It’s happening: The Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights by overruling Roe v. Wade, according to a document reportedly leaked from the court itself. This is devastating news that will have lethal consequences. If you’re one of the majority of adults in the U.S. who support abortion rights, the impulse to do something to fight back is probably ringing in your ears right now—and one of the quickest, most powerful things any one person can do right now is donate directly to one of the country’s 90-plus abortion funds.
An abortion fund is an autonomous, community-based organization that helps fund abortions for people who need help with medical costs, transportation, translation services, temporary housing, child care costs, or any other associated fees they can’t afford. What an individual abortion fund does varies based on location and barriers associated to abortion access in a given community—the needs of people who turn to Frontera Fund in Rio Grande Valley are different from those who contact the Hoosier Abortion Fund in Indiana.
By contrast, high-profile national non-profits like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America focus most of their resources on a broader spectrum of reproductive rights issues—and do so by lobbying politicians, endorsing pro-choice candidates, and running educational campaigns. This is all important work, but it rarely has the personal, immediate impact that an abortion fund’s services do.
Planned Parenthood, specifically, also runs clinics that provide sexual health services—but there are other major signs it may not be the best conduit for abortion rights in this moment. In April, Jezebel reporter Susan Rinkunas found that the non-profit canceled all upcoming abortion appointments at its clinics in Georgia and Alabama with no publicity, no warning, and no concrete plans to resume normal operation in the immediate future.
Abortion funds also really fucking need our money in a way that reproductive rights giants don’t. In 2021, Rinkunas reported that grassroots abortion funds were only able to serve a little more than 20 percent of the people who reached out for help in 2020. If you want to see what impact your money will have, the National Network of Abortion Funds collects information about what individual abortion funds do for people who are in need of their services—or who are interested in making the most impactful donation possible. And to find one in a place serving people who particularly need support, this report in The Cut on abortion funds highlights organizations in states most hostile to abortion rights, like Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming—all of which have “trigger laws” designed to automatically ban abortion as soon as Roe is officially overturned.
When you donate, setting up a smaller, recurring donation on a weekly or monthly basis is better than an eye-poppingly large one-time donation. An ongoing monetary commitment helps ensure that these funds are supported after the initial swell of outrage and fear dulls to a low hum of despair. (That’s a good rule of thumb for any kind of giving, especially to grassroots orgs.) People are going to continue to need help, and so the abortion funds providing that support will, too.
Abortion funds exist to help people condemned to painful, life-threatening pregnancies, people trapped in abusive or economically impossible situations, and people at high risk of being criminalized for exercising control over their own bodies. It is our fundamental responsibility as human beings to help them do that however we can—and as directly as we can. Abortion funds are the best way to fight back that we’ve got right now.
Katie Way is a senior staff writer at VICE. Follow her on Twitter.