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Abortion rights groups across the country have seen a tidal wave of financial support this week after a proposed Supreme Court decision leaked to provisionally overturn Roe vs. Wade has been made public.
Elliott Kozuch, senior communications strategist at NARAL Pro-Choice America, said donations to the group skyrocketed 1,400% the day after Politico first reported that the Supreme Court may overturn the landmark case, which would leave the fate of abortion rights in the hands of individual states. About half of the supporters were first-time donors, Kozuch told NPR.
The organization raised more online in a single day than ever before, Kozuch said.
ActBlue, a Democratic fundraising platform, reported raising $12 million Tuesday after the news broke.
The Abortion Care Network said it has raised $250,000 since the draft court ruling was leaked, the biggest influx of donations the charity has seen. The DC Abortion Fund raised “an unprecedented amount of donations” – $132,377 in two days, said Devin Simpson, its communications director.
“Typically, when abortion-related news breaks, we see a spontaneous outpouring of support from our community and individual donors. We tend to see a lot of support, especially on social media, encouraging people to donate specifically to funds,” Simpson told NPR. .
For a donor, giving was a very personal decision
Madeline Webster, a 28-year-old social worker in St. Louis, Mo., donated to a local abortion fund. She said she knows firsthand how important it is to have access to an abortion. She met a fellow student in need during her first week of college at Indiana State University in 2011. The two were riding in an elevator when Webster asked her fellow student how she was doing.
The young woman broke down in tears and shared with Webster that she had just found out she was pregnant, Webster said. She said she drove the student to Planned Parenthood, and while she never asked if she had an abortion, Webster said the student did not appear to be pregnant over the course of the year. school year.
Webster didn’t think much of it until years later when she was sexually assaulted and she too sought help. “I could have lived a really, really different life,” she said.
She said she made a donation because in her eyes it was the least she could do. “It makes me feel a little more like I’m making a difference,” she said.
Webster, who said she identifies as a gay woman, said she knew she didn’t want children. But for others, she explained, the decision can be complicated and may change over time. That’s why an individual’s right to choose to go ahead with a pregnancy is imperative, Webster said.
“I would never want that option taken away from anyone,” she said. “At the end of the day, I just don’t think it’s my business.”
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The Susan B. Anthony List and March for Life, groups seeking to end abortion, did not respond to NPR’s requests for comment.
Donations go beyond funding abortions, helping patients in other ways
Meg Sasse Stern has more than 20 years of experience working with clinics that provide abortion services, including the Kentucky Health Justice Network, where she spent six years as a support fund director before leaving recently. .
The donations go far beyond simply funding the abortion procedure, she explained. Although some seeking an abortion can find a local clinic, others have to travel hundreds of miles. Donations are used to fund airfare, bus tickets, meals, childcare and hotels when needed, which add up quickly, Sasse Stern said.
“It’s becoming a huge undertaking, and for some, abortion isn’t always a big or difficult decision to make; it’s a shared decision to make, and that’s how it should be,” Sasse said. Stern. “They should be able to just take to the streets to get the treatment they need for their condition.”
Patients traveling for an abortion often have to take time off from work, which is not always easy or financially feasible. And patients who are forced to wait find themselves at risk of complications.
“The more obstacles a person faces, the more difficult it becomes,” Sasse Stern said. “These extra weeks are going to be agonizing if not dangerous.”
If the Supreme Court goes through with its preliminary ruling, abortion rights for patients will vary from state to state. As it stands, around 40 million women of childbearing age live in states that are “hostile” to abortion rights. More than 20 states could see restrictions or outright bans on abortion should deer be overthrown.
Simpson said many abortion rights funds and clinics have long operated on the assumption that deer could be overturned. If the draft court ruling were to pass, he said the DC Abortion Fund would help anyone who walked through its doors.
“If Roe were to be overthrown in June, DCAF plans to continue doing what we have done for the past 26 years: fund abortions,” Simpson said.