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TikTok users are offering women seeking abortions places to stay after Roe v Wade overturned

The Supreme Court overturned constitutional right to abortion in the US on Friday, with 26 states likely to ban procedures

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Friday 24 June 2022 19:31 BST
Related: Roe v Wade: Planned Parenthood official says banning abortion won’t stop them
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TikTok users who live in states where abortion rights are protected are offering their homes as safe spaces to women who may be forced to travel out-of-state to access the procedures now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade.

The Supreme Court eliminated the nearly 50-year-old precedent protecting the constitutional right to abortion in the US on Friday 24 June. The reversal of the abortion protections established under the landmark 1973 case means individual states are now able to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 26 states are “certain or likely to ban abortion” following the Supreme Court ruling, while abortion will soon be illegal in the more than a dozen states that already had so-called “trigger laws” in place.

The Supreme Court’s devastating decision, although not surprising, has sparked anger and calls to action across the nation as individuals and organisations have pledged their support to women living in states where abortion will no longer be legal or safely accessible.

On TikTok, the ruling has also sparked the re-emergence of a trend which sees individuals living in states where abortion will remain legal offer their homes as “safe spaces” to those in need of abortions.

The videos, which first began after Politico leaked a Supreme Court draft decision about the future of Roe v Wade on 2 May, frequently use the hashtag #wegodowntogether, and feature users promising women places to stay and recover after abortions, often under the guise of a “camping” vacation or a visit to a friend.

“In light of recent events… I live in Illinois, so if you need a safe place to spend time in a new state, you know for the ‘change of scenery,’ I will be a supportive friend,” one woman, who goes by the username @tootsie71193, wrote in a TikTok uploaded Friday.

Another woman, who goes by the username @mirandaschmidgall, uploaded a video informing viewers that she lives in Minnesota, and that she will help any individual who needs to come “visit the 10,000 lakes” or see the Mall of America “navigate” their stay. She included the hashtags #roevwade, #empoweringwomen, and #womensticktogether.

“If you need to come ‘visit family’ here in New York, my doors are open for you!! We will have a safe ‘vacation,’” user @alliekaat1214 wrote in another video posted to the app on Friday.

User @christiiannaa, who lives in North Carolina, also uploaded a video offering women a place to visit if their state “doesn’t allow camping,” with the TikTok user promising those in need that she’s “got” them. “I got you! Let’s go camping,” she wrote.

Camping was also used as a code word for abortion access by a woman who lives in Maryland and who goes by the username @foxavida. In a video posted to the app following the Supreme Court ruling, she noted that “camping in Maryland is still available” and that she has a guest room that will “always be available for campers, with all the time you need to recover from your hike”.

“Can also provide rides from neighbouring states if needed,” she added.

Numerous users living outside of the US have participated in the trend as well, with one woman living in Canada near Niagara Falls informing viewers that she lives just 90 minutes from the US border and wine country, and that she and her four sisters would “love to go ‘wine tasting’ with you and spend a few days recovering”.

“I f**king love this trend. And I mean it,” the woman, who goes by the username @confidentiallykate, wrote.

As of Friday, the hashtag #wegodowntogether has accumulated more than 20.3m views, according to TikTok, while the associated hashtag #ifwegodownthenwegodowntogether has an additional 15.3m views. Some of the TikToks created as part of the trend have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Overall, the response to the trend has been one of gratitude, with many users on TikTok praising those who have offered their homes, while others have shared their horror over the need for the offers.

“Every video gives me goosebumps and I tear up,” one user wrote, while another said: “I’m sick over this. I have four daughters. They should be able to go camping whenever they want to.”

While the offers may prove helpful, and in some cases, life-saving, they do not eliminate the barriers facing women living in states where abortion will become illegal. A study recently published by the University of Utah found that the average travel distance to an abortion clinic will increase from 40 miles to more than 113 miles as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision.

According to a study published in the Jama Network Journal in May, increases in distances to abortion access are not easily overcome. The research found that women who need an abortion are more than twice as likely to delay the procedures or decide against them entirely if they live more than 50 miles from a clinic.

Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, there was at least one abortion clinic in every state. On average, most women of child-bearing age lived within an hour’s drive of one, a recent analysis found.

You can find a list of abortion funds and pro-choice organisations to donate to and support here.

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