Yesterday, Alabama’s legislature voted to criminalize abortion, making it a felony punishable by up to 99 years in jail. Last week, Georgia’s governor signed a bill to ban abortions before most people know that they’re pregnant. Ohio signed a similarly stringent ban into law last month and legislators are now trying to force people to implant ectopic pregnancies into the uterus, which is medically impossible.
And this is just what’s making headlines—Louisiana legislators are trying to adding additional onerous administrative requirements for abortion facilities while also trying to pass an abortion ban, Michigan politicians are attempting to curtail the safest methods of second trimester abortion, and in Tennessee, the governor signed a law that would make abortion a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, in the event that Roe is overturned.
Feeling dizzy yet?
The onslaught of legislative attacks on abortion are nothing new— in fact, since 1973, states have enacted more than 1000 restrictions on the procedure—but the radical extremism of this year’s bills is unprecedented. If you feel panicked, scared, and angry, that’s ok—channel that into action. Here’s how:
- Abortion is still legal. Help people access it where you live. Many of the laws I listed above are not yet in effect, and are or will be tied up in court. Make sure you have accurate information about the status of the laws before spreading information. Instead of saying we should abandon people in these states, offer your support! No one should have to leave their family or state to get healthcare. You can also help people access abortions no matter where you live: Here is a twitter thread I made of organizations in all 50 states who need your dollars and your volunteer hours to make abortion accessible.
- Donate to abortion funds in the South and Midwest. Abortion funds help close the gap between how much an abortion costs and how much someone can afford to pay. Funds provide financial assistance and many also help people with lodging, transportation, and emotional support before, during, and after their abortion. Funds in the South and Midwest are often hit hardest by abortion restrictions, and are working behind the scenes 24/7 to connect people to the care they need. Find a fund here, and become a monthly donor.
- Share information about self-managed abortion. As legal abortion is pushed completely out of reach for more and more people, it’s crucial that we share accurate information about self-managed abortion with pills. This practice is medically safe (the World Health Organization even lists abortion pills as “essential medications” that can be taken without the supervision of a clinician) although the practice is not legal in most states. Read up on how to self-manage an abortion from experts like Women Help Women, who have a US-based program called SASS. Share their stickers, flyers, and information on social media and in your community.
- Let your friends know that everyone loves someone who’s had an abortion. The more abortion is in the news, the more people feel free to share their opinions on it, both good and bad. This can make your friends who’ve had abortions feel extra isolated and ashamed. Now is the time to make sure your friends know that you love and support them no matter what — be explicit about your support for abortion, about listening to and loving your friends who’ve had them, and about your commitment to protecting abortion access. We need you now more than ever.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Lilith Magazine.