Earlier this year, after the draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 decision in the Roe v. Wade case was leaked to the public, the National Women’s Studies Association felt compelled to speak out against this decision. We were alarmed. We were concerned. We were furious, but we were not surprised. Today’s decision represents the culmination of work that has been done over several decades to reverse Roe v. Wade and give States the ultimate authority to govern, police, and oversee our most personal decisions about our bodies.
In 1973, SCOTUS concluded that the constitutional rights to privacy and liberty protected a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy. Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the opinion for the majority, noted that while “the Constitution does not explicitly mention any right to privacy,” several prior decisions had found “a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy.” He went on to note that this guarantee of privacy is grounded in several amendments within the Bill of Rights and in the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of liberty, which, taken together, “create zones of privacy in areas of society such as marriage, contraception, family relationships, and child-rearing.”
Today’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case not only reverses the last 50 years of precedent but will disproportionately impact economically challenged communities of color and marginalized groups who are already navigating the existing health care obstacles. It will also affect all people’s ability to have reproductive choices.
To be clear, the National Women’s Studies Association, the world’s largest network of feminist scholars, educators, and activists, unequivocally affirms that a person’s right to govern their body is a fundamental human right that must be enshrined into the law, now more than ever.
With today’s SCOTUS decision, our ability to make reproductive choices will be denied or limited in scope. So far, 22 states have abortion bans on their books (ranging from early-term to near-total ). Additionally, Texas, Oklahoma, and Idaho recently enacted “heartbeat” legislation allowing private individuals to sue anyone who performs or aids in an abortion after fetal cardiac activity is first detected (around six weeks of pregnancy).
We know that you are probably feeling a range of emotions today–from rage to anger to confusion to exhaustion to frustration (and everything in between!)–so we urge you to practice self-care. We need you to be healthy and prepared for what is coming next.
As we noted in our statement in May, we are at a moment where we must fight. We must push back, and we must speak out. Elections have consequences, and protests and petitions hold weight. There is power and protection when we come together.
This is the moment where we must seek out activist organizations to participate in protests, teach-ins, town halls, and vigils.
This is the moment to reach out to your Congressperson, participate in voter registration drives, and use your social media platform to alert everyone to what is happening so that we can show up at the polls in November and elect people into office who will have our best interests at the top of their to-do list.
NWSA, this is the moment to stand taller, to speak louder, to look farther down the road than those who pretend to know the way, and to remember that they will try and tell us that we cannot withstand the storm only because they fail to realize that We. Are. The. Storm.
We stand ready to fight with you and to fight for you.
In love and solidarity,
Karsonya Wise Whitehead (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @nwsa) is president of the National Women’s Studies Association, the world’s largest network of feminist scholars, educators, and activists.
*Please note, the resources shared below are neither connected to nor endorsed by NWSA but are shared just in case someone needs a starting place to access healthcare or make a reproductive decision.
If you are seeking access to healthcare:
• Amnesty.org – provides basic facts about abortion.
• Gynopedia – a nonprofit organization that runs an open resource wiki for sexual, reproductive, and women’s health care worldwide.
• Guttmacher Institute – a primary source for research and policy analysis on abortion in the United States.
• National Abortion Federation – unites, represents, serves, and supports abortion providers in delivering patient-centered, evidence-based care.
• National Network of Abortion Funds – connects you with organizations that can support your financial and logistical needs as you arrange for your abortion
• Planned Parenthood – A Comprehensive Guide for Unplanned Pregnancy
• RAINN – National Sexual Assult Hotline
• Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice – a network of ministers and rabbis that refer women to abortion providers they had researched and found to be safe
• Texas Equal Access Fund – provides emotional and financial support to people seeking abortion care.
• Women’s Reproductive Rights Assitance Project – helps bridge the financial gap for women who seek an abortion or emergency contraceptives.
If you need help terminating your pregnancy:
• AbortionFinder – With more than 750 health centers, AbortionFinder.org features the most comprehensive directory of trusted (and verified) abortion service providers in the United States.
• Afiya Center – Their mission is to transform the lives, health, and overall wellbeing of Black women and girls by providing refuge, education, and resources. They act to ignite the communal voices of Black women resulting in our full achievement of reproductive freedom.
• AidAccess – consists of a team of doctors, activists, and advocates for abortion rights that help people access abortion or miscarriage treatment. They send the pill worldwide for $110/90€.
• Bridge Collective – provides practical and responsive abortion services to Central Texas.
• Buckle Bunnies Fund – provides practical support for people seeking abortions. They help with transportation, funds to help with hotels, lodging costs, and emergency contraceptive funds to go towards abortion.
• Carafem – helps with abortion, birth control, and questions about reproductive healthcare. They do consultations online and send abortion pills in the mail.
• Cobalt Abortion Fund – provides direct financial assistance to individuals seeking abortion care. Their mission is to work toward reproductive freedom for all people and provide financial assistance without judgment or question to people who seek an abortion but cannot pay the total cost.
• Faith Aloud – compassionate religious and spiritual support for abortion and pregnancy options.
• Frontera Fund – makes abortion accessible in the Rio Grande Valley (Texas) by providing financial and practical support regardless of immigration status, gender identity, ability, sexual orientation, race, class, age, or religious affiliation.
• HeyJane – Modern abortion care, without the clinic, Get fast, safe, and affordable abortion care from home. Chat with a medical provider within 36 hours. Medications are shipped daily.
• International Consortium on Emergency Contraception – Emergency Oral Contraceptive Doses for Birth Control, U.S.
• Jane’s Due Process – helps minors in Texas with judicial bypass for abortion, navigate parental consent laws and confidentially access abortion and birth control. They provide free legal support, 1-on-1 case management, and stigma-free information on sexual and reproductive health.
• Justice Empowerment Network – focuses on abortion access in South Dakota.
• Kentucky Health Justice Network – helps with both abortion care and gender-affirming care in Kentucky.
• Lillith Fund – the oldest abortion fund in Texas, serving the central and southern regions of the state with direct financial assistance for abortions.
• Northwest Abortion Access Fund – provides funds to help folks in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.
• Plan C Pills – provides up-to-date information on how people in the U.S. access abortion pills online.
• Westfund – focuses on Latino and low-income communities.
• Women on Web – an online abortion service that can help you do a safe abortion with pills.
Connect and Breathe is intentionally not a “pro-choice” or political org. Its purpose and mission are to provide a talkline service (with trained volunteers across the nation) for people who have had abortions.
*Please be safe and be aware of clinics (e.g. Crisis Pregnancy Centers) that give out dangerous misinformation on abortions and pregnancy.
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