Frequently Asked Questions
How does an abortion fund work?
Abortion funds are grassroots organizations that work to overcome financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by redistributing wealth and building power in marginalized communities. We want safe, legal abortion to be accessible and affordable for everyone, not just the few who can afford it.
Anyone who needs an abortion can call the helpline and request direct financial assistance and/or practical support. Volunteers respond to voicemails that come in through the helpline, and pledge to cover a portion of the cost. The pledge is faxed or emailed to the clinic. If necessary, they secure transportation, gas money, child care, meals, and/or overnight housing for callers who need to travel long distance. Emotional support and post-abortion counseling resources are also made available to callers.
After the procedure, the clinic will send an invoice in the mail and the abortion fund will make a payment for the previously agreed on amount. Funding is sent directly to the clinic on behalf of the patient.
What is your service area and who is eligible for assistance?
New River Abortion Access Fund primarily serves the region of Southwest Virginia, which includes Alleghany, Amherst, Bath, Botetourt, Bland, Buchanan, Campbell, Carroll, Craig, Dickenson, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Grayson, Halifax, Henry, Lee, Montgomery, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Pulaski, Roanoke, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe county, plus the cities of Bristol, Covington, Danville, Galax, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Norton, Radford, Roanoke, and Salem.
We also provide services to abortion seekers in other regions of Virginia and surrounding communities, particularly elsewhere in Appalachia. Residents of Virginia who are located outside of the primary service area are eligible for financial assistance at/above 10 weeks of gestation, if they’re under 18, or if they are experiencing special circumstances such as homelessness, domestic violence, rape/incest, fetal anomaly, health complications, and incarceration.
Since funding is limited, priority is given to residents of Southwest Virginia. Check out our resources page for a list of other abortion funds in Virginia.
How do I apply for assistance?
NRAAF offers the following types of support: abortion funding, rides to and from the clinic with a volunteer driver, Lyft rides, bus tickets, train tickets, airfare, gas money, hotel stays, child care, meals, aftercare, referrals, judicial bypass support, and emotional support. We also offer free emergency contraceptives to residents of Virginia.
After you schedule an appointment, text or call our toll-free, confidential helpline at 833-672-2310 and leave a message with the following information: your name and how it’s spelled, your phone number, your zip code, the date of your appointment, the name and location of the clinic (if it’s Planned Parenthood, specify which one!), and the number of weeks in the pregnancy.
Let us know whether it is safe to leave a voicemail or text message and identify ourselves. If your appointment is within seven days someone will contact you within 24 – 48 hours, Mon – Thurs. If your appointment is the following week or later please presume a call closer to your appointment date. Expect a call from an unknown or blocked number. A volunteer will ask several questions to determine your eligibility. We will not ask for any proof of income.
Alternatively, you can submit your request online using our intake form.
Can you cover the full cost of my abortion?
Unfortunately, resources are limited and we will assist with as much as we can. We typically provide $100-$400 per an abortion. The amount is based on individual need and availability of funds. Please figure out how much you will be able to afford before you call. We do our best to help as many callers as possible.
What should I do before I call?
Prior to calling the helpline, please schedule an appointment with a clinic and find out how much the procedure will cost. Tell the clinic that you wish to be screened for any discounts or funding opportunities that are available. It’s a good idea to call the clinic as soon as possible, even if you don’t have the money yet! You will most likely have to wait a few weeks for an appointment.
It helps to calculate exactly how much you can contribute to the total cost. Ask to borrow money from friends and family if it’s an option. Ask the clinic if you can pay with a credit card. Call your insurance company to find our if your plan covers abortion services.
You should also contact the National Abortion Federation Hotline at 1-800-772-9100 to find out if you qualify for any financial assistance. The hotline is open 7 am – 11 pm on weekdays, and 9 am – 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. If you have trouble getting through, keep trying! Early in the morning is a better time to call. You can also try contacting them using the live chat feature on their website.
Why doesn’t anyone answer the phone?
We operate a “warmline,” which means you have to leave a voicemail and then wait for a call back.
I left a message. Why haven’t you returned my call?
The helpline is run by volunteers who are working full-time jobs. We check voicemails whenever possible and try to return calls within 24 – 48 hours, Monday – Thursday. The helpline is closed on weekends and holidays. If you don’t hear from us right away, please be patient. We are doing the best we can, and we try to give everyone a call back regardless of availability of funding.
It’s also possible that we tried calling and couldn’t reach you. Be on the lookout for a call from an unknown or private number! We typically try to contact you 2 or 3 times. If you don’t hear from us, send a text to let us know you’re still in need of assistance.
Why is the helpline closed?
If the helpline is closed, it means we have run out of funds for the week. After the weekly budget is reached, an away message will replace our regular voicemail greeting instructing folks to call back on Monday. At that point, we stop accepting voicemails on our financial assistance line. Unfortunately, this happens a lot because the need for funding is so great, and resources are limited. Please call back next week to request funding, or contact another abortion fund.
How much does an abortion cost?
The average cost of a first trimester abortion is $500. In Virginia it can range anywhere from $350-$750 depending on the clinic, the type of abortion, anesthesia, and the number of weeks in the pregnancy. Later abortions can cost thousands of dollars, and the amount continues to rise with each new week of gestation.
Where can I get an abortion?
