Nancy Davis found herself living what she called “a mother’s worst nightmare.” Around ten weeks into her pregnancy, an ultrasound detected that the fetus had acrania, meaning it was developing without a skull. Davis lives in Louisiana, and acrania doesn’t appear on the list of “medically futile” conditions that allow for an exception to the near-total abortion ban the state implemented after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
“Louisiana doctors, they were scared of prosecution; they were scared of being fined,” Davis says. “So I went somewhere the laws were clear and they were confident they could give me the care that I needed.”
On September 1, she ended her pregnancy at the Manhattan Planned Parenthood. “I was emotional the whole entire time, but I was treated with the utmost respect,” she says. “I don’t think I could have gone anywhere else in the world and received the treatment that they gave us.”
Owing in part to an influx of out-of-state patients like Davis, New York providers performed 12 percent more abortions between April and August this year, according to the Society of Family Planning. Choices Women’s Medical Center in Queens estimates a 20 percent increase in nonlocal patients since 2021. And the Brigid Alliance, a group that helps fund patients’ travel for abortions, has seen a 60 percent rise in clients coming to New York from out of state post-Dobbs.
Many of those likely to travel to New York for care are people who, like Davis, discover dire anomalies too late for their legislators’ liking. They often find themselves facing fees for travel, accommodations, and more, compounding the cost of their abortion and pushing it later into their pregnancy. The New York Abortion Access Fund reports that it distributed more than a million dollars by October of this year to offset costs for patients, doubling the amount of money it was able to give abortion seekers in 2021.
Demand from states that have banned abortion has surged, and out-of-towners now comprise nearly half of the fund’s callers. Since Dobbs, the group has helped to finance abortion seekers from 26 states, including Texas and Louisiana, and has set up a new call line specifically for those patients. It’s “consistently the busiest,” says interim executive director Chelsea Williams-Diggs. (You can reach it at 212-252-4757.)
Sarah Moeller, director of resource development at the Brigid Alliance, says residents of New York State donated 1,100 percent more this year compared with 2021. “We have never experienced the level of need that we are experiencing right now,” says Moeller. Hear that? You know what to do.