In this episode, Maggie is chatting with Jessica Pinckney, the executive director of ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE, a Reproductive Justice organization funding abortion and other reproductive healthcare. They talk about the economic impacts of abortion restrictions and bans, such as the one just signed into law in Texas. Abortion rights are imperative to women’s independence, safety, financial wellness, and more. Listen to this episode to learn what steps you can take to protect your own reproductive rights and those of others.
Learn more about Texas’ SB8
Learn about the EACH Act
Learn about the Women’s Health Protection Act
Jessica Pinckney is the executive director of ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE, a Reproductive Justice organization funding abortion and other reproductive healthcare. ACCESS removes barriers and builds the power of Californians to achieve reproductive justice. Jessica oversees the organization’s work to combine direct services, community education, and policy advocacy to promote real reproductive options and access to quality health care for people in California. No other organization in the state provides the same range of support for people considering or seeking an abortion.
She returns to her home state of California after living for nearly a decade in Washington, DC, where she previously served as vice president of government affairs at In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, a national/state partnership with eight Black women’s reproductive Justice organizations, lifting up the voices of Black women leaders on national, regional, and state policies that impact the lives of Black women and girls through strategies such as leadership development, advocacy and policy change, and movement building. Jessica previously served as government relations manager for YWCA USA, one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the country and as the legislative analyst at the University of California (UC) Office of Federal Governmental Relations, representing one of the most recognized and renowned public institutions of higher education in the country.
Jessica holds an M.A. in Government with a concentration in Political Communications from John’s Hopkins University and a B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Service from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She serves on the Board of Directors for URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!, and Guttmacher Institute and on the Advisory Boards for the Constellation Network of Black Feminist Futures and the California Abortion Alliance. She previously served as the Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington and the Chapter Co-Director for New Leaders Council DC and remains a relentless advocate and activist in her spare time. She is an avid reader, a newly found peloton enthusiast, and a loving pet parent to her 8-year old American Bulldog, Pitbull Mix rescue, Apollo.
To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit www.maggiegermano.com.
Maggie Germano 0:05
Hi, and thanks for listening to the money circle podcast. I’m your host, Maggie Germano, and I’m a feminist and a financial writer, speaker, educator, and coach for women. I’m passionate about making personal finance less scary and more approachable so that women can improve their relationship with money and take control of their finances. Every other week, I will interview an amazing, inspiring woman to talk about the issues that impact our money, our health, our independence, and more. We will touch on the societal and structural issues that we need to work together to change and the actions that we each have the power to take in our own lives. If you’d like to learn more about me and the work that I do, visit my website at Maggiegermano.com or follow me on Instagram @MaggieGermano. Thanks again for listening and I hope you enjoy.
Maggie Germano 0:55
Hey there and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And this week, I’m chatting with my friend Jessica Pinkney, who is the executive director of access reproductive justice, a reproductive justice organization funding abortion and other reproductive health care. Access removes barriers and builds the power of Californians to achieve reproductive justice. In this episode, we’re talking about the economic impacts of abortion restrictions and bans, such as the one just signed into law in Texas. abortion rights are imperative to women’s independence, safety, financial, wellness, and more. Listen to this episode to learn what steps you can take to protect your own reproductive rights and those of others.
Maggie Germano 1:43
Hey, welcome, Jessica, thanks so much for being here.
Jessica Pinckney 1:46
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me,
Maggie Germano 1:48
of course. So just to get us started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Jessica Pinckney 1:56
So my name is Jessica Pinkney, I am the Executive Director of access reproductive justice. We are a reproductive justice organization that also funds reproductive health care, including abortion throughout the state of California and beyond mostly folks in California receiving care in California, folks, leaving California to receive care in other states, or folks coming from other states to California to receive care. And we really try to have our policy advocacy, community organizing community outreach, work, be informed based on what we hear, on our helpline every day in terms of the barriers that impact people’s ability to access abortion care and other reproductive health care services.
Maggie Germano 2:51
Yeah, that’s great. And obviously very needed work, which we’ll get more into. But how did you find yourself in it in the not just the world of reproductive health care, reproductive access, but specifically the, like, funding piece?
Jessica Pinckney 3:09
Mm hmm. Um, it’s interesting, I feel like in some ways, I kind of fell into it. My background is actually in policy advocacy and government relations. And I was advocating for Reproductive Justice policies in DC for for about eight years, and was seeing that it was hard to influence the type of change that I was really hoping for. And then I knew, you know, folks in community needed and, and an opportunity came up with access in my home state of California, and really felt like I can make more of a difference. And, you know, I one thing I love about abortion funds is, are some of the original mutual aid organizations. So really helping funds get into the hands of people who, who need them. And I think particularly during the COVID pandemic, and during these heightened attacks on access to abortion, it feels really, like you can make a difference when you’re contributing to someone being able to get the care they need and the abortion they want.
