When someone decides to have an abortion, one of the problems they have to solve is how to pay for it. For a lucky few, insurance plans cover their abortions, but the vast majority, 57 percent, are forced to pay out of pocket, whether they have insurance or not. With over 40 percent of women having an abortion living in poverty and 61 percent already parenting children, finding the extra funds proves challenging. That’s where the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) comes in—it is a network of grassroots organizations that help those in need pay for their abortions.
“I first learned of abortion funds nine years ago when a young person that I worked with was willing to orchestrate her brutal beating by peers to terminate her pregnancy rather than have to pay for, or even talk about, abortion,” says Yamani Hernandez, executive director of NNAF. “That experience changed my life.” Last month, Hernandez took over the reigns to lead NNAF into its next chapter. Founded in 1993, NNAF raises money to defray the cost of an abortion for those who want one but cannot afford it. Excited by the “opportunity of scale and impact” that abortion funds have in making empowering everyday change, Hernandez leads more than 80 abortion funds across the United States and internationally and putsreproductive justice, a 20-year-old human rights framework created by women of color, into practice. “Reproductive justice is about bringing margins to center,” says Hernandez. “It’s about the people most affected being the leading voice and presence in the solutions to problems.” The reality is: rights are meaningless without an intersectional analysis and access.