Did you know that DC residents are taxed just like everyone else, but are not allowed to spend our local tax dollars without first getting the approval of Congress? Or that ALL federal tax dollars are barred from covering abortions*? Because Congress controls DC’s budget, the District does not have the same autonomy as states, which can decide whether or not they want to use their own locally raised Medicaid funds to help pay for abortions.
That’s ridiculous, right?
This Tax Day, you have an opportunity to help right this wrong.
If you got a refund, donate a portion of it to the DC Abortion Fund! We’re in the midst of our Game-a-Thon fundraiser and your donation has a direct impact. For example, your gift of $36 helps us field a month of calls from patients. $172 funds an average DCAF pledge. And $400 funds a first-trimester abortion in the DC area.
Want to do even more? Consider becoming a Game-a-Thon fundraiser and help us raise money for people in our community. Just gather a few friends to create your team, sign up, and start fundraising. We’ll provide you with tips and tools!
Barring taxpayer-funded abortion coverage puts undue pressure on our patients — and many are already dealing with financial insecurity and limited access to health care.
Do you believe that abortion care should be covered by health insurance? Do you believe that DC should get the same autonomy as states? Then take action today.
Access to abortion care shouldn’t depend on your zip code.
Even in 2017, it can be hard to find positive depictions and arguments for abortion in popular culture. Honest stories of abortion, and its social and economic implications, are important to ending the stigma people face when deciding to terminate a pregnancy. After all, one in three women will have an abortion in their life.
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite fiction and nonfiction books that portray abortion, the people who have them, and the people who perform them in an honest, unbiased way. Beyond being important to spreading the message of reproductive rights, they are also great reads.
Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt
This book, published in 2014, is the book that first got me interested in abortion rights. Katha Pollitt lays out the arguments for why abortion is necessary, and how it affects gender, health, and economic inequalities in the United States and throughout the world. You will finish the book and think “What can I do?”
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
Lindy West’s memoir is about a lot of things: body positivity, feminism, trolls, women in comedy, weight discrimination. It also tells the story of her abortion. West gives a straightforward account of her decision and her barriers —and the fact that she did not have any regrets. It’s a refreshing take on a storyline that is usually fraught with emotions and indecision. It is also hilarious.
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
The Cider House Rules, as you may remember from the 1999 movie, is the story of Homer Wells, apprentice of Dr. Wilbur Larch. Wells helps raise unwanted babies in Dr. Larch’s orphanage but steers clear of his other practice—performing illegal abortions. This changes when a young couple seeks out Dr. Larch and brings Wells into a world outside the orphanage. Most people argue that the book is better than the movie, which is all the more reason to check out both and decide for yourself.
My Notorious Life by Kate Manning
Axie Muldoon goes from rags to riches in her quest to bring reproductive rights to the people of New York City. My Notorious Life tells the tale of her crusade, inspired by the real life, and infamous, female physician known as the “Wickedest Woman in New York” in the 1860s. This great historical fiction will make you realize how far we’ve come, and how far we still need to go.
Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker
Dr. Parker is known to reproductive justice advocates for being one of the few doctors who performs abortions in Mississippi and Alabama. His memoir is both his personal account of going from Christian fundamentalist to outspoken abortion provider and his case for championing abortion access from a Christian standpoint. He will be at Politics and Prose to discuss his book with Pro author Katha Pollitt on Wednesday, April 19.
Have you read any good, abortion-positive books? Tweet us @DCAbortionFund and let us know!
There is no shortage of legislation aimed at eliminating abortion access for people in the United States. In fact, the number is growing. The most discussed in DC, arguably, is the Hyde Amendment—the legislation that bans the use of federal money for abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, or when the pregnant person’s life is in danger. Some states lessen the burden, which falls overwhelmingly on low-income people, by using their local Medicaid dollars to help pay for abortions.
Unfortunately, in DC, we also have the Dornan Amendment.
This month marks the sixth anniversary of the re-instatement of the Dornan Amendment, also known as the DC Medicaid Ban: the law stating that no congressionally-appropriated funds may pay for abortion in the District of Columbia.
