How Abortion Funds Help Provide Critical Support in a Post-Roe World

These organizations and dedicated funds help individuals who face challenges accessing abortion services.

Female doctor holding hands of her patient at hospital room
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When the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade case in June, effectively dismantling the federally protected right to an abortion, it triggered a critical gap in the healthcare services available to individuals across the nation.

In the wake of the decision, states from coast to coast implemented abortion bans, or severely limited the procedure to the earliest weeks of pregnancy or extreme cases of emergency. As has been widely reported, that vacuum in services means individuals seeking an abortion may no longer have access to local or affordable care.

What may not be quite as well-known, however, is that there are resources, organizations, and dedicated funds available to help individuals who face challenges accessing abortion services. Organizations such as The Brigid Alliance; Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, and Indigenous Women Rising, provide critical support to those in need, including the financial support to travel to places where abortions are available.

"Abortion funds really try to make those really huge practical barriers less overwhelming for people," Eleanor Drey, MD, the medical director for the Women's Options Center of San Francisco General Hospital, told Health.

These so-called abortion funds have always played an important role in helping people obtain care—even before Roe was overturned and even in progressive states that historically have supported abortion. But in recent years the need has become even more dire as abortion clinics in more restrictive states are being forced to shutter, creating what has been dubbed "abortion deserts."

In 2021, for instance, a total of nine states had two or fewer abortion facilities, while six states had only one facility (Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming), according to a study issued by the University of California San Francisco. The same report, which was issued before the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, predicted that should such a decision come to pass, it would likely mean the closure of 202 clinics in the 26 states that were poised to ban or severely restrict abortion.

"Abortion funds are going to be more critical than ever given these state restrictions and bans," Dr. Drey said.

Here's a closer look at some of the abortion funds providing practical support and funding for people seeking an abortion, including money to cover travel.

Indigenous Women Rising

This fund, based in New Mexico, is available to native, Indigenous undocumented people across the country. "Anybody who needs funding or needs to travel," Lindsay Rodriguez, the communications director at National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), told Health. "That is a very specific community that doesn't often have the resources they need to get an abortion."

Indigenous Women Rising is particularly focused on listening to each patient's specific needs and being nimble and creative in order to help each person get what they require, said Rodriguez.

Those in need of services or support can apply by completing an online form. The application includes providing details regarding your pregnancy, tribe or Indigenous community, and contact information.

The Brigid Alliance

The Brigid Alliance provides funding for transportation, lodging, meals and childcare. They also help patients navigate the logistics of getting an abortion and offer trauma-informed support. The alliance is known for helping with all of the wrap-around costs associated with obtaining an abortion — from booking hotel costs, to travel, and childcare. "They help people across the country get where they need to go," Rodriguez said.

To apply for funding from The Brigid Alliance, reach out to one of the clinics they partner with, which are located in Washington DC, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Colorado. The partner clinics will make a referral to the fund on your behalf. A coordinator will then reach out to you within 24 to 48 hours to discuss next steps.

The alliance also recommends reaching out to the National Network of Abortion Funds, where there is more information available about local abortion funds. The National Abortion Federation, meanwhile, provides support securing an abortion appointment along with the necessary funds for the procedure itself.

Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, which is based in Georgia, covers travel, procedures, support, and related logistics for people seeking an abortion in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

"Many southern states are passing such harsh regulations right now. They [ARC] is providing information and support for people across the south," Rodriguez said.

Patients interested in applying for support from ARC-Southeast can call the organization's health line or submit an online support request.

The Chicago Abortion Fund

The Chicago Abortion Fund provides logistical and emotional support to patients and helps pay for the procedure itself, as well as travel expenses. This fund often helps people in the Midwest — primarily in Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska — who need to travel to Illinois to undergo an abortion. In fact, in the first three months of 2022, 80% of the patients this fund served were from out-of-state. The Chicago Abortion Fund helps people of all ages and does not require a parental notification for minors seeking abortion services.

"The Midwest is also an area where we're seeing a lot of this legislation passed, and Illinois is a great support to all of the states that are around them," said Rodriguez.

To apply for support from the Chicago Abortion Fund, call (312) 663-0338 and share your contact information, appointment date, clinic name, and location, zip code, and how far along your pregnancy is. All information is completely confidential.

National Abortion Federation

The National Abortion Federation has multiple, dedicated, patient assistance funds designed to help financially support the cost of the procedure, as well as travel costs so that patients across the country can access safe, legal abortions. The Rachel Falls Patient Assistance Fund, for instance, helps pregnant people obtain an abortion, and The Dr. Tiller Patient Assistance Fund covers travel-related costs — including flights, hotels, and meals.

"Named for the late Dr. George Tiller, a prominent abortion provider and NAF member who was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist at church in 2009, this fund helps us ensure that as many people as possible can get the reproductive care they need, regardless of their gender identity, zip code, race, or immigration status," Melissa Fowler, the chief program officer at National Abortion Federation, told Health.

To apply for support from NAF, call their hotline at 1-800-772-9100 or their referral line at 1-877-257-0012. You can also reach out via their online chat service.

National Network of Abortion Funds

Though the NNAF isn't an abortion fund itself, it has an interactive map of abortion funds across the country that provides details regarding what each fund covers and who they serve. About 50 percent of the 100-plus funds in their network cover the wrap-around costs of getting an abortion (travel, logistics, hotels, meals). The funds within the NNAF network also known for working collaboratively to ensure each patient gets all the support and funding that they need, said Rodriguez.

Localized funds and organizations tend to be more familiar with—and skilled at—addressing the specific barriers they witness in their communities, whether that's distance from clinics, legislation, or disinformation.

"Each one is a little bit different and that is their strength," Rodriguez said. She also recommends individuals in need of support look at INeedAnA.org, an organization that works closely with abortion funds and clinics to provide up-to-date information about local resources that are immediately available.

Finally, it's important to point out that using these types of abortion support services and funds is very safe and secure. They don't ask about any patient's documentation status, proof of income, or household costs.

"It's really important for people to be able to ask for assistance in a way that allows them to not have to divulge everything about their lives to prove that they need support," Rodriguez said.

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