Editor’s Note: Catholics for Choice is a sponsor for our holiday party. Thank you to the entire Catholics for Choice team for your work and your support. All answers below are attributed to Glenn Northern, Director of the Domestic Program at Catholics for Choice.
I’ve spent a decades-long career protecting access to reproductive health—and I know firsthand that although abortion is a fundamental right, access to abortion care is far from equal. I recall my early days when I was a hotline operator at the National Abortion Federation (NAF) when they deployed only two operators for the whole country. We received many calls from women who were not able to pull together the money to fund their abortions and it was heartbreaking. Very few places existed to help at that time.
DCAF has rewritten the script for many women enabling them to get the care they need and Catholics for Choice supports that work of DCAF because we believe that every woman should be able follow her conscience with regard to very consequential decisions around pregnancy. No one should have to choose between whether or not her family eats or whether she can get an abortion.
At the time, NAF resided in the very same building as Catholics for Choice where I now go to work each morning to safeguard those rights. At Catholics for Choice I am privileged to represent and amplify the voices of prochoice Catholics. We lift up the lived expression of Catholicism as everyday Catholics around the world see it. Catholics for Choice trusts women and men to make their own moral decisions on abortion and motherhood, important moral matters including reproductive health. For me it’s a dream living out two crucial parts of my identity as a feminist and Catholic. I could not be more proud of the work we do to ensure that every woman is able to follow her conscience and make whatever decisions about her pregnancy are right for her.
That is why we launched an Abortion in Good Faith pledge to lift up the voices of others, like me, who believe social justice means ensuring everyone can access the reproductive care they need.
Most recently we saw how Oregon reaffirmed its commitment as a model of progress by defeating measure 106 and maintaining protections so that all Oregonians, including those on Medicaid insurance, can get abortion care. Catholics for Choice joined the No Cuts to Care Campaign to defeat the ballot. We helped organize Catholics and give them the space to talk about why their values of compassion and social justice compelled them to support equitable and comprehensive reproductive care for all.
Together with our partners, we wrote editorials, ran English and Spanish language ads in local papers and radio stations, and spoke up on social media to lift up these voices and stop attacks to strip care from those with the least resources to fight back. We reached out to immigrant Catholics who were going to be disproportionately impacted by these cuts to care.
On Tuesday, November 6, 2018 we won. The Coalition handily defeated Ballot Measure 106. In fact support for equitable abortion access received more total votes than any statewide candidate or initiative on the ballot in Oregon.
Growing up Catholic in NY I always knew I wanted to help people, that I was called to a life of social justice. This latest victory exemplifies the reasons that drove me to this work in the first place, and sustain me now.
We were proud to be a part of that campaign. We are always proud to stand up for the rights and conscience-based decisions of women.
That is why we are proud to stand with and support DCAF and its work. We are both grounded in the critical work of lifting up the conscience based decisions women make about pregnancy. Freedom itself is inextricably linked to the ability to exercise one’s conscience and determine one’s future including one’s reproductive future. That is why we remain as committed as ever and count our blessings in partners like DCAF who help put the justice and choice back into prochoice for the lives they touch.
January 22, 1973 is an important day for reproductive rights. It was the day the Supreme Court announced its decision in the Roe vs. Wade case—its decision to legalize abortion in the U.S.
However, Roe has not completely protected the right to choose. Since 1973, anti-choice politicians have introduced and passed laws that roll back reproductive rights across the country, and clinics, doctors, and patients continue to be targets of harassment and violence. Far too many people still have their access to abortion delayed or denied due to their income or insurance status.
Roe Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the implications of Roe and the strides we have made together as a movement. It is also a time to recognize that this constitutionally protected healthcare service remains out of reach for many people because of political and economic barriers—barriers that disproportionately impact people with lower incomes and people of color.
Join DCAF for two events this month:
Robin Marty presents Handbook for a Post-Roe America
We’ll be attending an event at Upshur Street Books with author and reporter Robin Marty. This event is free and open to the public, but you can pre-purchase a copy to reserve your seat!
