Brandon Wade founder of Seeking Arrangements offers to pay for abortions of women who need to travel out of restrictive states

Sugar Daddy website founder to pay for abortions of women who need to travel out of restrictive states

'If lawmakers will not step in and help these desperate women, then I will,' says Brandon Wade

Maya Oppenheim
Women's Correspondent
@mayaoppenheim
Wednesday 05 June 2019 16:31
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The founder of a sugar daddy website is offering to pay for out-of-state abortions for women seeking the procedure in states that have passed restrictions.

This comes as increasing numbers of states across America introduce bills that attempt to ban women from having abortions – with legislation to restrict abortion rights having been introduced in 16 states this year.

Brandon Wade, the founder and chief executive of popular sugar daddy website SeekingArrangement, is offering to cover the cost of both abortions and the travel expenses for women needing abortions in states that have introduced restrictions on the procedure.

Mr Wade announced him and his girlfriend Zoe Glaze are launching a charity called Fight Against Poverty so that “when any state makes the decision to deny women the right to make choices about her body, we can help.”

“We will provide women and families who cannot afford to provide for themselves, travel out of their home state to access proper health care and to exercise their right to a choice,” he said in a video released on Tuesday.

He added: “If lawmakers will not step in and help these desperate women, then I will."

Mr Wade explained that his girlfriend grew up in Alabama - a state where a new law mandating a near total ban on abortion was signed into law by the governor last month. Under the law, doctors would face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for carrying out the procedure.

The abortion ban, which has been branded a “death sentence for women”, would even criminalise performing abortions in cases of rape and incest. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said the new law might be “unenforceable” due to Roe v Wade – the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion nationwide in 1973 – but said the new law was passed with the aim of challenging that decision.

“My girlfriend, Zoe, and her sister Camille, both from Gadsden, Alabama, wept that day. As did millions of other women worldwide,” Mr Wade said.

Mr Wade’s interest in setting up a charity started when he began to question why women from states with abortion bans could not just travel elsewhere. He said he rapidly discovered the answer “may have more to do with money than legislation.”

Alabama’s abortion law is “designed to hurt the weakest and the poorest amongst us”, he added.

Around 17 per cent of Alabama residents currently live below the poverty line. Mr Wade also drew attention to the fact Alabama does not require comprehensive sex education in schools and does not provide funding to family planning centres such as Planned Parenthood.

Mr Wade said he plans to donate between $500,000 and $1m to the charity initially and will take part in its fundraising. He said the charity ties in with SeekingArrangement’s goal of letting people make their own choices and improve their lives.

SeekingArrangement connects “sugar babies” to “sugar daddies or mommas” to find “mutually beneficial relationships,” according to its site, and has 10 million members.

The CEO’s announcement comes as anti-abortion campaigners wage war on abortion rights in the hope that Roe v Wade will be overturned or radically undermined with new conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh - both Trump appointees - sitting on the court.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that states cannot ban abortion before a foetus is viable – about 23 to 25 weeks.

Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed the controversial “heartbeat” abortion bill into law last month – effectively banning the procedure and giving the southern state one of the most restrictive laws in the US.

The legislation bans abortion once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo. This can be as early as six weeks – at which point most women do not yet know they are pregnant.

The bill imposes jail sentences for women found guilty of aborting or attempting to abort their pregnancies, with the potential for life imprisonment and the death penalty. It is not scheduled to come into effect until 1 January and is expected to face challenges in the courts – and potentially be postponed.

More than a dozen other states have passed or are considering versions of Georgia’s law. Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have also approved bans on abortion once a foetal heartbeat is detected.

Opponents of abortion across America have become increasingly emboldened in their efforts to roll back women’s reproductive rights since Donald Trump entered the White House in January 2017.

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