Activist and Expert Allison Fine: Roadmap for Post-Roe Philanthropy

Elizabeth Warren has described the decades-long fight to protect Roe as standing high up on a ledge, and every year the ledge has gotten smaller and smaller. The upcoming SCOTUS ruling overturning Roe v. Wade removes the last sliver of the ledge.  

Allison Fine at a pro-choice rally in Tarrytown, New York on May 14, 2022. (Image credit: Allison Fine)

Overturning Roe has been the goal of the reactionary Right: to whitewash America by oppressing women and people of color. It’s not a byproduct of their relentless 40-year effort to turn back the clock, it is the point.

To be clear, women living in states like Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama have been living in a post-Roe world for a while. Still, it’s one thing not to have limited access, it’s another to be imprisoned for murder. 

As the threats have increased, however, philanthropic giving for reproductive rights and services hasn’t. As recently reported by Kiersten Marek, between 2015 and 2019, less than 1% of all foundation giving went to reproductive rights.  The low priority of this issue misses the crucial fact that access to reproductive health care is inextricably linked to economic security and well-being for women and their families.

Where do we go from here? Donors need to give more and give smarter right now for access to reproductive health care. We need to fund strategically: a) information, emotional support, and financial help to any woman in need of abortion services, b) normalize and ease access to abortion medication online, and c) the big picture solution: build local political power to undo the political stranglehold held by a cultish-religious minority.

We will always need local women’s health clinics. If you fund, say, a local Planned Parenthood clinic, you should continue doing that. However, for most first trimester abortions, all most woman need is access to abortion pills.  

I recommend supporting the following organizations in order to support information on options, costs, and services for pregnant people right now by funding organizations like:

  • Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project: Provides funds directly to pre-screened, pre-qualified health clinics and doctors across the nation on behalf of women in need of abortion services or emergency contraceptives. WRRAP does not ask for repayment of funds.
  • Reprocare: This organization provides funds to access online abortion medication.
  • UpStream USA: Upstream USA works in partnership with health centers around the country to train health care providers to increase equitable access to the full range of contraceptive options. Note: they just received a significant contribution from McKenzie Scott. 

Create Greater Online Access to Abortion Medication

Online access to small packs of mifepristone/misoprostol are offered over the counter in Mexico and other countries. The FDA approved this medication over twenty years ago but has artificially restricted access only to licensed clinicians. The medication is 98% effective and safer than taking Tylenol for first trimester abortions. More people need to know about this option and have the medication privately at home. 

  • Plan C is an online hub of information and access to resources for abortion medication.   
  • M + A Hotline: A confidential, private and secure phone and text hotline for people in need of support for self-managed miscarriage or abortion.
  • If When How: A network of lawyers providing reproductive justice assistance around the country.
  • Frontera Fund: Texas fund helping people get online abortions. 

Fund More Research on Reproductive Rights Access

We need to fund research on the safety and equity of access to online abortion medication. Three leadings efforts are:

  • Dr. Emily Godfrey at University of Washington. Dr. Godfrey is at the Department of Family Medicine at UW and is doing research on the provision of abortion care online through primary care physicians, which has been artificially restricted in the United States. 
  • Dr. Abigail Aikens at the University of Texas. Dr. Aikens is studying the provision of abortion medication before pregnancy. She is studying the impact of access to abortion medication through AidAccess in the Netherlands on the ability of women to manage when and how they terminate pregnancies.
  • Dr. Terri-Ann Thompson, Ibis Reproductive Health; and Dr. Ushma Upadhyay, University of California San Francisco. These researchers are focused on the ways abortion access through telehealth is and isn’t contributing to health equity and what adjustments are needed to help ensure more equitable access.

Support Reproductive Rights by Giving to Local political organizing:

  • Yellow Hammer Fund. A critically important organization supporting reproductive justice and access rights in the deep South.  
  • Sister Song. The creators of the reproductive justice movement. Leading training and organizing effort in African American communities for reproductive justice.    
  • Local political organizing efforts: Texas Organizing Project, BlueprintNC, Ohio Organizing Collaborative. These efforts registering voters and organizing locally are similar to the power building work Stacy Abrams has done in Georgia.  

It is important to remember that this is a political problem, meaning it is a fixable problem. But everyone one of us needs to get up and fight. We need to show up and donate and fight. The good news is that you aren’t alone.  

Editor’s Note: See Allison Fine speaking at Tarrytown rally for #Banoffourbodies.


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Author: Allison Fine

I am a pioneer in online activism. Am helping to rebuild our democracy. I am Vice Chair of the national board of NARAL: Pro Choice America Foundation.

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