Letter from Yamani Hernandez, Executive Director
I’ve been thinking about the language of crisis and who is allowed to use it – whose definition generates action, and who feels called to act. For some of our communities, relentless crises have been ignored, seen as exaggerated, irrelevant, or simply an unfortunate fact of life. If crisis means bold and immediate action–executive orders, national addresses, federal funding–where has the bold, decisive action been for the crises we have been navigating for decades?
No one can deny that the COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis of unprecedented scale. However, when I think of crisis, I also think of the lives of the 216,000 abortion fund callers who reached out to our network for support in 2019. The systemic failures many must navigate as they go about their lives become even more visible when they call an abortion fund. Abortion funds are resilient, experienced navigators of this broken system, but they are everyday people picking up the care the government refuses to provide. Their resources are limited, and they are not able to meet the needs of everyone who calls for support. That’s a crisis.
For decades abortion funds and their callers, clinics, and advocates like you have protested as abortion has been legislated against, stripped of legal protection, and stigmatized. The white supremacist violence that is this nation’s foundation magnifies the impact of these discriminatory policies on callers of color – Black callers in particular. The current level of access to abortion is the most restricted many of us have ever experienced.
You and I know that in the absence of policy solutions this crisis requires bold strategy to get the care we need. That’s why, with your support, we have launched Operation Scale Up (OSU). OSU is a visionary strategy rooted in the wisdom of local abortion funds to transform the abortion access landscape. No longer should abortion fund callers have to crowdfund their healthcare. They deserve to know they will be fully supported as soon as they call for help.
When I started in 2015, there was a shift happening within the network toward our current theory of change: to fund abortion and also build power. I am honored to have led this organization through that shift and grateful for the ways we have grown to support our members. Six years later, there is another shift happening as we build a network of scaled abortion funds. In 2022 I will pass the baton to a new leader to lead into this next chapter. The network is profoundly ready for the deep investment that abortion fund callers deserve. Together, we will organize for a future where access to abortion is simple, affordable, and free from shame or stigma.
With love and power,
National Network of Abortion Funds
Operation Scale Up: Mapping a Post-Roe Future
Drawing on their leadership and expertise, we’ve developed a visionary strategy to fully resource abortion funds and transform the abortion access landscape: Operation Scale Up. Read more.
Mobilize Your Network: Host a Fundraiser
Maya cooked up a bake sale. Hannah put a green thumb to work propagating seedlings for an ongoing plant sale. Find out how you can share your support for abortion access with your family and friends.