Despite touting itself as a place to raise money for "personal emergencies," GoFundMe has removed a woman's campaign to raise money for an abortion. The woman, identified only as Bailey, recently spoke out about her inability to afford the "absolutely necessary" procedure, and had raised more than $1,000 of her $2,500 goal before the website shut down her campaign.
In an email to Salon, a spokesperson for Bailey reported that GoFundMe has not responded to emails regarding the status of donations that have already been made, nor has it indicated whether Bailey will be able to access any of the funding. So far, no donations have been deposited into her bank account. Bailey is now accepting donations via PayPal and has explained the situation on an alternative funding page:
We have been live for much less than a week, and we have gained international attention (some much more desirable than others). Our GoFundMe page has been taken down because GoFundMe has decided they do not want to associate with our campaign. We are still getting hate mail via GoFundMe but are unable to receive donations. I will post the email we received from them this morning later on as I have time.
According to GoFundMe's website, the number one use of the site's campaigns are for medical issues. Additionally, the site promotes itself as "the perfect fundraising idea for medical expenses," but does not explain what constitutes a "medical expense" -- it also doesn't offer any caveats. So, one could reasonably assume that "medical expense" means "any cost associated with a medical procedure." One could also assume, then, that the costs associated with an abortion -- a medical procedure -- could only be considered "medical expenses" as well. Hmmm.
GoFundMe is also the same site that failed to remove a dual fundraising campaign to support Darren Wilson, the police officer identified with shooting and killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Between two fundraising pages, the campaign reached nearly half a million dollars in donations. It also became littered with racism and hate speech, which the site chose to delete -- without stopping donations. Although the campaign eventually did stop accepting money, a GoFundMe spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that the site was not responsible for halting donations.
It was, however, responsible for halting donations for Bailey's abortion fund -- donations which she may never access, but still desperately needs. Bailey is unemployed with a health condition and needs a medical procedure; Darren Wilson was a cop with a job and killed a teenager. Guess who GoFundMe decided to fund?