Several states, including Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri have recently passed laws that effectively ban abortion. They prohibit the procedure just weeks into pregnancy and, in some cases, make providing abortion care punishable by a years-long prison sentence.
While these bills have yet to go into effect, and will likely be stalled by lawsuits challenging their constitutionality, the bans have prompted outrage and panic.
As legal battles play out in courts around the country, it’s important to remember that state-based grassroots groups and clinics will need even more support to serve patients who continue to seek abortion care.
Earlier this week, Steph Herold, an activist and social scientist who studies representations of abortion in the media, tweeted a comprehensive thread of local and regional organizations that help protect access to abortion in every state in the U.S. as well as in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Hopping mad about dwindling abortion access? Welcome, we’ve been waiting for you.
Here are some ways you can show up today in your state — please settle in for the long haul. We need you now, and we need you for the weeks, months, and years to come.
— Steph Herold (@StephHerold) May 15, 2019
Some groups, like abortion funds, help people access care by paying for their medical costs, providing transportation, and arranging child care. Herold also included information about clinics that provide abortion care, and her follow-up thread provided even more details about how to support community-run clinics, including through financial donations and volunteer hours.
“What gives me hope is that people are looking for a way to support abortion rights where they live, and that there are existing organizations — abortion funds — that [have] the infrastructure, historical context for these abortion bans, and a race, class, and gender analysis that will help abortion rights advocates win in the long term,” Herold wrote in an email to Mashable. (See below for excerpts from her viral thread to learn more about how to help in states like Alabama, Indiana, and Ohio.)
While people might first think of donating to well-known advocacy organizations that can sue to stop the bans, aiding on-the-ground, local groups can make a big difference as well.
“It’s important to resource grassroots efforts because these are the people and organizations closest to the people most impacted by the barriers and bans,” Yamani Hernandez, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, wrote in an email. “They are often the least resourced and abortion funds are no exception.”
The average budget for an abortion fund is $75,000 whereas national reproductive health organizations may have millions of dollars to work with, Hernandez said. Meanwhile, abortion funds can typically aid just one-fifth to one-third of people who call looking for assistance.
“Policy and litigation strategy is not enough,” Hernadez wrote. “People need abortions today and the people served by abortion funds deserve an invitation into our movement to fight back in their own voice.”