Maggie Germano 4:27
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, I volunteered with the DC abortion fund at one point and you know, did some leadership programming with Planned Parenthood and so I can kind of see how actually helping the individuals I mean, and that’s why I decided to become a financial coach too, is like instead of kind of just kind of broadly educating I want to actually help people individually, so it sounds like it’s probably a nice, maybe not nice, but it’s probably a big change going From the policy side, in DC to more of that, on the ground mutual mutual aid approach,
Jessica Pinckney 5:07
yeah, it definitely is, I mean, we’re still doing policy work at the local, state and federal level. And, you know, it’s core to like my beliefs and who I am as a person that I think you can affect change at the systemic level. But I also think it needs to be paired with, like direct support of people until our systems are, are changed to actually benefit benefit people. So it has, it has definitely been nice to feel like, there’s something you can do that makes a difference and helps people in the moment and isn’t like 20, 30 years down the line.
Maggie Germano 5:48
Yeah, and I think that that’s super important for people to recognize, and we’ll definitely dig into the details of how people can do that, too. Because I think that, especially with how we’re seeing kind of government work or not work in the last, I mean, forever, really, but especially in the last like four or five years. It can be really discouraging for people and I think people kind of disconnect from or kind of, you know, just give in and say like, it’s never gonna change, I can’t really do anything anyway, and just kind of give up and not try to make change because of what they’re seeing on like a federal level or even a state level. So I think it’s really important to identify where people can make change on that more local or personal level as well.
Jessica Pinckney 6:35
Totally, there’s a way for all of us to be involved. And, you know, it can look a lot of different ways, but it is really important that we all like be aware, stay involved, because we all have a role to play.
Maggie Germano 6:47
Yeah, agreed. And so I reached out to you, I mean, I wanted to catch up with you generally at a personal level, but I reached out to you after Texas just passed their abortion, basically abortion ban. And, you know, just kind of along with everybody else freaking out a little bit about that, and what that means for abortion access across the board in the United States, especially with kind of the makeup of the Supreme Court right now. Um, but so I wanted to, you know, talk a little bit about what that this law in Texas kind of means for people and then get more into, you know, the financial side and what all of that kind of looks like so can you kind of quickly summarize what the law this law actually does?
Jessica Pinckney 7:40
Yes. Okay. Um, so, Texas’s Senate bill eight essentially bans most abortions after six weeks. And for those who don’t know, most people do not know they’re pregnant at six weeks. And it all also does something really unique, that is pretty horrifying, which allows citizens to enforce it. So citizens can essentially identify abortion providers or other folks who are helping people obtain abortions after six weeks and allows for them to sue. So this is really unprecedented. And unfortunately, the Supreme Court didn’t block the the ban. So it has essentially made abortion illegal in the state of Texas.
Maggie Germano 8:41
Yeah, and I think you know, people who don’t understand how pregnancy works, might think that like, man, six weeks, like just, you know, get an abortion before that, but I mean, like, I had a baby earlier this year, and I found out I found out pretty early, I think I was like five weeks, but that’s like very, very rare. I thought I was further along, and it just like happened to be earlier. And so yeah, like you said, most people because it goes back to what is it two weeks? Or is it the start of your last menstrual period is like the beginning of that six week period. So you’re not even actually pregnant at that, right?
Jessica Pinckney 9:18
Yeah, yeah. And it’s Yeah, I think like what you’re raising to is something we talked a lot about is gestational age is, is in some ways an art not a science. It really depends on like the provider you go to it depends on if you remember when your last menstrual cycle was, there are like so many factors that go into determining gestational age. And so yeah, there’s that and six weeks is so early on. That could be two weeks after your most recent missed, missed period. So most folks do not know that they are pregnant at that time. In fact, on our helpline, it’s, it’s fairly rare that we get people who are calling, you know, for support that early on their pregnancy folks tend to be 10, 12 weeks or, or further beyond.
Maggie Germano 10:14
Right. And that’s kind of the point, right? Like, you know, instead of saying, oh, here’s a here’s a law that specifically just bans abortion, it’s like we’re passing a law that bans abortion after this time. So again, people who don’t understand how pregnancy works, right, and you know, can kind of look at that and be like, it’s they’re not banning it. They’re just putting parameters in place. But because the people writing these laws know that most people do not know that they’re pregnant around that, by that time, it is essentially a ban.
