5 ways you can support women in the American states facing abortion bans

Abortion currently remains legal in every state 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Thursday 30 May 2019 17:58
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Abortion laws: In which states is it illegal?

This week, Louisiana became the latest in a series of US states to pass a so-called "heartbeat bill" in an effort to ban abortion.

With the bill, which bars a woman from receiving an abortion after six weeks, at which point most women don't know they're pregnant, Louisiana joins Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio in enacting similar laws that would make abortion illegal.

While abortion remains legal in the US, the goal of anti-abortion politicians and campaigners advocating for abortion bans is that the new restrictions will force the Supreme Court to revisit the landmark Roe v Wade case, and ultimately overturn it.

In states such as Missouri, where there is only one remaining abortion clinic, access to abortions is already dwindling as a result of the recent rise in anti-abortion legislation.

Fortunately, men and women across the country are combating the anti-abortion rhetoric by volunteering and through donations to charities, campaigns, and grassroots organisations.

This is how you can support women in the US states restricting abortion.

1. Donate to charities

If you want to help, donating money to organisations in the states impacted by abortion laws is a good place to start.

Independent clinics are especially important and in need of donations as they don’t always have the resources or funds that bigger organisations such as Planned Parenthood have.

Consider The Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama, SisterSong in Georgia, Kentucky Health Justice Network in Kentucky, Arkansas Abortion Support Network in Arkansans and Preterm and Women Have Options in Ohio.

For a conclusive list of women’s health clinics in the country, Steph Herold, a social scientist, created a Twitter thread of abortion support organisations in the states, or the National Abortion Federation (NAF) lists abortion providers here.

You can also donate to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which plans to challenge anti-abortion laws in court.

2. Donate to abortion funds

To support women who cannot afford abortions, you can donate money to abortion funds, which cover the cost of the procedure, as well as transportation, lodging and other financial barriers if necessary.

Alabama abortion bill: Protests as new law part of 'US-wide strategy to push abortion out of reach for all women'

The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) has a list of abortion funds by state here.

“Not being able to afford or access an abortion is not an individual problem,” the site reads. “It’s a systemic injustice. Together, we fight back.”

3. Have your donation matched

To increase the impact of your donation, you can send your donation receipts to companies such as Bird and Stone and Flawless Hacks, which have announced they will match your donations to the same organisations, according to Teen Vogue.

Bird and Stone’s Director of Marketing and Partnerships Caitlin Kawaguchi told the outlet the company decided to launch a matching campaign when it saw the impact the restrictions were having on its community.

“We wanted to find a way that we could both give back to support organisations on the front lines in those states and activate our community at the same time,” she said, adding that matching campaigns are powerful because “people have different abilities to donate, but with that extra incentive of your donation being doubled… we believe that more people are encouraged to give, no matter how much”.

4. Volunteer

Whether or not you live in a state that has banned abortion, volunteers at local clinics are always needed and welcome.

Woman escorted into abortion clinic surrounded by protestors in Louisville, Kentucky

At clinics, volunteers can act as escorts to safely lead women seeking abortion into the clinic - as anti-abortion activists often picket outside as an intimidation tactic.

5. Be vocal in your support, if you feel safe sharing your story

Fighting the stigma surrounding abortions is an important step in keeping access to safe abortions legal in the US, where one in four women have had an abortion by the age of 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

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Campaigns such as the 1 in 3 Campaign are dedicated to normalising conversations around abortions, while actress and talk show host Busy Philipps recently asked women to share their abortion stories with the Twitter hashtag #youknowme.

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