looking for our old Yuku support board it’s here. Again, we are so grateful to Yuku for rescuing our data from this fiasco!
The DMCA filing – why we chose to remove the old stories
She has also claimed a DMCA copyright license, declaring herself the original creator of all of the personal stories which were actually submitted to that site by bereaved individuals, people just like you, over the decades it’s been in operation. The reality is she wrote only a few original pieces on the site, and perhaps edited another 10% or so of them—the rest were either already there when she showed up, or were edited by other volunteers in the Editing Room of our Yuku forums.
Fortunately, there are many people who believed in our mission and shared all new stories with us. The only stories or articles that remain at both sites are those that are third-party copyrighted and therefore immune from a DMCA takedown demand.
The AHC NPO/NGO “Plans”
More recently she has announced plans:
“…to become “an international NPO” raising money to “Establish a fund to assist those with financial hardships or for those that need to travel outside their home state, district or country to terminate.”
Sounds good but that’s already being done extremely well by the National Network of Abortion Funds. There is no need to duplicate those efforts, not that she could. Another fundraising goal she has stated is:
“Purchase and install the collaboration tools for a NPO to communicate internationally; such as web based video meetings and conference call software for all members of the Board of Directors.”
Or, it would be laughable if those funds she’s after weren’t coming out of the pockets of bereaved parents whose trust she gains in exchange for her cut-n-paste “sympathies.” The bottom line is, if a jobless person with a jobless spouse living in a waterfront home in a private community in one of the nicest parts of Belize claims her one-woman* “organization” needs lots of “donations” and must establish an “international non-profit” status with a “board of directors” …. to become an “official non-profit organization” just to keep a simple web site and online support group going—well, you do the math.
The Imaginary Board of Directors & Financial Oversight
Ms. H. has repeatedly alluded to having a “Board of Directors” for her “NPO” but no other person in our community is known to have any official role in her decisions or actions regarding the stolen website and the donations it’s receiving. We’re pretty sure that making an “AHC NPO/BOD” Facebook group and adding a few chums and sock puppets to it does not create a valid board of directors. If you see a community member’s name listed as being on the AHC Board of Directors, ask them personally if they’re actually on the board. So far, the listed people we’ve talked to have said they’re not on the AHC Board of Directors and they don’t understand why they were listed as such. But please don’t take our word for it: ask them yourself. If you find someone who actually is on the board (other than Ms. H, her husband who has never been involved with AHC and would be on the board only to double Ms. H’s vote weight or the infamous lawsuit-threatening sock puppet Broach Hooper) please have them email us so we can amend this paragraph.
Ms. H. claims there is “oversight” on the donations her site takes in, but who actually has this financial oversight is a complete mystery. Last we checked, all donations went straight to her personal PayPal account. Other than Ms. H., the only named “individual” involved in “managing” the AHC web site or domain that we’ve ever heard of is Ms. H’s sock puppet, Broach Hooper. (There do appear to be some nice volunteers doing the actual work of moderating the new AHC support board, and we’re thankful for that at least).
If you are not OK with this, we strongly urge you to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask her to stop harassing our grief support site admins and the grieving parents who count on us to be here for them.
Oh look, more lies.
This was spotted on our old, stolen website in February of 2016. We’re not sure when she added these nuggets of false “history” but whatever.
The best lies contain a hair of truth: Persephone (Grace’s Yuku username) did accept “Ayliea’s” offer of help with the site when she returned to work in 2008. But Persephone/Grace never “turned it over completely” as Ayliea claims here. Ayliea forged ICANN transfer documents to the domain aheartbreakingchoice-dot-com before expatriating to Belize in 2010. Her deception took place two full years before she ultimately locked all other admins out of the site — in a hissy fit she threw precisely because she was asked to stop requesting grieving members pay her with “donations.”
No grieving parent ever benefited from even one penny of the cash she raised, and no other admin was ever privy to how much cash that was, or how she spent it. (We do know that funds went straight to her personal PayPal account which funneled directly to her personal bank account). She claims to have offered to “provide an accounting” of all the money she collected from our grieving members, but that would have been meaningless since there was never any oversight to begin with. What we do know is that she continued to come to AHC’s other active admins, including Persephone, for cash anyway when domain and hosting fees were due, and that we paid up every single time. We have the receipts to prove that.
