Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Choice isn't Choice with out Access

Georgia has just left social work...for more social work. She gives for a living, and then sometimes she gives more. I've been an pro-choice activist since the 80's, in those days I participated in clinic defenses with a Madison Group called, "DARE" Defend Abortion Rights Emergency, I went with the Campus Women's center when we marched on Washington...but, over the years my activism evolved into attending cocktail fundraisers for NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Somewhere along my merry bourgeois way I didn't notice that the issue of choice is irrelevant for women if they can't afford an abortion. This is why I need friends like Georgia to wake me up.

I hadn't heard of the Madison Women's Medical Fund before. Georgia wrote me about them, WMF helps women pay for abortions. She explained, "I've worked with them quite a bit and the demand always exceeds the amount in the fund. I don't believe women will ever have true equality until they have the full capability to control their bodies and decide when and how (and if) to bear a child on their own. I believe this is a medical decision to be made individually, and barriers such as misogynous social policies, religious oppression or scarcity of medical providers or cost should not interfere with this decision."

Here is a little information from their website:

The right to choose an abortion is meaningless without access to abortion services.

Although abortion is legal, increasingly restrictive laws are limiting access for all women. Poor women unable to pay for an abortion are effectively denied access to complete health care services.

Federal and state government funds cannot be used to pay for abortions; most health insurance will not pay for abortions.

Wisconsin has the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. Poor and rural women are particularly hard hit by these laws. One law mandates two visits to a doctor, 24 hours apart, increasing the costs of obtaining an abortion.

Wisconsin has limited abortion clinic services, located only in Milwaukee, Madison and Appleton; often women must pay for travel, childcare or overnight accommodations in addition to using scarce resources to pay for an abortion.

Thanks Georgia, I can totally get with this.

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