No person should have to travel for access to healthcare. Including an abortion.
But as abortion clinics shut their doors across the United States, the reality is that traveling across state lines will increasingly become necessary.
Abortions will still happen. But the distances people will travel to access them will change.
Getting to an abortion provider is only getting harder. As this summer has proven, traveling can be expensive. And with abortion care, logistics are often coordinated at the last minute, when costs can become even more exorbitant.
It’s time for those in the travel industry, and indeed, anyone who loves to travel, to step up.
Organizations such as the Brigid Alliance, a nonprofit providing people seeking abortions with travel, food, lodging, and other logistical care, are at the forefront of reproductive healthcare access right now. Donating to the Brigid Alliance and other practical support organizations is a way to ensure that people who require this procedure have access to it.
Pledging your points
There is one travel resource that doesn’t involve paying out of pocket at all: your stash of points and miles.
A study by Bankrate.com found that 31 percent of U.S. credit card holders have never redeemed their credit card rewards. And even those who are using them, like myself, may want to divert their points to a cause.
This is far from a new concept. Miles4Migrants was a pioneer in crowdsourcing airline miles to aid refugees, whether to flee from war, genocide, or other acts against humanity.
And in the fight for the right to choose, leveraging points and miles may be one solution that’s worth digging into.
Daniel Foster and I cocreated Points for Purpose, a platform with the mission of connecting points and miles holders with nonprofits and practical support organizations that are coordinating travel for critical abortion care. More specifically, it’s a place for individuals to pledge their hotel, airline, and credit card points.
The goal? Amplify reproductive health and rights organizations that organize travel by providing an additional booking resource. Points can offset costs associated with traveling to a different state for care, and nonprofits won’t have to rely solely on cash donations.
We’re in the early stages of this initiative. But since launching on June 28, over 4 million points have been pledged, and we’re working on a sustainable, centralized solution by partnering with nonprofit organizations. That includes connecting with some of the leaders in this space, including Miles4Migrants and Planned Parenthood.
We recognize we’re not experts on abortion care, and we both identify as cisgender men. That’s why we’re taking time for due diligence in coordinating logistics and ensuring privacy. Both Daniel and I are passionate about the freedom to choose and want to use our skill set as travel experts.
Finally, scalability is top of mind. Organizers know this isn’t a weeks- or months-long fight. The need for individuals to travel for an abortion, especially as more states make it illegal, will continue for the foreseeable future.
The intersection of travel and abortion wasn’t a place I thought I’d find myself. But as a travel journalist, I believe in the transformative impact even one trip can have on an individual. And travel as a force for good couldn’t be truer than in this very moment.
Want to pledge your points? Find out more here:
How does it work?
Simply fill out the form if you have loyalty program points available and would be willing to help someone receive abortion services. While still in the early stages, Points with Purpose plans to act as a liaison between verified abortion nonprofits that are facilitating travel and a person seeking an abortion; Points with Purpose is not collecting or transferring points between parties.
Who is Points with Purpose working with?
Currently, Points with Purpose is in talks with various verified 501(c)3 nonprofits and organizers. We will be strategically partnering in the weeks and months ahead to ensure this effort can succeed at scale. Currently, Points with Purpose is only collecting pledges.
If you’d like to make a more immediate impact, please consider a cash donation to a local abortion fund or to the Brigid Alliance.
Is it secure?
Only your contact information will be shared with verified nonprofits should an opportunity to assist become available. You will not be contacted by donation recipients directly, and filling out the form is an expression of interest only. There is no commitment to assist. We are taking privacy seriously and responses are encrypted and stored securely. There is also an option for a fully encrypted form in the survey that removes your IP address and data.
Know of an abortion fund that could benefit from a donation of miles and points? Reach out to us here.