Jessica Pinckney 10:44
Yeah, it absolutely is, it absolutely is.
Maggie Germano 10:48
And then throwing in the legal side where you know, or the civil suit side where someone can even it’s it’s people who they don’t even have to be associated with the pregnant person or like, involved in the pregnancy themselves. Right? It can be anybody.
Jessica Pinckney 11:03
Yeah, so patients actually, like the pregnant person can’t be sued. But it’s anyone who helps the patient, which is I mean, no one should be sued for terminating a pregnancy or helping someone terminate a pregnancy. But it’s, it’s just very odd and a new, a new, I don’t even like have good technology, like terminology to describe it, but like a new tactic that we see. Anti abortion folks deploying and basically folks who, who do Sue someone successful plaintiffs can can get up to $10,000. And their legal fees reimburse. So they’re being like, rewarded for for you know, this vigilante basically, behavior. Yeah, so it’s really, really concerning. And just, like, a new level of invasive pneus, I would say as well. Which is, was just, it’s scary. And it’s sad.
Maggie Germano 12:18
Yeah, scary was the word I that’s been going through my head a lot since I heard of that aspect of it, too. Because, you know, even though even though the pregnant person can’t be sued, so I’m sure there are people out there being like, Oh, well, who cares? Like it’s, you know, the individual is not being sued. But that makes it so that people are not going to want to help them as much. I mean, I’ve seen the example use of like, even an Uber driver can get sued for driving someone to an appointment for an abortion and so like, just just digging down into like, just like anyone who’s just tangentially associated or involved in an abortion, it’s just, it’s scary. It’s like you use the word vigilante, and also just someone being cruel and wanting to kind of step in and, you know, just harm other people in that way.
Jessica Pinckney 13:10
Yeah, and it’s Yeah, it’s, it’s really cruel. Um, you know, you you raised the Uber drivers like really pleased to see that Uber and Lyft have both said that they’ll cover the costs, the legal costs of any of their drivers who are are sued as part of SB8. But that’s a huge risk for people to take and, you know, it’s I think people who are willing to call out someone for, for helping someone have an abortion. There’s just some concerns around like safety and security to that that really come up. And it just creates this narrative that further stigmatizes abortion and helping people have abortions and it’s just wrong like there’s nothing wrong with it. It shouldn’t be stigmatized. It’s a part of the health care system it’s just as simple as going to the dentist or you know having any other health care procedure taking care of your body the way you need to take care of your body and so yeah, I think the the Texas legislation really has like layers of stigmatization to it that are incredibly problematic.
Maggie Germano 14:26
Yeah, no, I definitely agree. And I mean, I think that the way abortion tends to be talked about even with like people not wanting to say the word abortion like I know I think you and I damned about this where you know, Biden’s spokesperson was talking about you know, she was speaking against the law right like they obviously the administration does not support it, the Justice Department is going to try to you know, block it, but they wouldn’t even say the word abortion they were saying you know, health care or you know, reproductive health care and things like that, and Those are euphemisms that make it further stigmatizes the issue of abortion and makes it feel like it’s not something that many, many, many, many, many people end up having done because for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter what the reason is, right?
Jessica Pinckney 15:18
No, totally. Yeah, it’s really, it’s really stigmatizing. Like, we need to be comfortable saying the word abortion, it’s not a dirty word. It’s procedure, it’s taking pills, it looks a lot of different ways. And yeah, we need to be open about it. One of my favorite sayings, that was coined by the National Network of abortion funds. When Rene bracy Sherman was there was everybody loves somebody who’s had an abortion and it’s so true, like whether you know it or not, you know, someone who has had an abortion. And it doesn’t matter if you know it or not, just like you don’t know, every time, you know, like, I go for a checkup at the doctor, but I do, or every time I take a pill. And you know, I think something else to that is really concerning around stigmatizing abortion, which I think is what we were dming about in that that clip that’s going around is the language we use around a woman’s right to choose. There are many people who can become pregnant who do not identify as women. And so I think also really recognizing that this is a humanity issue, not just a women’s issue. And really kind of reframing our discussion there as well. Of course, predominantly women are folks who can become pregnant, but there are other individuals, trans trans men, gender non binary folks and so I think it’s really important to realize that this is a you know, an issue that impacts everyone. Also, there are two people and any scenario in which a fetus is created. So I’m realizing that you know, abortion impacts those who are also not carrying a pregnancy and there’s we just, we saw a lot of work to do to really to D stigmatize abortion as specifically an issue only impacting one small portion of the population. Because that’s honestly foolish and not not true.
