Hundreds of demonstrators marched down Salisbury Street in Raleigh on May 3, 2022, calling for the preservation of abortion rights after a leaked draft opinion of a Supreme Court decision indicated the court could be poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In the days following the leak of the Supreme Court draft overturning Roe v. Wade, a refrain kept appearing on parts of social media: “donate to an abortion fund.”

This call to action was different than previous ones, where people opposed to the rollback of reproductive rights were told to donate to Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions. Both are sound advice, but in different ways; abortion funds, in particular, were highlighted because of the way they help ease financial burden across the country, and can be beneficial to pregnant people in your home state specifically.

An abortion fund, in the simplest of terms, is a non-profit that helps people pay for an abortion when they need one. Here, we have Carolina Abortion Fund, which helps cover the cost of the service, transportation, lodging, and more in North and South Carolina.

Right now, an abortion costs $300 at minimum in North Carolina, and it gets more expensive the further along a person is in their pregnancy. Even when taking an abortion pill, North Carolina requires the patient to visit a doctor in-person, and requires them to wait 72 hours between their initial appointment and the procedure.

For some, $300 or more is inconvenient but not impossible. For others, like the 13 percent of people living in poverty in North Carolina — or even the half of the population making less than $56,000 annually — it’s a burden. Three hundred dollars is multiple shifts at many jobs and doesn’t account for the money lost if you have to take off work, buy gas, stay at a hotel, pay for childcare. CAF can’t pay for every single case in full – the fund received 4,000 requests so far in 2022 – but pledges about $260 per person on average.

Carolina Abortion Fund is part of the National Network of Abortion Funds, a network that helps provide money to individual funds and pays the four full-time staff members at CAF so that individual donations go directly to patients. CAF also has about 40 volunteers who help callers get connected to the funds and assistance they need.

The money for their services comes from grants and through individual donations. Carolina Abortion Fund is the only state-specific option in North Carolina, but there are others you can turn to. The Brigid Alliance, Indigenous Women Rising, and the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project are all national funds that financially support people seeking abortion.

Right now, abortion funds are necessary everywhere, but especially in a state like North Carolina, where getting an abortion comes with extra expenses and can be hard to access. Abortion funds already struggle to meet current demand; CAF has only been able to fund 61 percent of the cases they’ve received in 2022.

If North Carolina becomes one of the only states in the southeast without an immediate ban on abortion, as it likely will with the Supreme Court decision, there will be a flood of people coming into our state to get the care they need, and a flood of people who need even more money to get the transportation and lodging they need.

CAF officials also expect the North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban from 1973 to be reinstated when Roe falls. Those restrictions will join our state’s current line-up of medically unnecessary restrictions, including a 72-hour waiting period, on abortion care. NC Opinions newsletter Commentary that’s driving the conversations across our state. SIGN UP This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“We’ve been preparing for this enemy, now it has an even clearer face,” a Carolina Abortion Fund staffer told me via email. “We’re just going to dig into our community, into our strength, and figure out a game plan because no matter what people are going to get the care that they need and that they deserve.”

CAF has seen a recent jolt in funding, but the organization has asked people to consider becoming monthly sustainers, so that they can continue doing their work. If Roe v. Wade does get overturned, abortions will be harder to get in- and out-of-state, making them likely to become more expensive either by demand or just by forcing people to have abortions later into their pregnancies, which costs more.

The stigma surrounding abortion keeps us from talking about it, much less being vocal about funding it. But given the reality of our health care system, especially the restrictions on funding abortion through state and federal dollars, it falls on groups like Carolina Abortion Fund, with a total workforce of less than 50 people that mostly volunteer their time, to fill in the gaps. In a few months, those gaps could become abysses.