As you may know, today is the 1st ever #GivingTuesday, a day to give back and celebrate generosity. There are a lot of worthy causes I could write about that are dear to my heart: feminist media, domestic violence shelters, animal sanctuaries. And if you give to any of these…huzzah! But I’m going to write about why it’s important to give to abortion funds. Because of all the causes and charities I support, abortion funds may just be the most stigmatized.
Reproductive rights are human rights. Abortion is healthcare. No one has the right to dictate what you do with your body. No one should ever be turned away from having an abortion (or any medical care) due to an inability to pay. Everyone should have the ability to make healthcare choices without worrying about financial constraints.
Having vacillated my whole life between living low-income and fiscal comfort, I know what it’s like to have to choose between rent and groceries, healthcare and electricity. I know what it’s like to go hungry because you’ve already spent your entire paycheck on bills. Desperately worrying about where you’re going to get the money to pay your expenses is a frenetic nightmare. No one should ever have to decide between rent or their reproductive healthcare.
Abortion should be accessible, affordable and on demand, without apology. As Anu Kumar, Executive Vice President of Ipas, rightfully asserts:
“It’s not a choice if you can’t afford it.”
Abortion funds fill the gap between healthcare and accessibility. Funds are typically comprised of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure people have access to abortion. They provide grants, financial counseling, provide referrals, strategize solutions, emergency contraception, counseling, childcare during abortion procedures, translation services, and transportation costs (bus, train tickets, cab fare) to clinics.
While the average abortion costs $451 — those performed in the first trimester — costs can run over $6,000. Costs drastically vary depending on what state you live in, how far along you are, and whether it’s performed at a clinic or doctor’s office.
All day-long, people have tweeted and posted pictures online at the National Network of Abortion Funds about why they give to abortion funds. Here are a couple of my favorites:
“I give to abortion funds because your rights shouldn’t depend on your wallet.”
“I give to abortion funds because all people have the right to make decisions about their bodies.”
“I give to abortion funds because I had an abortion as a low-income person, and without clinic discounts and in-house funds, I wouldn’t have been given a second chance.”
“I give to abortion funds because no one should have to justify legal healthcare.”
Feministing’s Maya Dusenbery shared why she gives to abortion funds:
“The need for abortion funds is evidence of a complete failure to uphold any semblance of equality when it comes to abortion rights.” And this status quo has been tolerated for decades because the U.S. fundamentally doesn’t give a shit about protecting basic human rights.
“But here’s the realest reason I keep donating to abortion funds every year: I give to abortion funds because being pregnant when you don’t want to be is the absolute worst.”
“If you’re ever skeptical of the pro-choice rhetoric about how abortion is about the ability to control your life, stop and really try to imagine the profound loss of control you’d feel if you woke up pregnant tomorrow. Now imagine feeling that way and also counting down the days as you frantically call on friends and family, deplete your grocery fund, and pawn your possessions to scrap together the money for a procedure that may cost as much as your entire month’s rent.”
Anti-choice legislation keeps bombarding us, restricting abortion access. Politics disillusion many people into thinking they possess no power, that no one will listen. But you can take a stand. Fight back by giving, if you can, to help a person in need.
So you want to help women in an immediate and impactful way? Give to an abortion fund. Vote with your dollars about what matters to you. Never think you can’t make a difference in the world. Because you can. Every dollar helps someone in need.
Not sure who to give to? You can donate to a local fund like Eastern Massachusetts Abortion (EMA) Fund, New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF) or Lillith Fund in Texas, or to the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), or check out Abortion Gang‘s list of funds and orgs.
So why do I give to abortion funds? For all of these reasons. Because I trust people to choose what’s right for them. Because income should never mandate healthcare. Because I hope someday, reproductive freedom will truly be free.