Magnolia Looking For New Board Members

Magnolia Fund, a Georgia-based feminist, grassroots, all-volunteer abortion fund, is looking for energetic, committed leaders to join our Board of Directors. We are entering a period of great growth and change and need to grow our board to support the increasing need and workload. Candidates should be motivated, and interested in doing a lot of heavy lifting to help the fund move forward.

 

Magnolia provides direct and clinic-based funding, as well as practical support (housing, transportation, etc) to any person seeking abortion services in Georgia, with priority to those coming from Southern states.

 

Our fund is based primarily in Atlanta, but we will recruit from any area of Georgia, provided that the applicant agrees to attend bi-weekly meetings, in person or via electronic means. We have a diverse client base and are actively seeking to mirror that client base in our leadership: we are particularly interested in recruiting people of color, young people, low-income people, LGBTQIA people and others who are systematically and adversely affected by reproductive inequalities. Individuals from these backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

 

We are also seeking specific skill sets, those applicants with a background in grassroots fundraising/donor development, outreach and community building, case management, and non-profit financial planning are strongly encouraged to apply.

 

Board members should expect to spend at least 5 to 10 hours of volunteer time per week, which will include working on our hotline. Our board meets bi-weekly in hourly meetings, with a quarterly in-person meeting that is arranged to fit as many schedules as possible and includes a potluck dinner.

 

Although we do meet the government requirements for identifying certain officer-positions, our board is consensus-driven, non-hierarchical body who works as a team to guide and support our organization

 

If you are interested in applying, please send email to info@magnoliafundga.org. Board terms will start immediately upon offers being accepted and will last for an initial term of 2 years.

 

Even With Supreme Court Ruling, Abortion Access Is Challenging

Board member and all around unicorn of amazingness, Prosper Hedges, penned a beautiful op-ed for the Athen's publication Flagpole Magazine about the Whole Woman's Health decision and what it practically means for those seeking abortion care in the South, and how her Nana would have felt about it.

Originally published, flagpole, 07.06.2016

Prosper, wearing Nana's coat, in front of SCOTUS, March 2016

Prosper, wearing Nana's coat, in front of SCOTUS, March 2016

When I first pitched this story to Flagpole, I wanted to share the meaning and impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling against Texas abortion-clinic restrictions in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt last week. A ruling in favor would have shuttered more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics, and an avalanche of similar laws was sure to follow in other red states. This case was the most important for reproductive health, rights and justice since Roe v. Wade, and abortion funders like Georgia’s Magnolia Fund and Access Reproductive Care Southeast toasted champagne flutes when we heard the news.

Then my mother called and told me that my grandmother will die sometime between the eve of this writing and two weeks from now.

I was and am jubilant over our recent victory. But, now, saying goodbye to my Nana—who owned between three and 20 cats every year of her life until now; who patronized Judy Chicago’s 1970s feminist art installation, “The Dinner Party”; who gave me ocean jasper when I got married and an amethyst when I got divorced—I am also furious.

My grandmother Nancy was 28 when abortion was decriminalized in this country. Thirteen years prior, the American Journal of Public Health estimated that the number of illegal abortions performed that year was between 200,000 and 1.2 million. If that range seems questionably wide, consider how unlikely anyone involved in a back-alley abortion would have been to volunteer this information, and how a lot of data was gleaned from emergency room records and the corpses left after botched procedures.

If you’re wondering how far we have (or haven’t) come today, consider that laws written under the guise of guarding women’s health (with no mention of other genders that seek the procedure) mean patients might be 500 miles away from a clinic. Now imagine you work for minimum wage and are a parent of three children weighing the cost of your procedure with keeping the lights on, missing work and finding child care. Imagine that you must consider forgoing post-operative antibiotics and painkillers to pay for a bus ticket, and that reaching out to your community is not possible because you will be seen as a murderer, a harlot, a lazy welfare queen. You call a hotline number that you find online so that a stranger can go with you, as you’re not allowed to leave the clinic alone, and no one in your neighborhood can know that you took your life into your own hands.

