It’s been an exciting few weeks at NYAAF! Our Board Co-Chair Alison Turkos was quoted in this great piece about abortion funds in the LA Times.
Two weeks ago, a New York State Senator said, “Never once in 15 years has someone called my office who needed an abortion and couldn’t get one. Abortion access is not an issue in New York state.” We couldn’t disagree more. So we wrote to the Albany Times Union to give them correct information about abortion access in New York. An excerpt of our Letter to the Editor is below:
According to the Guttmacher Institute, three are 5.6 million New York women of reproductive age below 100 percent of the poverty line. It’s not that New Yorkers don’t have trouble accessing abortion care; it’s that they don’t call their state senator and ask for help.
Read the whole thing here.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A session moderated by NYAAF with the filmmakers, Martha Shane and Lana Wilson. A portion of your ticket purchase will benefit the New York Abortion Access Fund.
When: September 21st, 7:00 p.m
Where: Film Society at Lincoln Center
70 Lincoln Square, #4
New York, New York 10023
Tickets: $20, includes movie screening and Q&A session with the filmmakers, must be purchased in advance.
Join us to support abortion access in Texas! Here’s why:
- We’ll be raffling off awesome swag and cool prizes!
- The first 35 people to enter get a free drink ticket and special prize with entry!
- We’re celebrating all that is Texas! Dust off those cowboy boots & cool Stetson and show us what you got!
- Access to abortion matters — and all but 5 clinics in ALL OF TEXAS are in threat of closure!
- Therefore, it’s extremely important that we help raise money for abortion funds that desperately need it!
So join NYAAF, in solidarity with Texas abortion funds, the Lilith Fund and the Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund, for a Texas-sized abortion-funding bonanza! Our bar night will raise money to help Texans pay for an abortion when they can’t afford it.
When: Friday, August 16, 6:00-9:00 PM
Where: Branded Saloon, 603 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn
Cost/Ticket info: Each ticket will be $20 at the door. The first 35 to arrive get a free drink ticket and prize with entry!
RSVP on Facebook & spread the word!
2,3,4: Grand Army Plaza | B, Q: 7th Avenue | C: Clinton-Washington
UPDATE: Thanks to our incredible supporters, we were able to raise the $3100 in just 2.5 hours. THANK YOU! Both Paulina and NYAAF are very grateful for your generous support.
Dear NYAAF supporters,
Over the last week, we’ve been working with a young woman in a tough situation. And now we need your help.
Paulina* is full time student and a recent immigrant to New York State. She has no monthly income and limited health insurance. By the time Paulina discovered that she was pregnant, she was past New York’s legal limit. Paulina is currently 26 weeks pregnant and has an appointment for an abortion tomorrow, Tuesday, August 6, in Colorado. This is one of the only clinics in the country that will perform the procedure at this point in pregnancy.
The total cost of the abortion is $8000. Paulina’s insurance will only cover part of the procedure. Paulina has managed to pull together some money in addition to transportation from New York and lodging while in Colorado. NYAAF also reached out to some other abortion funds to help us cover the cost of the procedure.
Paulina still needs $3100 in order to make her appointment tomorrow. This is fifteen times our average grant amount, and so we are emailing to ask if you can make an emergency contribution so that Paulina can safely terminate her pregnancy.
If possible, please provide your support in either of two ways:
1) Make an immediate donation by credit card by clicking here.
2) Email email@example.com with the amount of your pledge and then send us a check. Mail to NYAAF, FDR Station, Box 7569, New York, NY 10150.
Thank you so much for your consideration.
Maureen Stutzman and Alison Turkos
Co-Chairs, NYAAF Board of Directors
*Not the client’s real name. We shared her experience with her permission. We are using “she/her” pronouns at the client’s request.
Activist and journalist Lauren Rankin wrote a wonderful piece about gender inclusivity in the abortion rights movement. She explains,
We must acknowledge and come to terms with the implicit cissexism in assuming that only women have abortions. Trans men have abortions. People who do not identify as women have abortions. They deserve to be represented in our advocacy and activist framework.
