Anti-Choicers Won’t Stop Us.

We got some hard news this week.

Two abortion clinics in Maryland — Prince George’s Reproductive Health Services and Germantown Reproductive Health Services — will be closing because the property owners decided to sell the facilities.

Dr. LeRoy Carhart, one of the few abortion providers in the country who provides later abortions, has worked at the Germantown clinic since 2010 and has faced opposition from anti-choice protesters demanding that the clinic close. His clinic was the only place on the East Coast where patients seeking later abortion (after 26 weeks of pregnancy) could access care. The next closest clinics that serve these later cases are in Boulder, Colorado, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Appointments are already being cancelled. And the cost of an abortion — and the difficulty of traveling the distance to access one — is rising for patients.

Dr. Carhart said he is determined to open his own practice to continue providing care to patients who need it. But in the meantime, the old clinic is under contract to be purchased by an anti-choice group that worked for many years to shut it down.

Painful, to say the least. But anti-choicers won’t stop us.

Last week, we hosted our annual Taco or Beer Challenge fundraiser and raised over $4,000 to help patients access the abortion care they need. And when protesters showed up, our passionate supporters drowned them out and restaurant patrons unrelated to our happy hour donated to show their solidarity with us.

It’s time for us to continue to be loud and proud for abortion access. Chip in what you can today to show that we won’t be stopped. We will continue to help patients access the care they need.

Dry Land performance with DCAF

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.

Moving Forward. Together.

Editor’s Note:

This week has been a rough one for many of us. But we’re still here, and we’re not going anywhere.

As an organization, we work hard every day to help patients access the abortion care they need. And we know this fight for reproductive freedom is intrinsically intersectional — we’re working alongside LGBT folks, those living in poverty, immigrants, Black and Latino communities, people of different faiths, and those with disabilities to ensure equity for all.

Perhaps that fight has never been more important.

Like many of you, we are furious, we are sad, and we are stunned. But no matter how you’re feeling right now, please know that we remain committed to working together with you — our community of supporters — to continue to make abortion access possible and support all of our community members in their ongoing struggle to live free from oppression.

Let’s turn our rage into resilience.

I imagined Nov. 9, 2016, a million times. I thought I would be skipping to work, high-fiving strangers, and crying. Turns out I only got the crying part right.

Women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and countless other groups are reeling. What does this mean for us? And what do we do now? I can answer that last one – right now, we can take care of ourselves. Self-care is incredibly important for our mental and physical health, our relationships with others, and our ability to just get through the day.

Sometimes you want to take action and feel like you are making strides to fix injustice, and sometimes you just want to make yourself feel better for an hour. Both are equally important and necessary. Below are some simple ways to take care of yourself as you deal with the emotional and physical toll the election results may have had on you.

Donate your time/money to a cause that will be under attack for the next four years:
DC Abortion Fund (of course)
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
The Trevor Project
NAACP
Muslim Public Affairs Council
ACLU
National Council of La Raza
EarthJustice
Center for Reproductive Rights
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Immigration Law Center
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
American United for Separation of Church and State
Media Matters for America

Donate your time/money to organizations that help women prepare for and be elected to office:
Emerge America
Emily’s List
Running Start
She Should Run

Treat yo’self:
Spend 20 minutes with a dog. Don’t have a dog? You can come hug mine. He has a great smile.

Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers. Why not? There is nothing more frivolous and pleasant and you deserve it.

Hug a loved one. Maybe then need it, maybe you need it. It will help you both either way.

Take a walk. Go sit in a park and be outside. If you’re chilly, treat yourself to a ridiculously flavored latte to keep your hands warm.

Immerse yourself in a mindless, enjoyable, fluffy book. There are plenty of amazing indie bookstores in DC. If you tell the booksellers you want something to distract yourself for a bit, they will surely understand and have great recommendations.

Write how you are feeling. It doesn’t need to be anything for anyone but you. If you feel scared, write “I feel scared.” If you have a long, complex emotions that you don’t know how to grapple with, writing them down can help.

Order takeout and binge watch something ridiculous in your pajamas.

Go to a yoga class. There are plenty of free and by-donation classes in the city.

Call a friend. Have a meaningful or light conversation. Connecting with someone else can help you feel less alone.

We do not know what the future holds, but we do know this: We need to take care of ourselves, and we need to take care of each other. We need to be strong. We have work to do.

By volunteer Carrie E.

Crosspost: Supporting New Leaders in the Movement

megagraphicDCAF is an all-volunteer organization, and sometimes our day jobs overlap with our work in reproductive health and justice. This week, volunteer manager Lindsey is at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo in Denver. Here’s a post she wrote for APHA’s Annual Meeting blog on Public Health Newswire, about building support systems to help the people most affected by issues of access to health care become leaders in the movement.

APHA’s Women’s Caucus has a long history of sponsoring Annual Meeting sessions on raising women’s voices (often with the organization Raising Women’s Voices). This year, the two groups highlighted the importance of lifting the voices of marginalized people — women, people of color, LGBTQ* people — by giving them the support they need to succeed in grassroots organizations.

Byllye Y. Avery, founder of the Avery Institute for Social Change and the Black Women’s Health Imperative as well as co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices, noted that in the reproductive justice movement (which, as defined by SisterSong, intersects with other justice movements, including racial and immigration justice) there has been a push to lift up those who are disproportionately affected by discriminatory policies that relate to health and wellness. But those with the passion and the will to raise awareness, start nonprofit organizations and work to effect change often don’t have the business know-how to keep the wheels turning, she said.

Read the full post at Public Health Newswire.

