Thursday, May 23, 2024

Nonprofit Elevated Access Flies Women Who Need to Travel Out-of-State to Get a Legal Abortion

When the Supreme Court struck down Woe v Wade, dozens of women searched for organizations to help those who were about to lose Access to abortion in their states, and in their search found Elevated Access.  

Elevated Access is a non-profit that helps transport women via small planes who must travel out of state for a legal abortion. Elevated Access was about to launch last May amid abortion restrictions in several states when news leaked that the Supreme Court would strike down Roe v. Wade, so they had to speed up the process. Since then, Elevated Access spokesperson Fiona told Noticias Telemundo that they haven’t stopped. 

The network is made up of some 350 volunteers – airplane pilots, staff on the ground, and people from organizations that provide related support. The flights are free for passengers seeking an abortion, saving them hundreds of dollars and travel days.  

For their protection, pilots know as little information as possible about the people they are transporting. In private aviation, ID verification is unnecessary, the founder of Elevated Access said in an NPR interview. “There’s no ticketing or TSA or anything like that. If somebody feels like they need to use a fake first name, they can definitely do that,” said the founder, who goes by Mike, in the interview. 

Michelle, a young Latina female volunteer and aviator, says she relates to the passengers as a woman and as a Latina; she can talk to them in their language and help them feel calmer.  

“For me, helping these people, I also see my mom there. I would have wanted someone to help her if she had been in this situation,” Michelle said. “This is my community, these are my people, and I never expected that I would have such a direct role in helping them.” 

Access to an abortion can be more difficult for people who don’t have a legal immigration status, don’t speak English, or are victims of domestic violence or abuse. 

“It’s not like they can just go and tell their abuser what they’re going to do,” Fiona, the spokesperson, said. 

Fiona recalls one woman they helped didn’t have any identification documents because her abuser had destroyed them.  

In another case, Elevated Access helped a woman escape an abusive situation. The woman explained she was bringing an extra passenger, her cat because she said she didn’t know “what her abuser could have done to her cat if she had left it at home with him,” Fiona said. 

Kira, a flight coordinator for Elevated Access, helped with logistics that day and shared the experience on social media, calling it one of her favorite stories. She recounted that they helped the woman relocate, even though all they had to do was help her with an abortion appointment. 

NBC News