On June 24, the Supreme Court issued a decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the federal abortion rights guarantee. People in 13 states across the country—those with “trigger laws” that went into effect after the decision—will almost immediately lose access to abortions.
“The reality is that [this decision will] disproportionately affect the most marginalized communities: BIPOC, LGBTQI+, lower income, rural communities,” Chelsea Souder, director of Nebraska Abortion Resources (NEAR), says. “Wealthy, typically white folks are going to always access abortions. They always have.”
Anti-abortion legislators at the state and federal levels have made it increasingly hard for women to access abortions, passing hundreds of laws restricting everything from the mailing of abortion pills to the procedure’s health insurance coverage.
“Even though, obviously, we’re in a really bad moment for abortion access, it’s actually been hard to get an abortion in Texas and in the South, and especially for poor folks, for a long time,” Cristina Parker, communications director at Texas’s Lilith Fund, tells PGN. Abortion funds exist to fill the gap.
Local organizations, many of which are volunteer-led and have been around for decades, provide funds that make it easier for pregnant people to access abortion care. They help fund the abortion procedure itself (which can cost up to $750 or even more in some cases, depending on the state, the stage of the pregnancy, and whether it’s a one- or two-day procedure) and also, at times, the costs associated with it: transportation, gas, food, childcare, and lodging. “We’re not going to stop paying for people’s abortions, no matter what the Supreme Court says,” Parker adds. (After publication, as Roe v. Wade was overturned, the organization was forced to pause its abortion funding operations. However, it said that its hotline will remain active.)
If you need help paying for your abortion and costs surrounding it, here’s everything you need to know about accessing an abortion fund.
Look up the laws in your state—and know your rights
First, make sure you are aware of what’s happening in your state and what restrictions exist. For instance, Oklahoma recently passed a law that bans abortions after fertilization, which means that if you live there, you might have to travel out of state to get an abortion. Find everything you need to know about your rights in your state, along with your nearest abortion clinic, on the I Need An A website—just enter your zip code, age, and weeks since your last period. Reach out to the Repro Legal Hotline to talk to a lawyer about your local options. Also, find out if your state requires parental consent for people under 18 years of age (if you’re in Texas, you can contact Jane’s Due Process; if you’re in another state, talk to the JB Helpline).
Assess your needs
Once you know what your rights are and where your closest clinic is, find out whether your insurance covers your abortion procedure. You can first check out this map that shows state-by-state restrictions on what insurance can cover. Then, if your insurance does cover the procedure, make sure you look into whether your privacy will be protected, based on whether you are insured through your employer, parents, or spouse. (Since some insurance companies send an explanation of benefits document to the policy holder, Planned Parenthood suggests calling your insurance’s customer service line to ask about that.) Then, make a list of everything you’ll need if you have to pay out of pocket (including an estimate of the cost of the procedure or the abortion pill). See what you can afford to pay and the amount you would potentially need from a fund.
Make an appointment
Call your nearest abortion clinic and make an appointment. The clinic will likely refer you to a local abortion fund that can help you cover your expenses. Some funds get direct referrals from clinics, so it might be better to call the clinic before the fund. “The way that most people hear about us is they schedule their appointment,” Parker, of the Lilith Fund, says. “And then they’re told, ‘This is how much it’ll cost. This is what it’ll take.’ And they’re referred to an abortion fund at that point.”
Call your nearest abortion fund
If you didn’t get a direct referral to a fund through the abortion clinic, head over to the database of the National Network of Abortion Funds (NAF), an organization with 92 local fund members across the country. Insert your zip code and call your local fund, or several. (A lot of organizations, like the Lilith Fund in Texas, also have hotlines in Spanish.) Keep in mind that some funds can cover only your procedure expenses, while others can cover other expenses like transportation and food. Be ready to tell them what you need to get the abortion: A ride? A flight? Part of the cost of the procedure? Childcare money?
Get help to fund your abortion and other expenses
Each fund works differently, but most that we spoke to pay the clinics directly for the portion of your procedure they’re able to fund. “If we’re paying for a procedure, or part of a procedure, [the fund sends] a pledge over to a clinic, typically in the form of an email, or a phone call,” Souder, of NEAR, says. “So once the patient comes in, then the clinic actually bills us and then we pay the clinic directly.” Some, like NEAR, pay for things as they help you make arrangements. “A lot of times, in conjunction with patients, we’ll book their travels and pay for it upfront,” Souder adds. “We also cash-assist people directly if that’s the only option left.” Other funds offer gift cards for groceries, rideshares, and gas.