An abortion fund is a non-profit organization that provides financial and logistical assistance to low-income women who cannot afford the costs of an abortion. Abortion funds play a role in financing abortion services in countries where abortion is legal but health insurance may not cover abortion, or where abortion is illegal and women must travel for a legal abortion.
Abortion funds determine the amount of financial assistance based on individual need. Clients are interviewed individually and are expected to contribute as much as possible out-of-pocket, with the remainder provided by the fund as grant and/or repayable loan. Abortion funds rarely provide funding for the entire procedure. Some funds will combine resources with other funds to increase the grant or loan total. Most abortion funds serve a particular region or metropolitan area. Some abortion funds are related to a specific clinic, with funds available only for patients of that clinic. In addition to covering medical costs, some abortion funds provide child care, transportation assistance, meals, doula services, and other support services.
Most abortion funds are funded primarily by local donors and grant-making institutions. However, in 2019, the New York City Council allocated $250,000 to a local abortion fund for patients traveling from other states to New York for an abortion.
Abortion funds operate in a number of countries. The National Network of Abortion Funds is an umbrella group for local abortion funds in the United States, and operates the Tiller Memorial Fund. The Abortion Support Network serves residents of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Malta and Gibraltar who need to travel for an abortion. The MARIA Abortion Fund for Social Justice provides financial, logistical and emotional support to access legal abortion services in Mexico City.
Abortion costs in the United States
Cost is a common barrier to abortion care in the United States. The cost of an abortion varies by facility, type of abortion, and gestation of the pregnancy. As of 2014, the median cost of a procedural or medication abortion in the first trimester is estimated to be about $500, and about twice as much in the second trimester. This does not include non-medical costs, such as transportation, lodging, childcare and lost wages.
Health insurance does not always cover abortion. Federal funding for abortion through Medicaid, the public health insurance program for low-income residents, is banned except for cases of incest, rape, and life endangerment due to the Hyde Amendment. In addition, as of 2019, 33 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the use of state Medicaid funds for abortion, and 11 states restrict private health insurance for abortion.
U.S. abortion patients are disproportionately poor or low-income, and most do not have access to insurance coverage that pays for abortion. As a result, the majority of abortion patients incur high out-of-pocket costs when receiving abortion services. The out-of-pocket costs of abortion contributes to delays in seeking care, which can further increase costs for the procedure and for travel to clinics that offer abortion at later gestation.
- Abortion in Mexico
- Abortion in the United Kingdom
- Abortion in the United States
- Hyde Amendment
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- "An Overview of Abortion Laws". Guttmacher Institute. July 1, 2019.
- Jerman J, Jones RK and Onda T, Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients in 2014 and Changes Since 2008, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2016.
- National Network of Abortion Funds - A US-based network of ~70 member abortion funds in about 40 states and the District of Columbia. The Network also runs advocacy campaigns to work toward repeal of abortion coverage restrictions, such as the Hyde Amendment.
- National Abortion Federation - A US-based organization providing information, referrals, and assistance with coordinating funding, sometimes from multiple sources.
- Abortion Support Network - A UK-based organization that provides advice, financial assistance, and housing for residents of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Malta and Gibraltar who need to travel for an abortion.
- MARIA Abortion Fund for Social Justice - A Mexico-based organization that provides financial, logistical and emotional support to access legal abortion services in Mexico City.