Now, we celebrate!

What a year! We’re still pulling together the final numbers for our annual report, but we already know we’ve shattered previous records. We’ve provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to patients to cover the gap between what they are able to pay and the full cost of their abortion care. We’ve assisted more callers than ever before. And all this in a world with a decidedly anti-choice administration and a multitude of state and national restrictions designed to deny access to abortion care.

So much of this success is thanks to people like you.

Now, we celebrate! Join us next month to toast our incredible community at our annual holiday party on Monday, Dec. 10.

Here are the details:
Who: You and the rest of the DCAF community
What: DCAF’s Holiday Party
When: Monday, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Sax Restaurant and Lounge (near Metro Center)

Get your early bird ticket for a suggested donation of $25 today!

If you or your organization are interested in giving at the leadership level for this year’s event, please click here to learn more about sponsorship levels and packages, starting at $100. The funds raised for this event — like all donations to DCAF — will help to continue to make abortion accessible for all.

So how does this work? Covering the cost of your abortion.

After you’ve decided to have an abortion, there’s the matter of paying for it. Volunteer case managers at the DC Abortion Fund are here to guide you through the sometimes challenging process, but we also put together this brief set of questions and answers about covering the cost of your abortion.

How much does an abortion cost?

It varies. The cost of an abortion can depend on a variety of factors, including your health, the clinic, and the stage of your pregnancy. Abortion care can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars, depending on a variety of factors including the patient’s health, how far along they are in their pregnancy, and which clinic they’re going to.  

Can I use my insurance?

It depends. Health insurance can reduce the cost of an abortion. A few states require insurance plans to provide insurance coverage of abortion while several states deny access to insurance coverage of abortion. The Hyde Amendment has paved the way for federal abortion coverage restrictions for patients on Medicaid, CHIP, and other federally-funded insurance programs–although some states use their own funds to cover abortion for Medicaid enrollees. Your insurance company will be able to tell you whether they cover abortion care. Like any other medical procedure, it’s important to find out which providers and services are included in your plan. If you’ve still got a balance after pulling together your resources, organizations like DCAF, the National Abortion Federation and other abortion funds around the country may be able to help make up the difference between the cost of your procedure and what you can cover.

Will my parents, partner, school or employer find out I had an abortion if I’m on their insurance?

Your confidential health information, including the result of a pregnancy test or an abortion, is protected under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, if a parent or partner is the primary insurance policyholder, they may receive an explanation of benefits (or EOB), a document that may be sent whenever care is provided under a policy that itemizes submitted claims. Some states require or presume that your medical provider will send an EOB. This may be simply a line stating the name of the provider or office and the amount billed, but it may include more information. So while your abortion provider will keep your health information confidential, the explanation of benefits may provide information about the medical services you receive. And if you are insured as a dependent, this EOB may reach your parent or partner if they are the policyholder.  Ask your care provider how services will appear on insurance paperwork, or research the laws and policies of your state.

If you have insurance through your school or job and are the primary policyholder, the EOB will go to you, as the primary policyholder. But some schools or employers refuse to cover reproductive health services, such as contraception or abortion, meaning that you may have to pay the entire cost out of pocket.

If you are a minor, in addition to confidentiality concerns surrounding EOBs, your ability to access abortion or reproductive health care depends on where you live. Different states have different policies when it comes to parental consent, so it is worth looking up the laws in your state. In DC, minors can consent to abortion. In Maryland, minors seeking abortion need to notify their parents, and in Virginia they need both parental notice and parental consent. Organizations like Jane’s Due Process have great information and resources around access to abortion care for minors.

Can I talk to someone about whether this is worth the expense?

We at DCAF affirm that you are the decision maker in your life. While we do not offer options counseling, we do offer financial counseling, should you decide to obtain an abortion. If you are interested in options counseling, we can refer you to an organization that may help.

Looking for a question/answer you didn’t see? Click here for more information about funding an abortion.

Need help? Please call DCAF’s free, confidential helpline at (202) 452-7464 and leave a voicemail for our case managers. Include your name and phone number, how many weeks pregnant you are, the date of your doctor’s appointment, and whether or not it is okay for us to leave you a voicemail. Here’s a link to more resources.

By volunteer Rebecca K.

Angry about the Kavanaugh vote? So are we.

Angry? Emotionally drained? Fired up to fight back? So are we.

The past few weeks were rough for many of us, especially for survivors. But we’re still here, and we’re not going anywhere.

