Shelley O’Brien, manager of The Yale Hotel, located in Yale, Michigan, has offered free lodging to women traveling out of their state to receive an abortion.
O’Brien made the business decision, despite living in a conservative town, in response to restrictive anti-abortion laws that have been passed in nearby states, according to an article on CNN.
"Dear sisters that live in Alabama, Ohio, Georgia, Arkansas, Missouri, or any of the other states that follow with similar laws restricting access, We cannot do anything about the way you are being treated in your home-state. But, if you can make it to Michigan, we will support you with several nights lodging, and transportation to and from your appointment," O’Brien wrote in a post on Facebook.
Since her post no one has used the room despite Alabama’s recent passage of a law creating a nearly complete ban on abortion and the passing of “heartbeat” bills, which ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio.
The post itself has garnered thousands of shares and hundreds of comments. Although not O’Brien’s intention, she has also been able to reap in benefits for business, making $400 more than the week before she made the Facebook post.
O’Brien’s provision of lodging and transportation to the woman’s abortion appointment demonstrates the role we can all play in increasing access to reproductive health services.