Maggie Germano 17:37
Yeah, I totally agree. And I mean, the as, as the, you know, after the law got signed, and everyone you know, mostly women that I know that either work in this field that you’re in or otherwise, you know, we’re really furious about this, and, and then seeing a lot of people also being like, Where are the men speaking up here, because you’re also benefiting from abortion and other reproductive access opportunities, and just the ability to make the decision of whether or not to have a kid, or have access to birth control, or whatever it is that fits into this bucket of choice, and access. Men and other people who don’t get pregnant are still benefiting because they are able to then have that choice around whether or not they become parents and or, or have other children, more children and which impacts your finances, it impacts your general well being at impacts makes a huge difference whether or not you have a kid or multiple kids. So everybody’s really impacted by these kinds of restrictions.
Jessica Pinckney 18:45
Yeah, I mean, the reproductive justice framework that was coined by black women in the early 90s really talks about the decision to be able to choose if, when and how you parent, and so, you know, it goes it goes beyond just abortion, it’s the full range of reproductive health care, it’s the ability to raise your children in a safe environment free from state sanctioned violence or environmental harms. It’s the ability to put food on the table for your, for your family, it’s the ability to decide if you want a family if that’s chosen family or blood family. It’s your economic and financial decisions and being able to provide an adequate life for your family, whatever that may look like. And so but reproductive justice impacts us all. And we, you know, we really need to look at these, these issues holistically because people like to think that these things are happening in a vacuum but something I talk about a lot with abortion in particular is it’s not just having the procedure or taking the pills, right like you have to get to the clinic, you have to have the resources to pay for your abortion, you have to sometimes stay overnight. You know, if you have a multiple day procedure, away from home, like you have to find the clinic. So there’s transportation issues, there’s economic issues, there’s often childcare issues, because we know many people who are having abortions are already parents, sort of all these other things that come into play when accessing any kind of care, including abortion care. And so we really do ourselves a disservice when we think about these issues just as, like one in their own lane in some ways, because that’s not that’s just not how the world works, right? Like all of our lives are intersecting in different ways.
Maggie Germano 20:54
Exactly. And you already started touching on a lot of ways that not just reproductive choice, but you know, these abortion bans and restrictions impact the financial side of lives. And so since I predominantly talk about personal finance, and the impact of different issues on your finances, can you talk a little bit not just about how the Texas law affects women’s and other people’s finances, but abortion restrictions and bands overall, what do you kind of see as those financial impacts?
Jessica Pinckney 21:31
Yeah, I mean, I think the most significant financial impact with abortion is the cost of the procedure or having, you know, medication abortion itself. Um, for folks who don’t know, there’s the Hyde Amendment and the Hyde Amendment. It has been attached to appropriations bills for decades. It was created by henry hyde in the 70s, who was very intentional about ensuring that low income folks could not access abortion care through Medicaid, Medicare and other government funding. And so the Hyde Amendment and other abortion coverage bans essentially restrict federal funding of abortion care. So there are states throughout the country California being one of them that uses their state Medicaid funding to pay for abortions, but most states do do ban coverage of abortion for Medicare or Medicaid, excuse me Medicaid recipients which is really unfortunate right because we know Medicaid recipients tend to be low income and can’t afford can’t afford care which is how they end up on Medicaid. So the fact that there are restrictions to the type of care that they can access is really unfortunate. And also folks who have private insurance that depends on where you are in the country as to whether or not your private insurance you know, can what can cover abortion will cover abortion and how much of your abortion it will cover. And so, you know, co pays deductibles can be a huge barrier for accessing abortion care here in California. That’s something we hear a lot about. But I think that’s an issue that impacts folks across the country. folks don’t realize that depending on where you are and you’re pregnant, your pregnancy gestational early, abortion can cost anywhere from four or $500 to 10s of 1000s of dollars. This year, we’ve had at least one caller whose abortion procedure was upwards of $20,000 which like hurts my heart to say most people don’t have you know, an extra 1012 $13,000 lying around for what is and I don’t like to say like urgent procedure but not something that it’s time sensitive, right? Like you can’t wait a couple years to take care of to take care of having an abortion. So, um, it is a time sensitive procedure and we do see a lot of times that if folks can’t come up with the funds they need to get the abortion procedure they need it pushes them further into their unwanted pregnancy, which then makes the procedure more expensive The further you are along. And there’s a study called the the turn away study Yes, if and they basically worked with over 1000 women identifying people who were seeking abortions, and talked with them over five years and kind of compared the their trajectories. And, you know, most women in that study set said that if they weren’t able to have the abortion they desired their life would be worse off. Um, and so I think that’s really, really damning information. And there’s, you know, some really telling financial information in that study as well. out of pocket costs for those whose insurance or Medicaid didn’t cover their abortion was averaged around $575. I think, you know, I have definitely had conversations with folks who are like, oh, like, you don’t have, you know, you’re one of our callers didn’t have $100, they needed to meet the unmet need for their procedures, like $100 is a lot of money for some people. And we need to also be D stigmatizing how we talk about money, like $10 can be a lot for someone, and that’s totally understandable. But we know for more than half of the folks in that in that study, the out of pocket out of pocket costs for their procedure were more than 1/3 of their monthly personal income.
