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Rack ‘Em Up: It’s time to Ball4DCAF!

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It’s our favorite fundraiser for a reason: The fifth annual DC Abortion Fund Billiards-A-Thon is shaping up to be better than ever. And we want you to chalk up and join us!

Mark your calendars for Sunday, April 27, 2014, and start practicing your break shot now. This year, we’re hoping to raise $50,000, but we need you to do it! Captain a team or join one as we show other abortion funds across the country how it’s done!

The Billiards-A-Thon is more than a chance to hang out with like-minded people, play pool and wear amazing costumes (though it’s that, too)—it’s our biggest fundraiser of the year. The money we raise for the Billiards-A-Thon goes directly to the women and girls who most need help to pay for their abortions. We can’t let someone’s wallet dictate whether they can exercise their rights. Together, we can help make abortion accessible to all.

So we need you! Join us, get your costumes going, get ready for some terrible puns, and start rackin’ up your donations. It’s Billiards-A-Thon time!

On Twitter? Use #balls4dcaf  and follow us at @dcabortionfund to join the conversation, and so we can easily RT you.

Questions? Email us at dcbowlathon@gmail.com.


The Coat Hanger as a Symbol, and Why Abortion Access Matters

Statement from Val Vilott, President of the DC Abortion Fund

March 20, 2014

It’s said that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Lately, it seems there’s been a lot of forgetfulness about the history of women’s reproductive freedom. The coat hanger has long been a symbol of the reproductive justice movement. The DC Abortion Fund – contrary to recent conservative media reports – has for many years given away a silver coat hanger pendant to our monthly supporters.

coat hanger penant with news at 11 captionThe pendant is nothing new or even particularly newsworthy. Anyone who wants a pendant today can sign up here to become a monthly donor for as little as $10 a month. If you do, please consider this my personal thanks. Welcome to a wonderful community of dedicated, compassionate abortion access supporters – we’re glad to have you!

What does your donation go to? Helping women in need. DCAF is a small, all-volunteer organization that gives out grants to women and girls in DC, Maryland, and Virginia who can’t afford the full cost of abortion care. We are no stranger to opposition, but we do this work because we know what the stakes are if we don’t. Due to distance, cost, and other state-imposed burdens, it is increasingly difficult to access safe abortion care here in the DC metro area and around the country. As a result, we – and many other funds around the country – have seen demand for our help increase steadily, with more and more women calling us for help.

The coat hanger is a symbol of the reproductive justice movement because lack of access to abortion causes women to go to desperate lengths to terminate a pregnancy, similar to those undertaken in the pre-Roe vs Wade era. At that time, consuming Lysol and household poisons was not uncommon to instigate abortion. Nor was inserting knitting needles, Coke bottles, and – yes – wire coat hangers into their cervices.

It might make you cringe to imagine just how desperate one must be to go to these lengths. But we don’t have to imagine. We hear from women every day who are that desperate, with no one else to turn to. With our help, they access quality, safe abortion care – no wire coat hangers needed.

The coat hanger is a reminder of women’s suffering when abortion is placed out of reach. It is a promise from reproductive justice advocates to never go back to the grotesque world our anti-choice opponents are striving for: a world WITHOUT safe access to abortion, where women might have to resort to horrific alternatives like a coat hanger. That’s why our supporters love the pendants and wear them as a point of pride.

While we were surprised by the conservative media’s ignorance of the history of the coat hanger’s symbolism, we certainly welcome the spotlight on our efforts to help women.

More people should know about the efforts of the DC Abortion Fund and funds like it helping women across the country. In fact, we’re in the middle of our National Bowl-A-Thon Fundraising campaign, which you can join here. And if you want a silver coat hanger pendant, please become a monthly donor here.

In short: the coat hangers are not going anywhere, and neither are we.

Thanks for your interest in our work!


National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day

Today we remember Dr. David Gunn, a doctor who practiced in Pensacola, Fl. and was assassinated outside his clinic March 10, 1993 because he was an abortion provider.  Although Congress and President Clinton passed the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances Act in 1994, anti-abortion extremists continue to perpetuate severe harassment and violence against providers across the US every year.

We are proud to work with our clinic partners in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and around the country. DC Abortion Fund salutes the courageous doctors, staff, and clinic escorts who make abortion rights and access possible for our patients.

DC Abortion Fund co-hosted a screening of After Tiller last week in collaboration with the D.C. Office on Women’s Policy. The film follows late abortion providers who worked with Dr. George Tiller, our colleague and a provider who was murdered in Kansas in 2009.  We will never forget him and the important services he provided for patients in Kansas and throughout the US.

We need your help to continue expanding abortion access.  Continue advocating against the Hyde Amendment in our federal budgets.  Be visible in your support for abortion funds and reproductive justice organizations. Lobby your educators and medical professionals to teach abortion care to new providers. Ask your friendly local clinic if they need volunteers, and say hi to their escorts – especially if you bring them coffee and snacks. Work with law enforcement and legal organizations to expand clinic buffer zones and enforce the FACE Act.

We thank you for your work and your support. Women need abortions and we are going to pay for them.