A Guide to Abortion Funds: What They Are and How They Can Help

Deciding to have an abortion can be a complex and difficult decision to make. Unfortunately for some, the cost of an abortion can affect their ability to seek medical care. It's important to know there are financial resources available in some cases – such as abortion funds.

Key takeaways:
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    Abortion funds are non-profit organizations that provide financial assistance to people seeking abortion services.
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    The goal of abortion funds is to bridge the gap between raising private funds for abortion services while ensuring individuals have access to abortion care.
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    Depending on the abortion fund, awards can range from covering abortion care entirely or partially to providing additional aid such as transportation costs and lodging fees.
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    Each abortion fund works differently, and the best way to understand how one can help you is to speak directly with an abortion fund representative.

This post will discuss exactly what abortion funds are and how people can use them for financial assistance if they ever need to. Whether you're looking for information about these specific funds or just need general tips for managing the cost of an abortion, this post will provide some clarity on a subject that is often shrouded in confusion or stigma.

What are abortion funds?

Abortion funds have been providing financial support to women in need of abortions since the 1980s. Initially formed as part of more general abortion rights advocacy organizations, they now exist as independent, non-profits dedicated to covering abortion costs and associated expenses for those who lack the means to pay for them on their own. This includes funding for abortion procedures, travel and accommodation costs, or other associated expenses. They also often support clients with comprehensive information about abortion and act as signposts to other services such as contraception or family planning support.

Abortions can cost between $500 to $1000 in the first trimester alone, increasing to $1500 and significantly higher later in pregnancy. For those on low incomes or facing other financial barriers, abortion funds can provide vital access to abortion care. Though abortion funds vary depending on location and need, most provide direct financial assistance and refer patients to providers who offer abortion care at cost or below the current market rate. After decades of providing support to people in need of abortion care, abortion funds are now joined by a growing number of groups devoted to raising awareness and combating systemic barriers that keep individuals from accessing these crucial medical procedures.

How do abortion funds work?

Abortion funds are largely dependent on donations and organized fundraising campaigns, though some receive grants from larger foundations. These organizations used these funds to finance their activities and provide direct financial assistance to service users. From July 2019 to June 2020 alone, these organizations helped over 80,000 people obtain abortion services with the help of donations from individuals and partner organizations.

Donation-based abortion funds usually employ a staff that focuses on fundraising, community outreach, media advocacy, and organizational development, providing abortion seekers with access to confidential abortion resources and information. Additionally, abortion funds may form partnerships with abortion rights and advocacy organizations to advance their collective social justice objectives. With these practices in place, abortion funds can provide critical services for people who would otherwise be unable to obtain abortion care due to financial restrictions.

How can you request abortion funds?

Before reaching out to an abortion fund, you should check with your insurance (if you have one) to see if an abortion will be covered. Whether or not you have insurance coverage, you should then reach out to different clinics to determine the cost, and discount options, and make an appointment. Figure out how much you can afford to cover and then search for an abortion fund in your home state or where the clinic appointment is located, and read the instructions to determine if you may qualify to get the funds. Note that each abortion fund will have different criteria for provider selection and may compensate clinics at various levels or cover certain abortion options.

After identifying a suitable abortion care provider, you can contact the abortion fund to find out its specific requirements to receive financial assistance from them. A fund representative will typically begin by asking callers a few questions to determine their needs and eligibility for assistance. Questions may be used to gather information about factors such as income, residency, or insurance, among others. You may also need to submit a financial statement or proof of income. These items, along with others provided by the abortion fund organization, will be used to determine your eligibility and if they can help cover the abortion costs associated with your request.

Depending on individual state laws and caller eligibility, abortion funds may help subsidize abortion care directly (sent to the provider or earmarked for the patient) or connect callers with other resources that can assist in the cost of abortion services. They also offer support by connecting people considering abortion to medical providers and answering various questions about abortion procedures and aftercare. It's important to note that while abortion funds provide the support they ultimately cannot guarantee everyone who provides a form will receive funding due to limited capacity. Still, abortion fund organizations offer a safe and supportive place to receive direct help and guidance on the procedure itself, as well as other topics related to abortion such as contraception advice.

How to get in touch with the abortion funds

You can search the National Network of Abortion Funds website for information on local abortion funds and how to apply for financial assistance. The National Network of State Funds website provides a list of abortion access fund programs across the United States and is an excellent resource for anyone researching abortion funds in their area. Additionally, you may find many abortion advocacy groups that provide funding for those seeking abortion care. These organizations typically have an online presence with contact information and helpful advice relating to the process of applying for abortion funding.

Abortion funds are organizations that provide financial assistance to people who need abortion care but don't have the resources to cover it. For those in need, abortion funds can be an invaluable resource, allowing them to obtain abortion services without fear of judgment or unaffordable costs. If you or someone you know is considering abortion and needs help paying for it, contact your local abortion fund to see if they can assist you.

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