The undue burden of paying for abortion: An exploration of abortion fund cases

Ely G

Hales T

Jackson DL

Maguin E

Hamilton G

Social Work in Health Care
Feb 2017


The results of a secondary data analysis of 3,999 administrative cases from a national abortion fund, representing patients who received pledges for financial assistance to pay for an abortion from 2010 to 2015, are presented. Case data from the fund's national call center was analyzed to assess the impact of the fund and examine sample demographics which were compared to the demographics of national abortion patients. Procedure costs, patient resources, funding pledges, additional aid, and changes over time in financial pledges for second-trimester procedures were also examined. Results indicate that the fund sample differed from national abortion patients in that fund patients were primarily single, African American, and seeking funding for second trimester abortions. Patients were also seeking to fund expensive procedures, costing an average of over $2,000; patients were receiving over $1,000 per case in pledges and other aid; and funding pledges for second trimester procedures were increasing over time. Abortion funding assistance is essential for women who are not able to afford abortion costs, and it is particularly beneficial for patients of color and those who are younger and single. Repeal of policy banning public funding of abortion would help to eliminate financial barriers that impede abortion access.