Lit Spouse and I were recently deciding on our donations through the Combined Federal Campaign, an all-in-one fundraiser that allows federal employees to contribute to non-profit groups through payroll deduction. We talked about how to apportion our donations to different causes we care about, and I skimmed through most of the catalog of charities.
I was interested in donating to groups that work on women’s health, especially reproductive health care. As I paged through the catalog, I noted that there were several anti-abortion organizations of one kind and another; various groups that talk about “life,” and even some “crisis pregnancy centers.” I sighed and shook my head at the strange feeling of seeing groups that work at direct cross-purposes listed near each other.
Then I realized something. Reproductive health care was the only cause for which I could find directly oppositional groups listed. Think about the equivalents: there are charities for taking care of homeless animals, but no Kick The Puppies Foundation. There are charities for taking care of needy people, but no Give Money To Rich People Association. There are groups doing medical care or feeding the hungry both at home and overseas, but no one organizes a non-profit group for the purpose of making people sick or denying them food. These don’t even exist, let alone solicit funds from federal employees.
The closest equivalent is that there are some single-issue (or nearly so) anti-gay groups, some of which have non-profit status. I didn’t see any of them listed in the catalog. There are also groups like the one that promotes the idea that Christians are persecuted, which personally I see as an approach that’s likely to support limitations on the religious liberty of others, but that’s not their announced purpose. There are lots of other groups that deliberately or not support the hegemonic status of Christianity in the US, but again, oppressing minority religions is generally not their announced goal.
When people ask why I care so very much about reproductive health care, and why I am willing to work for it, this is the answer. There is no other single issue that I care about that is under attack in the same way. It is socially acceptable for people to raise funds to deny me and other women our rights to control our own bodies – even in cases where we would be badly hurt or killed.
Let me say that again: It is socially acceptable in this country to raise funds to institute laws that will kill women.
That’s why I work for women’s access to reproductive health care.