Friday, January 18, 2019 at 7 PM – 8 PM
Upshur Street Books, 827 Upshur St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20011
Roe Revisited? The Future of Reproductive Justice
Join the Washington, DC Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society, the Constitutional Accountability Center, and the DC Abortion Fund for a discussion of the legal threats to reproductive justice and the future of Roe v. Wade under the new U.S. Supreme Court.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET
This year, we are grateful. Grateful for generous supporters like you, for our strong community, and for the partners and activists who stand with us on the frontlines for reproductive and social justice.
But there is a lot at stake.
The role and growth of abortion funds have perhaps never been more critical.
As Dr. LeRoy Carhart, a Maryland provider, has said: “Many patients face barriers when accessing care: forced waiting periods, anti-choice legislation, travel expenses, taking time off work, child care, and finances all impact a patient’s ability to receive care when she has chosen abortion. Organizations like the DC Abortion Fund provide support, emotionally and financially…Without funds like DCAF access to abortion would be a right in name alone.”
Support Our Work Today
As we face increasing and frightening state restrictions on abortion access and an uncertain future with the courts, we continue to work every day to make reproductive choice a reality for everyone—regardless of income.
This year 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 abortion care. We’ve assisted more callers than ever before.
This holiday season, give the gift of hope. Please help us start 2019 strong with a generous gift today.
Despite the obstacles to come, we remain committed to our mission and our work. DCAF will remain ready to be a resource. And we are only able to do this because of you.
To make an impact throughout the year, please consider making a monthly donation to DCAF! You can make your monthly, or one-time, gift at dcabortionfund.org/donate.
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.
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? 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
Reproductive rights activists worry that, should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed to the Supreme Court, there is a very real possibility that Roe v. Wade may be overturned. Without federal constitutional protection, a person’s ability to obtain an abortion would rest with the states, 19 of which adopted anti-abortion laws in 2017.
While there are no abortion-related initiatives or state constitutional amendments on midterm ballots in the DMV*, Virginia, and Maryland have both placed restrictions on abortion access since 2011 — and you can view a database of the laws, people, organizations, and litigation involved in sexual and reproductive health and justice in the United States here.
In addition to coverage from organizations like the DC Abortion Fund and from news outlets like Rewire.News, websites for local government are getting better at making legislation searchable. Here are the most recent abortion measures considered by the DC, Maryland, and Virginia legislatures:
The Abortion Provider Non-Discrimination Act of 2017 is currently under Council Review. It would make it illegal under the D.C. Human Rights Act to fire a healthcare professional for participating in or expressing support for abortion care.
Of six abortion-related measures introduced to the General Assembly this session, only HB 787/SB 629 was successfully enacted. Effective October 1, 2018 this law will mandate medical care for pregnant inmates in Maryland correctional facilities. This will guarantee access to a wide range of provisions, such as counseling, prenatal testing, abortion services, labor and delivery care, and child placement services.
However, Maryland’s budget bill included a provision stating that Medicaid reimbursements for abortions would be limited to cases of “fetal impairment” cases where a pregnant person’s life or health is endangered, or pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch has argued for a state constitutional amendment to protect abortion access, but this wouldn’t appear on the ballot until 2020.
Several bills aimed at increasing abortion access failed to move forward. HB 1231/SB 910 proposed a fundamental right for pregnant people to obtain an abortion and was “passed by indefinitely.” HB 450 called for repeal of the law requiring physicians to perform an ultrasound and obtain informed written consent from a pregnant person before performing an abortion. SB 133 similarly called for an end to the written consent requirement, proposing that a pregnant person may waive in writing this requirement, but was “passed by indefinitely.” SB 292 proposed that the Board of Health fund abortions for survivors of incest or rape who reported their rape or incest to a public health agency and qualified for public assistance, but was also passed by indefinitely.
*DC: No ballot initiatives about abortion. Maryland: No Proposed State Constitutional Amendments about abortion. Virginia: No Proposed State Constitutional Amendments about abortion.
By volunteer Rebecca K.