Because Congress controls DC’s budget, the city does not have the autonomy to decide whether or not it wants to use its own locally raised Medicaid funds to help pay for abortions. And in a political climate that is increasingly hostile to abortion access, overturning the Dornan or Hyde Amendments seems unlikely.
At the DC Abortion Fund, we help low-income patients, many of whom are directly affected by the Dornan Amendment, pay for their abortions. In Fiscal Year 2016, 71 percent of our DC patients who reported their insurance provider said they were insured under DC Medicaid. This means they are faced with unjust coverage bans simply because their city is not permitted to control over its budget.
In Fiscal Year 2016, DCAF was able to fund over 1,300 patients, giving them the opportunity to access abortion services they may not have been able to afford otherwise. Because the Dornan Amendment affects so many people in DC, we see its toll on our budget. Many of these patients need to find additional funding that they would otherwise have from their Medicaid coverage, and money we give to one patient is money we cannot give to another.
DC may have fewer barriers to abortion than some states, however, even DC residents still face unjust burdens forced upon them by an anti-choice Congress.
Donating to DCAF helps us to alleviate some of the financial burden put upon DC residents by the Dornan Amendment. Your donation goes toward the patients who face an uphill battle when it comes to funding their right to choose.
Each year, I look forward to the National Network of Abortion Funds fundraisers—be it bowling, board games, or simply being a financial supporter. The activities are fun, the company is good, and it’s energizing to be around others who also support every person’s right to access abortion. Whenever I’m at a DC Abortion Fund event, I am sure that, together, we can make sure all people have the access they deserve.
Ultimately, I look forward to these fundraisers because I believe that everyone has the basic right to control their lives and their bodies—and the right to abortion is meaningless if you can’t afford it.
Accessing an abortion can be expensive: the cost of the procedure itself, taking time off of work, and transportation to get there. No one should have fewer rights because they simply can’t afford it. That’s why this matters, and that’s why I DCAF.
I DCAF because I know what it looks like when we don’t have meaningful access to abortion. I’m from a tiny, rural town in California, a town where there was no real sex-ed in the schools and where the high school had one of the highest pregnancy-per-capita rates in the state. It’s also a town where abortion was deeply stigmatized—no one talked about it, except to shame it. Even if you did know where you could get an abortion, most couldn’t afford it. For many, getting pregnant meant an end of choices.
I DCAF because the freedom to control your own body—to decide if and when to have sex, and with whom; if and when to get pregnant; if and when to carry a pregnancy to term—is essential for equality.
I DCAF because across the country, people are trying to chip away at equality, making it more difficult for people to control our bodies and our choices. Congress, states, counties, and towns—there’s seemingly no end to introduced legislation that would curtail abortion access. And at the same time many of these policymakers are making it harder to access birth control or information about safe sex. Let’s not call these measures anything other than what they are: sexist, racist, classist attacks on the fundamental freedom to control our very bodies.
I DCAF because there is no equality without abortion. Abortion is not only a question of gender equality—access to abortion is a question of economic and racial justice. If abortion is legal but inaccessible, then it’s only really a “right” only for those with money and privilege, and because of the deep racial injustice in our country, that disproportionately affects people of color. Access to abortion is necessary for economic mobility and for ensuring people can make the right choices for themselves.
I DCAF because the question of whether or not to get an abortion is a question for only one person: the pregnant person. No one else should get to decide that—not a room full of male politicians, not a partner, not economic circumstances.
Ultimately, I DCAF because I trust people to make their own choices about their own bodies and lives, and I am committed to making that choice real.
By volunteer Tarah D.
Credit: Forum Theatre
We are proud to be a partner of Forum Theatre’s #NastyWomenRep which started on March 16. What Every Girl Should Know by Monica Byrne and Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel examine the devastating consequences when women are denied their physical and emotional autonomy.
We need this conversation now more than ever.
As part of our partnership, Forum is donating 50% of the proceeds from the box office on Thursday, March 30 to DC Abortion Fund! We hope you’ll come out to see the show and raise money for DCAF.
Use discount code DCAF when you purchase tickets to the March 30, 8 p.m. performance of Dry Land for 30% off the normal ticket price. There will also be a special post-show discussion with DCAF volunteers following the performance.
