“The New York Abortion Access Fund, which pays clinics directly for low-income patients’ abortions, ‘immediately saw an influx of out-of-state callers’ after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last June, said Chelsea Williams-Diggs, the organization’s interim executive director….
The majority of people seeking help from the fund are New Yorkers, Ms. Williams-Diggs said. But since the Supreme Court ruling, the fund has helped people from 29 states and Washington, D.C., as well as six other countries.
Right after the ruling, the majority of out-of-state callers phoned in from Ohio, which had a ban at the time (it was later blocked by a judge). Now, the majority of out-of-state callers are from Texas, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania, where abortion remains legal but where certain restrictions are in place, Ms. Williams-Diggs said….
Ms. Williams-Diggs said she was proud that officials were “passionate and committed to making New York an access state,” but she noted that the fund was struggling to keep up with the surging demand.
Last year, the fund spent $1.2 million to help 1,800 callers, compared to just over $500,000 in 2021, Ms. Williams-Diggs said. This year, the organization is on track to spend more than $2 million, a figure she said was concerning because “we just simply don’t have that money in the bank.”
Trivia party and community celebration of abortion access
You’re invited! NYAAF is participating in Fund-a-Thon, an annual grassroots fundraising campaign and celebration, where people like you gather your loved ones, have heartfelt conversations about why abortion access matters, and raise money for their local abortion fund!
By joining Fund-a-Thon, you participate in organizing your own communities, undoing abortion stigma, building relationships with fellow advocates, and mobilizing resources where they’re most needed to help people get abortions. To meet an unprecedented surge of funding requests within our home state and the rise in people traveling to NY from out of state, we have set the ambitious goal of raising $250,000, and to get there, we need the full support of you and our entire community!
You can fundraise on your own or grab a group of friends and start a team. You can even organize your own fundraising event. Whichever route you choose, we will give you tools along the way to support your peer-to-peer fundraising! Check out our Fund-a-Thon Toolkit for a step-by-step guide to all things Fund-a-Thon.
Start a team or sign up as an individual fundraiser!
We want to take a moment to share what NYAAF has been up to over the past year since we began a process of transformation. While we’ve continued our essential work of funding abortions, NYAAF has been quieter this year as we transition to become a smaller, more collectively-run, and women-of-color-led body.
Spurred by a long overdue internal reckoning with our disconnect from caller experience, NYAAF embarked on a transformation period in the spring of last year. While we continued to operate our helpline and fund abortions, we paused on other work — including external communications, recruiting new volunteers or board members, new advocacy campaigns, and hosting events unrelated to the call line.
We used this period as an opportunity to stop cycles of harm by investing in community building, restorative justice, values alignment, strategic planning, organizational restructuring, and the transfer of leadership to existing board members who more closely represent our callers. We approach this work humbly, with a shared commitment to growth. and recognition that there is still so much work to be done to better represent and serve the holistic needs of our callers and their communities, as well as to better be in line with our broader movement of abortion funds and reproductive justice organizers. Through our ongoing strategic planning, we hope to reimagine and rebuild NYAAF.
During this period we completed the following:
- Relationship and trust building – meeting up in person for the first times since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Restorative justice circles.
- Co-authoring a harm response plan.
- Enlisting a strategic planning consultant and initiating a strategic planning process, including a multi-day retreat.
- Restructuring our leadership structure to be more collaborative and building trust as a smaller, multiracial group.
- Changing our funding protocols to become more caller-centric — eliminating unnecessary screening questions and embodying deeper trust in callers.
- Distributing the most funds in our history — more than $720,000 pledged in the past year to around one thousand callers. During this time, we were proud to meet 100% of caller need.
While necessary, this transformation period has not been easy. We have gone from more than 20 active board members to now only 6 — all volunteers, all with day jobs and other commitments. Additional harm has been done as we’ve struggled together to confront how anti-Blackness and abortion stigma show up in our work and the abortion access landscape, and we have had to address that as it has emerged. We know that this work requires ongoing dedication, and we are committed to doing it together.
Further, the state of abortion access across the nation has continued to shift. Caller need has grown as our lines have gotten busier and our pledges have gotten larger. But our relationship-centered work gives us the foundation to nimbly respond to this inflection point for our movement.
Because we have invested in building a stronger organization and building relationships with one another, we are in a stronger position to face the challenges of this moment. Our movement’s strength depends on a foundation of right relationship.
Questions? Feedback? We’re here to be in conversation with you. We hope to share more with you about our transformation work soon, including during our in-person Fund-a-Thon celebration at Cafe Erzulie in Brooklyn on Sunday, May 22. RSVP here. We deeply value this community and look forward to filling the backyard with fellow activists and supporters! Please join and spread the word.
