A stock photo shows a small plane in the sky.
Hundreds of pilots are volunteering to fly abortion patients across state lines, The Guardian reported.
It’s part of an initiative led by Elevate Access — an Illinois-based non-profit organization.
It pairs patients in states with little or no access to reproductive healthcare with volunteer pilots.
Hundreds of pilots are volunteering to fly patients across state lines as part of an initiative to make reproductive healthcare accessible for those living in states where it is banned or highly limited, according to The Guardian.
Elevate Access, an Illinois-based non-profit organization, coordinates the initiative to recruit pilots and pair them with patients. The patients are referred to Elevate Access by organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation, The Guardian reported.
So far, the initiative has resulted in hundreds of successful missions, the newspaper said.
At the time of reporting, 870 pilots have offered to volunteer their service, which involves transporting people in small planes from those states that have outlawed abortion to states that have not, per The Guardian.
The initiative experienced a significant uptick in volunteer pilots after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, the newspaper said. The decision to strip federal protections means that most abortions are now banned in at least 13 states, per The New York Times, which has led to an increased number of women needing to travel out of state.
Steven, one of the many volunteer pilots, told The Guardian that on one mission, he picked up a stranger in his single-engine plane and flew them more than 1000 miles across state lines to help them access reproductive healthcare.
He decided to get involved after reading an article about Elevate Access following the leak of the Supreme Court decision in May, The Guardian reported. “I wasn’t looking to do it, but when I read that, I thought, ‘Wow, this sounds like something I care about, in a way that I could actually be very useful as a pilot,'” he told the newspaper.
Elevate Access was set up to address the fact that traveling across state lines can be costly, risky, and time-consuming, according to The Guardian.
Insider previously reported the costs of travel, gas, hotels, and time off work can make getting an out-of-state abortion expensive. It can also carry the risk of losing one’s job, the report said.
The flying costs are covered by the volunteer pilots, who must undergo a background check, and the trips are free for passengers, according to The Guardian. Passengers remain anonymous, the newspaper said.