I’m grateful for a moment of reflection with you. Last month I had the opportunity to take a step back from this work for a three-week residency for social justice leaders. While there, I read reflections of social justice activists spanning more than twenty years. They each thought they were living in the worst possible times and that they couldn’t afford to slow down. I took away that our challenges don’t end, so we must sustain ourselves for the long haul.
For many of us, there has been no shortage of hardships in 2017. Against the backdrop of terroristic attacks against communities of color, the devastation left in the wake of recent environmental disasters, and the ongoing dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, politicians have wasted taxpayer dollars on unconstitutional abortion bans and other restrictions on our reproductive freedom.
I’m reminded, though, that through it all, we have had wins. In Illinois and Oregon, public funding for abortion has finally become a reality thanks to the diligent organizing efforts of many, including abortion fund leaders. As our network grows stronger, larger, and more powerful, our movement grows and our progress becomes more evident. With your support, we’re moving people, organizations, culture, and policy forward. We’re changing the conversation and creating space for you – for all of us – to proudly proclaim that abortion access is not something we’re willing to leave behind.
We know that these are exceptionally challenging times; our success is contingent on each and every one of us upping our stake in the game. Can we count on you to join us, as you have in the past, in supporting abortion funds with a gift today?
Our approach relies on using personal participation and meaningful relationship building to drive deep systemic transformation. Because every person, every conversation, every dollar donated in service of abortion funds gets us closer to creating a massive community ready to fight with and for people whose rights have been trampled by reproductive, racial, and economic injustice.
Here’s how we’re doing it:
You’re at the center of change that abortion funds are sparking. You’ve donated your dollars, volunteered your time, raised money and awareness about our work, and now we want to make it easier for you to connect with people about why abortion access is important to you. Reference this Heart-to-Heart Abortion Conversations guide and campaign to help you talk with your family, your friends, and anyone in your life about why you care about abortion access.
Abortion funds are critical community resources with local expertise. They know it’s about more than getting callers funding for their procedure; it’s about making sure their needs are met. That might be helping a caller access a safe place to sleep that night, arranging a ride to the clinic, or someone to watch their children. With your support, we’re building the leadership and strength of our courageous abortion fund leaders through customized training, infrastructure support, and organizing programs.
Last spring, we convened our membership to reassess and strategize in the face of the new administration. We came out of that meeting with a clear sense of where our power lies, and it’s strongly rooted in the regional and local connections between abortion funds. As policies decimate clinics and require interstate travel for many of our callers, we’re investing deeply in regional hubs to better support the complex coordination of travel and funding. Through this strategy we are building power and increasing access in regions like the South and Midwest, where rural callers especially are struggling to secure the supports they need.
People who call abortion funds do so for one specific need, but one that’s deeply connected to so many other conditions they’re facing. The ability of abortion fund callers to afford abortion care goes hand in hand with their ability to earn a living wage, make their own family planning decisions, and exercise control of their bodies without fear of violence, coercion, or incarceration. That’s why we’re changing the conversation. We’re shifting the narrative and compelling political leaders to listen to people who have had abortions, so that they’ll fight for – and include – people who call abortion funds in their legislative decisions.
I write to you today, not from a place of defeat, but from a place of fierce hope and gratitude for the support cultivated through our incredible network of abortion funds, individual members, partners, and you, our fearless supporters.
Will you forge ahead with us? Your continued investment helps us privately fund a human right and build the collective power we need to win the long game. With you by our side, we have never – and will never – surrender.