Thursday 6 January 2011

Dollars and Sense

Today, for the first time, we’re approaching US donors for funding. ‘Why?’ I hear you cry! With US reproductive rights advocates and abortion providers under constant legislative and, sometimes, literal physical attack from well-funded anti-abortion campaigners, why would any American with money to spend on reproductive rights give to a small UK organisation?

Well here’s our thinking...
1. Americans get reproductive rights in a way that Brits just don’t. In the US those who have watched the war of attrition against women’s rights to abortion know what is really at stake. In the UK, most people support abortion rights and are opposed to legislation proposals which seek to limit those rights, but are pretty complacent about it and see it as a non-issue most of the time.

2. Abortion is not a non-issue in the UK. As well as imminent threats to abortion legislation in Parliament, young people are daily exposed to misinformation about abortion in their sex education and RE lessons; and independent pregnancy advice centres aimed at deterring women from accessing abortion are popping up all over the country. US organisations such as 40 Days for Life have set up in the UK and aggressive campaigning outside abortion clinics is increasing.

3. What happens in the UK affects the rest of the world. Not only does the UK (excluding NI) provide abortions for women who cannot access services in their own countries. We also provide a model of law and practice that is emulated by many developing countries – especially in the British Commonwealth. It is essential that we protect, promote and extend the rights we have here now.

4. The U.S has a well established culture of charitable giving. Americans give approximately double that of Brits. Philanthropy has a more prominent role, with high-earners like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet setting the precedent for generous donations to good causes.

EFC is the UK’s only organisation dedicated to young people’s reproductive rights. We are small, cheap and effective. With just three staff we reach an impressive number of professionals and young people. We change the culture of talking about abortion. We give people the skills, confidence and knowledge to provide good quality information and we empower young people every day to make informed decisions about their own health and wellbeing.

I am not looking forward to the day that abortion is as polarised and polarising an issue here as it is in the US. Maybe then UK donors will come forward to support good quality education and support work around abortion. But maybe by then it will be too late...

Make a quick donation to Education For Choice
Email us if you want to make a larger tax-efficient donation from the US lisa(at)

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