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Concerned About Access to Abortion? Here’s How to Help

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A woman wearing sunglasses stands holding a sign that reads: 'Abortion is a civil right.'
A protester outside Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco on May 3, 2022, as part of a nationwide response against the leaked draft from the Supreme Court that would possibly overturn Roe v. Wade. (Beth LaBerge)

Update, June 24: The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was announced on June 24, overturning Roe v. Wade and eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion.

California guarantees the right to abortion in statute and the state constitution. Our state’s abortion laws are the strongest in the United States. Both officials and abortion providers have made it very clear that abortion access in California will not change because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. Read more about the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Original story continues:

On May 2, a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision confirmed that the court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion access in the United States. Given that 45% of American pregnancies are unplanned, and that about half of U.S. states would immediately ban abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned, the impact on reproductive healthcare would be staggering.

Support for Roe v. Wade varies by state, but polling shows that 81% of the Bay Area, 77% of California, and 61% of American adults believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases. If you’re among them, you’re probably wondering what you can possibly do, both at home and further afield.


At this point, there may be no way for any one person to stop the Supreme Court decision. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel helpless. Here are some concrete ways to take action.

Donate to Abortion Rights Organizations

Whether you want to donate your money or time, there are many worthy reproductive health organizations in need of assistance right now.

The California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom is a network of more than 40 organizations around the state who are focused on safeguarding reproductive health rights. The coalition is made up of nonprofits that act at the policy level (like the ACLU, the California Women’s Law Center, NARAL) as well as on the ground.

One member organization doing hands-on work is Access Reproductive Justice. ARJ offers assistance with finances, transportation, lodging, childcare and emotional issues for all individuals seeking abortions. Its healthline also offers advice on the phone around every element of reproductive health, as well as insurance-related questions. Even in abortion-friendly California, a 2017 study found that 40% of counties, mostly rural, have zero clinics that provide abortions. ARJ estimates a need of $1 million a year to assist every person that reaches out to them help. You can donate here.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, one of the best ways to ensure your contribution will help those most affected is by donating to the National Network of Abortion Funds. The organization is connected to reproductive health organizations across the entire United States, as well as some parts of Mexico. (It also happens to have a store, if you or a loved one urgently needs some “FUND ABORTION” rhinestone hairpins.) Should you want to be more specific about where your money goes, the NNAF website also features a comprehensive list of abortion funds, organized by state.

Understand Who Will Be Most Affected

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, those who live in states where abortions are likely to become illegal (according to the New York Times, that’s 33.6 million reproductive-age women) will need to travel across state lines in order to reach abortion services. This added expense will disproportionately affect the poor, the working class, and people of color. According to 2021 figures compiled by the Federal Reserve, the average BIPOC household earns about half as much as the average white household, making out-of-state travel far more challenging.

In Our Own Voice is a network of eight organizations in California, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas that center Black women’s safety and access to reproductive healthcare. It is currently asking for donations and volunteers around the country to work strategically with its partners.

Indigenous Women Rising has a dedicated abortion fund to assist every Indigenous person in America and Canada that wants one.

Also facing more accessibility challenges than most are pregnant teens. The National Abortion Federation operates a hotline specifically to assist them. By texting TEEN to 839863 or calling 1-800-852-8336, teenagers can seek out reproductive health care and advice.

Take Action

Call lawmakers and vote whenever you have the opportunity to do so. In 2020, the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom collected eight different voter guides for that year’s elections, focusing on the candidates who were most likely to safeguard reproductive healthcare. You can keep your eye on the resources section of their website for guidance on upcoming elections.

If you’re looking for a protest to join, We Won’t Go Back offers a guide to upcoming marches, rallies and online meetings in your zip code. To get news about upcoming protests direct to your inbox, you can also join the Women’s March mailing list. (If you are unsure of your rights as a protester, you can consult this guide from the ACLU.)

Know That Abortion Isn’t ‘Just’ a Women’s Issue

Though cisgender women will be most affected if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion bans have far-reaching consequences for everyone, including the loved ones of those seeking abortions. Transgender men and nonbinary folks get abortions too—around 500 of them in 2017 alone.

Pregnancy is significantly more dangerous than legal abortion. Between 2013 and 2018, 0.4 people per 100,000 died because of an abortion procedure. That’s compared to 18.2 Latinx people, 19.1 white people and 55.3 Black people per 100,000 who died while attempting to complete a pregnancy.

Death rates caused by illegal pre-Roe v. Wade abortion procedures are unclear. But in 2019, Washington Post fact-checkers reported that in the 1960s, the annual number of women who died from an illegal abortion was officially under 300. The paper ultimately estimated that the actual number was realistically higher than 300 but lower than 1,000.

Talk About It

Openly talking about how abortion has affected your own life can help to de-stigmatize and humanize the issue for others. In 2017, a study showed that nearly one in four American women have an abortion by age 45. If you are in a position to share your story, please consider doing so.

Abortion Out Loud has published 1,500 abortion stories and is always seeking more. You can share your story here. And Planned Parenthood’s “Our Abortions, Our Stories” project is a powerful collection of quotes compiled with the belief that sharing accounts of abortion makes a difference in the lives of others. You can share your experience here.


Finally, if you’re feeling emotionally raw because of the news, talk to your friends, family and, if you have one, therapist. In the coming weeks, it’s important to find your network, seek out like-minded people to partner with, and get ready for the work ahead.

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