Like many of you, I am enraged and overwhelmed by the recent abortion bans. The politicians who have proposed and passed these bills are certainly not pro-life; if they were, they would instead be passing bills to increase access to prenatal care, to address the horrific fact that women of color in the United States are 2 to 6 times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy than white women, and to allot more money for social services for new parents, such as paid parental leave, affordable childcare, lactation support, and postpartum doulas.
In fact, these recent bills, with inclusions like limiting birth control options and mandating scientifically impossible surgeries, aren’t even focused on ending abortion. If that were the true motive here, we would instead be seeing legislation that addresses the root cause of abortion: unwanted pregnancy. But addressing this root cause would require acknowledging the fact that pregnancy happens only when a man’s semen is ejaculated into a woman’s body. Women can’t get pregnant from their own orgasms. Women can’t even get pregnant from having intercourse with men. Women can only get pregnant from men ejaculating inside of them. But how dare I suggest the passing of any kind of law that would regulate a penis?
So no, the intention is not to support life nor end abortion. The intention – which is being shouted loudly and clearly and with pride – is to control women, especially women of color, and to overturn Roe v Wade. It feels like a war has been waged on us.
But now is not the time to give in to anxiety and hopelessness. There are fierce people on the ground across these key states taking huge risks to fight back and do the work. We must support them. Here are some organizations and clinics to consider donating to or volunteering for:
- NARAL – nationwide but heavily involved in GA, OH, and AL
- Planned Parenthood – providing essential health services to women at low costs across the country, plus here’s a link to their “Get Involved” page which recommends other great actions to take
- NYAAF – based in NY but helps women across the US find access to providers
- National Network of Abortion Funds – nationwide, provides funding for abortions and transportation to offices and clinics
- Women’s Health West Virginia – one of the few, maybe the only, women’s clinic in WV that provides abortion services
- KY Health Justice Network – developed by women and people of color, providing support, education and outreach to Kentuckians to build reproductive justice, and includes services geared towards transpeople
- Arc Southeast – provides support (financial assistance, lodging, travel) to those in need of reproductive care of all types, in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee
Another great way to fight back is to support progressive women running for office in the middle and southern states. You can donate and volunteer for campaigns even from the other side of the world. Here are some names to keep up with as they run for reelection or office for the first time:
- Stacey Abrams (GA; pictured) – narrowly (and suspiciously) lost the election for GA governor, she’s amazing and definitely one to follow, the best way to keep up with her right now is on Twitter
- Kelsey Coots (KY) – ran for KY State Auditor but lost the primary, we are now awaiting her next move
- Lauren Underwood (IL) – recently elected to US House of Reps, let’s keep her there
- Amy McGrath (KY) – not running right now but narrowly lost in 2018 and is expected to run for something in 2020 (maybe a McConnell opponent??)
- Brigid Kelly (OH) – current representative in Ohio’s state house, let’s keep her there
Also stay tuned to Emily’s List, a great organization working to get pro-choice, Democratic women into offices across the country.
While there is plenty of work to do, please remember to take care of yourself. For many of us, this war on women is frightening and triggering. But we have to be in it for the long haul, through the 2020 election and beyond, which means pacing ourselves and practicing self care every step along the way.
If reading the news feels like too much, don’t read it. Instead, if you’re financially able, consider setting up a monthly donation to one of the above organizations so that you can contribute regularly to the fight without stressing yourself out. And if you need to check out for a day, a week, a month, do it. But please, come back ready.
1. Reproductive Justice, taken from Reflections Journal
2. KY Health Justice Network logo
3. Stacey Abrams, by Audra Melton