Abortion support services providers see increase in people needing assistance

MADISON, Wis. – There has long been support for people seeking abortions who needed transportation, medicine and even childcare, but since Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue, local groups have been pushed to provide event more support.

Immediately after the Supreme Court ruled to overturn almost 50 years of precedent, leaders from Midwest Access Coalition said the urgent calls from people needing help kept pouring in.

MAC’s Director of Programs Marie Khan said the group, which offers abortion seekers assistance with childcare and travel expenses, went from getting about 120 calls a month to 600 in less than a week.

“All through the weekend (there) were folks,” Khan said. “Especially folks from Wisconsin that knew ‘Okay, (I) couldn’t have my appointment on Friday, I won’t be able to have it in the future it looks and I need a plan to go to a different clinic.’”

With the increase in demand, MAC, along with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, has had to expand on its existing practical support framework. It was in place because the organization said even before the overturning of Roe v. Wade, many people in Wisconsin already had difficulty accessing care.

Khan said with the sudden growth in the list of people who can’t easily access abortion, so does the cost needed to help out. She’s concerned their limited resources might not be enough.

She also said she expects the increased demand for support services to go well beyond the initial aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision, even with online access to abortion pills.

“We regularly have folks who will contact us like ‘I found out I’m 15 weeks pregnant,’” she said. “That’s not going to change when we don’t have access to actual rural medicine in spaces for folks to get pregnancy care to get ultrasound readings.”

She worries that with even less access to abortion services than before, people will have to wait longer to get care, sometimes missing the gestational window for an abortion pill, then be left with a more costly, more invasive procedure.

She added that right now abortion support groups are left planning for unknowns, having to also consider having resources set up for people who’ve become parents against their wishes.

“People are going to… not be able to get their abortion and are going to be forced to stay pregnant and what are we going to do with that,” she said.