How You Can Help Texans Access Safe Abortion Care, According to People on the Frontlines
On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court officially denied an emergency request to block the near-total abortion ban that went into effect in Texas. The ban outlaws abortion past six weeks gestation, before most people even know they're pregnant, and deputizes citizens to sue anyone they believe has provided or helped someone obtain abortion services, rewarding them $10,000 for their efforts.
In the wake of the devastating decision that essentially gutted Roe v. Wade and ignored nearly 50 years of legal precedent, people are asking themselves how they can help. From spamming the Texas Right To Life's "whistleblower website," to figuring out ways to transfer airline miles to those in Texas that are now forced to seek abortion services out of state, people are finding new and creative ways to help the pregnant people in Texas seek the care they need.
But if people truly want to help Texans seeking abortion services, they need only to turn to the boots on the ground who have been doing this work for decades. In truth, Roe has existed in name only for millions of Texans, especially Black, Indigenous, young, and LGBTQ Texans. House Bill 2, which passed in 2013 and requires clinics to meet hospital-like standards, shuttered nearly half of all abortion clinics in the state. And just last year, Gov. Greg Abbott banned all abortion services under the guise of Covid-19 safety protocols, forcing Texans to travel out of state to obtain the abortion care they need.
In short, Texas abortion fund workers, organizers, and advocates have been here before, they're ready to fight again, and are urging everyone to join them.
Here are the funds and grassroots organizations you can support for Texans seeking abortion care:
The Lilith Fund
Who are they?: Established in 2001, The Lilith Fund is Texas's oldest abortion fund. Serving Texans living Austin, San Antonio, Houston, all the way down to the Rio Grande Valley and out to West Texas, the fund offers direct financial assistant for a person's actual abortion procedure. Abortion procedures cost around $400 initially, and increase in price as the gestational age increases.
What they're doing now: Erika Galindo, organizing program manager at The Lilith Fund, tells InStyle that they're focusing on helping people receive care out-of-state if they're past the six week deadline. "This whole time leading up to the ban we've been trying to build pipelines and trying to figure out where folks can go to get their abortion care," she adds. Galindo says they normally field between 30 and 50 calls a week, but they've seen a dramatic drop in the number of calls as a result of the abortion ban. People no longer have abortion appointments they need funded.
The Lilith Fund also recently launched what they're calling their "hype squad," which encourages people to share and uplift needabortion.org, which helps Texans find an abortion clinic out of state.
How you can help: Galindo says the best way to help the fund is to donate. "We are going to have to focus our resources on getting folks out of the state," she explains, "which will get more expensive obviously, especially because gestation also goes up when folks' abortion care is delayed."
Galindo also encourages people to donate to their own local abortion fund, because, as she says, "anti-abortion extremist tactics spread so quickly so we really need everyone else to be vigilant."
Fund Texas Choice
Who are they?: Fund Texas Choice was founded in direct response to the 2013 anti-abortion law that shuttered nearly half of all abortion clinics in the state. As a result of folks having to travel long distances to seek abortion services, Fund Texas Choice was established to help people get to and from their appointments, secure lodging, get them food, and pay for any other costs that would keep them from getting to the clinic providing their abortion. While they do not pay for abortions specifically, they do provide holistic care that will get a client in touch with additional fund services so they don't have to be overwhelmed by making multiple phone calls.
What they're doing now: Anna Rupani, co-executive director of Fund Texas Choice, says they're operating "business as usual." On average, she says they see six to 10 clients a week. Leading up to the ban going into effect, they saw over 20 per week, and often worked with clinics to get patients abortion care into the final hours before the ban was enacted. Normally, they receive around 10 calls a week. On the day the ban was put into place, they received 12 calls.
"We had a client who had their sonogram yesterday, no embryonic cardiac activity, but Texas requires you to wait 24 hours before you get an abortion," Rupani tells InStyle. "So now we're having to send her out of state for an abortion. We paid for her gas money and paid to get her to the clinic and back yesterday and today, and now we have to book a flight and lodging."
How you can help: Again, donating money to the fund is the best way that you can help them continue their work. "Donate as much as you can. Donate until you can't," Rupani says. "Become a sustained donor, because we're an autonomous organization and when I say donate I do mean that. When we would spend $300 or less for clients to travel in Texas, we're going to be spending $800 or more for them to travel outside of Texas."
