We’ve Pledged $334,724 Since Dobbs

pledges since dobbs total $334,724

Saturday marks one year since the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, overturning Roe v. Wade and stripping away almost 50 years of precedent protecting the right to abortion. Without federal constitutional protection, Dobbs allows the states to determine the legality of abortion. 

The Dobbs decision has divided the country just about in half–abortion is now unavailable or severely restricted in 22 states; clinics have closed or moved; complicated legal questions in many states sow confusion and fear. Pregnant people have been forced to wait longer, travel farther, and pay more for abortion care. This has increased the cost of abortion care, putting greater strain on abortion funds. 

As we’ve seen at the Jane Fund, the change has been swift and momentous. We are experiencing a huge uptick in requests for assistance from people in other states. We pledged $40,787 on behalf of callers in Massachusetts and beyond in 2019, and by comparison, we have pledged $186,129 so far this year, with the majority of that going to people in other states with laws hostile to abortion. (And that’s while continuing to fully fund callers seeking services in Central Massachusetts.)

Donations have been generous–and we are very grateful–but the unmet need remains vast.

While the President says that “the Dobbs decision ‘put the health and lives of women across this nation at risk,’” we know that that risk is not carried equally or limited to women; Dobbs has exacerbated inequities in the healthcare system for marginalized groups, including those facing systemic racism and oppression, those dealing with economic hardship, young people, and queer and trans people. Tellingly, states restricting abortion have offered no corresponding expansion of protections for pregnant people, families, and children.

While Dobbs purports to return regulation of abortion access to the states, it is abundantly clear that anti-abortion advocates will stop at nothing short of a national ban on the procedure. As the Conference of Catholic Bishops stated, “Even as we celebrate, we are reminded that this is not the end, but the beginning of a critical new phase in our efforts….”  The past year has brought assaults on abortion rights even in states where abortion remains legal, including a lawsuit attempting to block the use of medication abortion nationwide and state legislation blocking interstate travel. 

Frighteningly, attempts to restrict abortion access have also included anti-democratic moves to hamstring local prosecutors, preempt local governments, and tighten the rules allowing for ballot measures. Yet a recent Gallup poll shows a marked increase in popular support for abortion rights, with 61% of respondents saying Dobbs was a “bad thing”. 

Twenty states have moved to protect abortion rights. Massachusetts has enacted new measures to increase access to abortion care within the state and, for the first time, provided state money to the abortion funds. Although that funding only covers abortions that take place in Massachusetts, we are committed to extending solidarity to people and abortion funds across the country. On this anniversary, we ask that you, a supporter of abortion access and reproductive freedom, help us keep up the fight. The crisis is still unfolding. We need ardent advocates to continue busting stigma and raising awareness by unabashedly supporting abortion funds. 

Become a monthly donor at janefund.org/donate

We’re hiring for Fund-a-thon!

The Jane Fund of Central Massachusetts is looking for an enthusiastic and creative fundraiser to assist with our Fund-a-Thon event this spring. The all-virtual event is an opportunity for our supporters to mobilize their networks to fund abortion. 

The contract position will begin in mid-February and extend through the end of April. Compensation is $3,000 for approximately 100 hours at $30/hour. Guidance and training will come from relevant members of the Jane Fund’s board of directors, as well as resources provided by the National Network of Abortion Funds. 

The position involves:

  • Developing fun, consistent branding for the event 
  • Motivating fundraisers with prizes they solicit from local businesses
  • Clearly communicating event details and Jane Fund’s mission and values on social media and in email
  • Managing the fundraising platform 

Core competencies:

  • Clear, accurate writing
  • Peer fundraising experience
  • Working knowledge of abortion funds

Desired tech skills:

  • Mailchimp
  • Canva (or equivalent)
  • Classy (or experience with an equivalent fundraising platform) 
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

We encourage applications from people who have had abortions, have used abortion funding, and/or who come from communities most affected by restrictions on abortion. To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to [email protected] by February 15. 

Funding Announcement

We are excited to share that the Jane Fund is among the 11 recipients of significant state funding aimed at improving reproductive health in Massachusetts.

Specifically, Tides for Reproductive Freedom and sub-grantees the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts, the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund, and the Jane Fund of Central Massachusetts will together receive approximately $1.5 million from the Department of Public Health for in-state activities to improve abortion access in the first half of 2023. More details are available in a DPH press release.

This opportunity for organizational development is a milestone for four primarily volunteer organizations. The funding will allow us to build a solid foundation for state-wide abortion funding and to improve our capacity for practical support, volunteer engagement, and deeper connection with the communities we serve.

While the support from DPH is restricted to in-state activities, the Jane Fund’s work extends beyond state boundaries. We will continue to fundraise to support callers and allied organizations across the country. To learn more about our work in 2022, including out-of-state funding, please see our recent annual report.

Together with the other three funds, we’ll update you on the specifics of our collective and individual growth through this process. But for now, we invite you to celebrate this critical investment in the future of abortion funds in Massachusetts with us. Our application outlined our history of distributing funds on behalf of Baystaters who otherwise couldn’t afford abortion care, and that track record is a testament to the commitment of our supporters. 

We’re also grateful to Erica Silber of Written Wings for her sage guidance through the application process and to the other three funds for their vision and solidarity.

The Jane Fund

Our annual report

murmuration of starlings at dusk with white text, "JANE - FUND abortion funding after Dobbs"

We’re excited to share our annual report, “Abortion Funding after Dobbs,” with you in a new, digital format. (Why digital? To save money and trees.) Read the report here or by clicking the image above.

