An abortion rights supporter attends a rally holding up a sign with the slogan, “Not Your Body, Not Your Choice” on it; photo by Gayatri Malhotra via Unsplash.
News + Advocacy

Finding Ways You Can Protect Abortion Rights

While abortion is still currently legalized in the U.S.; a recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion written by Justice Alito has revealed that the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that settled abortion as a constitutionally protected right was voted down in February of this year.

This unprecedented exposé of where the majority conservative leaning justices stand on abortion rights in America is stark yet unsurprising. Even though this opinion has yet to be declared the final decision on the matter (votes can/do frequently change during multiple drafts); striking down abortion access has been the bedrock of the Republican political landscape and could be coming as soon as the Summer.

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. | Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Foreground Text: Finding Ways You Can Protect Abortion Rights; a blog post on Transatlantic Notes. Background Image: An abortion rights supporter attends a rally holding up a sign with the slogan, Not Your Body, Not Your Choice on it; photo by Gayatri Malhotra via Unsplash.

The court might go in the other direction and decide to uphold Roe v. Wade (which I sincerely hope they do); but trusting this has been a persistently fragile undertaking. Justice Alito’s draft opinion laid bare just how devastating an end to abortion access would be for reproductive healthcare in this country. At least 22 states (with more to follow) have total abortion bans on the books that would immediately come into affect if Roe is struck down; some with no exemptions for rape or incest. The Louisiana GOP currently has a bill waiting for advancement that would classify abortion as homicide.  

If forced pregnancies are imposed, it’s those in low income households that are most likely to be impacted and driven further into poverty and/or debt; according to the Guttmacher Institute, 75% of those getting abortions are either poor or low income (with many falling below the federal poverty level). Going through a pregnancy and birth is expensive even under the best of circumstances; a recent study published in the journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that low income parent/s can end up spending up to 20% of their annual income. The financial burden this would place on someone is irreconcilable; most notably so because this country currently offers no universal healthcare, no national paid family leave and no universal/affordable child care. Abortion bans triggered by the proposed overturning of Roe v. Wade would deliberately inflict financial, physical and mental trauma on those already struggling — but perhaps that’s the point.

The United States, for example, has the highest maternal mortality rates of any developed country and represents the only industrialized nation in the world where this trend is rising; statistics show Black and Indigenous women are at disproportionately higher risk of dying from pregnancy related complications than White or Hispanic women. None of this should be ignored when looking at the devastation that further restricting or banning abortion would have; especially within an already neglectful public health system where medical care is not equally accessible.

An abortion rights supporter attends a rally holding up a sign with the slogan, Abortion Is Healthcare on it; photo by Gayatri Malhotra via Unsplash.
photo by Gayatri Malhotra/Unsplash

Those who can afford it will always be able to visit another state or country where abortion is still allowed. Government laws and policies rarely undermine the rights of those who sign them into existence; or have the ability to pay for the freedom to determine what happens to their bodies. All an abortion ban does is make getting safer reproductive care more difficult and dangerous; it puts the health at risk of those already trying to exist in a country that places systemic barriers to equitable wellness in their way.

As you would expect, abortion is an issue that affects the lives of people from all religious, ideological, political, economic, ethnic, sexuality, gender identity and age-related backgrounds. But those facing the brunt of what could potentially be unleashed if/when Roe v. Wade comes to an end have already been fighting the longest and hardest for their rights.

By arguing in his draft opinion that abortion isn’t mentioned in the constitution; Justice Alito contradicts his assertion that no other rights will come under threat because contraception, same-sex marriage and interracial marriage, for example, are also missing from this seminal text. Individual states could start attacking other settled laws to slowly chip away at their precedents; as has been done in the case of abortion rights for nearly 50 years.

As unsure and disheartening as this time may feel; we can still protect abortion rights and support those who need access to them. Here are some key things you can do right now:

An abortion rights supporter attends a rally holding up a sign with the slogan, March Like Your Future Depends On It; photo by Gayatri Malhotra via Unsplash.
photo Gayatri Malhotra/Unsplash
  • Donate money to funding programs that cover the cost of an abortion, including the procedure/medication, travel and lodging. You can use the National Network of Abortion Funds to find state-by-state information; you can also use this network list if you need assistance with getting an abortion
  • Donate money and/or services to The Brigid Alliance that provides transportation to/from abortion care; you can also use this link if you need help traveling to your abortion services
  • Contact your Senators to tell them to vote to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (which codifies Roe into law — find out what this means here); you can send a pre-written email via Next Gen America
  • Remind those needing reassurance and/or access to abortion services that it is still currently legal to have an abortion in the U.S.

If you have any other resources that help protect abortion rights and preserve Roe v. Wade as settled law then share them in the comments below; we can make our voices heard. And if the worst does happen, we’ll continue establishing networks of support that provide medically safe and responsible abortion access to anyone who needs it. 

What are your thoughts on the Roe v. Wade draft opinion leak from the Supreme Court?


Further Info:

These Companies Will Help Staff in Red States Bypass Abortion Bans – CNN

America’s Abortion Quandary – Pew Research Center

Read some quotes from the 17th Century English jurist that Justice Alito cited as informing his draft opinion about why Roe v. Wade has to be struck down (hint: the guy was a raging misogynist who thought marital rape didn’t exist) — via ProPublica

26 thoughts on “Finding Ways You Can Protect Abortion Rights”

  1. A well-researched post on this subject Molly. It’s too bad that this has to be an issue again decades after the original decision. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. It’s extremely disturbing to see what’s happening in America. Who knew the storming of the capital building was just the start of extremely questionable actions to happen. I really hope it doesn’t get overturned, because it’s just inhumane to make abortion illegal

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    1. I hope it remains in place too — we shall see what happens but I have a feeling this is only just the latest right to be removed. More decisions that are “settled” will be struck down and the ultra-conservative faction of this country are going to hold us all hostage to their whim. Thanks so much for reading!

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  3. Men deciding what happens to women’s bodies yet again, if we turned the tables it was about them having a vasectomy, I am sure there would be hell to pay. The only thing they are doing is causing more unsafe abortions!! This makes me so angry for all women!
    Lauren

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  4. I’m not in the US so I honestly don’t know the ins and outs of this but it makes me so angry. This is such a helpful post – especially for non-US citizens who want to do something but perhaps don’t know where to start.

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  5. I recently learned about what is happening in America and it really dispurbed me. I cannot believe that the women right to abortion is still a matter of argument. It shouldn’t be happening. Women should decide for their body and nobody else. Just by banning it it will not prevent it from happening. I know stories of women who got pregnant in countries where abortion is illegal and they either had it in a not secure hospital environment or they traleved to another country just to have the abortion. It just isn’t fare.

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    1. It’s going to be sad to see what happens as a result of the abortion ban that is likely to be coming this Summer; it will no doubt cause other laws that strike down rights to keep coming. Truly a sad time for this country.

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  6. Thank you for sharing so many helpful resources that we can assist. It’s exhausting seeing what’s happening in the news. I’m glad there are ways that we can still support from outside of the US. Thank you for using your voice and amplifying this important message.

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  7. It’s so important to protect legal and safe abortion rights, I cannot believe America appears to be going down the route of taking them away. Such a terrible injustice that will impact the poorest in society most of all.

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    1. The impact of the ruling that’s likely to come this Summer will be so detrimental for so many people; it’s a very sad time and I hope those who can will do everything they can to protect reproductive freedom and abortion rights.

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