Photo: Courtesy of GoFundMe.
Earlier this month, GoFundMe shut down a campaign set up by a young woman, identified as Bailey, who was raising money for her abortion. Bailey's fundraiser gained moderate media attention, and as she explained to Vice, "We’re broke kids who really need to have this abortion, and you see crowdsourcing for all kinds of things... We saw that Kickstarter that made a bunch of money for the potato salad thing."
Bailey suffers from a medical condition which caused painful complications during her early pregnancy, which is why she chose this particular site: GoFundMe, one of the top three crowdfunding sites in the world, markets itself as a place to seek funding for personal emergencies and medical expenses. Still, GoFundMe shut down Bailey's campaign after being protested by an anti-choice organization. Following that, the site changed its guidelines, banning all campaigns related to abortions. Yet, somehow, it left up over 120 campaigns related to pro-life funding. Yesterday, GoFundMe adjusted its language a third time, saying it would not allow campaigns that directly funded abortions, "human or animal." As GoFundMe's "customer happiness representative" explained to Bailey, abortion is simply "subject matter that GoFundMe would rather not be associated with."
Fair enough. Private companies have a right to make decisions about the content and people they want to "associate with." While GoFundMe finds Bailey's cause "inappropriate," this is the same website that raised funds for Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma police officer charged with sexually assaulting seven African American women while on duty. While that campaign was eventually closed, the site still hosts a fundraiser for Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, last month. Bailey's campaign was shut down before her goal was met. As of this posting, Support Officer Wilson has raised over $235,000.