One of the things we try to be mindful of as members of the abortion rights community is the importance of speaking up for our patients and our work. As an all-volunteer abortion fund, we are limited in our capacity to tackle all aspects of reproductive health and justice. But wherever possible, we try to stand in solidarity with those who are fighting these fights. A provider who we work with, Dr. Horvath-Cosper, has been a vocal and active member of the community and reports that she has recently been asked to tone down her outward support of abortion rights. While we cannot speak to the details of her case, we do want to extend our gratitude to her for being a trusted and proud provider, as well as a supporter of DCAF.
We recognize that each provider and member of the abortion rights community needs to decide for themselves how vocal and public they can and want to be, and we applaud those who speak up and push back against abortion stigma. That stigma is very real and has harmful effects. It forces supporters into silence, leaving too much room for anti-choice forces to control the conversation.
As a fund in the D.C. area, we are relatively free from attacks. Still, even here, in a city that overwhelmingly supports abortion care, we have been targeted. We’ve had events crashed by anti-choice extremists and we were attacked online for a coat hanger pendant we offer as a gift to monthly donors. Indeed, in a world that is increasingly lived online, attacks can come from anywhere, regardless of your ZIP code.
We will continue to speak out and be a voice for abortion rights, and we thank Dr. Horvath-Cosper for doing the same. Abortion providers face stigma on multiple fronts — not to mention outright attacks. For those who choose to speak out, to share their personal stories and their expertise, and be publicly proud of their work, we salute you. And we stand with you in your efforts to demystify abortion and combat the unnecessary and harmful stigma that has for too long cloaked abortion in the words and actions of those who oppose it.
Together we can change the conversation. Thank you to Dr. Horvath-Cosper and everyone who is working toward a healthier, more accurate, and more supportive world for the reproductive health community.
photo credit: Colleen C.