Abortion Funds Are Spending Astronomical Amounts of Money to Help People Get Care

Breaking $1 million annually to help people get abortions appears to be a bleak new norm.

Abortion Funds Are Spending Astronomical Amounts of Money to Help People Get Care

The very existence of abortion funds is a prime example of how Roe v. Wade didn’t guarantee abortion access. Not everyone has health insurance, and, in many states, insurance doesn’t cover abortion—plus the price of just showing up for an appointment can be a giant barrier when you factor in travel, lodging, lost wages, and childcare. Abortion funds and other practical support organizations help people cover these costs and, as we approach two years since Roe was overturned, these groups have been spending huge sums to assist people in the face of abortion bans.

Colorado’s Cobalt Abortion Fund said Thursday that it had spent $503,000 on clients in the first three months of 2024. Cobalt Fund is anticipating a few more clinic invoices for that period and, if the pace holds, they’re already projected to spend more than $2.2 million dollars this year. By comparison, they spent $206,000 in 2021 and then $1.25 million in 2023, the first full year without Roe. They spent about $70,000 more on practical support than on procedures in Q1, and 85% of their practical support clients were Texans who came to Colorado for care.

Breaking $1 million in annual client spending appears to be a bleak new norm. Lilith Fund, one of about 10 Texas-based groups, hit $1 million in 2023, or about $83,000 a month. In February 2024, Lilith spent $200,000, which was a record—until it distributed $240,000 the following month. Baltimore Abortion Fund also surpassed $1 million last year. Abortion Fund of Ohio distributed nearly $1.5 million in 2023 (or $120,000 a month). New York Abortion Access Fund spent $1.8 million ($148,000 a month). DC Abortion Fund spent nearly $2.7 million on clients in the 15 months from July 2022 through September 2023 ($180,000 a month). Chicago Abortion Fund dispersed $4.3 million in 2023 ($360,000 a month), supported in part by grants from the city of Chicago.

Mind you, these figures are just client costs, not operational expenses. Many funds and practical support organizations are doing this work with few paid staff members, if any, meaning they are desperately underfunded. And the need is growing.

Importantly, all of these numbers were from before May 1, when Florida’a six-week abortion ban took effect and cut off a crucial access point for people all across the South. More people will need to travel longer distances to get abortions, with patients who would have previously gotten care in Florida heading up the East Coast to Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., or to Illinois, or wherever they have a friend or family member for support. Florida’s ban will have ripple effects across the country as clinics in other states try to accommodate some of the 84,000 abortion patients served there last year. Arizona is also set to ban abortion sometime this summer before a bill repealing an 1864 ban takes effect.

“As more states ban abortion, the demand on abortion funds like Cobalt Abortion Fund continues to escalate,” Cobalt President Karen Middleton said in a release.

This is all happening despite the fact that abortion is healthcare and healthcare is a human right that should be guaranteed to every person in this country. As Laurie Bertram Roberts, executive director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, told Jezebel last year, “We could be doing other things as a whole, as a community, than scrounging up vital resources for people, which should not be our job. Basic needs for people should be provided by our government.”

Find your local abortion fund and donate to them directly.

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