GoFundMe bans abortion-related campaigns, is fine with supporting murderers

GoFundMe, the crowd-funding site that fundraised for Mike Brown’s murderer, has updated its guidelines to prohibit abortion-related campaigns, filed under GoFundMe’s headline “Termination of Life.”

This latest move seems to be in response to the widely-publicized efforts of an Illinois woman identified as “Bailey” to raise money for her abortion. Bailey had raised $1,000 of her $2,500 goal when her campaign was shut down by the site. Katie McDonough notes that Bailey’s was not the first campaign to raise money for an abortion but simply the most public and perhaps least apologetic.

“The tone of Bailey’s request was also markedly different than previous campaigns. ‘Aside from having no desire to raise a child, she is economically unstable and can barely afford to support herself, which means having enough money to pay rent, smoke cigarettes, drink rockstar, support her friends in prison, and if she’s really busted her ass, maybe go to a show or two,’ according to the (now deleted) campaign page.”

Bailey was raising money for a medical procedure, without apologies or excuses as to why she needed it. Her page attracted much attention, and GoFundMe quickly removed it, notifying her that the content of her fundraiser was not appropriate for the site. Less than a week later, the company announced that it would now prohibit any abortion-related campaigns. Today, Bailey still has not received the $1,000 she managed to raise before her campaign was shut down.

In the meantime, multiple anti-choice campaigns are still running on the site. Whether banning abortion in Alabama or campaigning to walk for the “preborn” or attempting to replace Planned Parenthood, GoFundMe has no problem funding the fight to end abortion access. Apparently, anti-choice efforts are no “related to” abortion.

In addition, GoFundMe users can still access the fundraising page of an actual killer — Darren Wilson, who shot Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. As of this post, the Support Officer Darren Wilson page is closed for donations after raising $235,475 for the officer’s legal fees. Considering that the site typically earns 5% of anything raised, it stands to gain about $11,000 from Wilson’s campaign. The site was also the platform of choice for the family of Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, the Oklahoma City police officer accused of raping seven African-American women. Their page was removed, but Darren Wilson’s supporters are still going strong.

Despite massive online pressure to remove the page – 100,0000 ColorofChange members have called on the company to return profits from the fundraiser – GoFundMe has not only left the page live, but has defended its existence. According to a statement from the site, “The content of the campaign itself is not in violation of GoFundMe’s terms of service.” Furthermore, “GoFundMe is an open technology platform that allows for the exchange of ideas and opinions within the bounds of our terms of service.”

I bet GoFundMe believes that it is doing its duty to protect both “unborn lives” and a valiant police officer’s innocence. But this kind of hypocrisy behind the guise of “pro-life” hides an agenda to protect a system of power where men’s freedom and white people’s lives matter more than those of women and people of color. It allows for the controlling of women’s bodies and the policing of communities of color, ultimately concentrating power in the hands of those doing the controlling, often white men.

In a society where GoFundMe’s approach seems logical, the NFL had to watch a tape of Ray Rice violently assaulting his now-wife before they took any real action against him. Daniel Ken Holtzclaw’s family was able to raise $7,000 for a man accused of raping and assaulting seven African-American women before being shut down and restricted to a Facebook fan page. Violence against real people is treated as “up for debate” while fetuses are used as an excuse to further control people’s lives.

It makes one wonder, would GoFundMe have allowed Bailey to fundraise to continue her pregnancy and raise her child if it had been born black?

If you’re angry like me, sign ColorofChange’s petition demanding that GoFundMe return all profits from Darren Wilson’s fundraiser, and NARAL’s petition to get abortion removed from the company’s list of banned content.


Juliana wants to do more. She wants GoFundMe to pay for this.

Bay Area, California

Juliana is a digital storyteller for social change. As a writer at Feministing since 2013, her work has focused on women's movements throughout the Americas for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice. In addition to her writing, Juliana is a Senior Campaigner at Change.org, where she works to close the gap between the powerful and everyone else by supporting people from across the country to launch, escalate and win their campaigns for justice.

Juliana is a Latina feminist writer and campaigner based in the Bay Area.

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