sign that says "i give to abortion funds because being pregnant when you don't want to be is the absolute worst."

I give to abortion funds because…

Today is Giving Tuesday and the National Network of Abortion Funds is kicking off their holiday fundraising campaign. You should really donate if you can afford to and submit a photo with your reason for giving.

I wrote last year about why abortion access is such an important issue to me. I rarely feel like I’ve adequately expressed just how deeply unjust the Hyde amendment is and how enraging it is that poor people in this country have to rely on charity to exercise their right to choose. But that post comes close. As I wrote then, “The need for abortion funds is evidence of a complete failure to uphold any semblance of equality when it comes to abortion rights.” And this status quo has been tolerated for decades because the U.S. fundamentally doesn’t give a shit about protecting basic human rights.

But here’s the realest reason I keep donating to abortion funds every year.

sign that says "i give to abortion funds because being pregnant when you don't want to be is the absolute worst."

Do people without uteri understand how terrifying it is to be pregnant when you don’t want to be? Maybe not. There were only maybe four or five days between when I found out I was pregnant and when I got an abortion. I made the appointment within, like, an hour of reading the positive test. I immediately figured out how I was going to pay for it. I got all that logistical shit done. It was pretty easy; I did not freak out. But if basically anything had stood between me and getting that embryo out of my body as quickly as possible, I would have.

You know that dream where you suddenly realize you’re nine months pregnant and somehow missed that happening and now it’s too late to do anything about it? Of course you do, right? Sometimes I try to put myself in anti-choicers’ shoes and can sort of do it. But then I think of that dream–which my informal survey says is pretty common among a certain subset of people who have both sex and uteri. And I just don’t get how someone could not grasp the horror of being accidentally pregnant and knowing that if you do not act fairly quickly, in several months you will be violently–and with unimaginable pain–ushering an entirely new human child into the world, and your life will never, ever be the same again. That this scenario is not universally understood to be a living nightmare–and forcing it on others is not considered unquestionably cruel–is truly beyond me.

If you’re ever skeptical of the pro-choice rhetoric about how abortion is about the ability to control your life, stop and really try to imagine the profound loss of control you’d feel if you woke up pregnant tomorrow. Now imagine feeling that way and also counting down the days as you frantically call on friends and family, deplete your grocery fund, and pawn your possessions to scrap together the money for a procedure that may cost as much as your entire month’s rent.

Absolute worst.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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