Why abortion funding matters

In the United States, federal funds do not pay for abortion services, except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the pregnant woman’s life or health. Congressional Republicans are doing their best to get rid of even those narrow exceptions, and it’s crucial to sound the alarm about how hostile their bill is to rape survivors and women everywhere.

But even the status quo is pretty terrible for low-income women. The Hyde Amendment, which has been around for decades, limits federal Medicaid funding of abortion — so low-income women who rely on Medicaid for their health care have to pay for abortion out-of-pocket. “No taxpayer dollars for abortion” is a nice-sounding slogan, but the reality for women on the ground is that insufficient Medicaid funding means that an unwanted pregnancy is disastrous. Via Amanda, The National Network of Abortion Funds has collected the stories of women who have used their services, and the testimonials are heart-breaking. One example:

My son is 11 months old with a serious birth defect. He’s been in and out of intensive care for his whole life and has three or four doctor’s appointments every month. After he was born, I had to drop out of college and I lost my job because of all the appointments. My son’s medical care is covered by Medicaid, but it won’t cover my abortion.

How can I find the money for an abortion when there’s not enough for diapers? And how could I raise two babies when the one I have now needs all that I have to give?

I just moved to this state to live with my best friend and her baby. We thought that we could do better if we worked together, took care of each other.

But now I’ve already had to take money out of our grocery fund to put toward the cost of my abortion. My friend understands, but we’re going to be short on food money for a while. I borrowed money from some old classmates. I sold my television. I managed to scrape together what I needed. But when I got to the clinic, they told me that my abortion would cost $100 more.

$100 more than I had. $100 more than I could imagine finding.

There was no way I could go home without getting my abortion. So I sat down my diaper bag and started pulling things out – formula, bottles, diapers – to sell to the other women in the waiting room. Maybe I could raise that $100 right there.

Let’s keep up the #DearJohn work to make sure that the pool of women who cannot access abortion doesn’t get any bigger. But also consider donating to the National Network of Abortion Funds, to help women in need.


Similar Posts (automatically generated):

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Class, Discrimination, Reproductive Rights and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Why abortion funding matters

  1. bellereve says:

    Question: Does PP have a sliding scale for women who cannot afford their services?

  2. Alyson says:

    Bellereve: It depends on the clinic, and the service itself. From what I’m familiar with, sliding fee scales are often not applicable for abortions because federal money can’t pay for them. I don’t know how this works in states where state funds can be used for abortion. Often clinics will work with abortion funds (and Planned Parenthood has one that they work with) to considerably lower the price; but it’s still hundreds of dollars. I’m guessing the woman quoted here was a few more weeks along than she thought she was.
    However…it’s not stated in here that this woman went to PP, she could have been at an independent clinic, with a different sort of funding system.

  3. RD says:

    PP has sliding scale for gynos, testing, etc. Idk about abortions.

  4. anonymoat says:

    I never thought it was possible for a country to actually regress in social values.

    An interesting look at this shocking prop here:

    http://thealteredpress.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/politics-congress-to-give-rape-the-thumbs-up-but-no-slapping/

    Personally, I am not surprised to see who is behind it.

  5. Tony says:

    From a bit of research, I’ve heard first trimester abortions run anywhere from $350 to $600. That’s still a lot less than the cost of having a baby. But it’s true that this could lead to more later term abortions as lower income women wait longer to save the money for an abortion.

  6. micheyd says:

    I volunteer at a PP in NY state, and it seems like there is a sliding scale available for all services – however, it hardly makes abortions cheap for women paying out of pocket, and those who don’t make the sliding scale cut but don’t have insurance get hit really hard.

  7. Azalea says:

    Thats so counterproductive. Isn’t it cheaper to pay for an abortion than to pay for prenatal visits? Because medicaid DOES pay for prenatal visits, labor and delivery and the child that is born afterwards.

    Republicans complain about the “wasteful” spending of democrats and yet they would rather force poor women to carry to term (and pay for every visit and complication along the way) than to pay for an abortion?

    How does this make any sense ot them? And just what do they hope to accomplish by removing the narrow scope of saving the patient’s life or health?

  8. PrettyAmiable says:

    Azalea, Republicans don’t mind spending money on people. You know, like fetuses. I’m pretty sure not one of them thinks a woman or trans dude is a person.

  9. Astrid says:

    @ Azalea: I agree. It is much cheaper to abort than to have prenatal care, which of course doesn’t mean the reverse (paying for abortions but not prenatal care) should happen. Besides, Medicaid only pays the healthcare costs of a child, not all the added costs of raising that child.

  10. William says:

    How does this make any sense ot them? And just what do they hope to accomplish by removing the narrow scope of saving the patient’s life or health?

    Patriarchy.

    Regardless of their stated motives, regardless of the political rhetoric, regardless of whatever long-dead prophet they quote, the forced birth movement always comes down to dominance. They want to control women, they want to put them in their place, they want to take power away from women. Everything else is just a complicated patchwork of set dressing, bullshit, and political maneuvering. We can’t ever let ourselves forget that the only thing stopping these kinds of people from behaving in the exact same manner as the Taliban is that they don’t think they can get away with it. The only difference between Rep. Smith and a clinic bomber is the latter’s willingness to go to jail.

  11. Stacey Burns says:

    Thanks so much for this post, Jill! The National Network of Abortion Funds hears from women every single day who are desperate, in situations like Leila’s. If these legislators could spend just an hour on one of our fund hotlines listening to women describe their own stories, we think they might have a change of heart. We urge everyone opposed to the dangerous HR3 bill to take action by contacting their Representatives, here: http://bit.ly/StopHR3

  12. micheyd says:

    My bad….I checked in on the rates and there is no sliding scale for abortion services where I volunteer. It’s possible that providers in other states have that, though.

  13. Brenda says:

    The saddest thing about this is, I’d tell the girl the best thing she could do for her son in intensive care is release custody of him to the State. It’s what I’d still tell her to do. It’s not going to get any better. There’s no help for any of us.

  14. Pingback: Fighting with your body

Comments are closed.