Roe Decision a Wake-Up Call for Philanthropy

Bold, vocal support and funding for frontline abortion providers and funds, & a diversity of tactics
critical to ensuring millions don’t lose basic healthcare and civil rights.  

Washington, DC – For years, abortion providers and activists have been sounding the alarm that a strategy focused exclusively on national level advocacy, legislation and the courts was failing to secure access for pregnant people on the ground and insufficient to winning the long-term struggle for reproductive justice. The Supreme Court’s controversial, but predictable decision to disregard precedent and overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade case is a disastrous validation of the danger of ignoring frontline voices.

“This is a moment for funders to be bold and brave. No more hiding behind anonymous gifts, no more refusal to support abortion clinics and funds on the ground,” said Brandi Collins Calhoun, Movements Manager for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). “The movement needs practical support at all levels, in all states. Less than 2% of philanthropic funding for rep roductive rights has gone to abortion funds. That needs to change immediately. Abortion funds and clinics are the first responders for pregnant people seeking care and they will need more resources than ever to respond in this increasingly hostile environment.”

The domino effect of the decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade will be felt not only in the 26 states like Kentucky and Oklahoma where trigger laws are in place to criminalize abortion immediately. It will be felt as well in the many states where abortion remains legal as more and more people are forced to travel out of state to access abortion care. People of color and low-income communities will be the most impacted by further barriers to access and alternatives to in-patient medical procedures such as self-managed abortion care are likely to become more and more critical in this new reality.

“We are facing a moment where the basic healthcare and civil rights of millions of people in this country are in jeopardy. Philanthropy needs to give flexible, multi-year general operating support so that groups can embrace the full array of creative strategies and tactics in response. This is a marathon and not a sprint – fad funding will not solve a problem in the making for decades,” said Aaron Dorfman, NCRP President and CEO. “Philanthropy has a long history of supporting social justice movements that engage in non-violent protest, civil disobedience and direct action to fight unjust laws. This crisis calls for no less.”


Check out these NCRP resources to learn how funders
can support the reproductive justice movement in this moment:

Funding the Frontlines: NCRP’s Roadmap to Supporting Abortion Access Roadmap

How Abortion Funds Fill the Gaps and Overcome the Barriers for Access & Care

Perspective: Why I Fund the Frontlines

Perspective: You Say You Don’t Fund Reproductive Justice? There’s Still a lot You Can Do

Graphic: Philanthropic Underinvestment - Abortion funds received less than 2% ($34 million) of all reproductive rights funding between 2015-2019. (1.7 billion total)

According to NCRP analysis of Candid data, abortion funds received less than 2% ($34 million) of all reproductive rights funding between 2015-2019. (1.7 billion total)

Graphic: According to an NCRP analysis of Candid data, An increase equal to even 1% of the $1.7 billion funding generated for reproductive rights would generate an additional $17.5 million for frontline abortion funds to provide to those seeking care.