Groups of abortion activists are working to set up scenarios in which they will be able to provide abortions to women if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to a report by Politico.
The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case out of Mississippi where abortions are banned after 15 weeks, which abortion proponents see as a threat to precedent established by Roe v. Wade, which has made pro-choice and pro-life activists ready for a potential shift in legal structure.
As The Washington Post reported, “In accepting the [Mississippi] case for next term, the court said it would examine whether ‘all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.’ That has been a key component of the court’s jurisprudence, and the announcement sounded ominous to abortion rights advocates.”
Abortion activists were busy even before the upcoming case was widely discussed. They reportedly used the situation of the coronavirus pandemic to enlist more people to their efforts, including “recruiting new members and online providers, adding new privacy features that could shield them from law enforcement and organizing,” per Politico.
“Even though our work is legal and we’re not doing anything wrong, we operate under the assumption what we do could become illegal at any time,” a member of one group, the Mountain Access Brigade, told Politico regarding their recent work on privacy-supporting technology.
“The member spoke under condition of anonymity to discuss confidential plans. The underground community of support groups has been adding services to advise women about how to use abortion pills or how to arrange rides for women interested in getting an abortion in-person,” the outlet added.
Robin Marty, an activist with the Yellowhammer Fund, another activist group, told Politico that the coronavirus pandemic gave pro-abortion activists “a real view of what a South without access would look like.” She is the author of “Handbook for Post-Roe America,” which gives people information on “how to acquire financial support, how to use existing networks and create new ones, and how to, when required, work outside existing legal systems,” per the book’s online Penguin Random House description.
Many women have turned to online resources in order to get abortions, which some argue have the potential to be unsafe due to the lack of interaction with a doctor.
As Politico reported:
/r/abortion, a Reddit forum devoted to providing advice about all types of abortion care, gained thousands of readers per month through December of last year, a moderator for the forum said, as readers dealing with canceled appointments tried to find new means of abortion — including online pharmacies that could ship pills from abroad. That trend will continue, the moderator predicted, if the courts allow further restrictions, up to and including the bans that would result if Roe v. Wade were overturned.
Politico further noted:
There are also “abortion doula” groups, like Mountain Access Brigade, that offer connective services — like rides to clinics or online options — for patients. They’re closely related to a type of activism that Yellowhammer Fund’s Marty calls “aunties” — online gatherings of volunteers who group together to support patients seeking abortions, from giving rides to escorting patients into clinics.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under President Joe Biden recently allowed the abortion pill to be shipped through the mail during the pandemic, ensuring that women can forego interaction with a doctor to proceed with an abortion that could cause serious complications if not monitored. Some states still have restrictions on medication abortion, however, as reported by Very Well Health and the Guttmacher Institute.
As pro-life activists have pointed out, the trend in at-home abortions could lead to serious health problems for women who desire to end an unplanned pregnancy. As the country gets ready to see a potential major shift in abortion policy for certain states, pro-life groups might also begin shifting their messaging in order to provide help to men and women who find themselves struggling with the difficult decisions regarding an unplanned pregnancy.