By Ann G. Daniels and Heidi Rand
September 10, 2022:
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE NOW FOCUSES ON ACTION ITEMS. OUR ANALYSIS OF THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE CAN NOW BE FOUND IN EXPANDED FORM IN A SEPARATE ARTICLE: SUPREME COURT WRECKS ROE, A BRIEF BACKGROUNDER.
WE UPDATE THIS ARTICLE REGULARLY WITH NEW INFO AND ACTION ITEMS, PLEASE CHECK BACK REGULARLY.
On June 24, The Supreme Court issued its long-dreaded decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The opinion, written by (In)Justice Alito, overturns Roe v. Wade and Casey, states that abortion is not protected by the Constitution, and returns the issue to the states. And the states have taken up the invitation. Over half of the states will now have laws outlawing abortion in whole or in part, including so-called “trigger bans.” Some states are also putting abortion on the ballot, either through ballot measures or through races that could help anti-choice Republicans take over state legislatures, governorships, and even the House of Representatives.
BUT! This is very far from the end of the story. Thanks to everyone who helped secure victory in Kansas in August! This is a huge win, not just for Kansans but for all of us – it shows that our grassroots advocacy and determination can make a difference, and that support for the right to abortion and bodily autonomy aren’t just Democratic issues. So, we fight and continue to fight. And if you’re still scared, or furious, or your emotional gas tank is drained by the past two years, six years, time has lost its meaning – we’ve got you. Our action list, below, has something for everyone, and some of these items only take minutes. Pick one, pick more – but do what you can, now and whenever you can. And tell everyone you know, too.
TAKE ACTION! What you can do:
1. Protect and expand Choice in California: Baseline: abortion is statutorily legal in California. More: a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to abortion and contraception will be on the ballot in November, and the legislature is working on a bill protecting women and providers from civil actions in other states. California has also joined Oregon and Washington State in a “West Coast Offense” to protect reproductive rights, since women are already flooding here from elsewhere in the country. But legal abortion doesn’t mean accessible abortion, and there has never been equal access here or anywhere else. Even in California, 40% of counties have NO clinics that provide abortions, and abortion is more difficult statewide for low-income women and women of color. Women – and healthcare providers – can be confused or subject to disinformation campaigns: if you think abortion is illegal where you live or work, it might as well be. So – We’re good, we’re pro-choice, but we can and must make things even better.
- Proposition 1, the Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment, would make the right to abortion and contraception part of the state’s constitution, and will be on the November 2022 ballot. Make sure all your friends know and plan to vote YES!
- AB 2134, the California Abortion and Reproductive Equity (CARE) Act, would create grants to abortion providers to expand care to low-income patients. Contact your state legislators and tell them you want them on board! The bill will come up for a full floor vote in the Senate by August 31. Find your state legislator here.
What to say:
My name is ______, I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay and I’m calling from (city). I am urging Senator/Assemblymember ___ to support AB 2134, which provides funding for abortion clinics to serve low-income patients. Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, we have to strengthen reproductive rights in California. Please make sure that AB 2134 passes.
2. Protect Choice in other states:
- Kansas voted “neigh” on getting rid of the right to abortion – the fight is on in other states: Montana and Kentucky will have forced-birth measures on their ballots in November. On the positive side: along with California, Vermont and Michigan will have pro-choice measures on their ballots. Vermont’s November ballot will include the Vermont Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment to the state constitution. And it’s been uncertain for a while, but the Michigan Supreme Court decided in September that voters will be allowed to decide on an amendment to that state’s constitution guaranteeing abortion rights (and also on a separate constitutional amendment to allow early voting). We’ll keep you up to date on how you can help. Meanwhile: anti-choice bills are cropping up in state legislatures nationwide, and you can join the ACLU in fighting them. Sign up at go.peoplepower.org/go/state-texter to help folks in key states tell their legislators they oppose restrictions on reproductive rights.
- Donate to an abortion fund, or help people find or get to a safe abortion provider. This isn’t for everyone, but if you can make even a small donation, it can help someone in great need. Here’s a great list of funds helping women in states where abortion is or 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.”
3. Protect Choice on the national level:
- Executive action: President Biden has signed Executive Orders aimed at protecting reproductive rights nationwide: an Executive Order signed in July will, among other things, try to protect access to mifepristone (early medical abortion), emergency contraception (Plan B), and IUDs; protect patient privacy; increase security and legal options for people seeking abortions in states that ban them; and create an interagency task force on reproductive health care access. A second Executive Order signed in August is aimed at ensuring that women can travel out of state to get abortions. And HHS has announced “Guidance to Clarify that Emergency Medical Care Includes Abortion Services.” All good – but for now, these are more advisory and call for further study than immediate solutions for women in urgent need. Which leads us to:
- Legislation: The House has passed the Right to Contraception Act, with eight Republicans bravely standing up for the right of Americans to use birth control. The bill may not pass the Senate, and definitely can’t withstand a filibuster. Without the filibuster, Congress would probably already have passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, H.R. 3755, making Roe v. Wade into federal law. We need these laws, we need to get rid of the obstruction that keeps them from passing, and we need Senator Feinstein to get 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 need the Right to Contraception Act and the Women’s Health Protection Act, and we need to stop the Republicans from blocking them by filibuster.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein: email; (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
- 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. VOTE! The Future-Convict-in-Chief’s pet Justices are responsible for this travesty. You’d think that would be a major Get Out The Vote stimulus, but a recent Washington Post-Schar poll has found that “[n]early two-thirds of Americans say the end of Roe v. Wade represents a ‘major loss of rights” for women, … but those who support abortion access are less certain they will vote this fall” (citations omitted). Our work is cut out for us – so make sure you’re registered, make sure everyone you know is registered, inform yourself about local elections and candidates. Don’t forget judicial elections, district attorneys, sheriffs and other legal and law-related positions – this is where the fight to save reproductive rights is going to take place in many states, and even here in CA where abortion is solid, these folks go on to higher office! And find out about Indivisible National’s plan to Give No Ground in November. We still have some rights to save.
4. 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. Many protests were already scheduled for the day the opinion dropped, but the We Won’t Go Back events list also includes ongoing protests, check it for a protest near you.
6. 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! If you’ve been on facebook since the opinion came out, you’ve probably seen that Dick’s Sporting Goods has promised financial help for all “teammates” and their dependents who need to travel to get an abortion. 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. Support these companies if that works for you, or contact them to let them know you’re paying attention and will be watching to make sure they keep to their promises, now that you know what has hit the fan.
7. 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 meaningless 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.
Dobbs v. Jackson, photo by Victoria Pickering