This month would have marked the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Pro-abortion rights activists protest at the federal building plaza in Chicago on Dec. 1. The protest was one of several staged nationwide on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court hearing of oral arguments in a Mississippi abortion case that led to a ban on most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Scott Olson/Getty Images/TNS

However, the Supreme Court tossed out the right to a safe and legal abortion, leaving these vital rights in the hands of each state. This has resulted in unequal, unfair and unjust consequences for people who happen to reside in a state that now bans or restricts abortion access. The consequences are especially severe for low-income, Black, Indigenous and other people of color.

Imagine finding out you are pregnant and your partner all of a sudden disappears. You are working full time in a low-income job. You already have two children. And you live in a state that has now banned abortion. What do you do? Where do you begin? This is a common scenario for most patients who my organization, Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, serves.

Although abortions are one of the safest and most common health care procedures in the U.S., communities of color and those with lower incomes face huge barriers when it comes to gaining access and care.

To start, the individual has to do extensive research to find a clinic outside their state and book an appointment. That is not always easy to do; many out-of-state clinics are working hard to navigate a surge in patients. The person also has to look at taking time off work, figuring out child care and covering the cost of gas and travel expenses. Once the individual finds out the cost – which can range anywhere from $700 to $1,500, depending on the state – they then have to figure out how to pay for their abortion and any travel-related expenses.

At WRRAP, we have a streamlined system that allows us to work directly with clinics on a daily basis to provide the funding support necessary for a person seeking abortion care. We also work with other funds that provide those “practical supports” – gas, airfare, child support, etc.


We have continued to stand strong in our ability to fund patients from coast to coast. In fact, this past year we pledged out over $1.4 million to more than 6,000 patients seeking abortions, many of them (38%) having to travel to another state for abortion care.

In recent weeks, the Food and Drug Administration has given retail pharmacies approval to dispense the abortion pill. In terms of access and reducing the time it takes to have the pill delivered by mail, this is a huge victory. Yet, because of the administrative barriers involved, which most other medications do not require, we know that not every pharmacy will be moving forward with dispensing pills. Many pharmacies may simply not have the time or resources to offer the pills. Over 67% of WRRAP’s funding is for patients in their first trimester; having better access to medication abortion is key to helping patients get the care they need and want.

While we will always honor Roe v. Wade, our movement is now stronger and bigger than Roe. We believe the midterm elections are proof that public opinion is aligning more and more with ours, that people that the decision to have an abortion is a decision to be made between a doctor and a patient – not involving any state or federal government.

On Jan. 22 this year, we won’t be celebrating. Instead, we’ll be pushing forward to dismantle this unjust system and to ensure all people have access to safe and legal abortion.

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