Grantee Spotlight: Navigating reproductive health chaos
Since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, people across the U.S. could be certain that, however fiery the anti-choice movement’s rhetoric, the right to an abortion was inviolable. This key victory empowered the pro-choice movement to shift its focus toward ensuring universal availability of reproductive health services for everyone.
However, regressive state governments are now subverting Roe in practice, by enacting severe restrictions on reproductive health services, which creates monumental obstacles for people to secure an abortion. Though Roe was considered settled law, these states are using a variety of strategies to shrink the window of access to abortion, to reduce the number of abortion providers, and to increase the cost of seeking an abortion beyond what’s affordable for people in low-income circumstances.
The Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson Supreme Court decision was a significant blow to reproductive rights, representing an escalation of the strategy to subvert Roe at the state level. By allowing Texas’s Senate Bill 8 to stand, not only in effect banning abortions, but also deputizing community members to enforce its restrictions, the Court leaves the pro-choice movement with few remaining strategies. Now facing the greatest threats to Roe since it was handed down, the struggle for reproductive freedom has entered a new phase. Organizations like I Need An A are pushing back on abortion restrictions with innovative strategies that ensure people can access the reproductive health care they need, regardless of where they live or what new obstacles their state governments enact. These innovative approaches are particularly critical for Black and Latinx people, queer people, young people, and those at the intersections of these identities, for whom new financial and logistical barriers can be all but insurmountable.
I Need An A’s website provides comprehensive and confidential online guidance to people seeking abortions, helping them quickly and seamlessly find a clinic that is local, safe, and affordable. More than 100,000 unique users have already accessed this website since its creation, and this number is sure to spike as the Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson decision spawns copycat laws that make it more burdensome and dangerous to seek abortions across the country.
Other states are following Texas. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is poised to sign into a law a bill that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, allowing only for exceptions involving “serious risk” to the pregnant person and fatal fetal abnormality but with no exceptions for rape or incest.
I Need An A is an essential resource: Because the window in which people can seek an abortion has shrunk radically in many states; because onerous laws and COVID-19 financial struggles have led to the shutdown of many clinics; because SB8 has increased threats both to people seeking abortions in Texas and to people who might aid them; because organizations are setting up fake abortion clinics that are in fact designed to convince people not to have abortions; and because low-income people rarely have the flexibility or available resources to travel long distances to seek care, I Need An A’s work is now critical.
WDN supports organizations like I Need An A, which recognize that extreme challenges require creative solutions. Like all of the organizations we fund on the frontlines of the fight for abortion access, I Need An A is laser-focused on the real and urgent needs of low-income people and people of color. We have made substantial new reproductive justice funding commitments in the wake of SB8, and we’re committed to using our collective power to help keep abortion safe and legal.
Read about other organizations WDN has funded to support abortion access.