By Ann G. Daniels and Heidi Rand
UPDATE: June 24, 2022: The Supreme Court has just issued its long-awaited decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. (In)Justice Alito authored the opinion, as he did the draft leaked in May, and the final decision looks very much like the appalling leaked draft: it overturns Roe and Casey, it states that abortion is not protected by the Constitution, and it returns the issue to the states. Justices Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Thomas each wrote separately to concur: Justice Roberts agreed with upholding Mississippi’s law but said he would not overturn Roe and Casey; Thomas said he’d go whole hog and overturn the decisions guaranteeing the rights to contraception and same-sex marriage. Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer wrote together to dissent. We will write an updated article as soon as we can read the opinion; stay tuned.
Take action NOW:
It landed like a grenade in the night and even for those of us who thought we were prepared, it tore a hole through everything: the Politico article with the leaked draft US Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. If you live in California, it’s important to know that abortion is statutorily legal here and this is considered the most “supportive” state in the US – and our CA elected leaders are now talking about adding a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to abortion as “another layer of protection.” We also hope you know that’s not enough. Legal abortion doesn’t mean accessible abortion, and there has never been equal access here or anywhere else. And literally more than half the country is on the brink of having abortion become illegal or unobtainable if Roe is overturned, and we’re damn poor fighters for justice if we sit in safety without helping.
Also: in his 98-page draft opinion, (In)Justice Alito says two things that should make your blood run cold. First: abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution. Second: chill out, dudes, don’t worry about contraception or gay rights, this is only about abortion! (we paraphrase). Now, he’s right about the first. And if you believe the second, we have a bridge you’ll be interested in – because contraception isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, and neither are LGBTQ+ rights, and in fact the Supreme Court opinions on all those are inextricably intertwined in what Alito calls “egregiously wrong” reasoning. Oh, guess what else isn’t mentioned in the Constitution? Interracial marriage. Yeah, that grenade is actually a time bomb threatening a massive part of our society, not just the fertile women amongst us.
So, read on and find out what you can do to help. And then tell everyone you know, so they can help. The fight has just begun. Again.
What you can do:
Scared? Furious? We’re here to help you turn your fear and rage into something constructive. Emotional gas tank emptied by the past two years, six years, time has lost its meaning, wondering why you feel numb at this latest horror? No one blames you, and you can still do important things while you protect yourself emotionally. There’s something for everyone on this list, and some of these things only take minutes. Pick one, pick more, but do them, now.
1. Demand that the right to abortion be made the law of the land: Call your Senators to demand that they pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which codifies Roe v. Wade. The House already passed the bill, H.R. 3755, on September 24, 2021. And then call the White House and tell President Biden you expect him to fight for the bill to pass, and to sign it when it does!
What to say:
My name is ________, my zip code is ________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want ________________ to fight to make the Women’s Health Protection Act law, so that women don’t lose the right to abortion and other crucial reproductive health services.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein: email; 415-393-0707 • DC: 202-224-3841
- Sen. Alex Padilla: email; 415-981-9369 • DC: 202-224-3553
- President Biden: email; 202-456-1111
2. Tell Senator Feinstein the filibuster has to go. Without the filibuster, we’d likely have passed legislation codifying the right to abortion (and lots of other important legislation) long ago. We’ve been working on this for a while, it’s long past time she got on the job. See our article from 2021.
What to say:
My name is ________, my zip code is ________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want Senator Feinstein to fight to abolish the filibuster. We can’t pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and other legislation we need as long as Republicans can block them by filibuster.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein: email; (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
3. Call your Members of Congress every day – it’s fast and easy with 5calls.org, you can call them in five minutes while you’re waiting for your coffee!
4. Donate to an abortion fund, or help people find or get to a safe abortion provider: Here’s a great list of funds helping women in states where abortion will be restricted or unprotected; here’s a list of funds in the 13 states with trigger laws. There’s also the National Network of Abortion Funds, the Abortion Care Network, and INeedanA, which helps people find providers. And of course Planned Parenthood. The Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline gives “expert advice on self-managing” miscarriage and abortion and the Repro Legal Helpline provides “legal information and support to people navigating complex laws in order to self-determine their reproductive lives.” ACCESS Reproductive Justice helps people with practical support like a healthline, transportation, lodging, and funding, because the legal right to abortion is only the first step; the Apiary Collective “helps groups that provide logistical assistance to people getting abortions.”
5. VOTE! Make sure you’re registered, make sure your friends are registered, inform yourself about local elections and candidates. Don’t forget judicial elections, district attorneys, sheriffs and other legal and law-related positions – these folks go on to higher office! And stay tuned for a special issue of the Indivisible East Bay newsletter about CA’s June 7 Primary Election.
6. Protest! The US Supreme Court justices don’t have to worry about re-election, but they’re still people (in theory) and many federal judges have admitted off the record that public opinion means something to them. Get out, get loud, get motivated to do more. Check this site and this site for rallies near you on Saturday May 14 and other dates. This site is specifically for rallies in the SF Bay Area.
7. Urge corporations to step up by ensuring benefits supporting all reproductive health needs. This strategy isn’t taken often, but it can affect literally millions of lives!
- Here’s a great one-pager about what companies can do.
- Thank the firms doing good things! Citigroup, Yelp, Apple, Levi Strauss, Bumble, Match Group and others have recently expanded employee health coverage of reproductive care, including covering travel expenses for out-of-state abortion care. Some firms, such as Salesforce, have offered to relocate employees and their families to states that respect women’s constitutional rights to reproductive autonomy. Uber and Lyft announced they will pay legal costs for any drivers sued under Texas’s bounty-hunting provisions.
8. Understand it goes beyond abortion to economic justice: Roe v. Wade never guaranteed abortion access, and the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds paying for abortion in most cases – meaning that abortion is inaccessible for women who can’t afford it and women who can’t get to a clinic: poor women, many women of color, rural women, women in deep red states, and the list goes on. The right to abortion is hollow without reforms building the economic power of women: wages, job security, family-friendly labor policies, and everything needed to give women a truly equal voice and place in society.
Ann G. Daniels has enjoyed a checkered professional background, including many years working in reproductive rights advocacy through good times and bad. She’s furious but always rising to fight again and hopes you are also.
Heidi Rand fights for progressive change with skills gained as a Ninth Circuit staff attorney and civil rights lawyer, using her words to inform and inspire others to take action.
Map by Guttmacher Institute.