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Networks of Support in Post-Roe America – Responsible Sex Education Institute (RSEI)

When Roe v Wade was overturned in June of this year, people across the country felt a wave of fear, anxiety, and sadness for this giant step backwards in the fight for reproductive justice. The consequences have been devastating and swift: 30 days after Roe fell, 11 states either banned abortion completely (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas) or implemented a ban on abortion starting at six weeks of pregnancy (Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee) (Guttmacher 2022). Abortion was becoming increasingly difficult to access even before the Supreme Court decision, especially among people with low income, Black and brown folks, immigrants, and young people. Additionally, nearly 1 in 10 people traveled across state lines to obtain an abortion before Roe was overturned. While exact numbers have not been released yet, we know anecdotally from clinics in safe haven states like Colorado that there has been an influx of patients traveling from other states since June. Travel times to access abortion have also increased significantly: a study led by Boston University School of Public Health, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) found that in the months since the Roe ruling, average travel times to abortion facilities more than tripled, from close to 30 minutes in 2021 to more than an hour and a half. 

While it is easy to sink into despair, there are glimmers of hope: in preparation for the fall of Roe, networks of grassroots organizers have mobilized for years to meet the demands of this moment. Multigenerational groups of activists have been covertly (and at great personal risk) shipping misoprostol across state or country lines to people living in states in which its use is restricted. Websites like Apiary.org help people navigate their options when faced with an unwanted pregnancy–including financial support, travel needs, and accommodation in states where abortion is legal. An organization called Elevated Access engages volunteer pilots to transport passengers to health care locations at no cost. The Reprocare hotline provides support and resources for people having an abortion at home, and Plan C Pills compiles the most current information about accessing medication abortion pills online.

One organization, All Options, offers a peer counseling talkline to support people in processing their emotions and referring them to useful resources. The mission of All Options is to offer judgment-free support to people in all of their decisions and feelings, whether they’re leaning toward parenting, abortion, or adoption. Trained volunteers take calls from 10am-1am EST throughout the week and offer a space for callers to vent, process feelings, answer questions aimed at guiding them toward more confidence in a decision, and receive information about all options available to them based on their unique circumstances. Bilingual volunteers are available to take calls in Spanish, and the talkline is open to anyone of reproductive age. All Options also expanded in 2015 to include Faith Aloud, through which trained clergy and religious counselors take calls from people who have spiritual concerns or questions about abortion or pregnancy decisions-making. Volunteers come from a variety of faiths: Roman Catholic, Jewish, Unitarian-Universalist, Protestant Christian, and Buddhist. However, people of no particular religious faith are equally welcome to call.

All Options is one of several resources filling a crucial need in the reproductive justice movement: providing a space free of stigma in which people can verbally articulate the full complexity of their emotions without fear of judgment. While the public debate surrounding abortion and other reproductive choices is often framed as black and white, callers’ stories are rarely free of nuance. Simply having a compassionate listener can often be liberating and clarifying. 

As youth-serving adults, we are often called upon to help young people as they face unexpected or challenging decisions related to their reproductive health. The resources linked throughout this blog can be enormously helpful and can simplify an often daunting process for both youth and adults. These times can feel dark, but there is great hope inherent in our work of educating others and finding innovative ways to support the most vulnerable members of our society. Wishing everyone happy holidays and a happy new year!

Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


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