Rupani says outside of setting up recurring donation payments, people can amplify Fund Texas Choice by sharing their social media handles and urging others to donate as well. "Make sure folks know that we exist," she adds. And given that many clinics out of state do not know about Fund Texas Choice, or that they'll pay for people to be seen out of state, Rupani is hopeful that more visibility will make other clinics aware of their existence, and they'll contact them when Texans make an abortion appointment at their clinics.
Who are they?: Plan C, a campaign to raise awareness about the modern method of abortion medication in the United States, first started in 2014 and launched their website in 2016. The site provides up-to-date information on where people can access abortion medication and have it sent directly to their homes, without the need to travel to a clinic or have the pills provided by a physician. While the site will help you find pills in states that allow for medication abortion to be administered via telehealth services, it also helps people find "self-managed" abortion pills in the 32 states that require the pills be administered by a physician and the 19 states that require the pills to be administered in a clinical setting.
What they're doing now: "Plan C provides very detailed information about how we know people are getting the pills in Texas," Elisa Wells, co-director and co-founder of Plan C, tells InStyle. "People can go into our website and type in 'Texas' and they can see all the different ways that people are accessing care even with [the abortion ban]. The site also links out to If, When, How, a legal hotline that will answer any questions people have about the legality of self-managing their abortion, and provides links to other resources for people who are in the process of self-managing their abortion, including the Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline that answers any medical questions people might have when they're having their abortion at home.
How you can help: "We love people giving donations to us, because we can use that money to pay ads to spread the word," Wells says. "We also love it when people follow us on our social media platforms." Plan C's Instagram was recently suspended by the platform after they started discussing the Texas Ban, though they're back online once again.
Texas Equal Access Fund
Who are they?: Texas Equal Access Fund is another organization that helps Texans fund their abortions. On average, they're able to give people about $330 to pay for their abortions, though they're looking to increase that amount in the wake of SB8. Half of their clients are parenting at least one child, and cite the need to focus on the children they already have as the reason for their abortion, and 70% are Black, Indigenous, or other people of color.
What are they doing now: "We are going to continue to work with abortion providers in Texas because people are still be able to get abortions before six weeks," Denise Rodriguez, communications manager for Texas Equal Access Fund, tells InStyle. "There's a very limited option for care, but it's still there, so we're going to help people connect. But if they're past the limit we will be there to help them go out of state so they can get the care they need." Rodriguez says this is nothing new for the fund: They had to find ways to pay for people's out-of-state abortions during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, so that experience, along with the 15 years of experience the fund has in helping people pay for their abortions, has helped them put together a plan to make sure Texans can access the care they need.
How you can help: "The biggest thing we need now is money. That is what we are asking for: for folks to donate if they can," Rodriguez explains. "And if they can't we're asking them to share our link everywhere on social media or organize a fundraiser for us and we are happy to help them plan it." She says outside of donating, sharing their social media channels and uplifting their own social posts is a big help and can make sure the fund gets more visibility.
Who are they?: Abortion Finder is operated by Bedsider, a project of Power to Decide, which was established in 1996 in direct response to President Clinton's 1995 State of the Union call to reduce teen pregnancy rates. Launched in 2020, the site, available in both English and Spanish, provides up-to-date information about the availability of abortion care across the country and features over 750 clinics that provide abortions.
What they're doing now: "As the clock ticked down on abortion access in Texas, we definitely saw an uptick in traffic to the site," Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, CEO of Power to Decide, tells InStyle. "We received 33% more organic traffic, people coming to us from search engines, in the week leading up to SB8 going into effect than we did the week before that." McDonald-Mosley says that they're dedicated to continuing to provide information about Texas providers offering care, provide information for out-of-state providers who offer care after 6 weeks to Texans, and will provide a list of funds and Practical Support Organizations to support people seeking abortion in Texas or later outside of Texas.
How you can help: "For people who want to support, follow us on social media and share our resources. Abortion Finder has an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page," McDonald-Mosley explains. "You can also send a message to your members of Congress to urge them to support the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA), which would block laws, like the new Texas abortion law, that make abortion harder to get. We also encourage people to donate to health centers and abortion funds in Texas.