NIRH partnered with Pro-Choice Oregon and the Northwest Abortion Access Fund (NWAAF) in 2021 to expand access to abortion by addressing a primary barrier to care: cost.
Thanks to this advocacy work, on September 15, 2021, the Portland City Council voted to allocate $200,000 to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund (NWAAF) in order to provide needed support and resources to those trying to access abortion care.
This made Portland the third city in the United States to pass municipal funding for abortion care, following New York City and Austin.
This budget allocation came on the heels of the Supreme Court allowing Texas’s radical and extreme abortion ban, Senate Bill 8, to go into effect, allowing private individuals to police and profit from infringing upon other people’s bodily autonomy. Combined with the Supreme Court’s consideration of a Mississippi case that challenges Roe v. Wade, the right to abortion is in jeopardy across the country.
Despite Oregon’s state-level laws that protect the right to abortion, many Oregonians face obstacles to accessing abortion care, including employees on federal health insurance plans, those who receive care via Indian Health Services, those who are incarcerated, and those who need to travel long distances, due to a lack of providers in rural communities or whose only health care providers are religiously affiliated. Oregon also serves as a critical access point for people from out of state, including neighboring Idaho and beyond — a need that will expand with statewide abortion bans already passed or on the horizon in other states.
Abortion funds like NWAAF provide mutual aid and other practical and emotional support to people experiencing financial or other barriers to abortion access. NWAAF already supports nearly 900 people accessing abortion care each year. With additional capacity, NWAAF can support more people experiencing barriers in Oregon, as well as people who live in Texas and other states who may be forced to travel to Oregon in order to receive an abortion.
With this funding allocation, Portland becomes the third city across the country in recent years to grant municipal resources for abortion care and support. In 2019, NIRH worked with New York City Council to allocate municipal funding to the New York Abortion Access Fund to provide direct support to people seeking abortion care; that same year, we worked with advocates in Austin, Texas, to allocate funding for practical support for abortion access. Both cities have renewed this funding every year since.