Yours in partnership,The NYAAF Board: Ambika, Chelsea, Julia, Karla, Maddy, Puja
Spring is abortion funding season across the National Network of Abortion Funds, and NYAAF is on our way to hitting our goal of $100,000 raised by peer-to-peer grassroots funders like you! There is still time to create a fundraising page and engage your friends, family, and community in conversations about the important work of abortion funding.
To fundraise with us, register online here! You can create a new team (teams can totally have just one person on them) or join an existing one. Your supporters can use the secure website to make donations to NYAAF. Fund-a-Thon goes through the end of May, so sign up now!
Fund-a-Thon is the main way NYAAF raises the money we need to fund ever caller who needs our help to cover the cost of their abortion. And further, by participating in Fund-a-Thon and talking to your loved ones about why abortion access matters, you not only raise the funds needed for abortion in your own community, but are also breaking down abortion stigma. If you’re not able to make a page and fundraise yourself, you can make a direct donation to NYAAF’s Fund-a-Thon campaign here.
We are also unbelievably excited that this year we are having an in-person Fund-a-Thon event for the first time in three years!
We invite you to join us at Cafe Erzulie in Brooklyn on Sunday May 22nd from 2-5 pm for an open bar, small bites, good music, and an amazing community of dedicated supporters and activists. Fund-a-Thon participants will get in free; others will be encouraged to make a $15 donation. (We will be checking vaccine cards at the entrance). We hope to see you there! Please RSVP here.
Despite growing attacks on abortion access, we are forging ahead with our essential work and taking time to celebrate the joy of abortion funding. Your support and efforts ensure that NYAAF can continue to provide abortion funding to every person who contacts us seeking care.
Sign up to fundraise, and we’ll see you on the 22nd!
NYAAF Board Member Vanessa Rios was on WNYC in September, talking about abortion rights and abortion access in New York State. Listen here!
The New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF) supports anyone who needs assistance paying for an abortion in New York State, or for New Yorkers seeking care elsewhere. 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 an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization, and we rely on our community to provide funding to our callers. You can make a donation to NYAAF through our website by clicking here.
We are a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds, a network of abortion funds across the country. If you want to support Texans seeking abortion, we suggest you donate directly to abortion funds in Texas. A list of those funds–and a link to donate to them all at once–is available here.
If you need assistance paying for an abortion, please call our helpline at 212-252-4757 and leave a voicemail. Someone will get back to you within 24 hours.
Thank you for your support!
Thanks to our entire community NYAAF raised over $47,000 for abortion access through this year’s Fund-a-Thon! While we didn’t quite make our goal of $60,000, we have so much to celebrate. Every dollar raised will go directly to building power and funding abortion in New York, ensuring that NYAAF can serve every person who calls our helpline.
We participate in Fund-a-Thon every year because we believe that funding abortion is an act of community care. NYAAF is able to be there for callers year in and year out because our community is there.
We want to extend a special thanks to the Rochester and SyracuseDSA chapters for joining powers to host a trivia party for NYAAF, and the SuffolkDSA for hosting a raffle for abortion access.
Also! If you still want to make a gift to Fund-a-Thon it’s not too late! You can make a donation here and note in the comments that it’s for Fund-a-Thon.
Each spring, abortion funds across the country participate in Fund-a-Thon, a grassroots celebration of our community power. For the past eleven years, NYAAF has participated in the national peer-to-peer friend-raiser that brings in the majority of our annual budget, all from people like you and me. NYAAF is asking you to support abortion access by signing up to fundraise for NYAAF. You can create a team or join one here!
Because of you and our community, the New York Abortion Access Fund can fund abortions for everyone who calls us seeking assistance.
Every year, we rely on you to mobilize your loved ones, have heart-to-heart conversations about abortion, and invite others to build collective power and advance abortion access.
Participating in the virtual Fund-a-Thon is easy, fun, and grassroots-driven. When you sign up as a fundraiser, you reach out to friends and family and let them know why abortion funding is important to you, and ask them to join you in this work. We will provide sample emails and scripts for you to use!
If you’d prefer, we invite you to make a one-time gift to support our Fund-a-Thon efforts.
As NYAAF embarks on a transformation period to focus on our organizational wellness, we will not host a formal event alongside the Fund-a-Thon season. While we continue with grassroots fundraising, we invite you to creatively bring your own community together to reach your fundraising goal. You could plan a toast to abortion funding or a host a virtual game night — over Zoom or in the park! Auction off the products of your newly-acquired quarantine needlepoint or baking hobby! We’re excited to hear about your plans!
Fund-a-Thon will run until the end of May, and we need to raise $60,000 to continue meeting the needs of our callers. We hope that you will join us!
With your continued participation in Fund-a-Thon, together we will show care for people who have abortions, now and for years to come.