In mere hours following the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Cobalt Abortion Fund's requests for help skyrocketed. By the end of the day, we had seen triple the amount of requests for help than normal. Clinic staff in trigger law states across the country had to shut down services immediately following the decision. We began hearing stories of staffers calling patients to cancel appointments, even sending many in the waiting room home.
These stories were absolutely devastating. Many of those patients looked to Colorado. With the passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act, Colorado is considered a safe haven state. We are thrilled to not only to have the right to abortion care protected at the state level, but also a governing body committed to protecting those who exercise that right in our state.
But for many low income and rural individuals seeking abortion care, legal does not mean accessible. Organizations like Cobalt and the Cobalt Abortion Fund exist to bridge the gap for those facing barriers to access care. Cobalt Abortion Fund not only provides financial assistance to offset the cost of abortion care, but also has ramped up our travel support to ensure folks from out of state are able to get to Colorado and home again.
Since the Dobbs decision, we have spent $86,187 on practical support (travel) alone. That funding has served over 280 clients seeking travel support since June 24th. For context, our total spending on practical support in all of 2021 was $6000 serving 34 clients. The need to financially contribute to this work is critical so we can sustain this support. As we adjust to the new normal of a national healthcare crisis, we strongly rely on support from our community members.
Cobalt also has a strong political presence and encourages folks to support pro abortion rights candidates. We hosted phone banks to support our neighbors in Kansas and were thrilled with the results. This is another reminder that bans on abortion are deeply unpopular across political spectrums. It is imperative that we engage in policy processes and electoral work that ensures pro abortion majorities.Yet another state banning access would have devastating ripple effects. We cannot do this without our supporters. I ask you all to stay angry but also to allow yourself feelings of devastation at this loss of human rights in our country.
Activist and educator Mariame Kaba said, “hope doesn’t preclude feeling sadness or frustration or anger or any other emotion. Hope isn’t an emotion, you know? Hope is a discipline and that we have to practice it every single day.”
It is our discipline of hope, of continuing to show up and fight, that will save us.
To donate to the Cobalt Abortion Fund: https://cobaltaf.org/
To support phone banking efforts against the abortion ban in Kansas:
Amanda Carlson is the director of the Cobalt Abortion Fund. She has been with Cobalt for five years. She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Denver with a focus on public policy. She enjoys doing theatre, hiking with her pup, and traveling in her spare time.