I funded my abortion and I expect to see more post Roe that way

  • I got pregnant last year when my IUD moved, and I decided to have an abortion.
  • My family’s income had been hit hard by COVID and we had no money for the response.
  • I’ve funded over $300 to help pay for my abortion, and I expect to see more after Roe.

I’ve always been pro-choice. I grew up in a Catholic family but my parents expressed progressive social views, so it’s only natural that I share their sentiment. Although personally I never thought I would have an abortion, I have always been supportive of those seeking one. So when I unexpectedly got pregnant last year because of my misplaced IUD, deciding to have an abortion was not a big moral conflict for me. In fact, the biggest conflict that stood in my way was the prohibitive cost of the procedure.

The pandemic has been difficult for my family financially. I went from a fairly lucrative career as a freelance writer to working as an unpaid writer in 2020 and 2021. That meant lost tens of thousands of dollars in income. Fortunately, with some major adjustments to our expenses, my family — my husband, our three children, and I — found a way to live comfortably on less income. However, this tighter budget meant that there was absolutely no wiggle room for major expenses, even if they were emergencies.

I didn’t know how I was going to find the money for my abortion

This truth was at the forefront of my thoughts when I realized I was pregnant. I knew I needed an abortion and I knew abortions were expensive. I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to afford one.

My dilemma was compounded by a few details.

One: my IUD had become embedded in my uterus, which made the abortion more complicated than usual. Having to see multiple doctors for help to overcome this hurdle added to the overall expense of seeking an abortion.

And two: my positive pregnancy test came only a few weeks before the SB 8 Texas Heartbeat Act was to go into effect in my state. The Heartbeat Act bans abortions after six weeks, the benchmark date a flutter located where the fetal heart will develop can be detected by ultrasound. This meant that I had a tight deadline to get an abortion. If the procedure was delayed too long, I would have to risk even more expense to travel out of state for treatment.

A friend suggested I try crowdfunding

But nothing could be done until I had the funds to pay for my abortion. As I mentioned, my family income was not prepared for an expense like this. The pandemic had also hit our friends and family pretty hard, so asking them for a loan would have been both insensitive and futile. In my desperation, I was considering payday advances and title loans when a friend suggested I finance my abortion.

I had seen people participatory payment for a number of medical problems. In fact, I had done a campaign years before when my father was receiving treatment for cancer. Although abortion is stigmatized, the procedure is as much a medical issue as any other health need. Determined to raise funds, I took to Twitter and aired my case in hopes of funding my abortion.

With the cost of visits to three different clinics and the eventual procedure, my abortion ended up costing $850. Of this amount, I was able to finance less than half. It may not seem like much, but the $320 I was able to raise made all the difference in getting me an abortion. Without the generosity of friends and strangers on Twitter, my abortion story might have had a much different ending.

I expect to see a lot more crowdfunding for out-of-state abortions in our post-Roe world

Unfortunately, my story is about to become even more mainstream for those seeking abortions.

With June 24 Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, millions of Americans have lost their constitutional right to abortion. Without the protection offered by Roe v Wade, nearly half of US states should criminalize abortion, if they haven’t already. For people living in these states, this means the substantial loss of bodily autonomy. It also means that, if they need an abortion, they have a tough decision: face the expense that comes with an out-of-state abortion or pursue an unwanted pregnancy, another massive expense.

For some, the added expense of an out-of-state abortion won’t be such a big deal. People with disposable income will be better equipped to meet travel-related expenses. They are also more likely to have resources such as support from friends and family, paid time off through an employer, and access to abortion counseling before and after their procedure. They will have the kind of options that everyone should have.

Unfortunately, not everyone has these alternatives. The people made most vulnerable by the court ruling are already the most marginalized in our society. Black and brown people, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, the undocumented, the poor, and the lower middle class are all more likely to live pay check. They are also less likely to have support systems – both personal and professional – to help them make decisions about abortion.

Just as crowdfunding has become a normal way to fund medical bills, I expect we’ll soon see more fundraisers to support abortions.

While this reality is far from ideal, there are ways to contribute to abortion funds that will go towards helping real people get the care they need. Large organizations like Planned Parenthood are doing a lot to provide reproductive health care and education, but they are already receiving major donations from large corporations and non-profit organizations. In order to reach even more people in need, try donating to small grassroots abortion organizations in your area or at non-profit legal advocacy groups specializing in abortion. Funds donated to these causes will go a long way in helping people claim their right to choose.

The Supreme Court’s decision regarding Roe v. Wade will certainly have countless repercussions that we have yet to consider. However, the financial burden of abortion is a burden we can fight now in the name of reproductive freedom for all.

Jeanetta J. Stewart