National Abortion Fund Launches New Initiative to Support Community Clinics

WRRAP is connecting community clinics with the funding they need to continue providing care. 

National Abortion Fund Launches New Initiative to Support Community Clinics
Independent abortion clinics perform about 60 percent of abortion procedures across the U.S. each year (Art by liberaljane / Instagram)

Independent abortion clinics—also called indie clinics or indies—perform close to 60 percent of abortion procedures across the United States each year, despite making up only 25 percent of facilities. And out of the five states with only one remaining abortion provider, three of those providers are independent clinics.

But since March 2020, indie clinics have reported enormous financial hardships and an urgent need for financial support in order to continue providing care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP)—the largest national independent abortion fund in the U.S.—has launched a new initiative to support these clinics and their millions of abortion-seeking patients. 

Established to provide supplemental emergency funding for people accessing abortion from indies in all 50 states, the KIIRA Fund is named in honor of WRAPP’s former board member Kiira Jepson, who passed away unexpectedly in 2019. 

“Kiira was a die-hard advocate for reproductive justice and rights,” Sylvia Ghazarian, executive director of WRRAP, told Ms. “One of the things she was always about was how we need to continue to support independent clinics.” 

National Abortion Fund Launches New Initiative to Support Community Clinics
Since March 2020, independent abortion clinics have been shutting down at alarming rates due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Robin Marty / Flickr)

Independent clinics have decreased 32 percent in the past decade—from 510 clinics in 2012 down to only 344 as of November 2020. According to the Abortion Care Network, many abortion-seekers don’t have access to a Planned Parenthood or their primary physician for abortion care, so they rely on community clinics. Without indies, millions will lose access to essential health care. 

“Independent clinics … don’t have the fundraising coverage that national organizations have,” Ghazarian said.

WRAPP, Largest National Independent Abortion Fund, launches new initiative to fund community clinics
When Abortion Care Network started tracking clinic closures in 2012, they had identified 510
independent abortion clinics open in the U.S. As of November 2020, ACN identified 337 open
independent clinics. (Abortion Care Network)

“What makes WRRAP unique is that we support our sister abortion funds in each state and each county. We are able to support and fund in each of the 50 states,” said Ghazarian. 

A majority of WRAPP’s funding goes to low-income women and women of color, according to Ghazarian, and the financial impacts of the pandemic have only exacerbated this need: “Obviously, the biggest portion of our funding is women of color and those who are on or below the poverty line. Being able to navigate COVID plus what they’re going through is just … unreal, right now.”

When asked about Kiira’s legacy and the impact she had on the organization, Ghazarian said:

“She was a sweet, inspiring, beautiful, intelligent beam of light. I came on board with WRRAP three years ago, and she was so generous with training and her time with me and getting to know me. We connected on a personal level, just her being a great person for the community and understanding the fundamental needs of people. It was a great honor to get to know her. She had such an impact on the organization.”

In honor of the late Kiira Jepson’s upcoming birthday on April 25, WRRAP aims to raise $30,000 throughout the month of April.

To donate to the Kiira Fund or to WRRAP, head here. WRRAP is giving bracelets for any gifts or donations over $50—so that, according to Ghazarian, “individuals can show they are supporting someone at an independent clinic and wear it with pride.”

Updated April 28 at 3:20 p.m.

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Ashley Lynn Priore is an American chess player, coach, entrepreneur, and strategist.