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The Tampa Bay Abortion Fund expects a rush for out-of-state care following the 6-week ban

Protesters attend an abortion rights rally in St. Petersburg on May 3, 2022.
Octavio Jones
WUSF Public Media
Protesters attend an abortion rights rally in St. Petersburg on May 3, 2022.

With no adjoining state offering abortions, Floridians will have to travel thousands of miles for reproductive health care.

By signing a six-week abortion ban, Gov. Ron DeSantis has changed the geography and cost of women's reproductive care in Florida.

That's the reaction from the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund, which helps arrange and pay for abortion care.

Fund board member McKenna Kelley said the group is estimating that 90 percent of the callers to its help line will now be seeking abortion care out-of-state.

RELATED: St. Petersburg votes down $50,000 allocation to Tampa Bay Abortion Fund

And, she pointed out, with no neighboring states offering adequate abortion care, that means lengthy and expensive trips to places like Illinois or Washington, D.C.

"So we're talking about getting people thousands and thousands of miles away," Kelley said. "So that's plane tickets, that's hotel stays for multiple nights. That's transportation on the ground, from the airport, to the clinics and back."

Kelley says that the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund has had the funding to handle the need — so far. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Florida's 15-week abortion ban last year, Kelley said people have been eager to give.

"We saw a huge uptick in donations, what we call rage donations to our fund. Abortion funds all over the country saw a huge uptick," Kelley said. "I mean, dollar amounts that I've never seen all coming in at once."

Kelley said those donations meant that the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund has been able to help everyone who has sought it this past year.

I started my journalism career delivering the Toledo Blade newspaper on my bike.