Black History 365: Brittany Mostiller

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Brittany Mostiller first learned about abortion funds in 2007.

She was 23 years old and sharing a two-bedroom apartment on the South Side of Chicago with her three kids, her sister and her niece. She had just carried an unplanned pregnancy to term in February, which she said pushed her into a depression. Things got worse in July when she found out she was pregnant again.

“Everything just felt like it was caving in,” she said of her life at the time. “I felt stuck. I wanted something more. I wanted to offer my children something more.”

Mostiller didn’t have enough money for an abortion, which can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on where you live and how far along the pregnancy is. At the time, Illinois’ Medicaid program didn’t cover abortions, something that’s still true in 34 states and Washington D.C.

Mostiller reached out to the nonprofit Chicago Abortion Fund, which was able to cover about one-third of what ended up being a $900 abortion. They sent the money directly to Mostiller’s clinic. Abortion funds often pay for only part of a client’s abortion, in hopes of stretching their limited dollars to help as many people as possible.

Mostiller said the financial support from the abortion fund prevented her from taking more drastic actions she’d considered — like throwing herself down the stairs or having her 5-year-old daughter pounce on her stomach to force a miscarriage. But she said the fund gave her much more than money.

“I felt really held on that call and seen in a way that I had never ever felt,” she said. “It gave me hope. [Things were] rough, and they were like this light.”

Mostiller started volunteering with the Chicago Abortion Fund, and by 2015, she was its executive director. She now works as the leadership development coordinator at the National Network of Abortion Funds.

She said funds have been preparing for the fall of Roe since Donald Trump was elected president six years ago.

“It’s just real now,” she said. “They need all the support they can get.”