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HomeMoneyColorado-based abortion fund sees rising demand. Many are from Texas, where procedure...

Colorado-based abortion fund sees rising demand. Many are from Texas, where procedure is restricted

DENVER — A Colorado abortion fund said Thursday it’s helped hundreds access abortion in the first months of 2024, many arriving from Texas where abortion is restricted, showing a steady increase in need each year since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision left a patchwork of state bans, restrictions and protections across the country. In response, a national makeshift network of individuals and organizations help those seeking abortions in states where it’s restricted, including the Colorado-based Cobalt Abortion Fund.

Cobalt provides financial support for both practical expenses, such as travel and lodging, and abortion procedures, and they operate from the Democratic-led state that has staunchly protected access to abortion, including for nonresidents.

Cobalt’s aid has already jumped since Roe was overturned, from $212,00 in 2021 to $1.25 million by 2023. In Cobalt’s latest numbers, the group spent $500,000 in the first three months of 2024 and predict spending around $2.4 million by the end of the year to help people access abortions. That would nearly double last year’s support.

Over half of that 2024 spending went to some 350 people for practical support, not the procedure, and the vast majority of the clients were from Texas.

“There is this idea that the Dobbs decision and subsequent bans, due to trigger bans, created an increase in volume, and now maybe that volume has decreased or kind of stabilized. That is not the case,” said Melisa Hidalgo-Cuellar, Cobalt’s director.

“The volumes continue to increase every single month,” she said.

Hidalgo-Cuellar says the steady rise is partly due to more access to information on social media and new restrictions. Florida’s restriction went into effect last week and bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant.

Colorado has pulled in the opposite direction, becoming a haven for abortion in a region of largely conservative states. Last year, the state passed a law that shields those seeking abortions, and those providing them, from prosecution in other states where it’s restricted, such as Florida.

Now, antiabortion activists are testing the boundaries of those bans in court. That includes a Texas man who is petitioning a court to authorize an obscure legal action to find out who allegedly helped his former partner obtain an out-of-state abortion.

Those out-of-state abortions are in part why Cobalt’s funding for practical support — mainly travel expenses — exceeded it’s aid for the procedure itself.

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Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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