Let me paint you a picture of abortion funding in 2021.
Imagine: you’re an abortion fund volunteer showing up for your weekly shift answering your fund’s warmline. The warmline works like this: people who can’t afford their abortion call and leave a message. Someone from the fund calls them back within 48 hours. Tonight, that person is you.
At the beginning of your shift, you look at the money you’re able to give away. The average cost of an abortion in your state is $500. Your fund receives more than 500 calls a year. If you fully resourced every caller, you’d burn through your fund’s $52,000 annual abortion funding budget in months. Today, like most days, you’ll pledge to cover a portion of the cost and connect the caller with another abortion fund for additional support.
You spend hours talking to callers and reaching out to other abortion fund staffers, clinics, and allies in your network for support. You’re committed to the work, but you’re a volunteer struggling to manage care that the government should provide.
Abortion fund staff and volunteers hustle every day to make abortion not only legal, but accessible for their callers. The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) exists to make this critical work more visible, more valued, and most importantly: more sustainable.
As barriers to abortion access multiply, more people are relying on abortion funds for financial and practical assistance. Abortion funds need more money, more visibility, and more paid staff to meet the increased need. Working in partnership with our network, NNAF has created a plan to do just that. We call it Operation Scale Up.
Operation Scale Up: A Road Map for A Post-Roe Future
Operation Scale Up will create a new model for abortion funding, where anyone who wants an abortion can call one number to receive everything they need to access the procedure — financial support, transportation, lodging, food, childcare — assisted by a single case manager.
Operation Scale Up is powered by the leadership and on-the-ground experience of abortion funds. Working with abortion funds across the United States, NNAF will:
- Ensure every fund has a full-time staff member paid a thriving wage. More people of color — particularly former abortion fund callers — must be compensated for their leadership at abortion funds.
- Help funds coordinate caller support across state lines. This will be critical as some states move quickly to restrict abortion access.
- Invest in a shared intake model. Wonky but crucial, this will make sure that funds have the data they need to support a full-funding model.
We’ve already started this work with five pilot funds in Washington, D.C., North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, providing funding, logistical support, and tools to help these funds grow. In the pilot region, states with significant restrictions to legal abortion border states that serve as abortion access destinations, an inequitable reality that’s become increasingly common. This fall, we’ll begin building a shared intake system for the pilot funds to use as they collaborate in real-time. Through it all, we’re building, testing, evaluating, and learning what works. Your support will help us take the final version of Operation Scale Up nationwide. A gift of any size is an investment in NNAF’s ongoing work to reshape the abortion funding landscape.
Friends, knowing we can count on your steadfast support allows us to focus on what’s most important: the needs of abortion funds and their callers. Your gift today funds that critical work.
National Network of Abortion Funds
PS: When you make a monthly donation to NNAF, you are also invited to join our community of individual members. Click the button below to join today.