If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (and if you don’t, you should really ask yourself why not…I mean you’re missing out on all my awesomeness), you may know that I’m participating in this year’s National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon.
I’m fundraising under the team name “The Opinionators” (The Opinioness…“The Opinionators”…not wildly clever but still cute, right?) in my home state for the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion (EMA) Fund Triathlon.
Reproductive rights are human rights. Abortion is healthcare. No one should ever be turned away from receiving medical care due to an inability to pay.
What is EMA Fund? The EMA Fund is an all-volunteer group of approximately 60 people who work to ensure people have access to abortion. They provide a vital service, filling the health care gap by helping people pay for abortion care. Founded in 1999, the EMA Fund is a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds.
What does EMA do?
- EMA gives money. They provide grants and financial counseling. If they can’t fund a caller’s needs, they strategize solutions, coordinate with other abortion funds and provide referrals.
- EMA provides resources. They provide aid in emergency contraception, options counseling, childcare during abortion procedures, translation services, and transportation costs (bus, train tickets, cab fare) to clinics.
- EMA changes the system. Most Massachusetts public health insurance (MassHealth, Commonwealth Care, and Health Safety Net) plans fund abortion. But if someone isn’t enrolled, it can take months to sign up and abortion is a time-sensitive procedure (physically and financially). However, because of their connections with other abortion funds, non-profits and government agencies, EMA is often able to expedite the enrollment process, getting people covered within days.
“We know that if you don’t have money, abortion might as well be illegal. For us, access to abortion is a matter of social justice, reproductive justice, economic justice, fairness, and human rights.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. An unprecedented number of harmful, offensive, sexist, racist, classist, bullshit bills at the federal and state level are attempting to strip people of their reproductive rights. No one has the right to tell you what to do with your own body. Everyone has the right to shape their own life and decide what’s right for them.
Who’s getting abortions? According to Guttmacher Institute, 1 in 3 women in the U.S. will get an abortion in her lifetime. Most women getting abortions are in their 20s. Between 2000-2010, “abortion has become increasingly concentrated among poor women.” While 1 in 3 white women get abortions, “women of color are disproportionately likely to have an abortion” as African-American and Latina women have higher rates of unintended pregnancies due to economic and social inequities.
Who needs abortion funding? EMA Fund receives on average about 40 calls requesting funding each week. According to their Fall 2011 Semi-Annual Newsletter, “over 600 callers seeking abortion funding have contacted the EMA Fund” between the beginning of April 2011 and Fall 2011. EMA Fund’s “average weekly call volume has increased since the beginning of September 2011.”
In 2009, the average abortion cost $451. The average cost refers to abortions performed in the first trimester. But the costs vary wildly depending on whether you go to a clinic or your physician’s office, how far along you are, and the state you live in. After the first trimester, prices skyrocket from there, running $3,0000-$6,000 and up, getting exponentially more expensive each week.
In economic recessions, healthcare access becomes even more critical. Ms. Magazine posted a piece from On the Issues analyzing when abortion is an economic necessity and reporting on a new study looking at “reproductive decision-making during an economic downturn. The new report had 3 key findings:”
- “As the economic downturn continued, birth rates fell and the demand for contraceptive services, including vasectomies, increased.”
- “As economic factors forced cutbacks in social services, low-income women faced greater difficulties in getting safe and affordable birth control.”
- “Faced with these difficulties, more low-income women were choosing abortion.”
People shouldn’t have to choose between paying for rent, childcare or groceries and their healthcare.
So why is EMA Fund having a Triathlon instead of the nation-wide Bowl-a-Thon? As I wrote last year, no bowling alley in supposedly über liberal Boston (or the Boston area) would host an event supporting abortion or “controversial issues.” So the Triathlon at the Milky Way Lounge in JP on April 11th will include Wii Bowling, karaoke, and board games. Huzzah!
How do I donate?? Please click here if you would like to make a donation. If you’ve already donated, thank you, thank you, thank you!! You are seriously making a huge difference in so many people’s lives. Collectively, the EMA Fund Triathlon teams have raised approximately $25,000 and we just need $10,000 more to reach our goal. If you haven’t donated yet, now’s the perfect time because it’s matching weekend (March 30-April 1)! Double huzzah!!
What’s matching weekend? If you donate today, Saturday or Sunday by 11:59pm Sunday night (4/1), your tax-deductible donation to my EMA Triathlon team will be matched (up to $5,000) and donated to the Abortion Access Network of Arizona (AANA). That’s like donating twice!
So why is EMA Fund supporting AANA? Because they’re a brand new fund (only 4 months old) still growing their donor base and volunteer list so they could use our help. Abortion is only available in Tucson and Phoenix so travel fees add to the already expensive cost of abortion. As the EMA Triathlon Coordinator wrote:
“A year ago, if a person in Arizona needed help paying for their abortion, they had no one to call. Now, they can call AANA.”
Here’s more info on AANA:
“AANA was founded in June 2011. We started accepting patient referrals in December 2011. In the past four months, we have served an average of twenty women per month. AANA provides $50 for first-trimester patients, and $100 for later-term abortions. We help stretch our dollars by connecting patients with other funds so that we can collectively make a big difference in patients’ lives…
What will my donation fund?
- $4 – Round-trip T fare from Somerville to Brighton
- $20 – Lack of reliable transit: cab fare from Beverly to Lynn
- $40 – The need to travel out of state: bus fare to New York City
- $50 – Blood type: RhoGAM shot for women with RH negative blood
- $100 – Someone to talk to: EMA Fund’s average monthly phone bill
- $500 – Average cost of a first trimester abortion in Boston
I wrote this before at the top of this post but it bears repeating: Reproductive rights are human rights. Abortion is healthcare. No one should ever be turned away from receiving medical care due to an inability to pay.
Whatever you can give will seriously make a tremendous difference. Thank you!!!