The Brigid Alliance and the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF) announced today that New York City will allocate $1 million to the two non-profits to cover costs for individuals living in and traveling to the city for an abortion in 2023. The New York City Council has earmarked $500,000 to NYAAF, which will go toward the costs of abortion procedures, and another $500,000 to The Brigid Alliance, which will provide all-inclusive travel support such as transportation, lodging, food, and childcare for people who have to travel long distances to access care. Launched on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to dismantle federal protections for abortion rights, this initiative is one of the largest municipal commitments for abortion support in the nation to date and further establishes New York as a haven for abortion seekers, as it has been since before 1973.
Chelsea Williams-Diggs, Interim Executive Director of NYAAF, said:
“Even before the fall of Roe, NYAAF witnessed the barriers to abortion access faced by our fellow New Yorkers — from trans and nonbinary people navigating medical discrimination to domestic violence survivors, sex workers, young people, disabled folks, undocumented people, and working parents. And in the weeks following the decision, NYAAF has seen a surge of callers from more than a dozen states across the country seeking abortions.”
Odile Schalit, Executive Director of The Brigid Alliance, said:
“For so many people in New York and across the country who face a range of legal and other barriers to care, access to abortion hinges on the presence and availability of organizations like NYAAF and The Brigid Alliance to help arrange for and cover the costs of abortion procedures and, now more than ever, long distance travel. We’re calling on elected officials across the country to follow New York City’s lead and help us keep abortion borderless, burden-free, and accessible to all.”
Meeting increased need in the lead-up to and in the wake of Roe decision:
Even before the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion seekers faced compounding and distinct barriers to accessing abortion, and the rate of people seeking an abortion across state lines was steadily growing. Nearly 10 percent of people who sought an abortion in 2020 traveled out of their home state, compared to 6 percent in 2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, more people than ever are traveling to access the abortion care they need, many of them to New York. In the month after the ruling, NYAAF saw a 333% increase in callers from Texas and a 2,400% increase in callers from Ohio. The fund, which supports anyone living in or traveling to New York City who needs an abortion and cannot fully pay for one, is on track to provide more than $1 million dollars to help pay for abortions this year.
The Brigid Alliance, a nationwide organization that originated in New York City and provides support to people who need to travel to safe states or regions from restricted or banned states, has been seeing increased demand for its services as abortion rights have been chipped away in recent years–leading up to and including the Supreme Court ruling in June. After the passage of SB8 in Texas in September of 2021, Brigid saw a 900% increase in referrals for its services and anticipates continued surges as the ramifications of the Dobbs ruling ripple throughout the country. Increasingly, New York city is a critical haven for people facing the greatest barriers to care and the new funds will allow The Brigid Alliance to help many more people get there. The Brigid Alliance’s clients travel, on average, more than 1,000 miles to access abortion care, incurring costs of nearly $1,400 per trip, excluding the cost of the procedure. For many, this would be an insurmountable barrier without Brigid’s support.
Protecting and promoting the right to abortion is about much more than ensuring legal access to the procedure. Together, NYAAF and The Brigid Alliance are closing gaps and helping people across the country access care in the face of economic, social and other barriers, and even as their legal rights are stripped away. The new funding from New York City will allow the groups to help even more people get the abortion care they need and want under increasingly difficult circumstances.