Two Northwest groups that help people pay for abortions are merging to create one of the largest abortion funds in the nation.
Compared to many areas, the Pacific Northwest has relatively good access to abortion clinics, especially in populated areas.
But many women don’t have health insurance, or if they do have insurance it has such a high deductible the $650 procedure has to be paid for out-of-pocket.
Now two local funds, Oregon-based Network for Reproductive Options and Washington-based The CAIR Project, are merging to form the Northwest Abortion Access Fund.
“The newly merged organization will cover the largest geographic area of any fund in the country encompassing Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska," said Samantha Gladu, the vice president of the NWAAF.
Organizers said it's the third-largest fund nationally in budget and number of people served.
“The right to abortion is meaningless if you can’t afford to pay for it,” said NWAAF board member Nadia Piedrahita. “But that’s the reality for thousands of people in the Northwest. Our callers are forced to choose between paying rent or paying for their abortion. Many are moms and coming up with the money for their procedure can mean cutting back on food and diapers for their children."
In 2016, the two Northwest abortion funds together received 60 to 70 calls per week.
Though the fund is likely to improve access to health care procedures locally, many Americans object to abortion funds.
The U.S. Justice Department recently asked the Supreme Court to discipline the American Civil Liberties Union for helping a teenage undocumented immigrant obtain an abortion.
The Hyde Amendment, passed in the 1970s, stops many federal agencies from helping women obtain an abortion, except in the case of rape, incest and when the life of the woman is in danger.