A round of applause for this heroine who helps low-income women pay for abortions
What happens if a woman with few resources needs an abortion? How does she pay hundreds of dollars for a procedure not covered by Medicaid? For some women in the Midwest, the answer is through Chicago Abortion Fund. The 31-year-old organization is run by one woman who raises money to help women who can’t afford abortions and desperately need her help.
Director Brittany Mostiller spends most of her day returning messages left by women who are struggling to gather money to pay for an abortion. While most of her potential clients’ health services are covered by Medicaid, abortion care is not covered under federally funded medical plans thanks to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion services. So, women are forced to scrape up the funds on their own while their pregnancies continue and get more expensive as the weeks pass.
Mostiller often gets up to 15 calls a day and tries to reach women within 24 hours of their initial voicemail. She is able to give a woman $300, but she unfortunately does not have the funding to help all of her callers. Last year, the Chicago Abortion Fund used $45,000 from grants and other funding to help 209 women and will be able to help even more in 2016 with $55,000 available for clients. Even when she cannot help women financially, Mostiller often tries to connect them with other resources in the area so they can get the support they need.
Not all heroines wear capes.
Mostiller’s work with Chicago Abortion Fund is special to her because she has been the woman on the other end of the phone. In 2007, Mostiller was 23 years old and a mother of three who wanted an abortion but couldn’t get one because she didn’t have the money. She called Chicago Abortion Fund and they granted her $300 of the $500 she needed to cover the services. Mostiller was able to exercise her reproductive rights and continue on to be a great mother to her three kids. Now, she has come full circle and gets to help women who are in a similar situation.
If a woman has an unwanted pregnancy and is forced to carry it to term because she cannot afford an abortion, it affects every facet of her life. Financially, she is more likely to remain in poverty because she’s raising a child she cannot afford (kids are fucking expensive, if you hadn’t noticed). And, if a mother is struggling to provide basic needs for her family, emotional/mental duress is sure to follow as a result.
All women deserve the ability to exercise control over their reproductive health, and Mostiller is helping make that a reality for many. For more information about how to donate to the Chicago Abortion Fund, head over to its website or check out its Twitter page.