Four women holding pink signs supporting Planned Parenthood and abortion rights
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Mayor Brandon Scott on Tuesday announced additional funding for Baltimore organizations providing abortion care.

In partnership with the Baltimore Civic Fund, the city will invest an additional round of grant funding towards nonprofit organizations providing abortion and abortion care services. The first round of grant funding came in 2022, immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

“In Baltimore and across Maryland, we have made clear that women’s right to make their own health decisions is non-negotiable,” Scott said in a statement. “As so many parts of the country are pulled backwards by conservative activists hoping to eliminate reproductive freedom — here in Baltimore City, we will always stand in strong support of comprehensive reproductive health care. With this additional round of funding, our city is investing in those values and helping to meet the needs of care-seekers.”

In the wake of the June 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that stripped federal protection from those seeking abortions, city officials worked to increase Baltimore’s ability to serve people getting abortions.

“Early in June 2022, the City Council passed a resolution to designate Baltimore City as an Abortion Rights Protection Jurisdiction and together, Mayor Scott and Councilmembers established the Abortion Protection Fund to infuse additional support to Baltimore organizations providing care for people seeking to terminate a pregnancy,” the press release reads.

The 2022 Abortion Protection Fund grants ranged from $8,000 to $50,000 for five Baltimore-based nonprofits to increase access to abortion services for Baltimore City and Maryland residents. The organizations also serve people coming to Maryland from other states where abortion was outlawed or severely restricted after Roe was overturned.

According to the press release, those funds helped “grantees to hire more staff, increase the number of in-person and medication abortion telehealth visits, decrease the time to access abortion services, and cover costs for travel and medical treatment.”

For the 2023 grants, organizations located in Baltimore City and serving Baltimore residents will be eligible for awards up to $30,000.

“As we face the overturn of Roe v. Wade, safeguarding reproductive health becomes a crucial imperative,” said District 10 Councilwoman Phylicia Porter in a statement. “Together, we must advocate for policies that promote reproductive freedom and ensure that everyone can exercise control over their own reproductive choices. My vision is to empower and uplift our community through equitable access to healthcare services. Baltimore is dedicated to safeguarding reproductive rights and ensuring that all our residents and visitors have access to the healthcare they need. By investing in these organizations, we are reinforcing our commitment to a healthier and more prosperous future reproductive health for all Baltimoreans.”

The Baltimore Civic Fund is the fiscal sponsor of the City of Baltimore, managing more than $20 million annually for at least 125 City programs that “promote business and economic development, education, culture and the creative economy, job growth, and more,” according to its website.

Abortion-rights advocates have long pointed to the economic consequences of restricting access to safe abortions and reproductive care as one of myriad reasons the procedure should be protected. The Economic Policy Institute concurs, stating in a report that “in states where abortion has been banned or restricted, abortion restrictions constitute an additional piece in a sustained project of economic subjugation and disempowerment.” The report cites Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen having noted that “eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades.”

Applications for qualified Baltimore nonprofit organizations for the 2023 Abortion Protection Fund are open through Aug. 18, 2023. Find more information, the Request for Applications, and the portal to apply on the Baltimore Civic Fund’s website.