An abortion group has some big news for women who must travel to get an abortion – how about a pre-paid gas card to help pay for the woman’s expenses? I thought the ghoulish pursuit of abortion tourism was bold enough when I wrote about that back in June, but the trend continues.

Remember the good old days when religious leaders encouraged a culture that protected life and the most vulnerable among us? The person tasked with spearheading a program that will issue pre-paid gas cards to women burdened with traveling to deliberately end their pregnancies is … a female Episcopal priest. The Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale is the interim president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). The NAF is an organization of abortion providers which began in the United States and now has expanded to Canada and Australia as well as many European countries and Mexico.

The inspiration for more giveaways from pro-abortion advocates is due to the passage of pro-life legislation in several states in recent months. The motive behind the offer of free gas to travel to an abortion clinic is “to ensure that patients can obtain care quickly and with dignity”, according to the press release. “Dignity” is not a consideration offered up for the unborn life, apparently.

The pilot program is going to be run through the NAF Hotline’s Dr. Tiller Patient Assistance Fund. Dr. Tiller is an abortionist who was killed in 2009. The fund “honors the legacy” of Dr. Tiller. His legacy is that of an abortion provider, especially late-term abortion, in Witchita, Kansas.

The cost of the actual abortion procedure is only one expense women must manage when they need an abortion. Since there are a limited number of providers and states continue to impose additional restrictions, many women have to travel long distances to reach the closest provider who can help them. And this situation will only worsen as the political environment continues to become more hostile toward abortion rights. According to a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco, if Roe v. Wade were overturned or weakened, increases in travel distances would likely prevent 93,500 to 143,500 individuals from obtaining abortion care.

To help address this issue and ensure that patients can obtain care quickly and with dignity, NAF is piloting a program to give pre-paid gas cards through its Hotline’s Dr. Tiller Patient Assistance Fund. The Dr. Tiller Patient Assistance Fund primarily helps cover travel-related expenses for women seeking abortion care. This fund honors the legacy of long-time NAF member, Dr. George Tiller who was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist in 2009. The pilot program will start with a small group of NAF-member independent abortion clinics in states where the majority of their patients drive to the clinic and where there are a number of factors like onerous state-mandated waiting periods and laws that require women to make two visits to the clinic, which make access harder for patients. After a three-month pilot, NAF hopes to expand this project to other NAF-member clinics across the U.S.

The program is a three-month-long pilot program for now. I have no doubt that it will be a success for the NAF and it will be put into place on a permanent basis. The push for free stuff is strong, especially in a presidential election cycle, and that even extends into the gruesome subject of abortion. The fact that a religious leader runs the abortion trade group only makes it more offensive. Ragsdale says the response to the pre-paid gas cards is positive.

“People believe that everyone should have the freedom to make decisions about their families and their reproductive health without government-mandated, medically unnecessary barriers,” she said.

“Travel-related assistance is a service that shouldn’t have to be provided,” Ragsdale said. “Unfortunately, due to the anti-abortion bans and medically-unnecessary anti-abortion restrictions, politicians have made it impossible for many to obtain the care they need. We’re here to do something about it.”

Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio have passed bills this year banning abortions around six weeks into pregnancy. This week Tennessee lawmakers voiced support of considering legislation known as a “fetal heartbeat law”. The six-week point in a pregnancy is usually when the baby’s heartbeat can be detected during an ultrasound examination.

Incentivizing abortion is a sad statement on the coarseness of our society today. Devaluating life is not a healthy sign for any modern society. Religious leaders signing on to encouraging the termination of innocent life should reflect upon that decision.