Funding to underwrite abortions drying up a year and a half after Dobbs decision

By Dave Andrusko

It’s only one story but if true, not only now but for the indefinite future, it’s very important.

Writing for The Hill Nathaniel Weixel’s lead is “Abortion funds that help people cover the costs of getting the procedure are struggling with money as the waves of donations that followed the end of Roe v. Wade have begun to dry up.”

The headline is “‘Rage’ abortion donations dry up, leaving funds struggling to meet demand.” They call it “rage” donations because people who gave money early on did so because they were angry, Weixel explains.

This diminishing pool of money has

Led some of the independent organizations — which help cover expenses for abortions and associated costs, such as transportation, child care, and lodging — to scale back or even pause operations.

After the Dobbs decision in June 2022, many funds received large donations from Americans outraged at seeing the right to an abortion stripped away.  

The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), which comprises 100 funds across the country, said its members disbursed close to $37 million to about 103,000 people from July 1, 2022, to June 30. That was an 88 percent increase in spending compared to the year before. 

But anger needs headlines for fuel and Weixel explains that donations dropped as the issue “faded from headlines.”

“We noticed with any sort of moment that happens, whether it is a certain election, an introduction of an abortion ban, or in this case, the overturning of Roe, there is this immediate desire to like, make a contribution to abortion funds or make contributions to the movement,” said Oriaku Njoku, NNAF’s executive director.  

“While we appreciate the rage, giving what is actually required to make sure that people can consistently get the care they need is that long-term investment in abortion funds,” Njoku said. 

In the immediate aftermath of the leak of the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe a few months later, “dollars were just raining,” said Chasity Wilson, executive director of the Louisiana Abortion Fund. “And then a few months after that, it kind of died off,” added Bree Wallace, director of case management at the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund. 

Wallace estimated the fund spent about $700,000 in 2023, but “we definitely couldn’t do that again this year.”  

Donations dropped 63 percent from 2022 to 2023, Wallace said. The fund was previously able to help people across Florida but now is limited to people coming into or out of the Tampa area.

Her organization stopped giving out funds for four months “and only reopened at the beginning of January.” 

Near the end of the story, Weixel writes

When abortion was legal, it was not uncommon for funds to pause operations if they ran over their monthly budgets. But fund officials said there’s a ripple effect now, because when one fund closes or pauses, others step in to help. 

“That is the reality for organizations like this. We do run out of funds and there are some people we cannot support,” said Callaway.