Scared about the future of abortion access after the recent leaked opinion from the Supreme Court? Don’t despair, act. We’ve compiled a helpful list of proactive steps you can take to protect access to abortion locally and nationally.
Donate to Abortion Funds
You don’t need to start an ‘underground‘ network to help people get abortions because it already exists, above ground! Abortion funds have been doing this work on the ground for years, and they need your support. Locally you can donate to SAFE Maine (Maine’s only abortion fund), and they also need your help over at Repro Fund NH. You can also visit National Network for Abortion Funds and make donations to abortion funds in states that are restricting access to abortion. These funds need material support now because they are needing to pay high costs for patient travel and accommodations, on top of the clinical care itself.
Support Brick and Mortar Clinics
Clinics that provide abortion care need your help! In Maine there are three primary providers of abortion care: Maine Family Planning, Mabel Wadsworth Center, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. MFP operates 18 clinics throughout the state primarily serving Maine’s rural communities; Mabel Wadsworth Center is an independent, feminist provider in Bangor; and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England operates 4 clinics in southern Maine: Sanford, Biddeford, Portland and Topsham. We all work together frequently and are all deserving of your support. Pick one or more and set up a recurring donation! You can also support independent clinics en masse by donating to Keep Our Clinics, the fundraising campaign affiliated with the Abortion Care Network.
Be Knowledgeable About Abortion
Do your homework! Know where your nearest abortion clinic is. Do they offer procedural abortion care? Through how many weeks? What about medication abortion? You can find details about abortion services at MFP here. The more you know, the more helpful you can be if someone needs information about abortion or wants to get more involved. If Roe falls, many more people will be self-managing their abortions with medication, which is a very safe option for most people in their first trimester of pregnancy (which is when most abortions take place). This is why we discourage coat hanger imagery these days — self-managed abortion is very safe when patients are empowered with the proper information, though their legal risk may be high. Resources like shareabortionpill.info and the Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline are excellent.
Talk About Abortion
When we talk openly about our support for abortion and/or our abortion experiences, it destigmatizes this very common health care experience. You can share your abortion story anonymously on Shout Your Abortion, and you can support abortion storytellers at We Testify. Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights recently launched a storytelling initiative aimed at people who had abortions prior to Roe v. Wade. And clinics, including MFP, are often seeking storytellers to submit legislative testimony, speak to reporters, and to relay to donors the impact of our work. So you see, stories can be used in many settings. Contact us if you want to learn more or share your story. You can also support our work by following our social media channels and amplifying our content to your networks! (Our channels are all up in the header of our website: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.)
Hold Officials Accountable
Voting is a tricky issue because of gerrymandering and voter suppression, so it’s never as simple as telling people to just ‘vote.’ That being said, it is still essential that we hold our elected and public officials accountable for their views on abortion. Contact your representatives and ask them to share their opinions on abortion. Do they support limitations on abortion? Would they support a constitutional amendment to protect abortion in our state? These are some questions you could ask. And be sure to tell them why abortion access is a critical issue for you, their constituent. The Reproductive Privacy Act protects abortion access in Maine, but state laws can be modified or repealed in a single legislative session. It matters very much who is in Augusta.
Support Abortion Workers and Engage in Community Care
This is a fun one: Support abortion workers! Offer to buy lunch or snacks for staff at your local clinic. Send postcards with messages of appreciation and support. (No envelopes, please — too sketchy.) Sending messages via email and social media works, too; those get shared, and they mean a lot to us! Deepen your own community work, especially mutual aid work (which brings us back to abortion funds, a beautiful example of mutual aid!). Oh, and get care at our clinics! Not to brag, but our clinic staff and providers are the best.
This is far from an exhaustive list but it is intended to be a helpful place to start. Feel free to contact us with your feedback and/or suggestions for a future installment, and remember — don’t despair, act.