Can’t make it on March 30? You can still use discount code DCAF to purchase tickets for every other performance of Dry Land and What Every Girl Should Know. After the April 7 performance, DCAF representatives will be joining a post-show panel on policy issues raised in the plays.
National Network of Abortion Funds
We are excited to announce our biggest fundraiser for the year: Game-a-Thon!
Each year, the National Network of Abortion Funds and local abortion funds work together to raise the bulk of our annual funding in the funnest way possible. You might see NNAF and other cities talking about the Bowl-a-Thon. In DC, we participate a little differently: We play games.
This year, we’ve set a fundraising goal of $70,000, and we need you to help us reach it.
Here’s how you can participate: create or join a team, then reach out to your families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, frenemies, etc. to ask for donations. Not so sure about how to fundraise for abortions? We’ll provide you with some tips and templates to help get you started.
With help from our amazing volunteers and supporters in the community, we surpassed our goal last year—and we hope to have the same success this year!
The event will take place on Saturday, May 6 from noon to 3 p.m. The location will be revealed to participants after registration.
Get started today by creating or or joining a team! If you aren’t in the DC area, or won’t be able to attend the event in person, you can still participate! Most of our fundraising before the event takes place virtually.
Stay tuned to the blog, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our newsletter to follow along on our fundraising progress. You can also spread the word by RSVPing to the Facebook event and inviting friends.
For more information on the Bowl-A-Thon and why fundraising for abortions is a social justice issue, read NNAF’s Why We Bowl.
It’s a new month and a new blog, but still we’re facing some of the same anti-abortion nonsense. Trying to stay abreast of all the attacks on reproductive health care can be exhausting. We know persistence and resistance works, which is why we need to do what we can to remain in peak justice-fighting shape! To do so, we need to sometimes focus on self-care and may set aside important reading to prioritize our health. This is why we’ve helped roundup some interesting articles so you can catch up.
So, what’s new with state restrictions you may ask? Not a whole lot, except that states are still trying to misinform and block access to crucial reproductive health. Of note, the Arizona Senate recently passed a new type of TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law that requires abortion clinics to meet neonatal medical standards. Like many other TRAP laws, this bill ignores the life, autonomy, and rights of the patient who needs an abortion, and instead insists upon medically unsound and unnecessary practices to prioritize an unviable fetus. The Chicago Tribune reports that Montana has moved forward a similar bill in their Senate. In more uplifting news, here is a piece from the Pittsburgh Post–Gazette reminding readers of the importance of centering women when it comes to their health.
North Carolina introduced House Bill 62 which requires medical professionals to give false information to their patients. Of course, tactics that undermine and confuse the individuals seeking reproductive health care is not new—but abortion rights advocates must continue to counter these attacks. It’s not always bad news: check out this win of a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Florida!
To remain resistant, we must remain inspired! There are so many incredible individuals, coalitions, and organizations fighting for abortion rights. Women on Waves go through particularly epic measures to ensure women have access to reproductive health.
What reproductive rights stories are you reading? Share with us on Twitter at @DCAbortionFund!
By volunteer Alicia G.
Credit: Planned Parenthood Virginia
The last few weeks have seen some surprisingly good news coming out of Virginia. In a win for reproductive justice advocates and patients, Governor Terry McAuliffe has vetoed a bill narrowly passed by the Senate that would have prevented the Virginia Department of Health from funding clinics that provide abortion services that would not be covered by Medicaid. This was the latest effort by Virginia legislators to defund women’s health clinics such as Planned Parenthood.
By vetoing this bill for a second year in a row, Governor McAuliffe is protecting the thousands of people who use Planned Parenthood for preventative health care, STD testing, birth control, breast exams, and a number of other vital health services.
Last week, the Virginia Senate also passed the Birth Control Access Act, which will require health insurance companies to cover a full year supply of birth control, rather than just a few months at a time. This is an enormous victory because barriers to contraception are a major factor in unintended pregnancies.
With a government that is expected to enact anti-choice policies in the coming years, we are happy to see support for reproductive rights coming through on the state level—especially in a state where we work to provide funding for abortion care.