I don’t have a personal story to tell. I’ve never experienced an unintended pregnancy, and the women I know who have were all able to afford the procedure on their own. In some ways, this isn’t really my fight. While I am far from rich, I still have the means at my disposal to access my reproductive choices. I have a savings account, credit cards, and friends who would likely help if needed. In this respect, I am very fortunate.
By being to able to afford my own abortion, I will never have to call a helpline and ask for money. I will never to have to pawn items that I love, or delay payment on something else, like the power bill or birthday presents for loved ones. I have never been good at asking for help, and the thought of asking for money, just in the abstract as I write this, is daunting. My family struggled financially when I was growing up, especially when I was young. I will never forget the tension that permeated our home. Not being able to provide for your family is something I would not wish on anyone. It’s nearly impossible to to avoid feeling like a failure when you can’t give your children the things they need, and some extras simply because you love them. Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of families.
If you missed the chart that showed how many hours worked it takes someone making minimum wage to afford a 2 bedroom home, check it out here. In DC, someone would have to work 132 hours a week. A week. In Maryland, it’s 135 hours, and in Virginia it’s 114. Yes, rent is high in my part of the world, but if you look at the chart, there isn’t anywhere in the country where 40 hours at the minimum wage is enough. Just imagine how much harder things could become if you suddenly find out you’re pregnant, don’t want to be, and now need to find another $400 (roughly the cost of a first trimester abortion, when the vast majority occur). It’s also important to remember that, while this country doesn’t have the greatest safety net, there are services and assistance available for women who choose to continue their pregnancies and either parent or choose adoption. This is not the case for women who choose abortion.
For me, abortion funding is about fairness and bridging the gap to access. Generally speaking, if you can afford it, you can get it. You don’t have to explain your situation to anyone, ask friends for money, or go through any of the hoops that the women who call our helpline do. Now, to be sure, our volunteers are well-trained and incredibly compassionate. No one will ever judge you if you call. We don’t spend time on the “why” part of your situation. We trust you. We’re just here to help you pay for it. It’s one of the guiding tenets of – and one of my favorite things about – DCAF. It can be difficult to deal with an unintended pregnancy when you have the means to realize your choice. No one should have to go through additional trials just to make her own choice a reality. That’s why I support DCAF.
To my Facebook friends, Twitter followers and people on my email list, my apologies for the constant posts and messages. But this matters a lot to me. I hope you will consider helping out.
(Friend tip: once you donate, I take you off my email list. Just sayin.’)