Portland City Commissioners Allocate $200,000 to Fund Abortion Care
Abortion Access Advocates Applaud Bold Action to Provide Direct Support to People Impacted by Threats to Abortion Access Nationwide
September 17, 2021
PORTLAND–The Portland City Council voted on Wednesday to allocate $200,000 to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund (NWAAF) to provide needed support and resources to those trying to access abortion care, in the wake of Texas’s recent ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court permitted Texas’s radical and extreme abortion ban, Senate Bill 8, to go into effect, allowing private individuals to police and profit from infringing upon other people’s bodily autonomy. Combined with the Supreme Court’s consideration of a Mississippi case that challenges Roe v. Wade, the right to abortion is in jeopardy across the country.
“In response to Texas SB 8, a law designed to cause disproportionate harm to Black, brown, Indigenous, immigrant, and young people in Texas, Portland leaders are modeling forward-looking, compassionate leadership, by centering the people who face the biggest barriers to economic, racial and abortion justice,” said Christel Allen, executive director of Pro-Choice Oregon. “We are thankful we have local leaders that listen to us—people who have had or may to need to have an abortion—and are dedicating resources to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. We hope other city, county and state leaders follow Portland’s powerful example with additional investments in abortion funds.”
Despite Oregon’s state-level laws that protect the right to abortion, many Oregonians face obstacles to accessing abortion care, including employees on federal health insurance plans, those who receive care via Indian Health Services, those who are incarcerated, and those who need to travel long distances, due to a lack of providers in rural communities or whose only health care providers are religiously affiliated. Oregon also serves as a critical access point for people from out of state, including neighboring Idaho and beyond –a need that will expand with statewide abortion bans already passed or on the horizon in other states.
Abortion funds like NWAAF provide mutual aid and other practical and emotional support to people experiencing financial or other barriers to abortion access. NWAAF already supports nearly 900 people accessing abortion care each year. With additional capacity, NWAAF can support more people experiencing barriers in Oregon, as well as people who live in Texas and other states who may be forced to travel to Oregon to receive an abortion.
“I know what it’s like to have to travel for health care, and not be able to sleep in my own bed after an abortion, because of political interference. The Northwest Abortion Access Fund was critical for me being able to access my abortion, which cost $10,000 after being lied to and delayed by anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. I had to fly over 1,000 miles to an abortion provider who would provide me care, not unlike what Texans are facing. By investing in the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, the City of Portland is fighting back against abortion bans and supporting people seeking health care,” said Beth Vial, board member of Northwest Abortion Access Fund.
With this funding allocation, Portland becomes the third city across the country in recent years to grant municipal resources for abortion care and support. In 2019, New York City first allocated municipal funding to the New York Abortion Access Fund to provide direct support to people seeking abortion care, followed by Austin, Texas, which allocated funding for practical support for abortion access.
Pro-Choice Oregon develops and sustains a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every person who can become pregnant the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. We educate our members and identified supporters, provide strategic advice to candidates, mobilize get-out-the-vote efforts, and ensure that pro-choice policies are a top priority in local and state government. prochoiceoregon.org
The Northwest Abortion Access Fund (NWAAF) is an abortion fund serving Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Trained, compassionate volunteer advocates run our toll-free hotline. We help people pay for their abortion care by sending funding directly to the clinic. We also help people get to and from the clinic. And we make sure people traveling for care have a safe place to stay. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit and a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), a membership organization of over 70 funds across the United States. nwaafund.org