Monday, March 28, 2011

Guest post: Just go balls out, already

On Friday we hosted Steph's guest post about discovering that non-profit pro-choice organizations are not 100% enthusiastic about the prospect of having employees who engage in activism or community organizing outside of work. Sure, Steph could've just happened to interview with an unusual number of control freaks. Or, just maybe, she's found one limitation of a system that forces would-be agents of change to rely on the goodwill (and coinciding self-interest) of granting foundations whose endowments come from fundamentally change-averse corporations. Call it the nonprofit-industrial complex
A grassroots organization, called INCITE! Women of Color Again Violence, edited a book on this very subject and entitled it "The Revolution Will Not Be Funded." But if it won't be funded -- if we can't rely on billionaires to solve poverty (we can't even rely on employers to employ us!) -- how will we make any progress in ensuring that women facing problematic pregnancies can actually use the rights they supposedly have? Our Monday guest blogger, WentRogue, has plenty of good reasons for you to join her in grassroots fundraising. 


Putting the fun in grassroots fundraising!

Last night as I was mulling topic options for my fifteen minutes of honorary tangential abortioneer fame: hmm, do I want to rail about the class warfare being waged, right now, on the bodies of the poor? (Seriously? How pedantic can I be?) About the darkest of language arts used so skillfully against us all by the likes of Frank Luntz? (What do I think I am, a semiotician?) Maybe I should just steal someone else's words, someone like Lynn Paltrow, who sums it up so perfectly that I tried to use this paragraph* as my defining Facebook profile quote for a while? WAIT, JUST WHAT AM I TRYING TO GET AT IN ONE PITHY BLOG POST ANYWAY? an email from a friend came in, a distraction amidst distractions:

Subject: Do you know of any resources for this woman?

And you KNOW what kind of resources she's going to be asking about.

And no, I DON'T know of any resources for this woman, who it turns out is majorly screwed by geography and circumstance. She's in a town on the far western side of South Dakota, smack in the middle of the country a good six hour drive from the only abortion clinic in her state and a little further still from the nearest clinics in Montana, Wyoming or Colorado. And even though she's only a couple of weeks into a pregnancy that she tried to prevent with a dose of emergency contraception she could barely afford—giving her a couple more weeks' time to scramble for $500, fast—how the hell is she going to get time off from the job she just started and who the hell is going to watch her three kids while she's gone on her twelve hour odyssey (not including pit stops or the entire day at the clinic)? And oh yeah, she doesn't have a car.

All of that is BEFORE her state's 72-hour "cooling off period" takes effect.

I HATE these emails. I HATE them. As an honorary tangential abortioneer, I don't directly provide abortion care but I do know that the abortion fund in Minnesota is nearly dry. I know that the abortion fund in South Dakota is, too. I've answered the phones at my local abortion fund hotline and I've heard the resignation in women's voices when the most we can pledge just isn't going to be quite enough. It is, as you can imagine, a horrible sound.

I work part time for the National Network of Abortion Funds. That may be what earned me an honorary tangential abortioneer post, and it may be why my friends forward emails like these, with the glimmer of hope that I just might know about a secret stash hidden somewhere in the supply room. But the only stash I know about is the one we're padding right now: the get-your-friends-and-lace-up-your-bowling-shoes stash.

A bowl-a-thon for abortion access?

Is that really the single answer to the wealth inequality gap? No! But it is a way to DO SOMETHING TANGIBLE, NOW. Last year, grassroots activists, including the beloved Abortioneers, bowled their hearts out and raised $180,000—that would pay for a lot of twelve-hour car trips—in the first ever national abortion access bowl-a-thon. And this year, we're aiming even higher, because the stakes are even higher. The beauty of it is that EVERYONE CAN BE A PART OF THIS EVENT, by joining a local, on-the-ground bowl-a-thon, or pledging to raise $100 in a virtual bowl-a-thon, or simply contributing to the event itself. And, well, it's the most fun you'll ever have in rented shoes!

*Today's highly politicized and polarizing abortion debate creates the false and destructive illusion that there are two kinds of women—women who have abortions and women who have babies. The reality is that they are all the same women and they are all increasingly facing state control, as well as limitations on access to care as a result of conflicts with professional organizations, imposition of religious directives in health care institutions, anti-abortion/fetal rights laws and rhetoric and issues concerning health care financing that interfere with their ability to make decisions regarding their pregnancies, birthing options, the childbirth process, their lives and their families' well-being.
Lynn Paltrow, National Advocates for Pregnant Women


WentRogue is more than an "honorary tangential abortioneer": in offering women practical resources to obtaining abortion care, and speaking with them about their situations and needs, she is providing abortion care! When not organizing local, national and virtual communities to provide tangible support for women facing reproductive injustice, WentRogue can be found tweeting for abortion access and other vital things at  

1 comment:

This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.