Three Ways Funders Can Act Today to Protect Reproductive Rights

Today, the United States Supreme Court reversed Roe v Wade, a decision that protected the right of millions of people across the country to an abortion without government interference. Today’s decision changes that, and now people across the country find their reproductive rights further restricted and access to abortions considerably limited.

This decision has serious consequences for reproductive rights and women’s human rights, as well as potential repercussions for precedents and ongoing legal battles concerning marriage equality, birth control access, transgender rights, and other civil rights in the United States.

Activists across the country have long been doing the work to protect reproductive freedom for communities, including, but not limited to, abortion care. Now they continue to step up, ready to support abortion funds and fight for reproductive justice. But sustainable, ongoing help is needed, especially from philanthropists. 

More funding is needed to support those on the front lines, help people get abortions, and sustain the battles within states, at the local level (cities and counties), and at the federal level to reinstate and protect pro-choice abortion laws.

At Urgent Action Fund, we’ll be continuing our work providing grants to abortion funds and organizations focused on mobilizing activists, helping people get the support and abortion care they need safely, and pursue legal action. 

Here are three ways other funders can step up now for a pro-choice future:

  1. Increase funding for direct action and power building on the ground. More money is needed for efforts focused on reproductive rights. Abortion funds will need long-term financial support to ensure their ability to help those in need access safe abortion care. There is also the need for resources given to pro-choice people in political leadership as well as resourcing activists fighting for legislative change within states. More money will help people control their reproductive futures and fight for the justice they deserve.
  2. Move quickly in terms of getting resources into the right hands. The time to get money into the hands of reproductive justice activists is now. Traditional philanthropy is a time-consuming process, filled with bureaucracy and red tape. Now is the time for funders to practice a trust-based approach, moving money more quickly to those in need. At Urgent Action Fund (UAF), our rapid response grantmaking approach is essential in moments such as this one, getting funds to feminist organizations quickly, while allowing for the flexibility and urgency needed in crucial moments.
  3. Listen to the needs of the activists and provide no-strings attached support. The time is now for a trust-based approach. Funders need to trust grantees, recognizing that the activists themselves are working in real time and need the trust from funders to implement the best possible solutions to the issues at hand. Pro-choice activists and abortion funds are operating in a time of risk, and something we at UAF have learned in our 25 years of work is that risk and trust go hand and hand. To respond and take necessary risks during a time of urgency, funders need to trust their grantees, and provide unrestricted funding, giving grassroots organizations the autonomy to pivot and move as they need in response to what will likely be a lengthy fight.

This summer and for the foreseeable future, we at UAF will be making opportunity grants to help organizations mobilize to fight for new legislation to replace Roe, as well as supporting reproductive justice organizations to provide necessary abortion care safely to those in need. We invite other funders to join us, providing essential resources quickly and with few strings attached, getting funding to those seeking reproductive rights and justice for millions.