Jessica Pinckney 26:34
And for folks who were over 20 weeks into their pregnancy, the cost was closer to two thirds of their monthly income. And I think what we see a lot on accesses health line is folks have have many of our callers have zero, monthly income. So you’re starting at zero, you know, there’s nothing to work with. So there’s a huge financial barrier with the procedure itself. And that doesn’t even get into kind of what I refer to as wraparound means around transportation, lodging, child care, you know, abortion, doula support, food, something we see a lot of in California is folks having to travel long distance, which I think people don’t think about and a more progressive state like ours. But almost 50% of the counties in California have no abortion providers in them. So depending on where you are in your pregnancy, gestational Li, you could have to travel 567 plus hours to the nearest abortion provider who’s able to perform your procedure, which means gas money, it means having a reliable car, it means taking time off work. It means again, finding childcare for the children you often already have. And so this is a huge financial burden for folks. And it’s been exacerbated in the pandemic, because we’re certainly trying to keep our callers safe. And so instead of putting them in cars with volunteers, or in the homes of our volunteers, we’re putting them in in rideshares. And in hotels, and in California, on average, most of our hotels are $150 a night. And if you have a three day procedure, and you have to stay for two nights, that’s $300 plus your procedure, so on and so forth. So a lot of expenses are related to seeking abortion, and it’s a huge burden for folks.
Maggie Germano 28:51
Yeah, and then on top of that, in states where there are restrictions, whether it’s a 24 or 72 hour waiting period that some places have where where you have to go in first and talk to the doctor and then come back in 2448 or 72 hours to actually get the procedure so if you are having to drive like seven hours or drive into a different state to even like access a provider, it just adds up like you said it not only it adds up in terms of the cost but also missing out on work risking being you know, fired because you’re missing work or worrying about what to do with your kids are your kids having to like miss school even you know, and I mean, I think that something that I’ve heard said a lot is like rich white women will always have access to abortion because no matter what happens, they will have the funds and the support to to fly somewhere and get a procedure or have someone to either stay with or have you know the money to stay in a hotel or somewhere to send their kids you know, and so on. The people that just don’t have that opportunity are really left. I mean, it’s deliberate. Obviously, we were talking about this too, like they’re deliberately being harmed by things like this and making it so that they either are at risk of unsafe procedures, they’re at financial risk, or they end up having to go through with a pregnancy that maybe they didn’t want or, or a pregnancy that was unsafe, whatever the scenario might be.
Jessica Pinckney 30:29
Yeah, it’s really horrifying. I mean, you’re absolutely right. They’re very intentional about who is targeted with abortion bans with abortion coverage bans with these barriers, henry hyde was very clear, he was like, if I can’t ban abortion outright, I’m going to make sure low income people are the ones who suffer the most. And we know that what he said low income people, what he was really saying was that he is racist. And he meant, you know, black indigenous people of color, folks who have been historically marginalized throughout our country’s history. Yeah, and you’re absolutely right, folks who have financial means no matter the laws will always be able to get this the care and the support they need. And people are going to have abortions, no matter what people are going to take care of their bodies in the way they need, when they need how they need. And it’s just a matter of ensuring that they have the freedoms to do what makes the most sense for them and their families and their communities. Without further barriers, or restrictions or harms being placed on them. You know, people can have abortions safely at home. They don’t have to occur in the medical setting. They can occur in the medical setting, they can occur as surgical procedures, they can occur as taking pills, and passing a pregnancy. And so you know, it’s just really important that we ensure that folks have all of those options available to them and all of the tools and resources they need, and that we don’t further burden people financially, emotionally, physically. Because Yeah, I mean, what the what that turn away study says is women, people who identified as women that were denied an abortion were four times at greater odds of having their household income be below the federal poverty level, three times at greater odds of being unemployed, there was an increased likelihood that they wouldn’t have enough money to put food on the table for their families to pay for housing, to have reliable transportation, if they were denied their abortion. Those who were unable to terminate their unwanted pregnancies, often we’re more likely to stay in contact with violent partners which puts their their safety and livelihood at risk puts their other children’s, you know, livelihoods at risk. And a lot of folks who who continue to unwanted pregnancies also developed more serious health problems than they would have had they had their abortion and you know, you think about the financial ramifications of that the healthcare system is expensive it’s as you know, having recently had a child and not not cheap to have a child or terminate a pregnancy and not cheap to have other health care issues come up for you so I just think you know there are huge financial security issues in limiting people’s access to abortion care there are personal safety issues in limiting people’s access to abortion and then there’s just like dignity humanity freedom issues and limiting people’s access to abortion.
