Ali Nininger-Finch

Ali Nininger-Finch - 2016 Nominee
Position: Law Student, Founder of Carolina Abortion Fund
Organization: CUNY School of Law, also Carolina Abortion Fund
I haven't met a more passionate & potent reproductive health advocate than Ali. She founded the much-needed Carolina Abortion Fund, grew it into an amazing success while also working at Ipas, and then decided to become a lawyer to continue her work! – Erica Pettigrew, MD/JD at Professional Student Coalition for Reproductive Justice, also Oregon Health & Science University
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I founded the Carolina Abortion Fund, an organization that raises and distributes funds to people seeking abortion who cannot afford the full cost. We were one of the first of a new wave of abortion funds springing up across the southeastern United States, a region that lacks funding for and is often hostile to reproductive health and rights. CAF operates a helpline that responds to hundreds of calls per week, demonstrating the need for family planning services in North Carolina. The organization is poised to become a true reproductive justice organization empowering poor women of color across the state to control their bodily autonomy.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

While in the Peace Corps, one of the first questions I was asked by the women in my village was how many children I had. They always had more than me, since I had none. This prompted me to ask how many children they wanted to have. I was then able to point anyone who did not want more kids to the family planning resources available to them in the nearby town. I also got to have some fun conversations about how babies are made with the help of Our Bodies, Ourselves and Where Women Have No Doctor.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

I am an upper middle class white person from the United States, which grants me a ton of privilege. My involvement in reproductive justice has taught me to wrestle with how to challenge oppressive systems that deny bodily autonomy to poor women of color (among others) in a way that is not patronizing and does not further the oppression. My approach is to listen to the people I am working with to learn from them how to best use my skills and privilege to further their goals.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I want to help make comprehensive reproductive health care services available and accessible to all incarcerated women in the southeastern United States. This includes choice of menstrual products, choice of contraception, hormone treatments, abortion, pre- and post-natal care, a birth plan that ensures safety and autonomy, choice of who is present during birth, and an end to shackling during labor and delivery.

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