Our LGBTQ outreach team leads, Jane S. and Tekla T., with the help of DC Abortion Fund veteran Andrea G., led an amazing team of volunteers to staff our table at Capital Pride 2017! Tekla and Jane made poster boards encouraging Pride attendees to write the reasons why abortion access was important to them. This really got folks engaged and led to some great conversations.
Some of the reasons that participants shared with us:
“Because self-determination is a human right!”
“It is MY body. So it is MY choice (amen!)”
“I’m sick of old white men making decisions about MY body.”
“Reproductive choice is beautiful. Reproductive coercion is an atrocity.”
One of our poster boards, midway through getting filled up with reasons to support abortion access!
Louisa S., one of our volunteers, holds up a sign encouraging Pride attendees to tell us their reasons for supporting abortion access.
We spoke with so many people who support the right to choose in different ways: abortion providers, people who have had abortions, and people who have seen how crucial access to abortion was for a loved one. Many people told us about how accessing abortion care enabled them to pursue their life goals.
Dozens of folks signed up as interested volunteers and proudly wore our buttons, beads, and other swag. Seeing so much enthusiasm for abortion access in the LGBTQ community was amazing, and we’re really looking forward to building more connections.
Jane S., one of our LGBTQ outreach team leads, with Sarah M., one of our fantastic volunteers.
We want to thank, from the bottom of our hearts, our dedicated and phenomenal volunteers! Thank you so much to Emily C., Caitlin G., Kristina T., Alyse C., Erin C., Sarah M., Maureen D., Erik K., Georgia M., and Grace M., who held up signs, got folks interested in working with DCAF, braved the summer heat, and had both inspiring and difficult conversations with the many people who stopped by.
If you’re interested in getting involved with the LGBTQ Outreach Team, or any other aspect of DCAF, let us know! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll put you in touch with our leads.
Blog and photographs by volunteer Tekla T.
The DC Abortion Fund is excited to be part of the world premiere of Sioux Falls by Megan Dominy, a local playwright and actress. The play examines abortion access in a controversial culture war with humor and humanity.
A hopeful mother-to-be, a disaffected student, and an abused wife are all seeking an unusual destination: Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The reason? Sioux Falls is the only clinic in the state which offers abortion services. Connected by a common need but little else, the three women’s paths unexpectedly cross and collide, as they battle personal demons, prophetic mermaids, and bureaucratic red tape. Sioux Falls destroys the simple narrative of who we expect women seeking abortion to be. Instead, it explores the complexity behind this difficult choice and how well government policies can adapt to human intricacy.
The play runs from May 19 through June 11. On Sunday, May 28, a DCAF representative will speak during the discussion after the play—and on June 4, a percentage of proceeds from the play will go directly to DCAF!
Click here to learn more about the play and purchase tickets.
You may remember our annual Game-a-Thon, our biggest fundraiser of the year. This year, we went in with the goal of raising $70,000.
How did we do? We rocked it.
Thanks to YOU, our DC Abortion Fund supporters, we raised $105,000 and counting — a record for our Game-a-Thon efforts! This includes a generous match of $10,000 from an awesome supporter.
We now have the funding to run our helpline for SIX MONTHS. This is amazing news for patients living or traveling to the DC area, the number of which continues to grow each year. With this funding, we are able to ensure that abortion access is a meaningful reality for those who call us.
We could not have done it without our amazing team of co-chairs, volunteers, fundraisers, and donors.
We would like to especially thank our sponsors and the awesome businesses that donated prizes:
I Heart Guts
Meg Levine & Dogstar Printing
National Organization for Women
Secret Pleasures Boutique
Sixth & I
Upshur Street Books
Photos by volunteer Maria S.
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!
In 2016, the DC Abortion Fund had an amazing year of growth. Our Annual Report showcases our work over the last year to help providing funding for abortion care to patients either living in or traveling to DC, Maryland, or Virginia.
A few key highlights:
- DCAF worked with 4,452 callers on our funding helpline.
- DCAF case managers gave an average of $153 per patient.
- DCAF case managers made 1,343 pledges.
Our previous Annual Reports can be found here.
We could not have done this without the work of our volunteers and the support of our donors. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation to DCAF here.
We look forward to continued growth and success in 2017!
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.