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How Abortion Funds Help Fill in the Widening Gaps in Care

How Abortion Funds Help Fill in the Widening Gaps in Care

One-third of U.S. women seeking a routine medical procedure need to travel more than 25 miles for it, in some cases needing to leave their own states to access the procedure. Along the way, they face a huge number of barriers and stumbling blocks including not just travel time, but legislative blocks, difficulty arranging for time off, and protesters at the clinics where they go to receive health care.

That procedure is, of course, abortion, the most hotly-contested, controversial aspect of health care in America. Among the many forces fighting to protect abortion access are the vast network of abortion funds across the United States, working to ensure that all women can safely access compassionate, caring, professional abortion services so they aren’t forced to turn to the Kermit Gosnells of the world.

Depending on her state, a woman’s difficulty in accessing abortion can vary from mild to extreme. Some states have mandatory waiting periods, ultrasound laws, and other legislation designed to force women to abandon plans for an abortion, or to make it so difficult that women can’t get the procedure. Many states have a limited number of abortion clinics, especially in rural areas, forcing women to travel great distances for care. It can be difficult to arrange and afford time off from work, childcare, and lodging. The expense of the abortion itself is also a consideration, as abortions aren’t covered by federal funds thanks to the Hyde Amendment, and uninsured women have to pay out of pocket.

This is where abortion funds come in. These services work with women who are having difficulty accessing abortion to provide rapid financial assistance to help them — and in the long term, they’re also part of the larger reproductive rights movement pushing to secure abortion rights. Abortion funds like the National Network of Abortion Funds aren’t just about the money, however. While women can and do apply for financial support, these organizations — such as the Clinic Access Support Network and Access Women’s Health Justice — also provide mentoring, support, and more immediate assistance.

These groups help women with transportation, lodging, food, paperwork and other aspects of accessing abortion services. They can assist women with finding and enrolling in health plans, locating resources and finding abortion counseling. Far from simply providing critically needed funds, they offer holistic support to patients from start to finish, in addition to ongoing support as women process their emotions surrounding their abortions.

They also provide help with issues like leaving abusive relationships, rape crisis counseling, referrals to other services, and more. As nonprofit resources, they rely heavily on donations from members of the community in addition to volunteer hours from people who are able to offer time even if they can’t provide direct funds.

In the long term, such funds hope that they won’t be needed, and that they can shutter their doors to move on to other work. In the short term, though, women rely on their vital support to get through what can be an extremely traumatic and intense experience. Women who need abortion services in an emergency may feel trapped and desperate — but they don’t have to be.

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Photo credit: Andrea Guerra.

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79 comments

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6:24AM PDT on Jun 21, 2014

The only person making this choice is the woman facing it.
Who will feed, house, educate, etc, all of those children?
What of the women?
Even in this day and age, women still die of pregnancy and child birth related complications.


8:44PM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

OK, there is something I don't understand....women should have the ability to control their own body, make their own medical decisions regarding abortion, birth control, contraception. Cool. But we need the government regulating what type of soda and how much of it I can purchase?
Something here does not add up.

2:55PM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Good there are funds for abortion. Apparently, 2014 politicians aren't smart enough to work on today's issues so they keep going back to abortion (and the killing of wolves).

11:13AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

I'm happy to know that these Funds/Organizations exist.... every woman should be aware of resources. STOP The War on Women!!!

8:57AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

4:31AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

When the Nazis are drawn into any argument - Godwin's law applies and they should stop being silly buggers. The Nazis certainly were not "pro-Choice", but they were not "anti-abortion" either. The Nazis believed that a woman's body belonged to the State, and the State would decide what to do with it. The Nazis did not allow abortion for healthy "Aryan" German women, but demanded and forced abortion upon women deemed "unAryan" and "Aryan" German women who were thought to be feeble-minded, or have hereditary diseases. A bit different from what some people have implied. Since Roe Versus Wade the moral pissing game has been missing the point on many levels and it has less to do about morals but rather the fact that the one thing that gets Conservatives hot under the collar is women having sex particularly poor ones as it keeps them in their place apparently.

4:04AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Rolf S, in Nazi Germany the women didn't choose to have an abortion . In the cases discussed here, they are making a choice. Or is that too logical for you?

3:46AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Everyone who has the opinion that killing children which are unwanted ore are expected to have no "good" life, should inform about "T4 Medical Killing Program" / "Tiergarten 4"

And every medic who sees Abortion as a "routine medical procedure" should take stock of him/herself and should reflect, how his/her role would have been in Hitlers Nazi-Germany. Would he have made a prosperous Career?

10:53PM PDT on Jun 15, 2014

Thank you

9:31PM PDT on Jun 15, 2014

@Joseph B, once again, you've reached a new level of absurdity. Massive government debt has nothing to do with abortions and everything to do with war and greed and corruption. Why not worry about these far more important topics?

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