By Catherine Shattuck

Photo from Texas Abortion Funds Advocacy Day 2017

For a condensed version of this post, click here.

Once you’ve made the decision to get an abortion, one of the next important steps is figuring out how much it will cost and how to pay for it. Luckily, there are a number of organizations set up to help you with financing if you can’t raise the money yourself. Whatever you do, don’t put off scheduling your abortion. The sooner you have it, the less it will cost.

First, call an abortion clinic to make an appointment for an ultrasound and consultation. At this appointment, you’ll find out how much your specific procedure will cost and what assistance the clinic can offer. All of the organizations that can help you with funding require you to have an appointment before they can send any money to the clinic.

If you have insurance and it’s not a problem if the insurance policyholder (usually a parent or guardian) finds out about your abortion, check with your insurance provider to see what they’ll cover and how much you’ll be responsible for. This includes the ultrasound (also called a sonogram) that Texas state law requires, as well as the abortion itself. Also check to see what clinics, if any, will accept your insurance. If you are on Texas Medicaid, you will not be able to use it to pay for an abortion.

The ultrasound, or sonogram, is the first appointment you’ll pay for. It usually costs $50-150 at Texas abortion clinics. Texas state law requires that the doctor who performs your abortion also perform your ultrasound, so shopping around for a good deal on an ultrasound isn’t the best plan. Instead, decide where you’ll have your abortion first and then schedule your ultrasound there. Look out for places that advertise free ultrasounds; even if they talk about abortion on their website, these places are not abortion clinics. They are crisis pregnancy centers that may give you false information about abortion to scare you into carrying the pregnancy to term.

First trimester abortions are the least expensive. Depending on when you last got your period, you may be able to choose between the abortion pill and an in-clinic abortion. Discuss with the doctor which procedure is better for you. The abortion pill can usually be given up to 10 weeks after your last period. The abortion pill or a first trimester in-clinic abortion cost about the same in Texas — around $450-500, although it can be more. Abortion costs rise the longer you wait, so as soon as you’re ready, make your appointment. Second trimester abortions start around $600-850, and increase from there. No matter what stage of pregnancy you’re in, funding assistance is available.

Most clinics do not take payment plans. Usually they accept cash and credit cards. Some also take checks or money orders, but make sure you know the payment policy before you go.

If you don’t have the money to pay for your abortion, there are a number of steps you can take.

First, tell the clinic. Many clinics offer reduced pricing or other forms of funding to needy patients. If you are at Planned Parenthood, ask to be screened for the Justice Fund. If you are at an independent clinic, check to see if they are part of the National Abortion Federation. If so, you can get screened for NAF funding. Usually the clinic can screen you. If not, call their hotline at 1-800-772-9100.

Next, you can try to raise the money by asking family or friends to loan or give it to you. If you work, you can ask your boss for an advance on your paycheck, or try to sell items on Craigslist or at a local pawn shop. Explore each of these avenues to see if you can raise the money you need. If you can’t tell your friends or family why you need money, you can ask for help paying for something else, like an electric bill or rent.

If you still need help, depending where you live, one of the following groups may be able to help:

      • If you are going to a clinic in Austin, Houston, or San Antonio, or if you live in East, South, or Central Texas, call The Lilith Fund: 1-877-659-4304 . Check their website to see what hours they answer calls; currently it’s Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7am – 10am. Leave a message according to the instructions. If they can help you, they will call you back in the afternoon.
      • If you are going to a clinic in Dallas, Fort Worth, or Waco, or if you live in the DFW or Panhandle area, call The Texas Equal Access Fund: 1-888-854-4852. Leave a message according to their instructions and they will call back if they can help.
      • If you live in West Texas or El Paso, call or text The West Fund: 1-915-213-4535 (English) or 1-915-213-4578 (Spanish). Leave a message anytime and they will call you back.
      • If you are seeking an abortion in McAllen or South Texas, call La Frontera Fund: 1-956-508-3329.

Remember to schedule an appointment and ask the clinic for assistance before calling any abortion fund!

These abortion funds can only offer small amounts of money, and they are constantly raising new funds, so they’ll return calls first from those who are farther along in their pregnancies and have abortion appointments coming up soon. If you don’t hear back, keep calling until you do. Many people combine funds from different sources. However, if your appointment comes and you haven’t heard back yet, go to the clinic with whatever money you have to see if there is emergency assistance available.

If you can pay for the abortion but are struggling to get transportation to and from the clinic, you have several options.

      • If you need help paying for gas money, a hotel, or bus tickets for a trip 100 miles or more from home, call  Fund Texas Choice: 1-512-900-8908 or 1-844-900-8908. Leave a message and you will hear back from an intake counselor within 48 hours.
      • If you live in Houston and need a ride or a place to stay, you can call or text the Clinic Access Support Network: 1-281-947–CASN (2276).
      • If you live within 100 miles of Austin or San Antonio and need a ride or a place to stay, call  The Bridge Collective: 1-512-524-9822.

The prospect of raising enough money and finding transportation can seem overwhelming, but don’t give up. The bottom line is that lots of organizations in Texas and beyond will help you raise the money you need to help you get your abortion.