Now that the US Supreme Court has crushed Roe v. Wade, residents in over a dozen states may have to travel — hundreds of miles in some cases— to receive abortion care.
Many of those individuals will turn to local organizations for support. These organizations — abortion funds, support networks, and other reproductive rights-focused groups — are getting inundated with requests for assistance, and also interest from prospective donors and volunteers infuriated with the Supreme Court’s rulings.
Thirteen US states have trigger laws — or legislation created to take effect immediately after the fall of Roe. Other states are slated to introduce abortion bans or near-bans.
“The longer you don’t have access to care, the more exponentially expensive abortion care costs,” Jordyn Close, the board chair of abortion fund Women Have Options Ohio, told Insider.
Close said that this week alone, Women Have Options Ohio has raised nearly $400,000 in pledges. WHO/O provides financial assistance to patients directly and also distributes money to clinics throughout the Buckeye State. The Columbus Dispatch reported that abortion remains legal up to six weeks of pregnancy in Ohio, which advocates say is not long enough for most people to recognize the signs of a pregnancy.
“There are so many clients for whom having to pay out of pocket would mean they can’t afford groceries,” said Sarah Moeller, the director of resource development for abortion-care support organization The Brigid Alliance. “They can’t pay their rent, they can’t pay their bills or they’ll be forced to make dangerous choices in order to get the care that they need.”
The Brigid Alliance is a staff-run organization that funds and arranges every element of a client’s “abortion itinerary,” pairing patients with coordinators who work to arrange all abortion-related accommodations. Moeller said that the average cost per itinerary is over $1,000.
Abortion funds and other organization often step in to help individuals with the costs associated with abortions. The Brigid Alliance provides stipends for meals and childcare reimbursements, as well. WHO/O also helps pay for childcare, transportation, and doula services.
“Some people are traveling long distance by plane,” Moeller said. “Some people prefer to drive in a personal vehicle, especially during COVID surges. Whether we’re booking a plane ticket or sending cash for somebody to pay for gas, hotels, and parking, it has an effect on the total cost of the itinerary.”
Facing a possible major loss on the recruitment and retention fronts, numerous private businesses have pledged to reimburse employees seeking abortion care. Both Close and Moeller told Insider that their organizations have not received any inquiries from businesses looking to support employees seeking abortions.
Members of the public have also taken to social media to advocate for abortion access. Both Moeller and Close recommended that would-be activists get involved with the established network of abortion funds and support providers, rather than attempting to venture out on their own, in order to avoid possible privacy and security risks.
“I don’t think that a lot of people know that there is a network of abortion funds and practical support funds that already exist. I didn’t know that abortion funds existed when I had my abortion in 2015,” Close said. “You can get involved with your local orgs that are already doing this work. We’re just trying to get the word out that you don’t have to re-create the wheel.”
‘A huge undertaking’
But even with an established network of interconnected organizations, individuals living in states that have barred abortion access are feeling isolated after the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“I have a lot of support emotionally and financially, and I am very lucky to have such,” Taylor Byrd, a single mother living in Arkansas, told Insider. “Even with that, if I was suddenly in a position to where I needed, or even wanted, an abortion, the financial toll it would have on myself, my family, my household, is honestly unimaginable. The closest state that is still seeing patients is in Kansas.”
Byrd listed the costs of travel — plane ticket costs, gas prices —lost revenue from missing days of work, and the costs of childcare as significant hurdles.
“It would be such a huge undertaking, I don’t even feel like it’s something I can plan for as an emergency,” she said.