In its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court dissolved more than 50 years of legal precedent that affirms the right to abortion. As a result, abortion is now illegal in 13 states and will likely be illegal in at least 13 more within weeks or months. We created this guide to help those impacted and to further the fight for safe and legal abortion in America.
What does this mean for you and your loved ones?
Rules about abortion now fall to each individual state. It’s critical that every American learn about their state’s laws, take steps to protect yourself and the people you care about, and work to elect active champions for abortion rights. Here’s how:
Find out about the laws in your state.
Check out this interactive map to see what changes are coming to your state now that Roe is overturned. Guttmacher Institute keeps an updated guide on the current laws in each state. Have a child considering where to attend college? Thinking about relocating? Check the laws before you decide! And remember, laws can be changed or rolled back depending on who controls your state government in any given year. Republicans in congress have every intention of making abortion illegal nationwide if they regain control. Elections matter.
Consider long term contraception.
Not only are there now multiple options for long-acting reversible contraceptives that can provide pregnancy prevention for between 3 and 10 years, IUDs and implants are also up to 20 times more effective than birth control pills, patches, and rings. And don’t forget about vasectomies! Most health insurance plans must cover preventative care, including birth control (thanks, Obama!). Planned Parenthood is a great resource for all forms of birth control, and provides care even if you don’t have insurance.
Keep abortion medication, emergency contraception, and pregnancy tests on hand.
AidAccess.org is a group based in Austria that can mail abortion-inducing medication to you, even before it is needed. Anyone of any age can purchase emergency contraception (aka “Plan B” or “morning after pill”) off the shelf in drug stores, pharmacies, superstores, and also online. ID is not required. Look in the “family planning” or “feminine hygiene” section. They have a shelf life of four years, so keep a bunch of these and also a stock of pregnancy tests on hand at home and at school.
Make a plan.
If you live in a state where abortion is banned, take the time now to identify a friend or relative in a state with strong abortion laws (like Maine). Make a plan and set aside enough money to “go camping”. Some states are planning laws so dystopian that even talking about a pregnancy or termination plans should be avoided once a pregnancy is confirmed.
Need to find an abortion provider?
These resources can help, no matter where in the country you’re located.
Need legal or medical advice about abortion?
Secure your personal data.
Privacy experts warn that data gathered by period trackers, social media, email, and other everyday apps could be used against a pregnant person seeking an abortion. Learn more at Digital Defense Fund.
What’s next on the legal and legislative front?
Now that Roe is overturned, the only remedy that protects all Americans is federal law. The Women’s Health Protection Act guarantees a pregnant person’s right to access an abortion—and the right of an abortion provider to deliver abortion services—free from medically unnecessary restrictions. The bill passed in the House, but recently failed in the Senate. Every Republican in both the House and the Senate opposed the bill, while every Democrat and Independent except Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin supported it. Let your legislators know how you feel about their vote!
Even if abortion is still legal where you live, it’s important to remember that laws that slowly chip away at access are just as dangerous. Six states currently have only one abortion clinic in operation.
We are also monitoring what broader impact overturning Roe could have for contraception and LGBTQ rights. Even interracial marriage could be challenged. We will post updates here.
WHAT MORE CAN YOU DO?
Not comfortable talking about your support for abortion access? Get comfortable. We need everyone to speak out in conversations with friends and family, on social media, in letters to the editor, and in legislatures. Get caught up on abortion facts and the legal background before you start, and follow these golden rules:
Remember that abortion is safe and normal. 1 in 4 people who can become pregnant will have an abortion in their lifetime, so you can assume that someone you know has had one. People have abortions in both in-clinic and with abortion medication. Focusing on the realities of abortion as a part of people’s lives can counteract stigma and misinformation. This short video is a great one to share.
Understand the constitutional context. An individual’s right to an abortion was based on almost 50 years of legal precedent. Understanding how long the constitution protected all abortion before a fetus is viable helps people recognize how severe this rollback of rights is.
Be non-judgmental. Believing that individuals have the right to make decisions about their own bodies means that no one abortion is more ‘justified’ than another. Avoid focusing on only the most traumatic reasons for needing an abortion or generalizing about how people feel about their abortions.
Recognize diversity. No two abortions are the same; they occur in a huge variety of socio-economic and cultural settings, and affect a wide range of people with different experiences and values. Be mindful that Black, Indigenous, and people of color are disproportionately impacted by abortion restrictions and bans, furthering the harm of systemic racism. And remember that not all people with a uterus identify as female. Using “pregnant people” rather than “pregnant women” is not only inclusive, it’s more accurate.
Words matter. Use medically-accurate terms and avoid using words or images that echo anti-abortion narratives.
- Depending on the time between egg fertilization and birth, a pregnancy refers to a zygote, an embryo, or a fetus.
- Using descriptors like “pro-abortion” and “abortion rights advocate” are recommended because they help de-stigmatize abortion.
- “Decision” is preferable to “choice” because some people, due to their access and life circumstances, don’t have a choice about their pregnancy.
- Those who work to dismantle reproductive rights should be described as “abortion rights opponents” or “forced birth advocates”, not “pro-life”.
- Avoid using the medically-inaccurate phrase “late-term abortion”. Later abortions are no less valid, necessary, and important.
Support the organizations working to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion and those suing to block abortion bans, including:
Clinics and advocacy organizations organized by state
The clinics and abortion advocacy groups in your state need your help, especially those that serve people of color, low income people, and the LGBTQ community. Find a list of groups in your state here. And if you’ve never volunteered to support a political candidate, now is the time! In some states, district lines are drawn in ways that make it even harder for progressive candidates to win, meaning that abortion rights champions need even more of us to help get out the votes.
Run for office
Yes, you. The best way to stop anti-abortion laws is to elect abortion rights advocates at the local, state, and national level. Get trained to run through Emerge America and support those who step up through Emily’s List.
Find trusted up-to-date information on reproductive health at these sources:
The Guttmacher Institute: tracks abortion legislation and policy and conducts research
National Abortion Federation: maintains list of all abortion clinics by state, is the professional association of abortion providers
Women Help Women: offers secure self-managed medication abortion info and support
If/When/How Helpline: offers secure legal information and support surrounding abortion
International Planned Parenthood Federation: global abortion info source