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Abortion access groups share stories of women they've supported since Roe was overturned

The Chicago Abortion Fund says it has increased its staff to handle the demand since the Supreme Court upended Roe in 2022.
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Posted at 10:17 AM, May 06, 2024

Abortion is expected to be a major factor in the 2024 presidential election. It's a deeply personal issue, and every person who seeks help has their own story.

"You have someone who's flying here all the way from Texas to literally walk into a clinic and pick up some pills and go home," said Megan Jeyifo, executive director of the Chicago Abortion Fund.

"And then there's just also a lot of trauma. There's a lot of, you know, people might have more complex medical needs and need to be transferred to hospital-based care," she continued.

The one thing that is consistent is the sheer volume of people seeking an abortion.

"There's great resources for people that are managing miscarriages or abortions, as well as people that are actively fighting prosecution around pregnancy outcomes," said Qudsiyyah Shariyf, deputy director of the Chicago Abortion Fund.

In addition to helping provide abortion care, the group also offers meals, flights, gas money and emotional support.

Many of their clients come from as far away as Texas, others from right next door in Indiana, where a near-total abortion ban went into effect in August 2023.

"About once a week I probably talk to somebody who says, 'Well, I think abortion is wrong. I think abortion is not something that people should do, but I need one and here's why," said Jess Marchbank of All Options of Indiana, a pregnancy resource center.

Marchbank is all too familiar with the myriad reasons people seek help.

"We talked to a lot of people who are experiencing intimate partner violence or on the verge of homelessness, unstable housing situations, or often it's just, I get a lot of messages along the lines of 'I already have four kids and I've been taking all the precautions. I can barely support the children that I already have,'" she explained.

Marchbank calls her group a one-stop shop for anything expectant mothers may need: from diapers and wipes to spiritual counseling and even financial help with abortion access.

She also spends her time explaining the nuances of Indiana's law to people who oftentimes feel scared or frustrated.

"Sometimes, I almost get the sense that they've been sort of put through the wringer so much that at the next sort of barrier or challenge, they'll give up," she continued.

Correction: The CAF have been implementing staff increases since 2019, not 2022 as previously reported. This story has been updated.