On Tuesday night, Alabama passed the most restrictive abortion bill in the country, which now sits on Governor Kay Ivey's desk for approval. The bill constitutes a near complete ban on abortion, including in cases of rape or incest (the one exception would be when the mother's life was at risk). Should the measure pass, the procedure would be considered a felony, meaning doctors who perform abortions could receive up to 99 years in prison. Truly dystopian stuff.
Despite its extreme legislative leanings, Alabama doesn't stand alone; three other states, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio, have passed hyper restrictive bans on abortions at six weeks — before most women know they're pregnant — in the past three months. While none of the bills have been enacted yet, they are part of a clear and spoken desire on the part of (mostly, but not all male) Republican lawmakers to attack Roe v. Wade, which they hope the conservative-stacked Supreme Court will overturn. Even without the draconian laws, abortion access in particular and by proxy health care for menstruating people in general have become increasingly difficult to obtain for women and girls in states across the nation.
Even if you live in a liberal state with relatively easy access to healthcare, there are increasing barriers to abortion around the country and people need your help. Here are ways you can do that, both directly and indirectly:
Think Globally, Act Locally
You can both donate to and volunteer with nationwide groups like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Naral, but you can also seek out local, grassroots organizations working on the ground in states most affected by restrictive bans. This Twitter thread includes state-by-state information on groups to send your money to.
Donate directly to abortion funds
While it's important to help organizations doing work around reproductive care, it's also extremely effective to donate straight to a fund that directly pays for abortions for women and girls who need them but can't afford them. The National Abortion Fund has a list of ways to give, including to local abortion funds. In Alabama, for instance, there is only one: the Yellowhammer Fund.
Volunteer to Be a Clinic Escort
You can escort people seeking abortions to clinics in most states, and it's an especially helpful thing to do in places where protestors gather outside to harass and attempt to humiliate patients. The Cut has a helpful guide to becoming an escort here.
Don't Stop Talking
Abortion is one of the most divisive topics in the country right now, and one of if not the most highly stigmatized medical procedures a person can obtain. If you have the courage and privilege to speak out, on whatever platform you choose or among your own circles, please do. For many reasons, abortion (and reproductive health in general) is mired in misinformation, dogma and stigma. So educate yourself on the consequences of extreme abortion bans, which aren't going anywhere and may only get worse, and help the people around you understand them too. Don't panic and give up — look to the people who have been doing reproductive rights work for years, give them the resources (money and time) that they need, and wherever you can, amplify their work.
Photo via Getty