• Hundreds of pilots are volunteering to ferry abortion patients across state lines, The Guardian reported.
  • It’s part of an initiative led by Elevate Access, an Illinois-based nonprofit.
  • It matches patients in states with little or no access to reproductive health care with volunteer pilots.

Hundreds of pilots volunteer to ferry patients across state lines as part of an initiative to make reproductive health care accessible to those living in states where it is prohibited or severely restricted, according The Guardian.

Elevate Access, an Illinois-based nonprofit, coordinates the initiative to recruit pilots and match them with patients. 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 writing, 870 pilots have offered to volunteer for their service, which involves flying people in small planes from states that have banned abortion to states that have not. according to The Guardian.

The initiative saw a significant increase in the number of volunteer pilots after the The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, says the newspaper. The move to remove federal protections means most abortions are now banned in at least 13 states, by the New York Timeswhich led to a increase in the number of women required to travel out of state.

Steven, one of many volunteer pilots, told the Guardian that on one mission he picked up an alien in his single-engine plane and flew him more than 1,000 miles across state lines to help them access reproductive health care.

He decided to get involved after reading an article on Elevate Access following leaked Supreme Court decision in May, The Guardian reported. “I wasn’t looking to do this, but when I read this I thought, ‘Wow, this sounds like something close to my heart, in a way that could actually be very useful as a pilot,'” he told the newspaper. .

Elevate Access was set up in response to the fact that traveling across state lines can be expensive, risky and time-consuming, according to The Guardian.

Previously reported insider travel, gas, hotel, and time-off-work expenses can make out-of-state abortion expensive. It may also carry the risk of losing one’s job, according to the report.

Flight costs are covered by volunteer pilots, who must pass a background check, and travel is free for passengers, according to The Guardian. The passengers remain anonymous, the newspaper said.