Maggie Germano 34:09
Exactly I mean everything you just said I was just nodding along and also you know getting very frustrated at like how people think that pregnancy is just this like simple thing like people who are like just just give your give the baby up for adoption like just go through it like pregnancy is not just some like normal thing that your body goes through and then it’s over and you you know, give a baby up for adoption and you’re perfectly fine. Like, in my experience, I did not like being pregnant because it kind of wreaked havoc on my body like 22 weeks in I it was like difficult to walk for the rest of the pregnancy because like your joints and ligaments just kind of like loosen up and just don’t have the like sturdiness that they once did, which is by design. But like my pelvis felt like it was going to, like, break open all the time. And so like, even sleeping was painful and and like, even since then it’s been eight months since I gave birth, but it’s still like impacting my physical ability to, like, move around and like, feel strong and like, secure and like, my body, like, wanted to chase after my nephew the other day, I’m like, Whoa, yeah, I still can’t relate to that. You need to work on that, but it’s just not. And that was like in a pregnancy that was low risk, no complications, you know, aside from the C section, but like, other people have much more issues going along with it,
Jessica Pinckney 35:43
right? Imagine being like a wage worker who’s on their feet all day, you know, serving people, providing customer service, cleaning, whatever the case may be, right, or farm workers, like, so many folks who don’t have the luxury that you and I had to, like, sit at a desk all day, and, to a certain extent, kind of build our own schedules. And, you know, if you’re pregnant, take a nap when you need to, like whatever, like, you just can’t do that. And for some people, you know, people terminate pregnancies for a multitude of reasons, and all are perfectly acceptable reasons to do so. But you know, some people it’s like, they’re making a decision between putting food on the table and taking care of the children they already have. Or, you know, keeping their job we can arrive to can’t even get into, like pregnancy, fairness, and all that. But yeah, there are just so many reasons that that people have abortions, and those are really for them to decide. But yeah, pregnancy can wreck havoc on the body, being of the age where many of my friends are having children, that’s like, generally the thing I hear is, they did not enjoy being pregnant necessarily. And it has actually made them like more pro abortion and pro, you know, access to abortion, because, you know, they had the the power to make the decisions for their body and, you know, their pregnancy that they needed to make. And they couldn’t imagine other folks not having that, that access and that ability to make those decisions for themselves and for their families.
Maggie Germano 37:23
Exactly. It’s a huge decision. It’s a huge physical undertaking, it’s like, then having a newborn is huge. I mean, we were just talking about this before we started recording, like, I just set up my office in my new house that we’ve been in for two months, because like, having, he was six months old, he moved in, he’s eight months old now. Like, he I can’t get anything done with him around. And like, I luckily have family nearby to help with childcare. And like we could, we were privileged enough to afford other childcare if we really wanted to. But I am also privileged enough in my situation to like, not have had to worry about working my business full time and like being able to take care of the baby and kind of come around to working when I was ready and have the support that I needed. Many, many, many people wage workers, like you said, service injury industry, folks, anybody just does not have that opportunity in the way that our system is set up with. You know, minimum wage being what it is healthcare, you know, worker protections being what they are the health care system being what it is, it’s all set up to not protect people, for the most part, and especially pregnant people. So the fact that we also want to force people to follow through with pregnancies if they don’t want to, or can’t, is just totally just bonkers to me.
Jessica Pinckney 38:50
Yeah, I mean, the system is created intentionally for sure. Like there’s a reason that these things are all compounding upon each other. It’s just really, it’s really scary and sad to see. Um, yeah, actually, much more to say about. This is really frustrating.
Maggie Germano 39:10
Very frustrating, very scary. And something you said a while ago, you know about how, like, someone might say, like, oh, how does someone not just have like another $100 to afford their abortion? There’s tons of research out there that shows that the majority of Americans don’t even have enough to cover like a surprise $400 expense. So of course, that also translates to meaning that the majority of Americans wouldn’t be able to afford an abortion if they needed one and didn’t have health care that would cover that. Yeah. So I think everyone should just kind of like Remember, you know, if you couldn’t cover a surprise, surprise expense like that, then this includes abortion.