From the very beginning, we knew Brett Kavanaugh was a dangerous pick for the Supreme Court — and not just because he’s signaled his view on access to abortion. He’s made clear that access to birth control, LGBTQ equality, immigrant rights, and voting rights will all be in jeopardy.

Not to mention that he’s been accused of sexual assault and misconduct — an act that should itself disqualify him from ever becoming a Supreme Court justice — by multiple women.

We’ve already seen more people traveling to the DC area for abortion care because of increased restrictions in their state (many are already living in a post-Roe world), and we only expect the demand to grow, especially with Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

But no matter what happens after he joins the bench, we will always be committed to working together with you — our community of supporters — to make abortion accessible.

Please join us with a recurring gift today to continue to support our work in 2018 and beyond.

What we must do to #StopKavanaugh

It’s been a rough few weeks following the Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

From the very beginning, we knew Brett Kavanaugh was a dangerous pick for the Supreme Court. If he’s confirmed, it’s very likely that Roe v. Wade would be overturned and more than 20 states would quickly ban abortion in most or all circumstances.

He’s made clear that access to birth control, LGBTQ equity, immigrant rights, and voting rights will all be in jeopardy.

And now, he has been accused of sexual assault — an act that should itself disqualify him from ever becoming a Supreme Court justice.

Everyone’s been asking you to call your senator or sign a petition — and you might be thinking, “but I live in DC! What can I do to stop Kavanaugh?”

Here’s three things you can do right now:

  1. Donate to DC Abortion Fund! Abortion funds like ours are going to need your dollars more than ever before if Kavanaugh is confirmed. We know that overturning Roe v. Wade or limiting access to abortion — especially coupled with limiting access to birth control — is not going to end abortion. In fact, we anticipate that the need will only grow.
  2. Call Congress. Yes, even if you’re a DC voter, you can call Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley and tell him why Kavanaugh is a dangerous pick. If you live in Maryland or Virginia, you already know what to do.
  3. Invite a friend to take action. Invite them to call their Senators (especially if they’re in a key state!) and donate to DCAF or a fund in their state.

DCAF supporters and leaders are speaking up in front of the White House, at the steps of the Supreme Court, and on the phone with their senators to #StopKavanaugh.

And they’re donating to DCAF (over $3,000 during our Taco or Beer Challenge alone last week!) because they know our work is more important than ever. Our supporters know that no matter what happens, our patients will count on DCAF and its incredible volunteers to make sure people will still be able to access abortion care. Will you join them?

Why We Should All Double Our Donations to DCAF

Last week was an incredibly tough week for abortion rights advocates. With a devastating 5-4 loss in the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra and swing justice Anthony Kennedy retiring on July 31, the future of abortion access is one big question mark.

For those feeling helpless, I feel you. It’s daunting to think that the progress we’ve made in the 45 years since Roe v. Wade could be rolled back with a majority anti-choice court. Whether that rollback looks like a full reversal of Roe v. Wade or incremental losses like the NIFLA decision, the message is clear: we can’t depend on the Supreme Court to uphold abortion access.

With the courts in jeopardy and an anti-choice Congress, community organizations like the DC Abortion Fund are even more essential. There’s already a multitude of national and local restrictions on abortion care, and it’s not hard to predict that things will most likely get worse. If restrictions continue to increase without check in our judicial system, we must take it upon ourselves to ensure that folks are able to access abortion care, regardless of financial or physical barriers.

Organizations like DCAF will be front and center in providing financial help, especially if  resources are stretched even thinner to account for the inevitable influx of pregnant people seeking procedures. If Roe falls and there is no longer a federal right to abortion, it’s likely that even more people will have to travel to places like Maryland—which guarantee a right to abortion under state lawto get the care they need.   

If you are financially able, I encourage you to make a recurring or one-time donation to DCAF. Truly, every little bit helps and will go a long way in these uncertain times.

That feeling of helplessness won’t go away completely, but we can do our part in making abortion a little more possible.

By volunteer Caitlin V.

 

Help Us Help Every Caller

We’re going to be real with you.

Despite a very successful Game-a-Thon this year, the truth is that over the past 12 months, we’ve received more calls from patients—and more callers have had larger gaps in funding, or more expensive procedures—than ever before.

By June 30, we have a goal to raise $10,000. This will help to ensure that every caller receives the necessary funding for their abortion.

Can you pitch in $15, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford?

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 politicians, not a parent or a partner, not economic circumstances. Help to ensure that every caller gets the abortion care they need!