She also quotes NYAAF’s values statement! We’re honored to be included in this piece and excited to work with other organizations (like the EMA Fund, for example) to work towards gender inclusivity in our movement. As Lauren says in her piece, “All people who need an abortion should be able to access one, and that does not solely apply to women.”
Our Board worked over the last several months to put together our first ever annual report. This report contains an abbreviated history of NYAAF, details the abortion access landscape in which we operate, explains our intake process, gives key descriptive statistics about the people we serve, and much more. Take a look!
Thank you to our wonderful data coordinator and Board Member Marissa Rousselle who worked countless hours to put this report together.
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.
New Yorkers! Are you itching to get more involved with your local abortion fund? Do you have experience writing and securing grants? We want YOU to join the NYAAF board as our Institutional Fundraiser! Responsibilities include:
- Developing and implementing institutional fundraising strategy
- Drafting and submitting Letters of Inquiry and Proposals
- Researching prospective foundation supporters
- Tracking foundation donor response, reporting requirements, and deadlines
- Preparing narrative and financial reports
- Attending monthly board meetings on the third Monday of every month
- Serving on an intake shift on our hotline once every three months
- Participating on other committees and completing projects as needed
- Experience with writing grants and proposals
- Ability to conceptualize and create an institutional fundraising strategy
- Familiarity with New York foundation funding landscape
- Self-motivated and detail-oriented
General board responsibilities include attendance at monthly meetings on the third Monday of every month, and an intake shift on our hotline once every three months.
NYAAF is committed to seeking a diverse group of candidates, including young folks, people of color, gender non-conforming and queer folks. We are an all-volunteer, board-run grassroots organization.
Interested? Have questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a board application! Applications are due July 20.
Written by NYAAF volunteer Chanel Dubofsky. Chanel lives in Brooklyn is interested in your personal choices.
Funding abortion is about more than helping someone end a pregnancy. It can also interrupt a cycle of poverty and economic insecurity. Recently, the New York Women’s Foundation released their Economic Security and Well Being Index, and the findings confirm the need for the vital work of NYAAF. Among the more startling statistics about women and girls in New York City (including the 5 boroughs) include:
- Approximately one in five young women in New York City lives in poverty, slightly higher than the citywide rate of 17.9% for all women.
- Among teens in the highest-poverty neighborhoods in New York City, 85.9% of pregnancies are unintended.
- Over the past decade or so, New York City’s teen pregnancy rate has exceeded the national rate by 21%—85.4 per 1,000 girls compared to 70.6 per 70.6 per 1,000.
- The maternal mortality rate has increased nearly 30% over a 10-year period in the city.
- In New York City, single mothers head one in five households with children under the age of 18, compared to just 2 percent of households headed by single fathers.
- In New York City 39.7% of households headed by single mothers with children under the age of 18 live in poverty.
Lest you drown in a puddle of statistics and facts, let’s do some unpacking. New York is a divided city: “The day-to-day lived realities of women and girls in the South Bronx are worlds apart from those living on the Upper East or West Sides of Manhattan. “ (Borough Highlights, p.6) The gaps in access to education, employment, and other resources also means inequities in access to all kinds of health care, including abortion. The ability to afford a safe abortion can be the difference between remaining in or falling into poverty and being a step closer to coming out of it. It impacts the entire family, and in a city where the maternal mortality rate is increasing (the 30% statistic is staggering), every baby should be a wanted baby who can receive prenatal care.
Recently, a campaign to prevent teen pregnancy took to the New York City subways. The ads shame teens (read: mothers) by purporting to inform them about realities of becoming young parents. One such ad says, “If you finish high school, get a job, and get married before having children, you have a 98% chance of not being in poverty.” The results of the NYWF index tell us that for many young women in New York, poverty is where they already live, regardless of whether or not they are parents. Factors such as race, class and geographical location in the city intersect with gender, perpetuating a situation that hurts women, babies, and communities.
The NYWF findings reinforce the need for a closer look at the distribution of New York City’s resources and the focus of its attention. It’s a call to arms for those working for economic and reproductive justice and education, as well as for everyone and anyone looking to directly impact the reality of women and girls in the city. And if you were wondering how to do that, make a donation to NYAAF.