part of Funding The Frontlines: A Roadmap To Supporting Health Equity Through Abortion Access
What Philanthropy Must Do
No matter one’s personal stance on abortion, funding for reproductive health should always prioritize access to accurate, comprehensive, and confidential care from transparent, trustworthy service providers. The fall of Roe v. Wade only increases this need.
The funding ecosystem that provides both direct financial support and indirect institutional support of anti-abortion fake clinics is purposefully complicated and opaque. What we do know is that it involves both philanthropic and government sources that enable CPCs to thrive and multiply while abortion clinics are fighting for survival. It also means that abortion activists are not just facing attacks from state and federal officials, they must also constantly combat better resourced anti-abortion institutions and the funders that support them in order to achieve reproductive liberation or, in this moment, to even maintain a baseline of existing abortion access and rights.
The battle taking place on-the-ground every day between out-resourced, out-numbered abortion clinics and the vast network of CPCs is where the rubber hits the road for reproductive access. Yet frontline abortion clinics and funds have only received $34 million from philanthropy between 2015-2019 or less than $7 million per year.
The sector needs to intentionally fund abortion with all circumstances considered, including the daily work of fighting against anti-abortion CPCs, to secure access and sustain those leading the work. Below are some action steps for funders to take now:
Abortion funds at the state and local level are often the first point of contact for abortion seekers after they have been misled by fake clinics. These funds hold the emotional care that their callers need after these interactions and work to ensure that the remainder of their care is safe, accurate and confidential. You can start with this set of organizations.
The real clinics providing abortion services require additional support, not only for sustainability, but for safety and additional client services for patients.
Many fake clinics target abortion seekers in the parking lots of actual abortion providers. This requires additional staffing, security, and services for their patients.
Just as deceitful as fake clinics have been to those seeking abortions, many have been just as dishonest with philanthropy.
Some of you intend to fund ultrasounds, childbirth classes, and diapers, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the bodily autonomy and choice of those seeking abortion services. While these items and services are advertised as free, they come at a cost and that cost is dangerous deception that endangers the lives and choice of anyone facing an unwanted pregnancy.
There are numerous groups holding this work that are advancing a reproductive justice agenda, including the ones listed above.
Many fake clinics can dissuade abortion seekers due to the lack of information, or even the extensive amount of misinformation, people receive throughout their lives about pregnancy and abortion.
Abortion advocates on the frontlines have said that Roe v Wade was the floor, not the ceiling for years.
Yes, funding those taking on the many legal battles to secure access is crucial. However, policy work must also be funded with the goal of eliminating physical obstacles like fake clinics. They are just as much a present threat to reproductive justice as the invisible regulatory and legal obstacles that have been traditionally well-resourced.
It is impossible for funders to expect those on the frontlines of abortion access to be sustained in this fight when the systems and movements working against them have the dollar advantage by so much. How can abortion advocates counter these attacks on access when philanthropy is already underfunding their work?
The frontlines of abortion access have organized tirelessly to not only provide services to those who seek them, but to also push back against those that create the barriers to access and who are actively working to eliminate services.
Now it is time for philanthropy to make a deeper commitment to destigmatizing access to abortion services. They can start by recognizing and immediately financially cutting off one of the anti-abortion movements greatest tools, crisis pregnancy centers.
Funding the Frontlines:
A Roadmap to Supporting Health Equity
through Abortion Access
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