With a looming Supreme Court ruling that could overturn or severely undermine Roe v. Wade, legislatures in 26 states are poised to move quickly to outlaw abortion if given the green light. This seemingly dystopian reality has been years in the making. The 2021 legislative session saw the passage of over 100 abortion restrictions—more than in any other year since Roe was decided. At present, nearly 60 percent of the population lives in a state that is hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights.

A robust and multifaceted coalition continues to fight for abortion rights in the courts, Congress and state legislatures. Critical to this movement are local abortion funds—on-the-ground groups and networks that provide dollars to directly cover the cost of abortion procedures, as well as support for collateral needs like transportation, lodging, food, childcare and doula services.

Abortion funds often serve as an initial point of contact and primary support system for patients navigating myriad barriers—from managing basic logistics, to debunking misinformation, to facing harassment and intimidation at clinics—as well as state-proscribed hurdles like mandatory waiting periods, parental consent or judicial bypass provisions. And they play a crucial advocacy role in addressing those most impacted by these restrictive laws, centering low-income, young, and communities of color, among others. The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) powerfully calls out the need for such “organizing at the intersections of racial, economic and reproductive justice.”

Despite the clear and present need for the services they provide, a January 2021 report issued by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy found that foundation support for abortion funds occupies only a small fraction—just 3 percent—of the overall philanthropic commitment to reproductive rights initiatives nationwide.

Read the full article about direct aid for abortion access by Gabriella Limón and Jennifer Weiss-Wolf at Ms. Magazine