Crosspost: Our Heroes at Code for DC

codefordcDCAF has snazzy new patient intake software, thanks to the good people at Code for DC (and some intrepid DCAF volunteers as well). Learn all about how an all-volunteer team of more than 35 local programmers built this custom program from the ground up on Code for DC’s blog. We can’t say thank you enough!

It’s Here, with Beer: Taco or Beer Challenge!

tobcDo you wanna have a beer and taco-bout abortion? So do we!

This Friday, Aug. 12, at 6:30 p.m., DCAF, the National Network of Abortion Funds and the Women’s Information Network (WIN) will be hosting our tastiest fundraiser of the year: our third annual Taco or Beer Challenge!

Join us at Mission in Dupont Circle to eat a taco, drink a beer, donate to DCAF, and challenge your friends to do the same. That’s it? That’s it! We will have a spot for donations and swag – and anyone who donates $5 or more gets a wristband with drink specials.

Over the past two years, the Taco or Beer Challenge has raised thousands of dollars for abortion funds across the country. Check out the Taco or Beer Challenge Tumblr to see the smiling faces of those enjoying their food, beverages, and reproductive rights.

Interested? RSVP to the Facebook event here and invite your friends.

Can’t make it? That’s OK – you can do it anywhere! Enjoy your tacos and beer on your own turf and make a donation. If you want to take it one step further, snap a picture and join the online community of abortion fundraisers by using the hashtag #ToBC16. And feel to tag us on Twitter and Instagram at @dcabortionfund.

Mission is located just above Dupont Circle at 1606 20th St. NW. We hope to see you there!

by volunteer Carrie E.

She Handles the Financials: An Interview with DCAF’s Treasurer

IMG_5319How long have you worked with DCAF?
I’ve been volunteering for DCAF for about four-and-a-half years. I was a case manager for a few years, then joined the board.
How did you discover DCAF? What inspired you to get involved?
A friend of mine, Amber, asked me to join her bowl-a-thon team. After the event DCAF sent out a email call for new case managers and after attending a training I was hooked!
Describe a typical day of work as the treasurer.
I spend a good amount of time paying our clinics, processing donations, communicating with donors, and keeping all of our financial parts moving.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
I love paying our clinics. They’re such an integral part of making choice and access a reality. Additionally, because I don’t have much time to case manage any more this helps me feel connected to our patients and our role in reproductive rights.
Is there a woman you aspire to be like? Why?
Gloria Steinem. Her monumental work for women, her vocal support of abortion and the role it played in her success, and that fantastic hair.
What do you do for work, as your day job?
I work in accounting at a nonprofit in DC — big surprise!
What do you do when you’re not working?
I foster kitties and love trying new restaurants.
Do you have any tips for self-care when handling a particularly difficult day?
For either case managing or a day when all the deadlines are converging at once I find that it’s so helpful to take a bath! I like to break out those Epsom salts and a good book and relax.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
The hardest part of doing the DCAF books is something all people who work in accounting can resonate with — closing the books at the end of the fiscal year and getting the necessary items over to the IRS. It’s a long process that has no concern for the other day to day things that must be done.
Interview by volunteer Lilli K.  

Commemorate Roe Day

Jan. 22, 1973, is probably one of the most important days in American history for women’s rights. It was the day the Supreme Court announced its decision in the Roe vs. Wade case, its decision to legalize abortion in the United States.

However, it is important to remind readers that Roe has not completely protected the right to choose. Hundreds of laws that roll back reproductive rights have been introduced and implemented across the country, and clinics, doctors, and patients continue to be targets of harassment and violence. This is why organizations such as DCAF do the work that they do.

Though the March for Life is usually the loudest voice in DC on Roe Day, this year will be a little different. There will be many pro-choice events planned in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We encourage supporters to attend these exciting events!

In DC, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, Feminist Majority Foundation, National Organization for Women (NOW), DC NOW, and the Women’s Information Network (WIN) have teamed up to hold several events commemorating the anniversary. The theme is “When did the ‘Right to Life’ Become the Right to Terrorize?”

Thursday, Jan. 21: Press Conference and Lobby Day
From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the National Press Club, there will be a press conference focusing on the personal testimonies of clinicians and escorts who have witnessed the violence against the reproductive community. Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) will be the main speaker. RSVP here.

From 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. participants will visit 14 Congressional representatives to advocate that they take action to end terror against the reproductive rights community. RSVP here.

Friday, Jan. 22: Supreme Court Rally and Celebrating Choice Social Event
From 1 to 3 p.m. there will be a peaceful gathering outside of the Supreme Court building to protest the attacks against a woman’s right to choose, and celebrate the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling.RSVP here.

From 6 to 9 p.m., all are welcome to join a social event at the Madhatter in Dupont Circle. There will be drinks and appetizers, with remarks by Heather Booth, a member of WIN’s Advisory Council. RSVP here.

Looking for events in Maryland or Virginia? See below.

Silver Spring, Maryland

Friday, Jan. 22: NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland is sponsoring a happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. at Denizens Brewing Co. RSVP here.

Monday, Jan. 25: NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland is sponsoring a book reading and discussion in Baltimore with authors David Cohen and Krysten Connon about their book Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism. RSVP here.

Richmond, Virginia

Wednesday, Feb. 3: Women’s Equality Day of Action
7 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia will host a breakfast and then attend lobby meetings.

1 to 3 p.m.: Lunch and debrief

5 to 7 p.m.: Women’s Equality Coalition Reception

If you are interested in attending any of these events, please RSVP by emailing Michelle.Woods@ppmw.org.

Note: Watch out for #snowvwade, which may cause issues for scheduling and traffic. Check with sponsoring organizations to make sure events are still on! The weather may also cause issues for patients trying to access reproductive health care — >donate to DCAF in honor of #snowvwade in order to help patients whose appointments may be postponed. 

By volunteer Maggie G.