JEN became a registered nonprofit in March as the pandemic began to spread throughout South Dakota.
“It wasn’t intentional” but “it kind of hit the right time,” Floren said of the timing.
JEN helps women get birth control and abortions through information, interpreters, and funding for child care, transportation and shelter. The group also has volunteers who lead women who need a ride.
The closest option for women who live in Pierre, for example, is to drive more than four hours to get a medical abortion in Sioux City. But if they need surgery, they have to drive more than five hours to Fargo.
Caitlin Anderson and her husband Will volunteered this summer to pick up a woman from a small town in the south-central state and drop her off for a ride with another woman who was also going to have an abortion in Fargo. . The second wife never showed up, so the couple decided to take her to Fargo.
The couple then drove the woman home after learning that she had not completed the paperwork correctly. Anderson said the woman eventually found a friend who could drive her to a date in Sioux City next week. The woman also had to make arrangements for someone to look after her children during both trips.
Anderson says she cares about access to abortion because she had one at the Sioux Falls clinic in 2015. She and Will had three children at the time and couldn’t afford a fourth.