Jessica Pinckney 39:53
Yeah. Oh my gosh, yeah. I always use myself as an example like, yes, I’m the executive director of A nonprofit organization. And we believe in paying people well and fairly and are always trying to like work from a values aligned place in regards to our HR practices. And our insurance does cover abortion. But if it didn’t, I could not pay out of pocket what I would need to pay to have an abortion where I to become on it’s unexpectedly pregnant and want to do that, like, sometimes I live paycheck to paycheck, and I have a hearty paycheck, right, like, so, you know, I think it’s just really dangerous to assume we understand other people’s circumstances, everyone’s financial circumstances, as I know, you talk about on this podcast all the time really vary. And yeah, for one person $10 $20 $100 can be like, I don’t know how to scrape that together. And for someone else, that’s not a big deal. And, and both are okay. And both are products of a system that we, you know, have let go on for far too long. And, you know, we haven’t even really discussed like, I think something we talked a lot about in California. Guess our medical system does cover abortion procedures for folks who are on medical, but like AXA, like talking to an insurance company, or talking to Medicaid is not simple like it by any means. We regularly have folks who are like, Oh, I have met a cow, I didn’t know it could cover my abortion procedure, or like, I didn’t know I qualified for Medicare, like we help people get qualified all the time. Or, you know, you go to your doctor, and they say, it’s gonna cost $2,000 to have your abortion and you’re like, why I have insurance, and then you get on the phone with your insurance company. And they’re talking about deductibles and co pays and coinsurance and, you know, you’re assuming that people like, can speak health insurance language. And as someone who has worked on health care policy for a decade, like even I still sometimes I’m like, what is it that you’re trying to tell me right now? Right? So there’s a it’s a really complicated system. And it’s not that meant to benefit those who are trying to benefit from it. Right. So I think that’s something to keep in mind, too. There’s like a financial literacy component to abortion care. That, yeah, requires people to be able to navigate really tricky systems. And that’s a whole added layer, and you’re like, under a time constraint and stress. It’s just a lot of layers.
Maggie Germano 42:42
Yeah, absolutely. And like you said, it’s kind of built that way. And, you know, it doesn’t make it any easier for anybody and your financial circumstances should not determine whether or not you end up having a child you did not want to have like that is totally especially with you know, most of the people pushing legislation like this also don’t really support welfare programs that would then support the the children that are, you know, born into, like a low income household who couldn’t afford it or, or an unhappy household that didn’t want a child like whatever it might be. It your financial standing should not make this determination for you. And I think people who think that it’s like, then they’re viewing pregnancy and childbirth as like a rightful punishment to people, which is just a whole other bizarre way of thinking.
Jessica Pinckney 43:36
Yeah, I mean, pregnancy is personal. Abortion is personal. But it’s also neither should be stigmatized, right? Like, they’re part of our lives, just like everything else is, and we need to give people decision making power and control over their bodies and in their families and their communities. And that’s just like, what it is at the end of the day.
Maggie Germano 43:57
Oh, great. And I know, we could both go on and on and on, and on and on about this. But I do want to give people like clear action steps to on like, what they can do. You know, we talked in the beginning about how there is that like, higher level policy approach, but also the everyday kind of community approach. So let’s start with the policy side, more of the like, high level higher level approach. So how can people out there who are listening and getting upset along with us take steps to fight against not only this existing law, but also other laws that are currently being written that are similar or laws that are already in existence?
