A guest post by NYAAF volunteer Jill Haber.
How often does the average person think about abortion? I work in an abortion clinic, and for me, it is all day, everyday. I find it fascinating how many different perspectives from which the abortion discussion can be framed. Abortion intersects public life in areas as disparate as politics, public health, medicine, religion, economics, culture, and philosophy. These intersections are almost never mutually exclusive either. Regardless of how it’s framed, abortion ignites passion in activists on all sides of the issue.
It is difficult to view it in so many different lights when you are working with individuals. My job is to help people seeking abortion. Much like anyone else, I tend to get wrapped up in the politics of what I do, but while working with someone going through something so deeply personal, politics couldn’t be further from my mind. At that moment, what is important is that we do everything to make a potentially complicated situation easier for this person. That’s how NYAAF helps. They focus every dollar on the individuals: the people I work with. The people who make up the statistics that end up in a research paper or in a debate.
The reasons for abortion are endless—wanting to finish school, supporting a family you already have, homelessness, rape, or perhaps that it’s not the right time to bring a child into the world. The truth of the matter is that abortion is not part of anyone’s grand plan. What a politician feels about a person’s reason for abortion seems like the most inconsequential opinion in the world at the moment when I am sitting with a person seeking an abortion.
When you donate to NYAAF, you’re giving money in order to enable a person to have an abortion without needing to forgo their rent. Even in a state like New York known for abortion access, there is still a huge need for financial assistance. When you do not have insurance or not qualify for Medicaid, you’re expected to come up with a large sum of money, often hundreds or thousands of dollars, which is a hardship for many families. NYAAF helps people seeking abortion services in New York and traveling to New York. Since New York has fewer legal barriers than many other states, that adds up to helping a lot of folks from out of state—in fact, about 25% of the people they funded last year traveled to New York for an abortion. When you donate to NYAAF, you’re making a huge difference to someone. You’re helping them move forward in a situation where they otherwise would have been stuck.
I support NYAAF because its volunteers and donors make a difference for the individuals seeking abortion care. The story behind every abortion is as unique as the person asking NYAAF for help. It is the people who are behind the statistics that matter, and that is why I donate.