Click here to view a list of abortion providers in Virginia and nearby states, or visit INeedAnA.com. You can go to PlanCPills.org and select your state to view a list of available telehealth services and learn how to order abortion pills by mail.
Clinics located in Southwest Virginia:
Roanoke Planned Parenthood
2207 Peters Creek Road
Roanoke, VA 24017
Roanoke Medical Center for Women
1119 2nd Street SW
Roanoke, VA 24016
Why should I avoid crisis pregnancy centers? Which clinics are fake?
Click here to view a list of crisis pregnancy centers — also known as fake abortion clinics — that you should definitely avoid. Don’t be fooled — they do not offer abortion services. Crisis pregnancy centers want to discourage you from having an abortion and they’re willing to use blatant lies and deception to achieve their goal.
The following crisis pregnancy centers are located in the New River Valley and Roanoke:
Valley Women’s Clinic – Blacksburg
708 North Main Street, Suite #200
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Valley Women’s Clinic – Radford
1016 Fairfax Street
Radford, VA 24141
Blue Ridge Women’s Center
5034 Williamson Road NW
Roanoke, VA 24012
Can I receive funds if I don’t live in Virginia?
At the moment we help provide abortion access to those seeking abortion in Southwest Virginia. Please see the list of abortion funds on the National Network of Abortion Funds website to see other funds who help provide abortion access.
Can I get a ride to my appointment?
Yes. Our practical support program provides transportation and overnight housing for callers who need to travel long distance for an appointment. We offer car rides with vetted and trained volunteers, airfare, bus/train tickets, Lyft rides, hotel rooms, and home stays.
Can I travel with my children or a friend?
Absolutely. Let us know how many adults and/or minors you will be traveling with so we can provide appropriate accommodations.
Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to receive assistance?
No. We do not ask about immigration status. Anyone is welcome to request our services.
What if I’m a minor and I can’t get parental consent?
From the Judicial Bypass Wiki:
Virginia makes people under age 18 get written permission before having an abortion. That permission is called consent. Virginia also requires that doctors tell a young person’s parents about their decision to have an abortion. This is called parental notification.
If you cannot or do not want to tell your parent or guardian, or if they will not consent, you can go to court and ask a judge to allow you to get an abortion. This is called judicial bypass. You can reach out to the Repro Legal Helpline to get connected to a lawyer who will help you through the entire process.
You will have to call the court and say you would like to schedule an appointment with the intake officer for a judicial bypass. To find courts in your area, you can look here. At court, you will have to fill out several forms—one is called a petition—that you can find here. After the intake appointment, the forms will be filed with the court. The judge has 4 days to schedule a hearing and make a decision. You can find a list of questions that a judge may ask here.
You also can go to a clinic outside of the state where you live. Go to the Judicial Bypass Wiki and click on a state to learn about its abortion restrictions, which could be very different from Virginia.
Where do you get your funding?
We get our funding primarily from generous individual donors who believe no one should be denied an abortion due to financial barriers. Want to help someone pay for an abortion? Donate now.
What are the different methods of abortion?
Medication abortion or self-managed abortion is the use of mifepristone and misoprostol pills, or misoprostol pills alone, to induce an abortion. This method can be used up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, but different doses and regimens apply, depending on the duration of pregnancy.
Some of the advantages of an abortion with pills are that it avoids a surgical procedure. It is like having a spontaneous miscarriage — the pills are used and the abortion can safely take place at home through 10 weeks of pregnancy. After that, it is safer to use this method in a clinical setting, especially in the second trimester of pregnancy.
The disadvantage is that it takes from several hours to several days for the abortion to be complete. Most of the bleeding is within the first 1-2 days, but it may continue for some days or even a couple weeks after that. The misoprostol causes cramping as it makes the uterus contract, and it can also cause nausea and vomiting.
The combination of mifepristone + misoprostol in the right doses causes a complete abortion in 96-98% of cases. Mifepristone is only available in about 60 countries, however, misoprostol is available in almost all countries because it has other medical uses in addition to abortion. Misoprostol alone is not as effective as the combination of mifepristone + misoprostol, so women may need to take a repeat dose several times to achieve a complete abortion. Most folks seem to know when the abortion is complete, or within a few days that they are still pregnant. To learn more about self-managed abortion, visit Plan C or Abortion On Our Own Terms.
Vacuum aspiration (VA)
Vacuum aspiration (VA) involves evacuation of the contents of the uterus, either manually by the use of a hand-held plastic aspirator (MVA) or with an electric vacuum pump (EVA). This can also be done with an electric vacuum pump (EVA). This method has a success rate of 95-100% up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Depending on the duration of pregnancy, abortion with vacuum aspiration takes from 3 to 10 minutes to complete, and can be performed at primary level on an outpatient basis using a local anaesthetic. Most women feel well enough to go home after 30 minutes.
The advantage of vacuum aspiration abortion (a simple surgical method) is that it only takes a few minutes. In addition, most of the blood, fluids and tissue, that must come out naturally with medical abortion, are collected with an aspirator during vacuum aspiration.
Dilatation and evacuation (D&E)
Dilatation and evacuation (D&E) requires a skilled, experienced provider. It is used in the second trimester usually after 14 weeks of pregnancy. A D&E procedure can usually be performed on an outpatient basis. General anaesthetic is not required and can increase risk. A D&E procedure usually takes no more than 30 minutes to perform.
Don’t see your question listed above? Contact us!