Facing heightened threats to abortion access, abortion funds are critical
In May our network grappled with the U.S. Supreme Court announcement to take-up Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban during their Fall 2021 term. A Supreme Court decision on this case will likely come next year, in the summer of 2022. Central to this case is whether the states have the right to ban abortion early in pregnancy, prior to a fetus’ viability. This unprecedented challenge to abortion access in front of our highest court has the potential to undermine Roe v. Wade and severely curtail abortion access.
It’s time for a deep investment in the wisdom and power of abortion funds. Our network has been preparing for a post-Roe landscape over decades, and with much more urgency since 2016. Despite all the work abortion funds have been doing for decades to connect people to the care they need, abortion funding has not yet become a major focus of philanthropic support. While private foundations contributed more than $900 million to support reproductive rights from 2015 to 2019, less than 3 percent went to local abortion funds.
Abortion funds are the experts on navigating the landscape of shrinking abortion access, with decades of collective wisdom and practice getting people over many types of barriers to the abortions they seek. Funds uniquely understand the evolving needs in their local communities and have been responding in the face of abortion restrictions for years.
Abortion funds are calling for increased philanthropic support while we’re building an organized, grassroots base of supporters, because the impacts of an anti-abortion Supreme Court decision will reach far and wide. Eleven states, including Louisiana and most recently Texas, have “trigger” laws in place that would immediately implement additional abortion bans if Roe were to be overturned. Alongside trigger laws, a dozen states passed “pre-viability” gestational bans on abortion early in pregnancy; these laws were then blocked by lower courts because they are unconstitutional. The point of fetal “viability” typically occurs between 24-28 weeks, but is dependent on various developmental factors and therefore differs in each pregnancy. If the Supreme Court ignores precedent and sides with Mississippi, existing pre-viability bans and trigger laws across the country could potentially go into effect, making abortion technically legal, but overwhelmingly inaccessible. These laws are unbelievably cruel on their own; they’re also paving the way for an onslaught of new harmful laws to be introduced and passed in upcoming state legislative sessions.
What we know is that no matter what happens in this case, Roe was never enough. Abortion funds support people in overcoming obstacles to abortion access every day precisely because Roe never guaranteed abortion access. If Roe is overturned, the problems people face trying to get abortions will become far more acute and the need for abortion and practical support funding will only grow.
The people most affected by legal and logistical barriers to abortion access include people of color, people who face documentation barriers, transgender and gender nonconforming people, and other people who are routinely denied access to healthcare.
Despite the threats to legal abortion, our network will continue to build power to realize a world where every reproductive decision, including abortion, takes place in thriving communities that are safe, peaceful, and affordable. The fundamental right to make decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures is vital to the pursuit of racial, reproductive, and economic justice.
This year we celebrated the historic release of a Presidential budget without the anti-abortion Hyde Amendment. For decades, abortion funds have decried the Hyde Amendment as an overwhelming obstacle to reproductive healthcare. Hyde cruelly denies coverage for abortion from people who need and deserve it by prohibiting federal dollars from being used for abortion care. For years, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have organized to highlight abortion injustices that have disproportionately weighed on their shoulders. This is a crucial step forward to ensure that all people in the United States can get the abortions they need and want and live thriving lives with their families.
This network knows that the courts have never been the pathway to liberation for the thousands of pregnant people calling abortion funds every year. We’re going to do what we’ve always done: support people navigating barriers to abortion, and invest in a world strengthened by our care for each other.
We are facing a monumental challenge, but we are poised and ready to meet this moment.
National Network of Abortion Funds
A Fund, Inc.
Access Reproductive Care (ARC)-Southeast
ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
All-Options Hoosier Abortion Fund
Arkansas Abortion Support Network
Blue Ridge Abortion Fund
Carolina Abortion Fund
Cascades Abortion Support Collective
Chicago Abortion Fund
Clinic Access Support Network
Cobalt Abortion Fund
Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA)
Freedom Fund Inc.
Fund Texas Choice
Indigenous Women Rising
Iowa Abortion Access Fund
Jane’s Due Process
Kansas Abortion Fund
Kentucky Health Justice Network
Midwest Access Coalition
New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
New York Abortion Access Fund
North Dakota Women in Need Abortion Access Fund
Northwest Abortion Access Fund
Preterm Access Fund
Reproductive Freedom Fund of New Hampshire
SAFE Maine / Safe Abortions For Everyone
Texas Equal Access Fund
Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom
West Virginia FREE Choice Fund
Western Pennsylvania Fund for Choice
Women Have Option – Ohio
Women’s Medical Fund, Inc.
Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP)