While abortion access has become more restricted around the country and here in North Carolina over the past decade, an anti-abortion supermajority on the U.S. Supreme Court and a law banning most all abortions in Texas have come together in recent weeks to create a public health and human rights crisis.
As of right now, the vast majority of people seeking abortion care in Texas cannot access it legally*. Here in North Carolina, a state considered “hostile” on abortion access, we know that anti-abortionists are watching not just Texas, but also the Mississippi anti-abortion law (an arbitrary and unconstitutional 15-week ban) that is going to be heard at the U.S. Supreme Court this coming session. Oral arguments in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization will be heard on December 1st and could further accelerate our way to a post-Roe world. Considering that Roe is the floor and not the ceiling for abortion access, removing this final bit of federal protection for ensuring any abortion access in many states will be devastating for millions of people in this country.
Abortion is a normal and common component of reproductive healthcare, and has been for as long as people have been getting pregnant. Shutting down abortion clinics, forcing patients to raise funds to cover the costs, shaming patients about their actions, decisions, and concerns, and even banning abortion outright will not stop people from seeking abortions when they need them. It never has.
Instead, people who already struggle to access any kind of healthcare – people living on low incomes, People of Color and Indigenous People, young people, immigrant communities, people who identify as LGBTQ, people living with disabilities, and people living in rural communities – will be forced to navigate increasingly burdensome barriers in an effort to access this time-sensitive care. As abortion becomes even further stigmatized in this climate, we will likely see increased criminalization of those seeking or providing abortions, adding another level to the injustices already perpetrated by our legal system.
The past decade of abortion restrictions runs parallel to recent efforts to rig our democracy and suppress our votes. As our voting rights have been chipped away and state and federal courts unjustly politicized, we have reached a point where many of our courts are stacked against the protection of human rights in favor of pushing an unpopular, oppressive and dangerous political agenda. Heavily gerrymandered voting districts like we have in North Carolina leave too many of us living under laws and policies that were never meant to help us survive, much less thrive.
We are not without power! We are the majority, and we can and will raise our voices until we achieve a world when everyone can access the reproductive healthcare they need, including abortion. We can:
- Share our abortion stories with people we love;
- Listen, without judgment, to people sharing their stories with us;
- Speak up when we hear abortion stigma, and interrupt narratives and anti-abortion messages that are false, harmful, and/or rely on racist, sexist, classist, or homophobic stereotypes;
- Call our elected officials to tell them we support abortion, and we expect them to protect access to this critical healthcare.
- Support our local abortion funds and local independent abortion clinics, and volunteer to be a clinic patient escort.
- Vote in every election, and support candidates who uphold reproductive rights, health and justice values. Join efforts to register voters, protect and expand voting rights, and help people get to the polls.
As long as we are fighting, we know that we will win – win a world where people can access the healthcare they need, when they need it, including abortion.