Did you know that independent abortion clinics, like Austin Women’s Health Center, provide the majority of abortions performed in the U.S.? Unfortunately, at least 136 independent abortion providers have been forced to close as a result of the anti-choice restrictions states have imposed on them over the years. Our sister clinic, Killeen Women’s Health Center, was one of them. Independent abortion providers understand how our right to abortion means little without the resources to access it, and many of us partner with local and national organizations that help alleviate the burdens patients face when making decisions about abortion. Because people who access abortion are likely to be poor, securing finances to pay for an abortion can be difficult for many — especially because in Texas, most private and state insurance (like Medicaid) prohibits coverage for abortion.
In this blog, we want to let you know about the organizations working to make abortion access not just a right but a reality for our patients, and for patients everywhere in Texas. We know that without their passion and determination for reproductive equity, many people would be forced to continue pregnancies they aren’t ready or prepared for. This holiday season is a perfect time to support these organizations’ missions so that every person has the ability to plan their family when and how they want to.
What Are Abortion Funds?
Abortion funds are nonprofit organizations dedicated to the principle that access to abortion is a human right, and they envision a world where their support is no longer needed. But unfortunately, because of federal and state restrictions, our right to an abortion only means that abortion is legal in the U.S., not that we have the resources to obtain one. Because of this, abortion funds aim to bridge the gap between what patients can afford and what they need.
The support abortion funds can offer varies. Some funds are able to offer direct financial assistance to patients struggling to afford their procedure costs (which average around $500 for both abortion methods), while others provide logistical support like paying for travel costs, rideshares, home stays, and judicial assistance for minors.
Most people contacting abortion funds have low incomes and are people of color, which means they also experience additional barriers to abortion care. And because Texas HB2 forced more than half of Texas’s abortion clinics to close due to the medically unnecessary requirements imposed on providers, Texas has the most cities of any state that are more than 100 miles away from an abortion clinic. This means some patients are faced with additional costs related to traveling and childcare.
The Hyde Amendment
Enacted in 1976, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding from going towards abortion costs. It was designed by Indiana Republican Congressman Henry Hyde to prevent anyone from having an abortion—namely poor people and people of color. The Hyde Amendment currently prohibits abortion funding except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment to the pregnant person. While some states have programs that allowed Medicaid funding to be dispersed to abortion coverage, Texas does not; Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents out of any state after refusing to expand Medicaid eligibility, and most people on state insurance are not able to use it for abortions. Additionally, in 2016, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that prohibits most private insurance from paying for abortions. While some insurances may offer separate plans for an additional premium— spurring the term “rape insurance” from opponents—most Texans have no financial assistance for abortion costs.
Because of this, donating to abortion funds is one of the most direct ways to ensure someone seeking an abortion has access to the resources they need. Abortion funds rely on the generosity of people like you to continue their work, and every dollar makes a difference when it comes to paying for an abortion. Many organizations are also primarily volunteer-led, and if you aren’t currently in a position to donate, we’d like to encourage you to reach out to organizations to see if there are any volunteer opportunities available. Below is a list of funds working to make abortion more accessible for patients in Texas.
National Abortion Federation — The National Abortion Federation (NAF) provides financial assistance to people seeking abortions across the U.S. Most abortion providers partner with NAF.
Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Program (WRRAP) — WRRAP donates 90% of its donated funds to people needing abortions or emergency contraception, and the clinics who partner with WRRAP are also members of the National Abortion Federation.
The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity — As the only local abortion fund serving Central and Southern Texas, the Lilith Fund provides grants to people seeking abortions in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and McAllen. The average grant is $304, and in 2019, Lilith was able to provide nearly $500,000 to people seeking abortions.
La Frontera Fund — Serving the Rio Grande Valley, La Frontera Fund provides financial and logistical assistance to people seeking abortions in or traveling from McAllen.
West Fund — West Fund provides financial assistance to people seeking abortions in West Texas. and to Texans traveling to their partner clinics out of state.
Texas Equal Access Fund — Texas Equal Access Fund (TEA) provides financial assistance to people seeking abortions in or traveling from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Practical/Logistical Support for Abortion
Fund Texas Choice – Founded as a result of Texas HB2, which forced over half of Texas’ clinics to close in 2013, Fund Texas Choice (FTC) provides logistical support to Texans traveling to abortion clinics in and out of state. FTC supports patients with gas assistance, hotel stays, and bus and plane tickets.
The Bridge Collective – The Bridge Collective (TBC) is an all volunteer-led organization that provides free rides and home stays to people seeking abortions in the Austin area. For our patients, they provide invaluable support that allows people experiencing logistical barriers, like lack of transportation, to still access abortion.
Clinic Access Support Network – Clinic Access Support Network provides logistical support, like transportation and lodging, to people in or traveling to Houston aborrion clinics.
Jane’s Due Process – Due to Texas’ parental consent law, minors are required to have parental consent before obtaining an abortion. Otherwise, they must go through a court process to receive a judicial bypass that allows them to proceed with their decision without involving their parents. While most young people do involve their parents in this decision, the ones who don’t always have a good reason. Jane’s Due Process provides support from attorneys, their client services manager, and other staff and volunteers to young people seeking a judicial bypass. Additionally, Jane’s Due Process helps teens navigate their closest Title X clinics for low cost or free birth control, pregnancy testing, and STD testing.