The Supreme Court’s devastating overturning of Roe v. Wade last month means that abortion will likely be illegal or heavily restricted in 26 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute. And while we don’t yet know exactly what abortion access will look like in post-Roe America, or how these restrictions will be enforced, we do know this: Abortion funds, providers, and practical support groups will be overwhelmed.
In places where abortion is well protected (at least for now), clinics are already gearing up to serve an influx of people who live in neighboring abortion-ban states. Those in so-called abortion deserts may have to travel more than 500 miles round-trip for the procedure. And even in states where abortion rights are protected, traveling long distances can still be necessary—and serve as a major barrier to access.
“There are five abortion clinics in Montana (the fourth largest state in the U.S.), and a lot of our clients are in rural areas and have to travel more than 200 miles just to get care,” Kate Kujawa, chair of the Susan Wicklund Fund, an abortion fund that partners with providers in Montana, tells SELF. “For out-of-staters, it’s often double that.” Not to mention that the majority of states require a waiting period—usually 24 hours—between mandated pre-abortion counseling and the procedure itself, which means receiving care often involves traveling to and from multiple appointments.
Combined with the fact that gas prices are surging in the U.S., first-trimester abortions typically cost between $500 and $600, and an estimated 75% of people seeking an abortion are classified as either poor or low-income, getting an abortion can be nearly impossible—more of a road closure than a roadblock. In other words, a lot of people are going to need a lot of help accessing care.
Creative ways to donate to abortion funds, practical support groups, and providers right now
Cash donations are, of course, welcome and often preferable, “because we can send it out immediately in the form that we need,” Kujawa says. But they’re certainly not the only way to support those most affected by abortion bans and barriers. Some less obvious ways to give:
Convert unused credit card points to pre-paid gas cards
As SELF previously reported, gas cards can be an easy way to help people overcome the travel-cost hurdle. “Gas cards also let us get money to, say, a client’s friend who is offering to drive them, or to a volunteer,” says Kujawa. “We’re working on adding volunteer drivers, but currently our board members are the ones who will jump in at the last minute and spend two or three days driving across the state multiple times to help people access care.”
If you have a credit card that allows you to accumulate points and redeem them for rewards, you can check your card’s reward portal or app to see if pre-paid gas cards are an option. If so—and if you have enough unused points—you can have the gas card mailed or emailed to you, and then send the physical card or print-out to an abortion fund, practical support group, or clinic in an envelope or as part of a care package (more on how to do that safely and effectively below). Important to keep in mind: Cards with smaller amounts can be more easily distributed, so stick with $25 or $50 denominations versus $100-plus. You can also include a little note to ensure it’s clear what your donation is for.
Also good: gift cards to restaurants, national grocery stores, or drugstores
Along with paying for gas, people who are driving hundreds of miles for an abortion—and possibly missing a day or more of work—may also need help covering the cost of food and other necessities while on the road. Depending on your card’s rewards program, you may also be able to redeem your points for gift cards to restaurants, grocery stores, or drugstores—“anything that can help people access the things they need to care for themselves or their children while they’re traveling, and when they return home, is really helpful,” says Kujawa.