Based in Blacksburg, Va, the New River Abortion Access Fund (NRAAF) is a 501(c)(3) reproductive justice organization working to eliminate economic and logistical barriers to abortion access. NRAAF operates a volunteer-run helpline that provides direct financial and practical support (rides, lodging, gas, meals, childcare, etc.) to Southwest Virginians and Appalachians seeking abortion care. We also fund callers who are living in other areas of the state, and those who are traveling to Virginia for an abortion.
New River Abortion Access Fund is a proud member of the National Network of Abortion Funds.
HOW WE WORK
Volunteers respond to requests for funding that come in through our helpline and pledge to cover a portion of the cost, typically $100-$300 per caller. Anyone can call or text the toll-free, confidential line and leave a message. A trained volunteer will return their call within 24-48 hours. Pledges are faxed or emailed depending on the clinic’s preference, and funding is sent directly to the clinic after the procedure takes place. If necessary, we help the caller identify nearby abortion providers, connect them to other sources of funding, navigate transportation options, secure overnight lodging, and provide referrals to post-abortion or crisis support services. Last year, NRAAF received 645 calls and pledged a total of $53,978 to help 288 individuals pay for their procedures.
New River Abortion Access Fund builds power and provides direct financial and practical support for abortion care in Southwest Virginia and Appalachia, while working to dismantle the interconnected systems of oppression that create a need for abortion funding in the first place. We are dedicated to ensuring that all pregnant people have access to affordable, compassionate abortion care regardless of income level, race, gender, location, ability, or immigration status. Without access to funding, many of us do not have a real choice.
We envision a world where all people have the economic, social, and political power, resources, and autonomy, and to make dignified decisions about their bodies, sexualities, reproduction, health, and their lives.
We envision a world where everyone has access to safe, legal, compassionate, and affordable abortion care if they want or need it, without stigma or shame.
We envision a world where every reproductive decision takes place in thriving communities that are safe, affordable, and nonviolent.
Reproductive Justice. We advocate for reproductive justice, which is defined by SisterSong as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. Reproductive justice is about access, not choice. Keeping abortion legal is necessary, but not enough. Even when abortion is legal, many poor women and women of color cannot afford it, or cannot travel. When there is no access, there is no choice.
Intersectionality. We recognize that inequitable access to abortion is tied to intersecting systems of oppression including sexism, racism, ableism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia. A comprehensive vision of justice must involve working towards economic justice, racial justice, gender justice, and reproductive justice.
Autonomy. Autonomy is a non-negotiable human right. We believe all people deserve the freedom to decide what to do with their own bodies, and that no one should have to carry a pregnancy to term against their will. Every person has the right to determine whether, when, and how to create family. Every person deserves unrestricted access to rights, comprehensive information, and resources to care for themselves and their families.
Collective Power. We seek to build collective power from the ground while centering the voices, experiences, and leadership of people who are most directly and disproportionately impacted by structural barriers .
Compassion. We advocate for a reduction of shame and an increase in compassion for people as they navigate life. Reproductive coercion, burdens, and barriers to reproductive healthcare are all forms of violence.
Culture Shift. We believe that abortion is essential healthcare, and healthcare is a human right. We seek to shift the culture, change the conversation about abortion, and end the stigma so that abortion is seen as an ordinary medical procedure.
WHY WE FUND ABORTIONS
Although abortion is extremely common (1 in 4), it is not widely accessible.
The average cost of a 1st-trimester abortion is $500, or more, depending on the type of abortion, the kind of anesthesia used, and the number of weeks in the pregnancy. 46% of Americans cannot afford an unexpected $400 expense.
According to the Turnaway Study, people who seek abortion services yet are denied access to these services are 3x more likely to end up in poverty.
The Hyde Amendment prevents federal funds from being used for abortion except in cases of life endangerment, rape, incest, or fetal impairment.
In Virginia, Medicaid and most private insurance plans do not cover the procedure.
Health insurance plans offered by the Affordable Care Act can only cover abortion if the woman’s life is endangered, or in cases of rape or incest.
Many people who choose to have an abortion are parents who cannot afford another child.
93% of Virginia counties don’t have access to a clinic that provides abortion services. Rural areas are less likely to have access to a provider.
Travel expenses, the additional cost of multiple nights in a hotel, lack of paid time off from work, and mandatory wait periods make it difficult for low-income women to travel for an abortion.
Low-income women, women of color, gender non-conforming & LGBTQ folks, women in rural areas, and young people are often the first to be affected by hostile abortion restrictions and bans.