At the Magnolia Fund, we receive calls like this a lot. We serve Southerners traveling to Georgia for abortion care, so we're hearing from folks in six different states. As restrictions ripple through Dixie, our call volume swells. In December of last year, it doubled. In May of this year, it tripled. This is the direct result of Targeted Restriction of Abortion Provider(TRAP) laws, which toy with which week after their last menstrual period a person may get an abortion, and require clinics to invest in exorbitantly expensive, medically unnecessary equipment and renovations for a procedure that is statistically safer than labor. Getting a caller to a doctor who’s allowed to help them requires drivers and escorts, last-minute hotel rooms, collaborating with funds in and out of state, assuaging callers that this choice is theirs and dismantling stigma that teaches people they are evil or will harm themselves by seeking the care they need.

Magnolia is an abortion fund, which is a common misnomer: Funds do a lot more than help pay for abortion. We are as concerned with helping people pay for the medical procedures they need as with dismantling the stigma and systemic barriers that make them difficult to access. This means celebrating our victories, and it also means acknowledging that counting it a victory is disappointing. Tripled calls from people trying to feed their children, finish school or simply survive who can’t afford safe, legal abortion does not represent steady improvement from when my grandmother witnessed Roe v Wade.

Magnolia Fund hosts a Reproductive Justice Happy Hour monthly. Our next meeting is Thursday, July 7 from 6:30–7:30 p.m. at Hi-Lo Lounge. Join us for conversation, collaboration and celebration of the ruling. You can also volunteer, donate or share news on TRAP laws and resources for your community with Magnolia Fund and Access Reproductive Care Southeast. Because, frankly, this is not the legacy my Nana should have to leave behind.

Thank you to Oriaku Njoku, co-founder and executive director of ARC-Southeast, whose insight was invaluable in the writing of this piece.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We'd like to give a huge, wet-mouthed, embarrassingly passionate digital SMOOCH to our incredible donors for taking us past our $10,000 Bowl-A-Thon fundraising goal! 

                                              By My Momentos Photography!

                                              By My Momentos Photography!

If you couldn't make it out to Atlanta's Midtown Bowl two weeks ago and want to show up for reproductive justice in the south, click here to donate. We are entirely volunteer based, and every penny goes to making abortion and reproductive care accessible in the Dirty South.

We also still have a couple glittery FUND ABORTION BUILD POWER tshirts left over for sale, and you can snatch yours up here. Get em while they're hot!

This past weekend Magnolias attended Access Reproductive Care Southeast's first annual Dance-A-Thon. They are folks to watch, y'all. This new Atlanta org is $900 away from DOUBLING their $5,000 fundraising goal. Do you know what that means? That means that between Magnolia and ARC, we are $900 away from $20,000 raised for reproductive care in Georgia! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Georgia House Republicans.

                                          You can donate to ARC- Southeast here.

                                          You can donate to ARC- Southeast here.

We couldn't do this work without your continued support. To learn more about volunteering, click here, and stay in touch with us on Facebook and Instagram to learn about upcoming events and opportunities to be involved.

Georgia Abortion Activists Bowl to Strike Out Abortion Restrictions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jessica Seales
706-623-7526, info@magnoliafunga.org

Those on immediate deadline, call:
205-482-4246
 
GEORGIA ABORTION ACTIVISTS BOWL TO STRIKE OUT ABORTION RESTRICTIONS

Area Activists Lace Up Bowling Shoes and Prepare for National Event to Pay for Abortions

 

On April 9, abortion access advocates will head to their local bowling lanes to bowl over barriers to abortion access and fundraise to pay for abortions. The event will take place at Midtown Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia.
 
Magnolia Fund, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, is a group of individuals who organize together to help those struggling to access abortions make ends meet and receive the reproductive health care they deserve. This year, Magnolia Fund will be hosting a community-wide Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon as part of a national series of fundraising events.

