[Note: today’s blog post is less literary, more civic action-minded. Because, America.]
What a week. These past few years, I think I’ve uttered that phrase every few days. This week’s been no exception. On Thursday, May 16th, the Missouri state Senate passed a bill that "would ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy or later, except in cases of medical emergency. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.” Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio have also passed ‘heartbeat bills,’ legislation that uses misinformation and blurred lines between church/state to make this kind of healthcare effectively illegal.
Here are some organizations that help women and folx with uteruses get the reproductive healthcare they have a right to:
The Yellowhammer Fund provides funding for anyone seeking care at one of Alabama's three abortion clinics and helps with other barriers to access (travel, lodging, etc.), as the average cost of $685 represents a significant barrier to care for more women and folx. This org is a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds, and has been assisting patients since the beginning of 2018.
The National Network of Abortion Funds (mentioned above) builds power with its member orgs to remove some of the financial and logistical barriers to abortion access. The network centers people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice.
Access Reproductive Healthcare - Southeast is a volunteer organization that helps women and folx with uteruses in 12 states access reproductive care. Like the funds mentioned above, ARC works to eliminate economic and logistical barriers to accessing reproductive health.
There’s also the ACLU-Alabama & the other state-level ACLU chapters! The ACLU has already announced plans to fight the extreme abortion ban in Alabama in court, and the state-level chapter will be at the forefront of this battle. It’s also a great idea to support ACLU chapters in other states with extreme bans like the heartbeat bills in Missouri, Ohio, and Georgia.
The Center for Reproductive Rights’ tagline, “igniting change through the power of law” sums up their mission well; the center brings reproductive rights cases before U.S. courts, U.N. committees, and regional human rights bodies. In addition to fighting for change in the courts, they also work with policymakers to promote measures that reflect what they know to be true: that reproductive rights are fundamental human rights.
This week’s news has felt like an onslaught and, if this writer’s being honest, it’s normal sometimes to get discouraged, to feel skepticism creep in, diluting rage. I think that’s a normal reaction to watching your government (if you’re a U.S. citizen or resident) fail to protect basic ideals central to its founding—natural rights, bodily autonomy, personhood—and create laws that hurt, rather than help, its citizens.
In spite of and in resistance to these injustices, I’ve resolved to support organizations like those highlighted here, and also renewed my commitment to organizing and activism whenever the sense of discouragement creeps in. In fact, I’m going to “Resistance Boot camp” with Swing Left this weekend to learn more effective ways to canvass and get-out-the-vote.
Take that, anti-choicers.