The Abortion Access Legal Defense Funds Marks One Year of Meeting Critical Need

It has been a busy year since the National Women’s Law Center launched the Abortion Access Legal Defense Fund (Abortion Access LDF)!  We created the Abortion Access LDF in response to the legal chaos unleashed by the Supreme Court’s unjust decision to take away the constitutional right to abortion. As individuals face increasing legal scrutiny for seeking or supporting abortion, the Abortion Access LDF aims to help people access legal representation, regardless of their ability to pay.   

The response to the Abortion Access LDF has only confirmed the significant need that it was designed to meet.  In the past year, abortion supporters, providers, and patients in a dozen states have sought assistance from the Abortion Access LDF.  We are proud that the Abortion Access LDF has been able to respond to the real needs of folks on the ground, including funding multiple legal matters in states that have either banned or drastically limited the availability of abortion since the Dobbs decision. 

There is no “typical” case that comes to the Abortion Access LDF.  In the past year, our grantees and their legal issues have varied widely.  For example, the Abortion Access LDF has funded legal representation of individuals, like abortion providers and abortion patients, as well as organizations that support individuals in accessing abortion care.  The Abortion Access LDF has funded legal representation in federal court, state court, and administrative proceedings.  No two cases are alike.  And that’s precisely the point—the Abortion Access LDF is uniquely positioned to meet the need across a broad spectrum of post-Dobbs legal issues.   

The funds that the Abortion Access LDF has granted make a meaningful difference.  Without the  financial assistance of the Abortion Access LDF, many abortion supporters, providers, and patients would be left without committed, robust legal representation.  As one attorney who received Abortion Access LDF funding explained: “The Abortion Access LDF’s funding has enabled us to give our client a strong defense from the outset.  Because of the Abortion Access LDF’s support, we were able to quickly raise important threshold issues that protect our client’s interests.” 

In the post-Dobbs landscape, people who need abortion or who help others access abortion face increasing legal threats and attacks from anti-abortion activists and politicians.  Those individuals and organizations should not have to additionally bear crushing legal costs.  The Abortion Access LDF increases the funding available to help alleviate these costs so that abortion patients, supporters, and providers can navigate this legal chaos.   If you are facing legal action because you have had an abortion or helped someone obtain an abortion, and you would like to request more information about financial assistance to help cover legal costs, learn how to apply to the Abortion Access LDF here.