Abortion rights activists rally in front of the US Supreme Court

Where Is Abortion Legal in the United States? Where Is It Under Attack?

For the last few decades, it would appear that the United States government has done everything in its power to make most people not want to live here. Between unchecked capitalistic despotism and the evangelical determination to make this nation a theocracy, the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade almost felt like it was a long time coming.

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And I don’t say that lightly. I’m scared, too. Anyone with the biology to carry a child is furious and frightened right now because this affects us in ways that even go beyond the immediate repercussions on our bodies.

Thankfully, there are ways to still get an abortion, if you know which states will allow it and how to get there safely. Here, we’ll try to lay out what we know for you as best we can. Keep in mind that we are neither doctors nor lawyers, so please take care of yourself and be careful out there. This information is subject to change, and we cannot legally instruct or advise you one way or the other.

Under attack

Many opponents of Roe v. Wade who want to feign impartiality on the issue of abortion like to claim that they’re not anti-abortion—they just think the matter should be settled by individual states rather than a U.S. Supreme Court precedent. This is incredibly disingenuous when several state governments immediately launched attacks on abortion rights when Roe was overturned, as we all knew they would, not to mention all the states that had “trigger laws” to restrict or ban access to abortion already on the books for just such an occasion.

Kansas

Now, in Kansas, voters have a say in adding anti-abortion amendments to their state constitution in an election on August 2, 2022. However, despite that most Americans (and most Kansans) support the right to end a pregnancy, this election isn’t particularly likely to reflect the majority opinion. It’s a primary election, meaning voter turnout is highly likely to be lower than it would be in a general election. Likewise, unaffiliated voters are even less likely to show up for primary elections than registered Democrats or Republicans, and with unaffiliated voters generally leaning more in favor of abortion than Republicans, their absence gives more power to the anti-abortion side.

Beyond the disingenuousness of it and the fact that we shouldn’t be okay with any state taking away reproductive rights, this is another major issue with letting individual states decide—doing so doesn’t even mean those decisions will actually reflect the majority opinion in each state, which defeats the whole supposed purpose of letting smaller levels of government make decisions for what their own constituents want.

If the vote enacts the anti-abortion amendments, the Republican state legislature (of course) has plans to go on the attack with more anti-abortion laws, according to Buzzfeed.

Legal states

Currently, there are a lot of states that are undergoing processes to determine whether or not they’ll allow a total ban. I won’t mention those states because they’re subject to change, but you can use this tool from the Center for Reproductive Rights to see where your state might lie.

The definitively legal states with expanded rights are: California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

If you don’t see your state on this list, don’t panic; you may not need to travel outside state lines. Planned Parenthood is offering a constantly-updating map of where to go, and you can refer to that if needed.

In the meantime, we have some tips to avoid persecution.

Tips for Staying Safe

For one thing, if you have a period tracking app, DELETE THAT NOW. Clinics in pro-life districts can and will use your tracker as evidence against your abortion, so you would be better off using a paper calendar to mark your menstrual cycle.

Clinics (and law enforcement) can also refer to any plans you might be making to travel to another state as a reason to detain you. For this reason, be very cautious about telling anyone what your plans are. Obviously, you may need support from a partner, family member, and/or friends, but truly, make sure you completely trust anyone you’re sharing this information with (we hate having to give that advice, you should be able to talk to anyone you feel comfortable with whenever you need to, but we’re in dangerous times). If you have to take a test, use an at-home test that you remain aware of at all times. For disposal of it, do so carefully, preferably not in a garbage receptacle that is linked to your home or identity in any way. If you have to travel beyond state lines and will have to leave work to do so, it’s important that you don’t have in writing that you are having an abortion or give your workplace a chance to report you—saying you are visiting an ill family member, or the like, will most likely be safer.

If you are able to secure a safe abortion, be careful of the information you provide and be cautious in signing any waivers. Waivers can potentially be used against you. Many clinics will have information—and plans—about what the best course of action is, legally, to keep you as safe as possible, so let them know that you’re coming from a dangerous state. Most will likely be ready to advise you as to how to proceed when providing information. Or point you to an organization that can help as well. And if you’re worried about even providing bare-bones info, don’t: you’re protected under HIPAA, and can sue anyone who sells your information to the government after the fact.

Safely Getting Financial Support

Danny DeVito's tweet about the Roe v. Wade decision reads "Supreme Court my ass"
(Twitter)

As far as crossing states’ lines themselves, I know it’s more expensive than ever to travel. So, if you’re having trouble procuring the funds, go to the Abortion Funds website: here. They have verified funds and organizations, listed by state, who can help.

While there has been an outpouring of support on social media, as individuals offer to help with money and lodging, it is significantly safer to go through an organization that will connect you to these things. With social media, intentions and identity are never certain, and so while many of these offers to help are genuine and well-meaning, trusting a stranger on the internet always has the potential to cause you harm. There are more official organizations and channels to support you—while also keeping you safe during this process.

If you’re worried that the law will track your search history, have someone you trust do the research for you. Or, search in an abstract way, for instance, you could search abortion funds in your state to donate to—which will then allow you to click on them and get their contact info. If you can call the fund instead of emailing, that would also be helpful, as you want to minimize information in writing (text messages, emails, and social media posts about seeking or getting an abortion should be avoided if at all possible).

I know it’s scary. But remember this: you are not a tool for other people’s benefit. You are an autonomous human being, even in the darkest hours, when the government is failing us and saying otherwise. And therefore, you deserve your own right to autonomy.

(featured image: via Getty Images)


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Author
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).