Washington teens create app to help those seeking abortions find a place to stay

They’re too young to drive and not even close to voting age, but a group of middle schoolers and high school freshmen have an award-winning app concept that’s both a hot-button political issue and a road trip planner.

The first-of-its-kind tech helps users locate the closest legal abortion providers and a place to stay if they’re coming from a state where the procedure has been banned.

The group called The STEM Girls!!! is made up of two 14-year-old girls, Isabel Xu and Hasini Juluri, and two twelve-year-old girls, Cynthia Xu and Aditi Juluri.

"We know we're fortunate to live in a state where abortion is legal, but a lot of other teenagers and women don't have that available or have that right," Isabel said. "We wanted to make a difference nationwide."

The four girls created a functional mobile app that tackles a serious topic.

"My Choice Housing provides housing for people who have abortions out of state and resources to support them while they undergo the abortion process," Hasini Juluri said.

They group said the mobile app operates similarly to Airbnb.

"When you first go into the app, you can see the clinics page and all the clinics in the area," Isabel Xu said.

Roe v. Wade gave women a federal right to abortion. When the Supreme Court passed it back to individual states to decide abortion access, confusion and uncertainly quickly followed. The app they created could help women find the care they need and provide a nationwide solution.

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"As teenagers, we're always on social media," Hasini Juluri said. "We started seeing it everywhere, so we decided to take a deeper dive into it. And looking into people's individual stories, we realized that's a problem affecting many teenagers around the U.S. And we wanted to see what we could do."

Hasini and Isabel then recruited their younger sisters to help create the app.

"I felt like I was a little skeptical," Cynthia said. "Because for me, I'm kind of pushed into the side when my sister comes. But, with doing Technovation, I felt that I really learned a lot more about STEM and coding. So, I felt that was a great personal thing for me."

Technovation is a non-profit program encouraging girls as young as eight to pursue the STEM field.

"They haven't been able to be as exposed to STEM as we have," Hasini said. "So, we thought this would be a good opportunity. Especially since they're the same age. It gave them a good opportunity and us a good opportunity to all work as a team, and it was also convenient."

Among steep competition, The STEM Girls!!! entered a competition within the Technovation program with their idea for My Choice Housing. They are now one of seven regional winners representing the U.S.

The STEM Girls!!! encourage any other young people interested in the field to try it because they, too, could make a difference.

"I think they should go for it," Hasini said. "Just start and they'll find something in stem that they'll like."

Abortion remains illegal in more than 20 states. While the My Choice Housing app isn’t out yet, winning their regional prize came with a cash award.

The STEM Girls!!! told FOX 13 they'll use it to help fund their app's development moving forward.