Recently, Katha Pollitt wrote a piece for The Nation about why women of means should donate to abortion funds. We won’t recap the piece here–we encourage you to read it for yourself!–but the point of it is that a contribution to an abortion fund is a direct way to impact a woman’s life while making a stand for choice. We agree 100%! In fact, we wanted to tell you a little more about why the points in the article ring true for us here at WHO/O:
1. As hard as it is to get an abortion when you’re broke, it’s even harder in Ohio.
When it comes to abortion access, Ohio is a tough place to live. NARAL has consistently given Ohio an F in their ranking of abortion laws due to the wide variety of legislation that restricts access. Many of those restrictions add to the cost of an abortion in a straightforward way, such as restrictions on covering abortion in state employees’ health insurance policies or restrictions on public funding for abortion procedures. Other laws add cost and stress in multiple ways.
Consider the mandatory counseling and 24-hour waiting period required in Ohio. Say you’re an hourly worker with no health insurance–your time is literally your paycheck–and you’re spending hours, days, weeks of it jumping through legal hoops to access the health care you need. Oh, and did we mention that you live in one of the 91% of Ohio counties that don’t have an abortion provider? So you have to travel to obtain an abortion. If you don’t have a car, you have to find a ride or pay for a bus ticket, which can cost up to $75 or more. Even if you have a car, how much will it cost to fill the tank with gas for a trip or two–since the 24-hour delay requires you to make two visits with the provider, you have to travel twice or find a way to stay overnight in another town. Even if you do have the money to pay for your abortion, these are major roadblocks to overcome.
Now imagine that you don’t have that money. After all, an abortion can typically cost between $350 and $1,000 depending on multiple factors. In a state where nearly 20% of adult women live in poverty, financial barriers are significant ones and absolutely prevent some women from obtaining a medical procedure they desperately want. Many of the women we help are within $20 of being able to afford their choice. Your donation really can make the difference.
2. Your donation makes a real difference in your community.
Women Have Options is Ohio’s statewide abortion fund. Our funding is distributed directly through 10 clinics throughout Ohio. We also partner with and advocate for choice on the state and local level in…you guessed it, Ohio. We are grateful for every single dollar we receive because we know it’s going directly to help women in the communities that we live in. Women Have Options has helped thousands of Ohio women make choices about their bodies and their lives. Those are women from your communities: your state, your city, maybe your neighborhood. Maybe someone you know. When you donate to Women Have Options, you are giving it directly to the women in Ohio that need it the most. You literally give them the power to change their life. Isn’t that worth being proud of?
3. Donating to an abortion fund is a great way to be an effective activist in a state where we need it.
Women Have Options is a proud member of the activist community here in Ohio. You’ve seen us at Walk for Choice, FOCO Lobby Day, our annual Bowl-A-Thon and anywhere else that people are advocating for reproductive justice. You’ve seen us at our pro-choice partners’ phonebanks, rallies, and maybe even at one of our own fundraisers. We’re out there supporting a woman’s right to choose every day. But we don’t do it alone–we do it with the donations of every person who has ever supported us.
In 1992, our fund was born because a friend of one of our founders needed help paying for an abortion she couldn’t afford. Twenty years later, we have thousands of friends helping women in their communities afford their reproductive choices. In a state where legislation like the Heartbeat Bill abortion ban gains more traction every day, we need all the friends we can get! The time and money you give to Women Have Options–the handful of bills you donated, the crafts you bought at our winter fundraiser, the afternoons you spent lobbying and rallying with us–those are all the things that keep WHO/O fighting. By supporting WHO/O, you are a part of our mission, and we need you now more than ever. We dream of an Ohio where every woman can make meaningful reproductive choices. Until that day comes, we’ll be working for it. We hope you’ll be there with us.