Three weeks ago we launched our Pledge-A-Patient campaign, asking our supporters to make a donation showing their support for MFP patients as they endure a 40-day anti-abortion harassment campaign.
Well, a lot can change in three weeks. We now collectively face the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and life as we know it has been upended in countless ways. (Read more about how MFP is responding to COVID-19 here and here.)
We had some internal conversations about whether or not we should continue the Pledge-A-Patient campaign, and for a number of reasons, decided that we would continue on. We wanted to break down a few of the reasons for you here.
- While the COVID-19 outbreak is putting enormous parts of life on hold – school closures, layoffs, social distancing, etc. – many of our services at MFP need to go on. Particularly, abortion care cannot wait. We continue to show up for patients that rely on us for safe and timely care, and who may be facing increased stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We won’t let anti-abortion extremists use a global health crisis to further politicize and stigmatize abortion care, or push it out of reach.
- Which reminds us, even in the midst of this pandemic, anti-abortion protesters are continuing their 40-day campaign! They’re standing across from our clinic gate, staring down our staff and our patients; their signs are out, trying to guilt and shame patients into making a choice that fits their narrow viewpoint. (It seems these protesters don’t believe in social distancing any more than they believe in reproductive rights.)
- And finally, even in times of turmoil – especially in times of turmoil – we need to help the most vulnerable in our communities. That’s what we’re trying to do as a nation with our collective response to COVID-19, and that’s what we’re trying to do with Pledge-A-Patient – stand up for the vulnerable. More than half of the thousands of patients we saw in 2019 had incomes less than 150% of the poverty level. More than a quarter of them were uninsured. These are some of the same folks who are keeping our grocery stores and gas stations open throughout this pandemic, and they rely on Maine Family Planning for excellent, affordable, judgement-free reproductive health care, including abortion.
Not everyone is in a position to be philanthropic right now, and we trust that you will make the right decision for your individual circumstance in these uncertain times. For those who are in the fortunate position of being financially comfortable and secure, we encourage you to think about what your charitable giving priorities are. There are a lot of ways that you can help make people’s lives better right now: participating in mutual aid efforts; supporting small businesses, freelancers, artists, nonprofits. Please know that Pledging A Patient is one of those ways.
Now, take care of yourselves, and each other. We’re in this together.