With news of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, thereby extinguishing federal protections for the right to an abortion, reproductive justice advocates are calling for people to channel their frustration into action where possible.
Written by Justice Samuel Alito, the majority decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization enshrines a problematic and antiquated understanding of the freedoms and liberties conceived at the creation of the Constitution. His misinterpretation of rights is derived from a time when the majority of people in this country were considered less than human, and only white male landowners could vote.
Further, the threatening tone of Justice Clarence Thomas‘s concurring opinion raises concerns about other rights established by the Court. During a press conference Friday, Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup stressed that this was the first time the Supreme Court decided to strip away established rights.
“Its impact is going to reverberate beyond abortion no matter what the majority tried to say about that, putting at risk constitutional protections for the use of contraception, intimate sexual relationships and the right to marry and other intensely personal decisions that people expect to be able to make for themselves under our Constitution and in a free society,” Northup explained.
Christian nationalist and aligned conservative groups have been playing a long game to do away with several protections. The glee and excitement at the Supreme Court removing constitutional protection from a fundamental right should alarm us all.
But alarm and anger should not paralyze us with fear. Here are some things to consider if you’re wondering, “what can I do about Roe v. Wade?”
Check your state’s laws related to abortion and reproductive health
While some states had trigger bans go into effect immediately after Friday’s decision in Dobbs, others may have delayed enforcement, given ongoing litigation. If you or someone you love wants an abortion, it is essential to check with local providers for good verifiable information to know what steps are available to you. Also, share good information with people in your circle.
Donate to an abortion fund and/or independent clinic
Some people may wonder, what is the best place to donate for abortion rights? It’s understandable the urge to rush to contribute to major national groups. Still, regional and local organizations are on the front lines of supporting people trying to access their fundamental right to an abortion.
Also, independent clinics, like the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, provide reproductive health services to many communities. Over half of abortions performed take place at independent abortion clinics. These facilities will absorb the brunt of people needing to travel to receive necessary reproductive care.
“In spite of this misguided decision that the Supreme Court has made, we’ve remained undaunted,” said Kwajelyn Jackson, executive director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center. “We are committed to caring for our patients, our providers, our staff and community focused on a shared vision, compassionate judgment, health care, abortion access and bodily autonomy for all who need intentionally centering the experiences of black people, indigenous people, and the trans and gender non conforming plus community.”
Support reproductive justice organizations and bodily autonomy
For years, Black-led reproductive justice organizations have been challenging people to look beyond simply protecting Roe and the right to abortion and looking more expansively at supporting people’s right to decide when and how they become parents.
“Reproductive justice is fundamental to the self-determination and dignity of Black people,” wrote Paris Hatcher, executive director of Black Feminist Future. “We deserve to decide when, where, and with whom to have a child without interference from the states.”
Groups like Sister Song, Black Feminist Future, The Afiya Center, Holler Health Justice and Kentucky Health Justice Network work to ensure that people are protected and supported in their right to determine when and how to start a family.
Now is not the time to fret
During a press conference led by the Amplify Georgia Collaborative, Georgia’s reproductive justice coalition, executive director Allison Kaufman reminded people that everyone would have someone they love consider or need an abortion. Now is not the time for hand wringing.
“Now is a time to take action,” said Kaufman. “Someone you love will need an abortion. And so join us”
For those who might not see the abortion fight as their fight and the broader movement for bodily autonomy and self-determination, consider this quote from Assata Shakur, which has become a treasured chant at many rallies and protests.
It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.
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