“Punishment” has no place in health care. - National Network of Abortion Funds
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A group of abortion fund members gather together at a rally in March 2016 to protest for abortion justice and reproductive rights.

“Punishment” has no place in health care.

April 1, 2016

A group of abortion fund members gather together at a rally in March 2016 to protest for abortion justice and reproductive rights.

April, 2016

The National Network of Abortion Funds condemns all rhetoric, policies and practices promoting the punishment of pregnant people and the health care providers who support them through pregnancy, miscarriage, birth or abortion. A political climate in which people are actively being harassed, criminalized, and murdered for seeking or providing abortion care is dangerous and inhumane.

Encouraging the criminalization of the 1.3 million people who have abortions every year is not only illogical and immoral, but stokes the flames of domestic terrorism towards all involved in the abortion care community. Harsh language or ideals have no place within politics or presidential campaigns charged with keeping our nation and its citizens safe and healthy. Over sixty percent of people who have abortions are already parenting. Punishing parents for their abortions means punishing families. Our network of volunteers at abortion funds in 38 states is on the front lines, providing funding, rides, housing, childcare and emotional support to over 30,000 people as they access abortion care. We stand with each and every person seeking care.

We will not be punished.

Reproductive health, rights and justice advocates have warned that the anti-abortion policies of the 2016 election circuit will take us back to the 1950s, when individuals across the United States, forced to seek underground medical care, routinely died from lack of legal access to abortion. This warning comes amidst a supreme court case which documents an uptick in self induced abortions due to the unjust TRAP laws that deny U.S. citizens reasonable access to their constitutional right to abortion. This attack on the right to abortion access not only targets the people who do access abortion and their families, but doubly targets all those who lie at the intersections of criminalization and abortion access; people working without a living wage, young people, people of color, and transgender and gender nonconforming people for whom abortion access and health care more broadly is already often out of reach.  

Far too many presidential candidates have encouraged the illegalization of abortion, taking us back to antiquated notions about sexuality and reproduction that presume the incompetence and malintent of people who bear children. In reality, abortion is a highly safe and routine medical procedure. It is 40 times safer than a colonoscopy, 14 times safer than childbirth, and has a lower mortality rate than surgeries such as knee replacements and gallbladder removals.

We are at a moment of massive cultural confusion about our collective values. We will not stand by and allow politicians to provoke violence towards people who have abortions. We are unapologetic and we are unafraid. We will continue to raise the voices, visibility and power of those who have abortions as a full part of our culture and humanity.