You may recall our conversation with Shout Your Abortion creator, Amelia Bonow—the powerhouse activist and storyteller who is consistently at the forefront of the continuing battle for reproductive rights in this country. She's back, raising her influential and courageous voice in support of female healthcare independent clinics.
Tomorrow, Thursday, April 30, Amelia is co-hosting Operation Save Abortion: Keep Our Clinics an all-day, all-star fundraising extravaganza hosted by Abortion Access Front, Shout Your Abortion, and Abortion Care Network to raise the urgent funds needed to keep essential clinics running so patients can continue to receive the care they need during the pandemic, and beyond. The entire event will be streamed live—for 12 hours!—from Abortion Access Front's Instagram (more details below).
Here Bonow explains why raising funds are so important right now, and what you can do to support the cause regardless of financial wellness. She's always given space for women to raise their voices and Thursday's call-to-arms will be no exception.
Can you please explain to those who may be unaware why this, and I will quote you, "a (motherfucking emergency) fundraiser" is necessary right now? What's at stake? What has COVID done to the already diminishing and extremely vulnerable access to abortion?
It's not news that abortion access is fucked and reproductive rights are on the chopping block. Fighting these attacks in piecemeal ways is one thing, but what we are facing now in the wake of COVID is completely next level; we are truly facing the end of abortion access as we know it.
Why are independent clinics so important, and why are they most at risk?
Indie abortion clinics perform 58% of abortions in the US and the vast majority of procedures after the first trimester (they're the only remaining clinics). Without indies, there would be no meaningful access to abortion in huge swaths of the country, and later abortion care would be non-existent, except for the super rich. Indies are more vulnerable than larger healthcare providers because they are denied fundraising, HR etc.
Can you give me a quick rundown of how OPSA (Operation Save Abortion) came about? Give us details on the day-long, star-studded event.
I sit on the board of the Abortion Care Network (ACN), which represents and supports independent providers all over the country in a myriad of ways. When COVID struck, ACN did a financial survey of membership and quickly realized that indies are simply not going to survive this crisis without a fundraising Hail Mary. Lizz Winstead, the co-creator of the Daily Show and founder of Abortion Access Front, is an absolutely indefatigable force of nature who has dedicated her life to supporting these providers. From what I understand, ACN got the numbers, Nikki and Lizz had an emergency kibbutz, Lizz came up with the idea of a celebrity telethon on Instagram, and they looped in SYA. Lizz and I are co-hosting this thing—which is a TWELVE HOURS LONG AND LIVE—and it's going to be bonkers.
What is your goal for this day? How can even those with limited resources at the moment help support this effort?
The number one thing is to donate, but we fully recognize that tons of folks are not in a position to donate—just helping us spread the word on social media is a huge help.
Financially, our stated goal is 100K but you know what? I want five million dollars. This country has 18.6 million millionaires and I honestly find it outrageous that coming up with 5 million seems like an enormous stretch. Beyond that, I want to elevate the voices and struggles of providers and I want to make them feel loved and supported. I want to not fuck up over the course of interviewing a dozen people on a confusing live platform with quarantine brain. Mostly, I want five million dollars.
The telethon is going to be a blast—Elizabeth Banks, Busy Phillips, Amanda Palmer, Amy Brenneman, Jenny Slate, Jinx Monsoon, Kathy Valentine, Lea Delaria, Lindy West, Sam Irby, Margaret Cho, Mark Duplass, Martha Plimpton, Mary Lambert, Piper Perabo, Nikki Glaser, Sandra Bernhard, W Kamau Bell and many more celebs, alongside abortion providers, activists, and SYA Artists in Residence Viva Ruiz and Jessa Jordan.
So yeah—tune in, help us spread the word on social media, and consider sending an email out to any well-heeled folks you know. I know there's a ton going on right now and I know I'm biased, but this country isn't free without access to abortion, and this is checkmate. There is nothing more important this.