Updated April 12, 2022 – In light of the continuing enforcement of the “bounty hunter” abortion ban in Texas, as well as more states preparing total bans if the Supreme Court allows states to ban all abortion in their ruling this summer, this post has been updated with more tactics to prepare for post-Roe America.
Dec. 2, 2021
If you listened to the Supreme Court arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, you saw a far-right conservative bench that didn’t bother to hide any of their contempt for legal precedent established in Roe v. Wade. And they were even less interested in protecting the bodily autonomy, long term health or even lives of the people who would be forced to give birth if legal abortion disappeared.
It was terrifying to listen to, and even more so when you realize that with abortion legality up to the states themselves, legal abortion is likely to disappear completely from the Western border of Texas across to the Atlantic Ocean, and from Mexico up as far as the Southern point of Illinois. More than 1200 miles of the U.S. will be stripped of the right to a legal termination – fully one third of the country – all in one continuous block and with no relief in sight.
This could happen as soon as June of 2022, which means we have just a few months to get prepared for this new potential reality. Start now, while abortion is still legal and the scrutiny will still be minimal.
This list is a short version of easy tactics pulled from both “New Handbook for a Post-Roe America,” and the chapter to do lists, as well as from September’s post “How to prepare for the Texas abortion ban.”
1) Consider grabbing a medication abortion for the future. It’s not to early to get abortion pills to have on hand in case you, or someone you know, ends up needing it after clinical abortion is made illegal. It is better to have one on hand rather that try to find one when you need it, both because medication is better the earlier in gestation it is taken, and because it is less likely to be scrutinized than if a person attempts to order it after a pregnancy is confirmed. Protect yourself as much as possible from potential legal harm by being aware of laws in your state and how to protect your own privacy. Know that there are a wide range of experiences with medication abortion, so consider reviewing this resource on protecting yourself or others from criminalization. If you or someone you know does find themselves under scrutiny for a miscarriage of any type, reach out to If/When/How.
Also consider getting some emergency contraception to have, too (but just a package or two – don’t buy out all the stock, which leaves shelves empty for people with true emergencies), and even checking in with a doctor for a dose or two of Ella, which is more effective more days after unprotected sex and for those with higher BMIs. (Note: if you can’t access these EC medicines or other birth control, go to Bedsider for help!)
2) Shut off your period trackers. Seriously, you don’t want those right now if you are in a red state. Turn them off on Apple Health, undo it on Fitbit, delete them from the Cloud. Use a pen and calendar, or try Euki, which while it can’t predict your next period you can still use it to track and it doesn’t hold your info anywhere for others to access.
3) Get a signal app now. You seriously need a encrypted messenger immediately. Make sure if you have any intentions of obtaining or assisting in a non-clinic based abortion that you are only talking to people you absolutely trust, and that you have your conversations set to disappearing messages. Too many people have already been arrested based on texts, and that’s even while abortion is still technically legal.
4) Start saving now. Most people in America don’t have $500 in an emergency fund. Abortion isn’t covered in most insurance plans. And even if a fund can help, traveling across half the country to get to a clinic will be spendy. Maybe you can’t put away the enough to be ready by the end of June, when the court is expected to rule. But any amount helps, as anyone who works with patient funding can tell you.
5) Get involved in city politics. If states get to make their own laws, cities are going to be the next battle ground. Remember, Texas’s “heartbeat ban” started out as a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” ordinance in Lubbock, Texas. Just like the Tea Party took over state legislatures in 2010 and anti-vaxxers and CRT opponents organized to win school boards in 2021 (and yes, they are all mostly the same people with different names), abortion opponents want city councils so they can pass bans, cut funding, be in charge of zoning and licensing or do whatever else they can to take out what clinics will remain. You can also use this as an opportunity to push pro-abortion rights campaigns like Austin, Texas’s funding for those who need practical support funds in order to access abortion outside the state. These supports could be game changing in a post-Roe world.
6) Plant yourself a little garden. Abortion existed long before modern medicine. While it will not be as effective or reliable as medication abortion, many people still use herbal ingredients to try to induce a miscarriage, and with the right combinations and safe herbs can attempt their own abortion with little danger (other than the possibility of missing a window of time in which you can access an abortion legally in another state). But if abortion becomes illegal, these herbs may become suspect, too. If attempting an herbal abortion, be sure to follow instructions carefully from books like “Natural Liberty” or zines like “Grow Your Abortion,” and begin as soon as you miss your period for best results. Grow your own herbs with seeds from sites like True Leaf Market or Mountain Rose Herbs and get other plants to grow with them, too. There is also an adapted section of safe natural miscarriage instructions with more common ingredients and instructions in the new version of my Handbook.
7) Give to an abortion fund. It’s the advice everyone gives, but it truly is imperative if you want to help people. With Texas banning essentially all abortions for more than half a year, abortion funds – especially those in the South – have been bled dry. Many are out of their weekly budgets just hours into Monday, and a few have even had to close for weeks or months at a time so they can fundraise more money. When every first trimester abortion costs an average of $600-700, and hotels and gas adds hundreds of dollars on top of that, funds are on their last cents and need anything you can spare. To find your local fund, click here and scroll down to Funds By State – literally every dollar helps.
For more information on these options, as well as checklists for security, self-managed care, protesting, tapping into current abortion support organizations and other ways to prepare when abortion becomes completely illegal, please check out “The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, and Practical Support.”