Jessica Pinckney 44:41
I mean, I think it’s really important to stay aware. So there is a federal, there’s federal legislation in Congress called the each act which would were repeal the Hyde Amendment, and this is the first year that the Congress or the house hasn’t Moved to legislation that doesn’t include the Hyde Amendment in the appropriations bills. So we really need to, to cheer on our congressional members for making that happen. They need that praise as much as they need encouragement to do the right thing. And you can also encourage your member of Congress to support the each act. There’s also the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would help with these kinds of abortion restrictions and bans that we’re seeing all over the country and would reduce targeted regulations against abortion providers. So those are really important federal things that folks can do. Just make sure your congressional members know how you feel about this legislation. I know it sounds like silly, but it’s actually a really important step for people to take people, members of Congress listen to their constituents, like you vote for them, you have a you have a say at the state level, you know, really pay attention to again, what your local legislators are passing unfortunately, SB eight is now a template that a lot of other anti abortion states are using to develop more anti abortion legislation. So please make sure you’re paying attention locally, to what your your local legislators are doing and encourage them not to pass these incredibly harmful and problematic bills. So that’s kind of what you can do at like the policy level. On a personal level, I will say you know, have the tough conversations with your friends and your families. I think you would be surprised how many times you have a conversation about abortion and you discover that someone has had an abortion or that someone has helped a friend or family member or have an abortion or that you know people feel differently than you may have thought about these issues and even if they don’t please have the conversation with people it’s really important please you know make sure you’re not further stigmatizing abortion by talking about it you know, as a as a pregnant person’s issue as just a general issue that we need to be dealing with as a society and as a humanity. And I will say from a financial perspective for those who have the means support local abortion funds, they’re likely and abortion funds and all of the states that you live in there’s over 80 that are part of the network the national network of abortion funds. If you go to na I think it’s an N af.org Yes it is. You go to na s.org you can learn about your local abortion fund if you just put your zip code in I can also share with you Maggie have the link specifically for Texas abortion funds there’s one link that you can donate to and the funds get split across all the Texas abortion funds This is really important because Texas abortion funds as they should are still helping people get the care they need it just is becoming more logistically challenging as they help people get to other states and that obviously increases the cost of people’s care so please please please support Texas abortion funds and listen very closely to what they’re saying that their callers and their patients need and thinking abortion provider if you know what because it’s rough in the streets.
Maggie Germano 48:45
It definitely sounds like it and I you know I every day, I appreciate so much the work that people like you are doing and the you know the people that are on the ground for the abortion funds, helping individuals get the care that they need. And then the people that are working on the policy and and every day being infuriated and overwhelmed by all the restrictions and legislation being you know, put in place to really, you know, overwhelm the people working on these issues too. So every day I’m very grateful for everyone work doing this work. And I think supporting you all and supporting the organizations that are on the ground. It’s just so important because they’re the ones doing the work. They’re the ones helping people get the care they need.
Jessica Pinckney 49:33
Yeah, absolutely. It definitely takes a village and we’re we’re all in it together. But yeah, it’s it’s a really rough time for everyone right now. And so I think any any part that people can play is hugely important in this moment, whether it’s just like you know, giving a cup of coffee to your friend who’s reading 1000s of 1000s of pages of legislation or helping someone get the abortion they need and your location. like whatever it is that you can do to be part of this moment in this time is really greatly appreciated.
Maggie Germano 50:09
Yeah, No I agree and is there anything else you want to make sure listeners are taking away today whether it’s you know actions they can take or just things that they should understand in this moment
Jessica Pinckney 50:24
I think it’s just you know, abortion is part of everybody’s life in one way or another and you know any part that you can play to help reduce stigma and to tell your abortion story to support those around you who have had abortions or will have abortions and to the extent that you can to put your you know, your your your resources, whether it be financial or otherwise towards lifting restrictions and barriers to people’s care is just immensely needed now and always
Maggie Germano 51:00
great I love that And is there anything in with your organization that you would like to promote right now or anything else that you haven’t mentioned already that you want folks to know about?
Jessica Pinckney 51:10
No, I mean, I think the biggest thing right now is supporting Texas abortion funds so please please please give your love your money. If you’re in Texas and you can volunteer with them, your volunteer time to abortion funds that’s honestly the biggest takeaway if you’ve got time, resources, whatever you’ve got that you can give our way. We always need more volunteers we always need you know donations to keep our minds open so
Maggie Germano 51:44
great yeah and all of the resources that you’ve already mentioned throughout this episode, I will be sure to link in the show notes and the link that you send me that distributes across the different abortion funds I will share as well. How can folks follow access and the work that your organization is doing?
Jessica Pinckney 52:01
Yes, we are on Instagram and Twitter at @access_RJ and it’s actually like our taco or beer challenge season right now which is a fun national network fundraiser so you can you know, donate to any abortion fund towards their top or of your challenge, have a taco have a beer have water like whatever floats your boat, um, but support your local abortion fund.
Maggie Germano 52:30
Wonderful. I love taco werebear season so I will be doing that I had taco for lunch today, so I’ll be sure to take advantage of abortion, but um, well thank you so much for taking the time and sharing all of your expertise and commiserating with me at the same time. I am very passionate about this issue with along with you. And so I’m happy to you know, get your time and expertise to share with everyone else so that they know how they can help.
Jessica Pinckney 53:01
awesome thank you so much for having me and bringing attention to this issue. Really appreciate it.
Maggie Germano 53:06
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