As part of a wave of pushback against a nationwide wave of anti-abortion legislation, Magnolia Fund is bowling as a response to the many TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws that have passed in Southeastern legislatures this year. Nearly 300 laws restricting abortion have been passed since 2010. In 2014 alone, lawmakers introduced 335 bills to restrict access to abortion, and 231 of those were passed-- affecting 26 different states. Recently in Georgia, a law was passed/bill was introduced that would provide a grant program to crisis pregnancy centers. These anti-abortion centers are misleading and are not equipped to handle effective care for pregnant people in Georgia.

Magnolia Fund is also conscious of the potential impact of Texas’ notorious omnibus TRAP law, known as HB2, which went into effect in 2013, closing nearly half of the clinics in Texas. The Supreme Court heard arguments on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt in February of this year, and a ruling is expected in June. This is the first time the Supreme Court has ruled on abortion since 2007.  

Community members captain Bowl-a-Thon teams and ensure that their team meets the fundraising goal for the event – fundraising that directly helps pay for abortion care in the community.
 
“Georgians are coming together to make abortion access a reality throughout the southeast in a fun, empowering and positive way.” says April Greene, founder and board member of Magnolia Fund.

Bowlers and their teams are encouraged to to be creative with costumes, fundraising, and team names in relation to what barriers to abortion they would most like to bowl over. “We’re challenging abortion stigma and having fun while we’re at it”, said April. 
 
To sign up for the Bowl-a-Thon, visit bowlathon.nnaf.org. 
 
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For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Jessica Seales at 205-482-4246 and info@magnoliafundga.org

The Magnolia Fund Welcomes Four New Board Members

The Magnolia Fund is proud to announce the addition of four new members to our Board of Directors. We are excited about the wealth of energy, experience, and passion for the work they bring to our organization and look forward to what we can do together!

We are always looking for new leaders to become a part of our board. To learn more about how to apply visit our 2016 Board Recruitment Page. People of color, LGBTQAI people, those formerly assisted by an abortion fund, young people, low-income people, and those living in the many intersections of these experiences are strongly encouraged to apply.

Read more about our new members below, and look for their bios on the website coming very soon.

Alana Berry

How do you connect to abortion funding - where does your passion come from?

"I have had two abortions, when I was 17 and 21. I was a 17 year old kid with access to good insurance. It never occurred to me until later that this was not the reality for others. As a transportation volunteer I have listened to the stories of those persons in need of help and it angers me that this is a need to begin with. I have strong skills in social justice and I want to use them to help further this cause. I want this. I have been considering for some time how I might be of better service to the fund and I firmly believe this is an excellent opportunity to give."

Isabel Otero

How do you connect to the reproductive justice and abortion access movements?

"I am a woman; although I could stop there and fully answer this question, I am also a Southerner, and a proud Latina. None of these things put me at the top of the proverbial food-chain, and I want to work towards a more progressive and equal world. When I think about this movement what comes to mind are friends who made the tough choice to exercise their right to choose, my experiences growing up in little Ringgold, GA, my education at the University of Georgia, my never ending fights about racism and machismo in my own culture, and my experiences outside of the South --all of these have informed my politics and my passions. I think the world could use more people like me, who are committed to issues of social and reproductive justice, but who can occupy different spaces and different identities in order to change the status quo for everyone."

Prosper Hedges

How do you connect to abortion funding - where does your passion come from?

"The more I learned writing about and volunteering for Magnolia Fund this year, the more I came to understand the insidious, interconnected system of barriers to reproductive justice. I was completely floored. 'What if I became pregnant as a result of my rape, or at anytime in the past several years?' I thought. To me, the restriction on choice is a violation of human rights as cruel and unacceptable as assault.

I also came to understand that abortion restrictions function similarly to The War on Drugs. These restrictions are a means to maintain a status quo, which incarcerates black and brown bodies (like Kenlissia Jones last summer), allows the rich to get richer and entrenches those in poverty more deeply in the cycle. I will not stand for this inequity, this extremely obvious vestige of slavery, and I mean to fight it tooth and nail."

Laura Briggs

How do you connect to the reproductive justice and abortion access movements?

