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Conscience Magazine

Social Justice Demands Public Assistance for Abortion Care

By Catholics for Choice April 25, 2016

What I appreciated the most about Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe’s “My Own Public Funding Story” (Vol. XXXVI, No. 2) was the layered account of position and circumstance that led her family to seek public assis­tance. Beyond just an anecdote, Sara’s piece points to an important reality about the necessity of public funding for healthcare and other human needs. Prolonged privation and/or unexpected crises can befall any of us, no matter our histories or profes­sional backgrounds.

Just as we cannot make assumptions about who, why and when people will seek abortions, no one is fully exempt from the possibility of one day requiring support for healthcare, food, housing and more. The independent abortion provider community at Abortion Care Network (ACN) witnesses this reality daily, welcoming people from all walks of life into abortion care clinics during times of unforeseen hard­ship. We know firsthand that those seeking abortion care do so for reasons as diverse as the communities we serve. These can include extreme financial distress, physical and/or mental illness, a need to prioritize care for other family members, school and professional considerations, unstable relationships and pregnancies that are non­­viable or incompatible with life, to name a few.

Laws are neither just nor fair when decisions about health, wellness, food, shelter and other essentials are determined by one’s location, paycheck or bank account balance. Those of us working within a social justice frame­work must furthermore commit to supporting equal access to healthcare and public assistance while simul­taneously working against oppressive forces that can distract us from the reality of what need looks like. It looks like all of us.

At ACN, we strive to create a world where everyone has equal access to exceptional and dignified abortion care, a vision based in the premise that we are all deserving of the full scope of healthcare and, at the very least, every individual’s basic human needs deserve to be met. I appreciate knowing that Sara and Catholics for Choice share this vision.

Members Support and Operations Coordinator
Abortion Care Network
Washington, DC

Catholics for Choice

was founded in 1973 to serve as a voice for Catholics who believe that the Catholic tradition supports a woman’s moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health.

Tagged Abortion