When Justice Harry Blackmun authored the Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973, it legalized abortion across the nation. That moment should have meant the end of having to scrounge just to afford a common medical procedure and travel across state lines to get care. It wasn’t. Rather, it marked the beginning of anti-abortion politicians obsessively denying people the freedom to decide when and how to grow their families.
The incremental barriers politicians are placing in front of those seeking abortion access may have been invisible before, but now they’re in danger of becoming insurmountable, and impacting every pregnant person in our nation.
The fate of the Affordable Care Act and the fundamental right to abortion access are becoming immediate targets of the new administration. We know this administration will pass abortion bans and aims to make the Hyde Amendment permanent law as fast as it can. It won’t end there. Our contraception, sex education, and supports for pregnant and parenting people may be next.
Our nation elected a President who believes people who have abortions should be ‘punished’ and a Vice President who believes that people who have abortions or miscarriages should be forced to have a funeral for the fetus. Anyone who becomes pregnant could be subject to these horrific policies that place politicians’ ideologies ahead of family decisions and medical recommendations. Already, we are witnessing women who had miscarriages or induced their own abortions being arrested and spending years in jail. Even after the Supreme Court struck down Texas’ unconstitutional abortion restrictions last year, politicians are spending their days trying to outlaw abortion. This is not the legacy that Roe v. Wade guaranteed us.
The majority of people in the United States believe that denying abortion access based on where someone lives or how much money they make is discriminatory. And those of us working at abortion funds know from experience and data that people of color and single mothers are being hit the hardest by these restrictions, which is just plain racist.
At the National Network of Abortion Funds and member organizations across the country, every single day we hear from those of us who are most affected by discriminatory policies. From funding and rides, to childcare, translations, and overnight housing, abortion funds are holding a crucial line of defense to ensure that abortion stays truly accessible.
Abortion restrictions, specifically designed to chip away at the core protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade, force people who call abortion funds to forgo groceries and cut back on meals for their families, or delay paying rent just to afford this basic, good, and necessary healthcare. Without a national paid leave policy, they’re forced to take time off of work, unpaid, to get an abortion, often risking losing employment altogether. As abortion clinics are shuttered, they are forced to travel hundreds of miles, out of their home states, to access care. Some are forced to take matters into their own hands because they simply cannot make the trip for an abortion. This is an injustice that cannot stand.
We are living in troubling times. The presidential election uncovered some of the deepest wounds of our nation – racism, sexism, xenophobia, ableism, classism, homophobia and transphobia. The future holds many uncertainties. But one thing is abundantly clear: we cannot continue to fight single issue movements.
The fight for abortion access is intertwined with every other social justice issue.
If you care about economic inequality and living wages, we need you to join the fight to ensure everyone can afford healthcare, including abortion.
If you care about access to contraception, infertility, miscarriage, LGBTQ parenting, adoption, and young parents, this is the year you must join the movement to ensure everyone has full access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion.
If you haven’t considered how the destruction of abortion rights is a slippery slope for your own healthcare and your family, now is the time to rally in support. If believe everyone should be able to create their own families on their own terms, we need you!
Even if you have been in the fight for abortion access for years, now is the time to double down, show your commitment, and start practicing daily acts of resistance. No act is to big or too small.
Everyone loves someone who has had an abortion. There’s no better time to get real about what that means for our policies and our relationships.