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28 D.C. women seek abortion funding as Medicaid coverage expires

April 14, 2011 - 08:30 AM
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Abortion rights supporters rally to fund D.C. abortions out of their own pockets. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Last night, the federal budget compromise hit D.C. women: At midnight, Medicaid funding for elective abortions in the District expired. In the last-minute budget negotiation last week, Barack Obama handed John Boehner the right to bar D.C. from raising local taxes to fund abortions. Here's how that deal worked out for low-income women in D.C.: The 28 women who had scheduled Medicaid-funded abortions at a District Planned Parenthood clinic today have been left without a means to pay for the procedure.

Yesterday evening, "the clinic had to call 28 women who are scheduled [and] bringing their DC Medicaid as payment that they need to fundraise for the total cost of their procedure by their appointment tomorrow because Medicaid will no longer cover the cost of their abortion," the DC Abortion Fund wrote in a letter to supporters last night. "These women are devastated."

Today, the "28 women have only a few short hours to fundraise for their procedures tomorrow, because for many of them the total cost will be out of reach," DC Abortion Fund president Tiffany Reed said in last night's dispatch. She called on donors to raise enough money to defray the cost of each woman's procedure, each of which will be billed at "several hundreds of dollars."

DC Abortion Fund members worked through the night in an effort to close the gap. As of 8 a.m. this morning, Reed told me that the fund had raised over $3,000 overnight to help defray the cost of the procedures. "Donations are coming in from all over the country in $25 increments," Reed told me. "D.C. councilman Jim Graham just pledged $250 to us this morning." But even if Reed's all-nighter manages to drum up enough donations to cover today's 28 procedures, it remains unclear how low-income women in the District will manage to pay for abortion procedures in the many days to come.

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  1. Tonei Glavinic Tonei Glavinic

    Tonei Glavinic

    Apr 14, 2011 - 03:29:30 PM

    According to NAF, an average first-trimester abortion costs $350 at a clinic or $500 at a physician's office, so DCAF would be looking at a minimum of $10,000 to fully cover all 28 – and that's just for the first day's worth. DCAF's total disbursements for last year were about $43,000.

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    • Chanda Prescod-Weinstein Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

      Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

      Apr 14, 2011 - 04:48:07 PM

      Tonei, thanks for that info. I'm proud to be a donor, and I hope enough people join me to make this happen.

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  2. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

    Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

    Apr 14, 2011 - 12:40:55 PM

    Amanda, do you have a sense of how much money they would need to actually cover all 28 procedures?

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