Over the last few months, the NYAAF Board of Directors has been working on figuring out how to make NYAAF a gender inclusive organization. We want to make sure that NYAAF isn’t just working toward every woman’s right to access affordable abortion care, but every person’s right, regardless of their gender. We realized that embracing gender inclusivity is about more than not assuming the gender pronouns that our callers use or replacing “woman” with “people” everywhere on our website. Becoming gender inclusive is an important part of our values as an organization.
We realized that we didn’t have a cohesive statement about our values. Inspired by the EMA Fund, we brainstormed as a board and came up with the following list. Let us know what you think in the comments:
New York Abortion Access Fund Statement of Values
The New York Abortion Access Fund believes that every person should be able to determine their own reproductive destiny and have access to the resources, rights, and respect to be able to do so. We believe that access to affordable abortion care is a critical component of full-spectrum healthcare services. We are working towards a world where abortion funds are not necessary because affordable, safe abortion care is part of mainstream medical practice and covered fully by all types of insurance.
NYAAF believes that the people who call our hotline are experts on their own lives. We believe that they do not owe us anything, including their stories or repayment, in order to qualify for abortion funding. At our core, we believe that anyone seeking an abortion has the right to access one.
We recognize that systems of oppression, including racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and others contribute to systemic injustices in the healthcare system. NYAAF is committed to recognizing and addressing these barriers to the best of our ability.
NYAAF’s belief in physical autonomy is a core link between our belief in the right to an abortion, and our belief in the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people to access holistic health care and services. We recognize that people who identify as men can become pregnant and seek abortions; we strive to meet the needs of all people who seek our funding.
We work to provide additional resources to callers beyond the scope of abortion funding, such as referrals for Medicaid enrollment, to demonstrate that we value the wellbeing of our callers beyond their need for an abortion.
NYAAF also recognizes that many of our callers would choose to continue their pregnancies if they were in different financial circumstances. As such, NYAAF does not try to speak for the motivations of our clients by framing abortion as an issue of choice. Reproductive freedom is a matter of social justice, not just an individual choice. We trust and support the decision of the caller and take their lead in adopting the language they use in talking about their pregnancy and circumstances.
NYAAF does not scrutinize how many abortions someone has had, whether contraception was used, whether a sexual assault was reported, or any other information that is volunteered by our client, nor do we attempt to encourage anyone to behave in a certain way. If someone identifies a desire to learn about how to report an assault, how to avoid pregnancy, or other concerns, NYAAF provides information and makes appropriate referrals.
We consider these values to be at the core of our decision making as a board. They serve as an indispensable guide to all of our fundraising, programmatic, administrative, and communications decisions and actions. Our board, comprised of a diverse group of individuals who are all committed volunteers, all strongly believe in the values and mission of this organization. These shared values reflect an understanding of our work as part of a larger social justice and reproductive justice movement to ensure the full rights of all people. By building and supporting this movement, we strive for a world where everyone has the right and ability to determine their own future.