Thank you!

Together, we raised over $17,400 for abortion access in Central Massachusetts and beyond. This year’s Fund-a-Thon was a boost to our spirits, particularly the dedication of our team leaders and individual fundraisers and the generosity of everyone who donated. We are so grateful for your support! 

We’re also very grateful for the generosity our supporters extended to Tides for Reproductive Freedom, the first Black-, Indigenous-, and Queer-led abortion fund in Massachusetts. 

The end of Fund-a-Thon brings us to the start of Pride Month. Here are a few items from around the internet that set the right tone: 

First, this Democracy Now interview with Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice and staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, who emphasizes the deep connections between anti-abortion and anti-trans legislation: Watch it here

Strangio also has an essay in the LGBTQ+ outlet them on same topic, as well as the need for collective action going forward: Read it here.

In addition, SisterSong shared this image on Facebook yesterday:

Their caption reads: “As we kick off Pride Month, remember Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera did not ASK politely for their rights. Stonewall was a riot – a rising up against police brutality. We will not ask for liberation. We will fight for what is ours. We will demand LGBTQ+ liberation and racial justice.”

For a month that will likely feature more attacks on trans rights and the official decision on Dobbs, that strikes us as the right spirit. 

In solidarity,
The Jane Fund

Honoring RBG on What Would Be Her 88th Birthday

by Margaret Batten, Jane Fund Board Member and Counseling & Referral Hotline Supervisor with Planned Parenthood

In 1992, as a young government attorney, I had the great good fortune to argue a case before a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals that included then Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Almost 30 years later, I remember few details about the case, not even the names of the two other male judges, but I remember Judge Ginsburg.  I was told by my colleagues at the US Attorneys Office that Judge Ginsburg would be well-prepared, well-versed in the details of the case, and she was; that she would be unfailingly respectful, and she was; and then of course there was her signature white lace collar.  Shortly after that our paths diverged. I moved away from DC and the law to parent full-time and she… well, the rest, as they say, is history. 

RBG in black robe and lace collar looking serious and dignified
Justice Ginsburg in 2016. (Credit: Steve Petteway/US Supreme Court via Wikimedia Commons)

When I returned to work, it was not to practice law, but to follow a longstanding passion to promote reproductive freedom. I think now is a particularly critical moment, as we approach what would have been Justice Ginsburg’s 88th birthday, to consider her thoughts about abortion and the legacy of Roe v. Wade.  When RBG was appointed to the high court, there were feminists who opposed her nomination because they worried that she would not be an adequate champion of abortion rights. It was true that Judge Ginsburg criticized the landmark ruling in Roe—not because she didn’t believe in abortion rights, but rather because she was a judicial incrementalist. 

RBG thought that the Supreme Court had overplayed its hand in Roe, that the case could have been narrowly decided to strike down the Texas law prohibiting abortion without creating a federal constitutional right to choose that simultaneously struck down every other state law criminalizing abortion as well.  In so doing, Justice Ginsburg believed that the Supreme Court pushed the country as a whole too far, too fast, and planted the seeds for an extreme, well-organized, and unrelenting anti-choice movement. In 1973, when Roe was decided, RBG felt that the country was already moving in a more liberal pro-choice direction, that popular opinion would continue to shift leftward, and that state legislatures should have been left freer to protect reproductive freedom on their own timelines.  She wrote in 1992: “Roe… halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believe, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue.”  

Justice Ginsburg also believed—correctly in my opinion—that abortion was not about privacy and the relationship between a woman and her doctor, but about equality; that absent the ability to control their reproductive destinies, women could not achieve social, economic, and political parity with men.  As she put it: “Legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.” A narrower decision in Roe, one rooted in the Equal Protection Clause, Ginsburg posited, would have laid a firmer, indisputable foundation for the right to choose. 

Not only did Justice Ginsburg prove herself a fierce and constant defender of abortion rights, she was prescient in her critique of Roe.  For the past 48 years, the anti-abortion movement, seemingly taking a page out of RBG’s incrementalist book, chipped away at Roe by encumbering it with burden after burden: successfully imposing mandatory waiting periods and counseling, restricting public funding, requiring parental involvement, and limiting who could perform abortions and where they could perform them. These laws have had the devastating effect of making abortion inaccessible for many, while seemingly not running afoul of the core holding in Roe

In this moment, however, with a conservative majority firmly entrenched on the Supreme Court, it appears that the so-called pro-life movement is giving up the incrementalist approach and looking simply to overturn Roe altogether.  Prior to 2019, most mainstream anti-abortion leaders cautioned that “heartbeat bills”—legislation that attempted to ban abortion altogether as soon as a “heartbeat” can be detected, sometimes as early as 6 weeks—were overreaching and doomed to backfire.  But last month, South Carolina became the 12th state to enact such a sweeping abortion ban and even some otherwise moderate republicans signed on—and just a few days ago, Arkansas passed a total abortion ban, with the stated intent of overturning Roe.  

If RBG was right in her assessment of Roe, is the Supreme Court, at the urging of anti-abortion absolutists, in danger of repeating the same mistake in reverse, of pushing a majority pro-choice country too far backwards? Will reproductive rights advocates be able to meet the moment with a comparable, unrelenting backlash?  As blue states like Massachusetts already press to shore up or even expand reproductive freedom, and abortion funds nationwide seek to increase and consolidate coverage, what will remain to be done to help those who are left out?  Even as we celebrate her legacy and wish RBG a happy birthday, these questions remain firmly in mind.