June 16, 2021
The Honorable Richard Blumenthal
706 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Ted Cruz
127A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Blumenthal and Ranking Member Cruz:
I am writing on behalf of the Cobalt Abortion Fund in Denver, Colorado. As a social worker, my role is to case manage clients reaching out for financial assistance to cover the cost of their abortion procedure. Our fund helped 1150 clients afford the cost of an abortion in 2020. Abortion restrictions disproportionately and intentionally affect low income people.
Funds like ours exist all over the country in order to fill gaps caused by barriers to abortion care. Barriers such as what was recently enacted in Texas attempt to make abortion care virtually inaccessible, based in no medical neccessity or good intention toward those they affect. Nearly 500 laws have been passed banning or restricting abortion care since 2011.These bans are rooted in white supremacy and target many who already face barriers to health care and are bearing the brunt of the pandemic and economic crisis—particularly Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
Abortion funds are a grassroots effort to assist those most impacted by providing financial assistance, transportation coverage, childcare, and meals. When COVID-19 swept the country last year, states like Texas and Oklahoma used the pandemic as an excuse to push through nefarious political bans on abortion care as a “non-essential service”. We saw a huge influx of clients seeking abortion care from Texas. These clients now had to add the stress and cost of travel on top of the fear and uncertainty we all felt during the pandemic. This stress was inflicted on them by bans on abortion care written by small men.
The Women’s Health Protection Act is essential in protecting our human right to bodily autonomy. As attacks on abortion access increase at the hands of those who do not stand with most Americans in believing abortion access is a fundamental right, this legislation is crucial in protecting that right. The 117th Congress must stand with people and communities fighting for racial, economic, and reproductive justice and commit to protecting the right of every person to make their own decisions about their bodies, free from discrimination and political interference.
Our abortion fund is not going anywhere. We will always be here to support anyone seeking an abortion. We will continue to support clients traveling to Colorado for care when that care is virtually impossible to access in their state. Of the clients we see from outside Colorado, over 80% of those clients come from states that are hostile to abortion access. We still serve many clients from Texas.
In an equitable and just society, all health care, including abortion, is accessible for everyone. When abortion care is accessible, individuals, families, and communities thrive. I strongly urge you to support the Women’s Health Protection Act.
Amanda Carlson, MSW, Cobalt Abortion Fund Director
Testimony in Support of the Women’s Health Protection Act
United States Senate Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on the Constitution