The US landscape for abortion access has never been more tumultuous – with more people than ever before being forced to travel long distances to receive care. As extreme abortion bans take effect in a growing number of states, people are increasingly turning to abortion funds and practical support organizations like The Brigid Alliance for help.
Since the Dobbs ruling in June 2022, the cost of an abortion seeker’s itinerary has increased significantly, with an average cost per itinerary now exceeding $2,300. There are a few reasons for this increase:
Increased Travel Distance for Abortion Care
Right now at The Brigid Alliance, we are helping an average of 130+ clients per month, supporting folks of all ages and from all over the country – with a disproportionate number of clients coming from Southern states (nearly 70%), where bans have passed in nearly every state. Since large swaths of the country are now without access to abortion care, travel time and distance has been multiplied substantially. The average number of miles for our clients in 2023 (January – June) has been just under 1,300 miles roundtrip.
Increased Costs of Services
The abortion practical support infrastructure is not immune to the rising costs of travel across the board – when the price of airline tickets increases for consumers, of course, that price also increases for clients of The Brigid Alliance.
Naming the Contributions of Our Client Services Team
To more accurately capture the cost of helping a client access abortion care, we have begun factoring in 20% into the reported cost of each itinerary, which includes the organizational and infrastructure cost to doing this work. Our client service coordinators are a critical element to every client’s journey, serving as a single point of contact for abortion-seekers, arranging and covering the costs of travel, food, lodging, child care, and more, bringing reassurance and dignity to every interaction they have with our clients. These team members have a deep expertise in collaborating with other partners in the abortion access space and in-depth knowledge of the regions around our partner clinics. They provide clients with a sense of security and safety that they wouldn’t have otherwise, and provide continuity of care and emotional support at every stage of the journey.
The Brigid Alliance Has Added New Services for Clients
In April 2023, our team at The Brigid Alliance rolled out a number of new protocols for client services, including a change to providing childcare via stipend instead of reimbursement (which makes it easier for clients to accept support), an increase in the meal stipend from $40 per appointment day to $75 per appointment day. We have also added a comfort stipend that our clients can use toward additional expected costs, such as pain relievers, hot compresses, pads, and more. And we are newly supporting some additional aftercare expenses.
No one should be forced to travel long distances for abortion care – it is a violation of basic human dignity and the right to bodily autonomy, and it is inordinately and unnecessarily expensive and burdensome. But as long as oppressive anti-abortion laws exist limiting people’s ability to access care, The Brigid Alliance will be here to support our clients every step of the way.