"I have always been a strong advocate for women, and many of my close friends have experienced firsthand the current injustice of reproductive care. I wish to participate in the movement of reproductive justice and fight for the advancement of women's rights."

Today, We Reclaim Roe

Today, we celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and celebrate the right to exercise equality in our healthcare choices, our family planning, and our parenting.

The right to safe, affordable, on-demand abortion care without access is simply an empty promise. Increasing restrictions, including the disastrous Hyde Amendment, have created a widening gap between that promise and the reality of care received by those most in need - people of color, rural people, young people, those without economic means. This is especially true in the south where the convergence of closing clinics, higher rates of pregnancy and structural oppression is particularly dangerous.


Daily, we serve those driving 500+ miles and crossing two state lines to access abortion care. We talk with people forced to choose between meals and paying for their abortion. Hotline call after hotline call we hear about the pawning of personal items, concerns about keeping the electricity on, or the water flowing or the panic of a parent without someone to watch their child as they make their way to the clinic. Students who fear not being able to continue their education. Parents whose primary concern is supporting and raising the children they already have. 

Just today, volunteers worked with a client coming from out of state, who spent 9 hours on a bus to get here, arrived in Atlanta at 2am, waited for her appointment, had to change clinics, will spend the next two days at the clinic, and then spend 9 more hours post-procedure to get home. For her, a right to a safe abortion was not guaranteed. 

“I transported a client dealing with domestic violence from a partner and without the means to support a change in relationship or the trauma of being pregnant by someone who enacted this violence upon her. She was staying at a shelter, was a whole country away from familial support, and in a city she was unfamiliar with.”  - Alana, Magnolia Fund transport volunteer

1 in 3 women will need abortion services in her lifetime, that means that virtually every person has someone in their life who has needed this critical care. Our mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, our trans friends and gender-queer partners have utilized this vital service. When we further restrict access to abortion care, we are telling our families and friends, our whole community, that their safety and autonomy is not important to us.  Through restriction, we lessen their place in our lives.

We  must #ReclaimRoe not because it is politically expedient or because it is a  revolutionary and subversive act, but because the lives of people in need of abortions are important to us. The lack of safe abortion care will not eliminate this need, but simply sends us back to a time of suffering and death.

We #ReclaimRoe because the stigma surrounding abortion exposes deep structural inequities related to reproductive care, poverty, and poor health outcomes.

We #ReclaimRoe because we are not ashamed, we are not regretful, we are not traumatized, except by the inequities supported by our government and its ineptitude  in caring for all its citizens.
 

We #ReclaimRoe because everyone deserves access to abortion care, regardless of their location or economic status. We believe that everyone deserves the right and the ability to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. 


Today we #ReclaimRoe in order to #StopTheShame for all those who access abortion care but feel marginalized and silenced. We stand with you and lift up your voice. 

2016 Board Recruitment

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2016 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Magnolia Fund, a Georgia-based feminist, grassroots, all-volunteer abortion fund, is looking for energetic, committed leaders to join our Board of Directors. Magnolia provides direct and clinic-based funding, as well as practical support (housing, transportation, etc) to any person seeking abortion services in Georgia, with priority to those coming from Southern states.

Our fund is based primarily in Atlanta, but we will recruit from any area of Georgia, provided that the applicant agrees to attend bi-weekly meetings, in person or via electronic means. We have a diverse client base and are actively seeking to mirror that client base in our leadership: particularly interested in recruiting people of color, young people, low-income people, LGBTQIA people and others who are systematically and adversely affected by reproductive inequalities. Individuals from these backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

We are also seeking specific skill sets, those applicants with a background in grassroots fundraising/donor development, outreach and community building, non-profit financial planning are strongly encouraged to apply.

Board members should expect to spend at least 5 to 10 hours of volunteer time per week, which will include working on our hotline one week out of five. Our board meets bi-weekly in hourly meetings, with a quarterly in-person meeting that is arranged to fit as many schedules as possible and includes a potluck dinner.

Although we do meet the government requirements for identifying certain officer-positions, our board is consensus-driven, non-hierarchical body who works as a team to guide and support our organization.


