This Is How You Can Help Someone Get a Safe, Legal Abortion — Whether You Do or Don't Have Money to Donate

Consider me your abortion access fairy.
Publish date:
October 28, 2016
abortion rights, abortion fund, Caitlin's Browser History

Quick recap: Huge swaths of the U.S. are incredibly underserved as far as abortion clinics go. Some states have a single clinic. Even if you've got a clinic near you, your procedure might cost an unreasonable amount of money. Protesters, stalking, harassment, etc. Abortion access in the United States is less of a dumpster fire and more of an arsonist convention happening at the Puente Hills landfill (yes, I did google for the largest landfill in the U.S.). Everyone all caught up? Cool. Now we're going to talk about solutions.

I wish I could tell you all the grand policy initiatives you could take part in, but I'm not a lawmaker. I'm just a girl, standing in front of the internet, asking what I can do. The best answer? Cash.

Of course, you can always donate to Planned Parenthood, but if you specifically want your money to be earmarked for abortion, the National Network of Abortion Funds has your back. Just like the name says, it encompasses a lot of smaller local funds that specifically help bridge the gap between the money women have and what they need to get abortions. As they say, "the right to abort is meaningless if you don't have the funds to pay."

The way these funds operate varies, but generally they have a certain amount of money, women in need call and explain their situation, and the fund doles out as much of what they need as they can. There are limited overhead costs, so you know your money is essentially going directly to women. A few of my favorite funds include:

The Lilith Fund: I started donating to the Lilith Fund during Wendy Davis' filibuster. The Lilith Fund specifically gives direct financial assistance those seeking an abortion in Texas. They're super transparent about where their money goes, and you can see their 2015 report here.

Carolina Abortion Fund: The Carolina Abortion Fund is right in the middle of their 2016 Pledge a Protester drive, but you can still pledge! Created to combat 40 Days of Life (the scourge of clinic escorts everywhere), you pledge a per-protestor amount far each of the 40 days, then pay up at the end to benefit the fund. Lemons, lemonade.

Women Have Options/Ohio: Do you think choice shouldn't be based on income? Do you want a really, really cool flag? The Feminist Flag Corps made a "Don't Tread On Me" uterus flag that benefits Women Have Options/Ohio. You can get a single flag for $16 or buy-one-sponsor-one for $25.

There are lots of other funds out there, and you can search through them on the NNAF website. That being said, I know that not everyone has disposable income, but there are ways to help that don't cost much.

The Haven Coalition is based in New York City, and helps women who are undergoing two-day abortion procedures in the city find meals, a place to sleep, and transportation to and from the clinic. If you're down with opening your home, you can help women access reproductive care that they might not have been able to get to otherwise.

Last, but certainly not least — become a clinic escort! (You all knew this was coming.) I started escorting after the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado last year. I was tweeting angrily about how harmful pro-life rhetoric is, but I felt like I was spinning my wheels and not creating any real change. After my first article here, a commenter (who I won't out for privacy/safety reasons) came out to escort in New York! It was honestly the coolest fucking thing. Clinic escorting is about as granular and on-the-ground as you can get — and, honestly, what else am I doing at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning? If you're interested in finding a program in your area, let me know in the comments, and I'll see what I can dig up!