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Abortion funds, including those in Florida, see surge in donations after overturning of Roe v. Wade

Crowd of people march in the middle of a city street. Some hold signs with statements like "Don't call yourself pro life if you only value certain lives."
Stephanie Colombini
/
WUSF Public Media
A large crowd of protesters held an abortion rights rally in Lykes Gaslight Park before marching to Water Street, where the Moms for Liberty convention was taking place in a Marriott hotel.

Experts call the money pouring into reproductive rights groups an example of "rage giving." Pro-choice advocates say their next challenge is building sustained support.

Even before some states like Florida enacted laws to restrict or limit access to abortion, many people couldn’t afford one.

Federal funds, through programs like Medicaid, cannot be used to pay for the medical procedure.

Abortion funds focus on providing people with money to pay for abortions, as well as help with logistics like travel and childcare.

Debasri Ghosh is director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, which includes six partner organizations in Florida.

She says in just the first week after the Supreme Court decision was released, the organization raised $7 million nationwide.

"It really affirms for us that abortion is a winning issue,” Ghosh said. “People want and need abortion access. So, I have faith that we can continue to activate this growing base of abortion access supporters."

But Gnosh says that will take some planning because often after a specific political or cultural moment that spurs people to donate, financial giving eventually diminishes.

"We know that the media firestorm around abortion access will likely die down, it will become the new normal and the need is not going to wane at all in fact it's going to continue to ramp up,” Gnosh said. “It's going to get worse before it gets better and abortion funds are really the last line of defense for many, many communities."

In Florida, reproductive rights advocacy groups say giving has also increased sharply since the passing of the state's 15-week abortion ban.

Since April, the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund has raised more than three times last year's budget to provide funding and logistical support for abortion care.

"People are angry and they make rage donations and they're so appreciated, but we're in this for the long haul and we need other people to be in for the long term too — because the need for abortions is not going away, it's only going to continue to increase,” said McKenna Kelly, a volunteer with the nonprofit group. “We really depend on recurring donations because that’s how we plan for the future.

Kelly adds that even before the fall of Roe and Florida's new law, abortion — due to its cost — has not been accessible to everyone, particularly low-income people of color.

In addition to the state's 15-week abortion ban, a law that recently went into effect after a lengthy court battle requires abortion patients in Florida to make two doctors visits to obtain the procedure. So even with the increase in donations, the group is currently not funded to help anyone that would need to travel out of state.

“So, the barriers have just gotten tougher,” Kellysaid. “But people do have options, whether that’s in Florida or out of Florida, and Tampa Bay Abortion Fund and funds like us can help you access those options."

As a reporter, my goal is to tell a story that moves you in some way. To me, the best way to do that begins with listening. Talking to people about their lives and the issues they care about is my favorite part of the job.
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