How To Support Abortion Providers In States With 6-Week Bans On The Books
A slew of states have recently passed six-week abortion bans, and in Alabama, state legislators are working on an even more restrictive bill. You might be feeling hopeless and powerless in a situation like this, but one important thing you can do right now is to find out how to support abortion providers in states with six-week bans already on the books, because that's where reproductive rights advocates will need you the most.
While Georgia's six-week abortion ban has been grabbing headlines in the past week, it's far from the only state that's passed that law. These so-called "heartbeat bills" ban abortion after the first signs of cardiac activity can be detected in the fetus, as HuffPost explained, but the fetus doesn't have a fully-formed heart at that point, and there's still a high probability of miscarriage. More importantly, though, many women don't even know they're pregnant at six weeks in — so if these laws are allowed to go into effect, many women will be completely blocked from getting abortion care in their home states.
Besides Georgia, the other states with these bans on the books are Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, and North Dakota, according to New York Magazine. Here's what you can do to help people working to provide abortions in those states.
1. Share Accurate Information About These Laws
None of the six-week abortion bans are currently in effect, either because they've only been passed recently or because judges have blocked them, as New York Magazine wrote. Once again, abortion after six weeks is still legal in the entire country, even the states that have passed legislation outlawing it. Abortion providers working there need people to know that they're still open, according to Rewire.news.
2. Support Organizations Working On The Ground
Whether or not you actually live in one of the six-week ban states, one of the best things you can do is financially offer support to abortion funds and providers working on the ground. HuffPost compiled a list of abortion providers in every state, and many of them are in need of financial support.
Abortion funds, on the other hand, provide support for women who need help accessing an abortion, and they'll have to expand their operations if women in states with bans have to start traveling out of state. For an easy way to donate to the abortion funds that need you the most, check out The National Network of Abortion Funds. You can also go to the various funds directly, like The Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama, Mississippi Repro Freedom Fund in Mississippi, or Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, which covers people in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
3. Become A Clinic Escort
An abortion provider's work often begins before the patients step through the doors of the building, because protesters so often line the streets and walkways leading up to clinics. Volunteering to be a clinic escort won't be an easy job, but providing some form of protection for patients is such a necessary part of the job. Planned Parenthood is always looking for clinic escorts, and you can become one by finding and getting in touch with your local Planned Parenthood clinic.
4. Keep Lobbying Your Elected Officials
As if you could forget — everything comes down to politics. If Stacey Abrams had been elected as the governor of Georgia, she would never have signed this bill into law, and now she's working to expand voting rights in Georgia so that the politicians who pushed it might will get voted out. In the meantime, spend some time telling your state representatives how important you believe access to the full range of reproductive rights is.
5. Think Globally, Act Locally
Yes, the Trump administration's attack on reproductive rights at the national — and at times even global — level is extremely troubling. But if your immediate goal is to actually help the people providing abortions, then you have to focus your attention on helping your own local organizations in order to have the biggest impact in the lives of those who need abortions and may find it overly difficult to get them.
And, of course — don't forget to vote in 2020.