Yes on 77

The DC Abortion Fund’s Board of Directors is proud to endorse Yes on 77, a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers across all eight wards in the District of Columbia. DCAF patients face many barriers when it comes to accessing the care they need. While Initiative 77 will not eliminate all the barriers our patients face, we believe it’s an important step toward achieving true reproductive justice in our nation’s capital.  

For workers in D.C., a fair, reliable wage can mean the difference between being able to afford healthcare or going without. Inconsistent or low pay affects many of our patients—particularly women of color and those working in economically underserved parts of the District.

This means they may have to make difficult decisions about their reproductive healthcare needs, such as using birth control inconsistently, or forgoing basic necessities like food, rent, or utilities in order to save up enough funds to afford the abortion and other services they need. Fair, reliable wages will also help workers support the children they already have.

We believe, if enacted, Initiative 77 would help reduce the financial barriers many DCAF patients face, as well as take an important step toward achieving full reproductive justice for people across all eight wards. Reproductive justice will not be achieved until everyone has the resources they need to create and support the families they want.

We recognize that there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue, including within our own organization and within the service industry itself, but the DCAF Board of Directors believes that voting yes will advance reproductive justice.

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Editor’s Note: the post below is by Monica Weeks, Campaign Manager for One Fair Wage DC.

On June 19, 2018, all DC voters will have the chance to vote on ballot initiative 77. As President of the DC National Organization for Women and Campaign Manager of the One Fair Wage DC campaign, I am asking you to vote YES on 77 on June 19th.

One Fair Wage DC is a campaign for better wages and better tips. It calls for employers to pay their workers the full minimum wage PLUS TIPS. The campaign is led by women and people of color who live and work in the District of Columbia as tipped professionals in the restaurant industry. Ballot initiative 77 will incrementally increase the tipped minimum wage by $1.50 per year, until it reaches $15 per hour in 2025. Currently, tipped workers in DC make only $3.33 per hour with that amount increasing to only $5 per hour by 2020. We believe restaurant professionals deserve professional wages plus tips.

You might be wondering “what does this ballot initiative have to do with abortions or reproductive justice?” Women tipped workers are twice as likely to live in poverty as men in tipped occupations and they are nearly three times more likely to live in poverty than the overall workforce. Servers and bartenders in DC experience a poverty rate of 19%.

On top of that, the restaurant and hospitality industry is the single-largest source of sexual harassment charges filed by women with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), with a rate twice that of the general workforce. That is because tipped workers have to put up with unwanted and inappropriate behavior from customers in order to make a good tip, because the customer pays their wage, not their employer. And “the customer is always right.” In DC, 92% of restaurant workers in the District report sexually harassing behavior at work.

A fair wage for tipped workers will decrease sexual harassment while also improving access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, which low-income women in DC are forced to pay for out-of-pocket. For women in DC, a fair wage can mean the difference being able to afford health care or going without.

Seven states have already eliminated the subminimum wage for tipped workers. The restaurant industry is strong in those states, demonstrating that it is economically feasible to phase out the tipped minimum wage without harming restaurant jobs or sales. Wages, including tips, are unambiguously higher in these seven states than in the other 43 states. And sexual harassment claims to the EEOC are cut in half.

With One Fair Wage, restaurants do better and workers do better. Seven states have proven that and we are hoping to make DC the first east coast municipality to make One Fair Wage a reality. Vote Yes on 77 on June 19th and stand with tipped workers as we fight for economic, racial, and gender justice.

It Takes a Village

We know the work we do together to help fund abortions is critical, because everyone deserves access to abortion care. But when we receive notes like this, it truly drives the point home:

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you for guiding us through this and advocating for my daughter and our family. I am overcome with the outpouring of support and want you to know how appreciative we are…she will go on and be a fierce, independent college student in the fall. I am so grateful. Please pass along our gratitude, words just don’t seem to be enough.” – Maria*, mother of DCAF grant recipient

Every person who calls our helpline is different and has their own unique story. But one thing remains the same: they all deserve the right to access the healthcare they need, regardless of what’s in their wallets or where they live.

DCAF’s work truly takes a village, and we appreciate all that you do to make sure our callers receive the care they deserve! We’re so proud of our work together during the Game-a-Thon fundraiser to raise over $115K — and your work throughout the year to speak with our helpline callers, host events, stuff envelopes, and so much more.

This movement needs all of us to keep showing up, day after day, to make sure callers like Maria and her daughter can access abortion. Numerous obstacles and policies are set up to restrict access to care, but together we can work to break down those barriers.

You can continue to help us fund callers like Maria and her daughter by making a one-time or monthly gift.

*Name changed for privacy.