If you are interested in applying, please start with the 2016 Board Member Application and send your resume to info@magnoliafundga.org. Deadline for application is 12/15/2015 and all decisions will be made on or after January 1st. Board terms will start immediately upon offers being accepted and will last for an initial term of 2 years.

Entering a New Phase...

In 2011, three women in Athens, Georgia – Betty Barnard, April Greene, and Kelly Wegel came together with the shared belief that all people should have access to healthcare. They lived in Northeast Georgia, an area with a high level of poverty and no abortion clinics.

For low-income people, trying to get to the nearest abortion clinic in Atlanta (often between two to three hours away at a minimum) makes getting an abortion almost impossible.   Betty, April, and Kelly knew they had to make abortion accessible to people in Northeast Georgia.  As a result, the Georgia Reproductive Justice Access Network (GRJAN) was founded with the goal of helping low-income people access abortion care through small financial grants and volunteer practical support. 

Since GRJAN's founding in 2011, the organization expanded their service area to include anyone in the Southeast traveling to the Feminist Women's Health Center in Atlanta for an abortion and increased their funding from $100 a week to $150 a week to client(s) to cover the cost. They also provided transportation, housing and more through a network of dedicated volunteers.

In 2015, after deep self-examination and careful consideration, the board of directors voted unanimously to change the organizations name from GRJAN to the Magnolia Fund. The Magnolia - a strong, long-lasting and distinctly southern flower - signifies our steadfast dedication to supporting people in making the reproductive health decisions that are best for them. It also speaks to our unique work in the Southeast, an area of the country that is deeply rooted in community, supporting each other, and taking care of our own.

When considering our name change, it was important for us to acknowledge that although GRJAN had worked hard to increase access to abortion care in the Southeast, we had not done enough to de-center ourselves as primarily white, middle-class, cisgender women. We were co-opting the name of a movement that was by and for women of color. 

 We believe this name change reflects our values as an organization and further encourages us to continue our work, but also support the reproductive justice framework and acknowledging our privilege. 

From board member and founder April:

"When we started building this organization in 2011, we understood the limitations of a pro-choice framework concerned with just the legality of abortion for individual women. We wanted our work to extend beyond the right to abortion and tackle issues of access tied intimately to race, class and gender identity; we wanted to help build a world in which everyone has access to all reproductive choices. For our founders, the name was aspirational--we would do the work necessary to be a true reproductive justice organization, and our name would reflect that.

Although we’ve worked hard to make access a reality for southerners through our network, our board of directors hasn’t done enough to decenter ourselves as primarily white, middle class, cisgender women.
Through our name, we’ve positioned the organization as part of the reproductive justice movement without making space for the women of color who created the movement to lead this work. Those most impacted by reproductive oppression should be at the center of our organization, but we haven’t taken the steps necessary to prioritize their voices.

In short, we feel we’ve co-opted a movement built by and for women of color and in doing so, contributed to the very real injustices the reproductive justice framework was created to address. We can’t continue to do that if we truly believe in the values of reproductive justice.

Does this mean we are no longer committed to the reproductive justice framework? Absolutely not. We still believe that reproductive justice is necessary to ensure all folks have the right to have children, to not have children and to parent their children in safe environments. This transition is part of our commitment to build meaningful, authentic relationships with the thriving RJ community in our home city of Atlanta and use our privilege to support that important work.
Our pledge to you:

In changing our name, we are pledging today to walk the RJ walk instead of simply talking the RJ talk. This means:
We will step back and make room at the table for women of color leaders.

We will do more to engage the people we’ve served with funding and practical support, and create a space in which they feel safe and valued contributing to the the organization.

We will continue our work to make all reproductive choices accessible throughout the southeast by providing grants and support to those who can’t afford abortion care or birth control and developing a full spectrum doula program to help folks through all reproductive experiences.
Thank you for your support in this transition! Together we're creating a region where everyone has the power to make the reproductive health decisions that are best for them."

We appreciate your support and look forward to working with you to make everyone's reproductive choices a reality in Georgia, the Southeast, and beyond!