Abortion funds play a vital role in the Reproductive Justice movement by providing both direct financial and logistical assistance to individuals seeking reproductive care, including abortion. These grassroots groups, like us here at Access Reproductive Care-Southeast (ARC-Southeast), work to break down the many barriers to accessing abortion, affirming people’s right to bodily autonomy in the process.
In a post-Roe world where state laws are rapidly shrinking legal abortion access across the South, and opposition lawmakers are banking on the confusing nature of the laws, the work of abortion funds has become more crucial than ever. The costs to get an out-of-state abortion—from travel to accommodation to childcare—can easily total thousands of dollars. This immense financial burden either delays people’s care, or may even prevent them from obtaining an abortion altogether.
Abortion funds help to fill this gap through direct funding that may cover everything from the procedure costs to the plane ticket to the hotel room. These funds arrange transportation, provide meals and emergency contraception, translate information, and can even offer emotional support. Because people are having to travel further away from their home communities, costs and associated expenses usually vary greatly, and appointments often have to be scheduled further out because of it. With the precarious nature of abortion bans time-limits, every moment is precious!
The ‘practical support’ that abortion funds provide is vital, but just as important is the message of solidarity and affirmation they send. By trusting people with financial assistance and meeting them with compassion, abortion funds affirm that each person deserves to make the reproductive choices that are best for their lives. Rather than policing what people “should” do, we respect individuals’ autonomy and decision-making, as well as their human right to seek safe and dignified medical care. No shaming or judging, just open hearts, open hands, and consistent radical love.
This judgment-free allyship uplifts people’s dignity during a difficult time, and provides a marked contrast to the stigma and constant misinformation coming from the anti-abortion movement. Abortion funds make clear that the anti-choice side does not speak for society as a whole! There are legions of people ready to defend bodily autonomy and provide unconditional support, and even when the laws and politicians fail, the grassroots community has your back.
Abortion funds also open a window towards radical liberation. They plant seeds of collective care and responsibility, by pooling community resources to help members access essential healthcare. In many cases, the mutual aid of abortion funds acts as an entryway into radical community organizing for people! This mutual aid practice reflects the feminist ethic “the personal is political” – private troubles stem from and reveal public, systemic injustices caused by the capitalist state. Abortion funds put solidarity into action, asserting that we can and must take care of each other even when the state refuses.
There are numerous ways you can engage with abortion funds in this critical historical moment:
- Donate to your local abortion fund. At ARC-Southeast, you can give a one-time donation, or select a recurring monthly gift to provide ongoing reliable assistance as the need dramatically increases.
- Sign up for an abortion doula training session to learn how to provide emotional and physical support.
- Spread the word and PUBLICLY support reproductive justice organizations that provide direct aid to those in need, such as the Palmetto State Abortion Fund, Indigenous Women Rising, and the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, so that those across the South needing help can find our resources. Something as simple as a social media post could help someone learn about the crucial services these organizations offer!
- Advocate for systemic policies, like Medicaid coverage of abortion and unrestricted universal healthcare to address inequities at the root. We know that direct and mutual aid are only temporary solutions to deeply rooted capitalist crises.
- Push back against abortion stigma whenever you encounter it, full stop. In your church, on the bus, online — don’t be afraid to confront lies and stigma with truth.
- Support ARC-Southeast’s emergency contraception program, Plan B: Southeast, by registering your business or community space as a Plan B outpost!
Abortion access should not depend on charity, but rather be fully funded through our healthcare system. Until that reality is won, abortion funds will be on the frontlines providing a vital lifeline to those most in need. Join in solidarity with our vision of reproductive justice for all!