For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado has campaigned to protect a woman’s right “make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive health choices.”
But the abortion rights organization hasn’t provided money to help women pay for abortions.
That changed Wednesday with the merger of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado and the Freedom Fund, which has helped low-income women pay for abortions for 33 years.
The Fund, which will now operate as the “Women’s Freedom Fund” under the umbrella of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, was established by the First Universalist Church of Denver in 1984 after Colorado passed a constitutional amendment banning taxpayer dollars from being spent on abortions. This precluded low-income women from paying for abortions with funds from Medicaid, the state-federal health-insurance program for elderly, disabled and other poor people.
“We believe this is an integral step forward in our mission, which includes expanding access to abortion care,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Director Karen Middleton. “No woman should be denied abortion care because she can’t afford it, but the barriers to care are getting more difficult and more expensive for many. Our hope is to make this a lasting effort in Colorado to better meet the needs of women and families in a challenging political environment for abortion care in the United States.”
Women who need help paying for an abortion will ask the Women’s Freedom Fund directly for assistance. Neither it nor any other NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado program performs abortions.
“We are committed to working with the existing leadership of The Freedom Fund, recognizing its beginnings, history, faith-based origin, and its purpose,” said Middleton. “And we are committed to honoring the legacy of the Freedom Fund that any woman in Colorado who needs abortion care should be able to obtain it, regardless of her financial situation.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado will ensure that 100 percent of donations to the Women’s Freedom Fund will be directed to women who need help paying for abortions, according to a NARAL spokeswoman.