After a draft opinion was leaked earlier this year, the US Supreme Court has now overturned abortion rights cemented by Roe v Wade back in 1973, leaving an estimated 36 million women without access to abortion rights. According to the court, there is no constitutional right to an abortion in the United States.
Thanks to former President Trump’s appointments of Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, the court’s 6-3 conservative majority has delivered the crushing verdict of overturning Roe v Wade, removing many American women's right to choose.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, ‘trigger laws’ and a lack of legal protection mean that 26 states could ban abortion immediately now that Roe v Wade has been overturned. In many states, under resourcing means that abortion is already functionally inaccessible regardless of being technically legal; meanwhile, Texas’s dystopian 2021 ban of abortions after 6 weeks allows individuals to sue providers or ‘helpers’ who support someone seeking an abortion.
So, as donations pour into abortion funds across the country, how can you help?
Donate to a fund
Across the US, women whose rights to bodily autonomy have been chipped away by successive conservative lawmakers are facing a return to enforced pregnancy and dangerous black-market procedures that their forebears fought to end forever. You can show your support by donating to the National Network of Abortion Funds, or check out their page of individual organisations if you’d rather donate to a specific group or state.
What to do in the UK
The BPAS (British Pregancy Advice Service) has a petition calling for the UK government to condemn the bid to overturn Roe v Wade – but as the rolling back of reproductive rights looms in the US, the UK faces its own battles. Despite being legalised in 2019, abortion provision in Northern Ireland remains almost non-existent; women seeking abortions are often forced to travel hundreds of miles, often alone and at great expense. Abortion Support Network offers support and information, while Abortion Rights fights for access to abortion services wherever they are needed – you can find out more, donate and join, as well as see details of upcoming protests, here.
How to help pregnant Polish people
In Poland, some of Europe’s harshest abortion laws prevent terminating any pregnancy that doesn’t endanger the mother’s life or result from rape. Abortion Support Network’s cross-European initiative Abortion Without Borders helps people in Poland access abortion either by posting medication they can take at home or providing 'practical information, funding, appointment booking, translation services' to ensure they can be treated abroad in an appropriate clinical setting. Find out more and donate here.
No matter where we are in the world, this draft opinion is just the latest reminder that women’s rights remain a battleground. And as Abortion Support Network founder Mara Clarke told the Independent, 'The most important thing people in the UK can do to support abortion rights is to be loudly, unashamedly pro-choice.' Whether you show your support by signing petitions, giving money or just spreading the word, now is the time to make ourselves heard.