Word from the Board...
In the ongoing fight to protect reproductive choice and expand reproductive justice, it’s not often that we get glimmers of hope. Abortion has been in the news a lot lately, mostly under attack from legislators who don’t understand basic biology or understand the realities of women’s lives.
I had a little glimmer of hope recently watching the movie “Obvious Child” – a romantic comedy in which a woman getting an abortion is part of the story. Her choosing to have an abortion is not treated as some kind of great tragedy, or even a hard choice. It’s a realistic choice that the movie treats matter-of-factly. How refreshing! The woman doesn’t have the money to pay for her procedure.
But this movie is not about CAF’s typical client – it is about a young, white woman who is trying to make it as a comedian in New York City. Even though she is struggling financially, she has a safety net. She comes from an economically privileged background, and even though it is embarrassing for her, she has a parent she could go to for the money to pay for her abortion.
The women CAF serves do not have such advantages. Our clients’ safety nets are usually frayed, torn and basically inadequate. The family members and friends who might want to help them out are often too stretched financially to be able to assist much. Clearly, people do help, because CAF clients have to come up with half the cost of their procedures themselves. But the half that CAF contributes makes a huge difference.
We are board members because we believe in CAF’s mission. Providing direct financial assistance to women whose access to reproductive freedom has been squelched by our government policies is one way that we make a difference. For the thousands of women CAF has helped, that has been crucial to their lives at that moment.
But in the bigger picture, we can’t assist all the low-income women whose access is blocked by the unjust policies that make choice a reality only for privileged women. For that reason, our mission of advocacy is just as important as our funding procedures. We need to keep accurate information flowing to policy-makers and keep communicating the message that abortion is a valid choice. We need to block threatened restrictions on women’s reproductive freedom, and to expand reproductive justice. That means not just protecting access to abortion, but expanding access to accurate sex education, and making sure women of color and low- income women can make genuine choices. The widening economic divide in our country, combined with the legacy of racism, make our mission of reproductive justice timely and crucial.
I hope you will join us in supporting the Chicago Abortion Fund. We can’t do our work without your support. Support Reproductive Justice Now!