Note how she now lobs seven years off the ten years time that Persephone/Grace managed the site, in order to make herself look like the person who’s had it the longest. The screencap image above was part of yet another “donation” page where she panhandles for money based on her “years of tireless work.”
(We just have to point out here that the admins of EWP have jobs outside the home, or are home with children, or both. Yet we’re not complaining about being overworked. “Ayliea” hasn’t offspring to look after or any outside work responsibilities. It must be simply exhausting living on the beach in Belize, poking around on a website every now and then or updating something to a Facebook lifestyle page. Isn’t that lifestyle what most people would call a permanent vacation?)
On her “donation” page she also claims A Heartbreaking Choice is “A professional non-profit.” It is no such thing. It hasn’t a 501(c)3 nor any professional or non-profit designation, tax status, certification or credentials. Nope, not anywhere in the world, not even in Belize. It doesn’t even have these things pending. Apparently Ms. H. thinks being unemployed automatically makes her a “non-profit organization” that doesn’t have to report income or pay taxes, and to heck with what the term non-profit actually means.
But don’t take our word for that: check NPO the watchdog Guidestar, a respected site that rates non-profit organizations. And we’re not listed with them either, but we never ask for or accept donations, nor are we trying to palm ourselves off as a non-profit org in order to fool people out of their money or avoid taxes. It’s true we don’t profit, but we’re not claiming a special tax exempt status. We don’t take in money, so we don’t need NPO status. Ms. H. should not be taking money either, but she plasters the old AHC website with donation links. It never had any during the many years that Grace was actively managing it.
AHC does not even appear in the Guidestar database, despite Ayliea’s claims it’s “a professional non-profit.”
The admins of Ending a Wanted Pregnancy do not find our volunteer work “tiring,” nor do we seek “donations” in order to pay ourselves. This work is rewarding to us. We actually like helping people, and can support ourselves and support this site without begging for handouts.
Beware of anyone looking for cash handouts and claiming to be an NPO when they’re actually not. These things are easily verified. If you can find proof that A Heartbreaking Choice is a tax-exempt NPO, do send it to us at email@example.com and we’ll update this page. We’re reasonable like that.
Trademark legal gobbledygookNOTICE: Heartbreaking Choice® as used throughout this page is a Registered Trademark (Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.” No. 4,500,332, Ser. No. 85-789,639) of Ms. H. of Corozol, Belize, Central America and should never be used without providing a clear indication that Heartbreaking Choice® is a Registered Trademark of Ms. H (You can visit the USPTO trademark link to learn her real name: Just know that the address she has filed with USPTO is not hers, but belongs, perhaps appropriately, to a junkyard). In order to use the phrase heartbreaking choice® for any reason, even if it is just as a euphemism you are using to casually discuss your grief among friends, you are now required, according to the trademark owner’s feeble understand of trademark law, to get “a written license agreement” from her. She believes you must first obtain her express, prior, written and, heavens, “licensed” permission because as the Trademark Owner of Heartbreaking Choice® she does not understand that the ® symbol is universally accepted as legally sufficient when using any registered trademark. If you do not first contact her and, apparently, purchase a license from her to use this term, expect much underwear bunching to ensue in the form of pesky, baseless complaints lodged against you by her smelly sock puppet, Broach Hooper. You may reach the trademark owner to request a License to use her Registered Trademark, Heartbreaking Choice®, at any one of 17 email addresses we have on file for Ms. H and her sock puppet, Broach Hooper. Just so you know we’re not making this up, here is a quote from the legal mumbo jumbo page of the trademark owner’s website.
“Any use of a “Heartbreaking Choice” trademarks including the “Heartbreaking Choice” name in any form, in connection with any product or service that does not belong to A “Heartbreaking Choice” unless otherwise authorized in a written license agreement, will constitute an infringement upon the trademark rights of such owner and may be actionable under United States Trademark Laws, Registered, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, NO. 4,500,332 Ser. No. 85-789,639. and/or International Trademark Laws and the Trademark or equivalent laws of other countries.”