Critical Role of Abortion Funds Post-Roe - National Network of Abortion Funds
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Press Release/Statement

Critical Role of Abortion Funds Post-Roe

January 18, 2024

The National Network of Abortion Funds shared new survey revealing skyrocketing number of individuals seeking financial and logistical assistance to obtain abortions


LOS ANGELES, CA — Ahead of the 51st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) is releasing staggering data showcasing the powerful role abortion funds have played in unlocking access to abortions nationwide. This work has rapidly increased since the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down Roe with its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision.

Since the fall of the Roe decision, the obstacles facing abortion care seekers have never been higher. Abortion is banned or restricted in more than 21 states across the United States, leading more individuals to travel further distances to receive the reproductive care they need — and often experiencing delayed care because clinics are critically overwhelmed. Abortion funds are often an individual’s first phone call when they require assistance navigating barriers to abortion care. Abortion funds are local, independent organizations working to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by providing direct assistance, including financial support, transportation, childcare, translation services, lodging, and more.

NNAF — a network of 100 independent abortion funds nationwide — surveys its member organizations every year to gain insight into requests received, callers supported, and dollars distributed, to gain further understanding into the needs of the network. The organization’s survey results from July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022, and July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023, offer eye-opening pre-Dobbs and post-Dobbs decision impact, given the Dobbs SCOTUS decision came down on June 24, 2022:

  • In the year post-Dobbs decision, abortion funds reported a 39% increase in requests for support to access abortions
  • In the year post-Dobbs decision, abortion funds financially supported 102,855 individuals seeking abortions. 
  • In the year post-Dobbs decision, abortion funds disbursed a total of $36,971,667 to individuals seeking abortions, growing funding budgets by 88%. 
  • In the year post-Dobbs decision, abortion funds dispersed $10,080,317 in practical support funding — a 178% increase from the year before. Practical support funding includes logistical needs outside of abortion funding, such as transportation, lodging, childcare, and more. 
  • Immediately following the Dobbs decision, funds across the network reported a large increase in donations and then a staggering drop off — while the need for support only increased.

“Since the fall of Roe v. Wade, abortion funds have continued a 30-year legacy of providing a safety-net softening the negative impact of increasingly draconian abortion restrictions across our country,” said National Network for Abortion Funds’ Executive Director, Oriaku Njoku. “As we anticipate more challenges to abortion access in the Supreme Court and on state ballots this year, abortion funds will require an increase in support to meet the soaring need. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that abortion funds are able to continue combating this crisis with a long-term investment in the direct service infrastructure and individuals working tirelessly to ensure we continue to eliminate barriers to abortion access.” *

*Additional quotes from abortion fund leaders can be found later on the page.

About Abortion Funds: Abortion funds are local, independent organizations that work to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by providing direct assistance such as financial support, transportation, childcare, translation services, lodging, and more.

About the National Network of Abortion Funds: The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) is comprised of 100 abortion funds across the country that help ease economic and logistical barriers for people seeking abortions. Abortion funds offer support such as transportation, childcare, translation, doula services, and accommodations when clients travel to obtain their procedures. NNAF provides leadership development, infrastructure support, and organizing technical assistance to our member funds because we know they are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of their communities today, while being a powerful force for political and social change.

Additional Quotes from Abortion Fund Leaders:

Here in Louisiana and much of the Gulf South,” says Chasity Wilson, Executive Director of the Louisiana Abortion Fund, “abortion access was in name-only well before the Dobbs decision. What does a federally guaranteed right to abortion mean when the procedure costs hundreds of dollars, you make minimum wage, the nearest clinic is hundreds of miles away, and you can’t take off work? While our work is more challenging than ever supporting folks as they travel further distances to access care, a future where Roe is the law of the land isn’t good enough. We’re looking forward to a future with true reproductive justice—safe, affordable abortion care and healthcare for all; comprehensive sex education and free, quality education in every community; living wages for all and so much more.”

Says Chelsea Williams-Diggs, Executive Director of the New York Abortion Access Fund, “For more than twenty years, the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF) has supported New Yorkers, and the increasing number of folks traveling here for care, with financial assistance to access the abortions they need and deserve, despite limited resources. There is often a false belief that New York and other states are “safe” from the effects of the Dobbs decision. We know firsthand that this is simply not true. Many barriers exist in New York, and we have seen an increase in caller volume and need from New Yorkers and out–of–state abortion seekers traveling here. In the year post-Dobbs, NYAAF pledged 1.8 million dollars to directly fund abortion and supported 2000 abortion seekers from 31 states, D.C., the Virgin Islands, as well as 12 countries. As states ban or restrict abortion care, there are ripple effects throughout the entire ecosystem. NYAAF and abortion funds across the country are struggling to fill the gaps created by the failures of our systems. When I reflect on a year post-Dobbs, one word comes to mind — resilience. Despite the failures of our systems, NYAAF and sibling funds have shown courage and resilience like never before to meet this moment of national crisis. As we prepare for the long road ahead, NYAAF’s commitment to abortion seekers is resolute and unwavering.”

“Since Roe v. Wade’s overturning, we’ve entered not just a moment, but an era of unprecedented crisis in abortion access,” says Qudsiyyah Shariyf, deputy director of the Chicago Abortion Fund. “The Chicago Abortion Fund is on the frontlines, grappling with a surge in complex, costly cases, predominantly affecting those most marginalized. Since the Dobbs decision, our helpline has received over 15,000 requests and we have distributed over 5 million in direct assistance.”

Says Neesha Davé, Executive Director of Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, “Looking back, I am blown away by the creativity and compassion shown by our fund’s staff, volunteers, and community of supporters after Roe was overturned. We kept our hotline open while we found new ways to show up for our callers. We started funding non-abortion reproductive healthcare so our hotline callers could still get care like ultrasounds at home, even if they had to leave the state to access abortion. We deepened the level of support we gave each client, and started to give away more money than ever before. We expanded our services to include care kits for Texans on their journeys home. We launched a new pregnancy helpline that supports Texans whether they are pregnant, postpartum, or post-abortion. It was a difficult time to be in this work, and I’m proud of how we showed up.”

“As California’s only statewide abortion fund, we hear directly from folks who still face significant barriers to care, even in a state without an abortion ban,” says Jessica Pinckney, Executive Director of ACCESS RJ. “In 2023, ACCESS Reproductive Justice supported more than 1,500 individuals across the state and country to access abortion care and other reproductive healthcare services — an increase of over 150% since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. With the help of state funding for the first time in ACCESS’s history, our Healthline spent more than $788,401 on caller support this past year, quadruple the amount we spent on callers’ needs in 2022. We are committed to ensuring all Californians have the freedom to make empowered and dignified decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, including the decision to have an abortion, without shame or stigma.”