You Can’t Stop the Overturn of Roe v Wade, but Here are 6 Things You Can do to Mitigate the Harm and Fight Back

For the time being, the Religious Right has won on federal abortion rights. The Supreme Court is stacked with Catholics—two thirds to be precise—and they have voted to overturn Roe v Wade. For now, conservative Christian theology limits your legal rights and the rights of people around you. But there is a lot we can do immediately to take back some control and, especially, to reduce the amount of harm this will inflict on real people.

  1. Get the word out about abortion pills and internet access.   Abortion pills, also known as “Plan C,” are extremely safe—so safe that a group of fierce young women from Shout Your Abortion swallowed them on the steps of the Supreme Court to make this point.  When taken orally, the pills trigger an ordinary miscarriage—so ordinary that once it is in process medical providers can’t tell the difference. In most countries, a majority of abortions happen this way.  And now they are available on the internet via telemedicine.  Through AidAccess, a woman anywhere can talk to a medical provider in the Netherlands and have pills mailed to her.  So, talk about this, write about this. Make sure all of the young people in your life know.

  2. Prebuy a course of abortion pills.  AidAccess doesn’t require that you be pregnant to sell you a set of medication abortion pills. For $150, you can keep a set on hand in case someone in your life needs them. Share information verbally (not in writing) about who has pills. Send them to college with your kid. At AidAccess, people pay what they can, so think of your purchase as a donation. Your paying full price allows them to subsidize pills for desperate people with fewer resources.  

  3. Join or fund the underground railroad. Across the U.S., abortion funds arrange travel, lodging and medical appointments for women who must travel out of their state to get an abortion. Go to the National Network of Abortion Funds.  Familiarize yourself with the site. Find your local abortion fund or pick a state you care about. Donate, offer to be a driver, offer to provide housing.
     
  4. Find out if there are any independent abortion clinics in your area and help them. (Map of independent clinics here.) In red states, these clinics will be providing important aftercare for the five percent of women whose self-managed miscarriage doesn’t quite do the job. Even without pills, miscarriage is quite common. Over half of fertilized eggs either fail to implant or boot themselves out at some point during the gestation process. But sometimes a miscarriage doesn’t flush out all of the tissue and a medical procedure is needed to complete the process. Miscarriage management and post- medication abortion management are identical. Independent clinics know how to do this work, and unlike religiously-controlled hospital systems, they won’t harass someone about whether or not she deliberately brought on the miscarriage—and then call the police when a frightened person admits that she did. We need to protect and support them.

  5. Help people not get pregnant when they don’t want to.  This is our most leveraged, humane, empowering, and cost-effective strategy for mitigating post-Roe harm.  With top tier contraceptives like IUDs and implants, the need for abortion drops to near zero, and because these methods last anywhere from 3 to 12 years, they buy time while this political insanity plays out.  (By contrast, each year 1 in 14 couples relying on pills will get pregnant. For those relying on condoms that’s 1 in 8. Mind you, without any prevention, about 85 percent of sexually active couples will experience a pregnancy within a year.)  

    Specific Planned Parenthood affiliates—in Eastern Washington, Central Oregon, and Southern Illinois (operated by PP Missouri) for example—are gearing up not only to provide out-of-state women with abortions, but to send them home with the long-acting contraceptive of their choosing so they don’t have to go through the same nightmare twice. Support these clinics directly.

    Want to be even more strategic? Top tier long-acting contraceptives can be expensive, not all clinics stock them, and not all providers know how to insert them. Upstream USA is changing that. They train clinics across the country to provide the full-range of contraceptive options and they work with insurers and states to remove financial barriers. Their early work on contraceptive access in Delaware caused both unplanned births and abortions to plummet. By the evidence, their model dramatically reduces unmet need for abortion.   

  6. Fight.  Fight.  Fight.  Make no mistake, this Supreme Court decision is about religion, specifically vestigial Judeo-Christian* views of women and children. In the absence of Iron-Age-derivative theologies very few people honestly think that an embryo is a person or that the pulsing of a few microscopic cells is a heartbeat. Religious conservatives have been able to impose their theology on the rest of us because they are fanatical. They have been absolutely unrelenting because they believe they are doing God’s work. We have to be equally unrelenting and passionate about our own moral imperatives.  Abortion access is a moral good. It promotes wellbeing. By contrast, forcing people to incubate and bear unplanned children simply because they want the pleasure and intimacy of sex—or because they have been sexually assaulted—is morally wrong. It promotes hardship and suffering. So, take the fight for chosen childbearing to the streets, or to state government, or to regulatory agencies, or to other countries. Get involved with legally defending people who have or provide abortions. Work on democracy reforms that undercut extremism, like ranked choice voting. The best way to engage is whatever fits your skills, capacities, social networks, and passion.

The fight for the Supreme Court and Roe may be over for as long as a generation.  But the fight for reproductive freedom is not. Far from it.  As Amelia Bonow from Shout Your Abortion pointed out, the battle has just shifted for now—from rights to access.  And in that we all have a role to play. 

*To be fair, modern Judaism has largely transcended these views, and even the writers of the Torah never prohibited abortion. Jewish theologians have written and spoken in defense of abortion access as a moral good–as did many mainline Christian theologians at the time of Roe v Wade. Nonetheless, the view of women as reproductive chattel is spelled out quite clearly in the texts of the Bible.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings.  Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including The Huffington Post, Salon, The Independent, Quillette, Free Inquiry, The Humanist, AlterNet, Raw Story, Grist, Jezebel, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.  Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt; Deas and Other Imaginings.
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36 Responses to You Can’t Stop the Overturn of Roe v Wade, but Here are 6 Things You Can do to Mitigate the Harm and Fight Back

  1. mriana says:

    And why can’t we stop it or at least try? Isn’t that part of fighting- trying to stop something like this? It’s Repug men and their women who bow and coo to them who are attempting this control over women. All the Repugs want is control over women and that dotard woman who was rammed onto the Supreme court was placed there because she does their bidding. That’s the kind of women they want all women to be and they want to decide women’s health care, even if it kills them. This has nothing to do with any god. It’s all about their desire to control women. Eventually, a woman won’t be able to have a credit card, a bank account, property, etc, as though it was 1970. They won’t be able to have a job without their husband’s permission and even then, it won’t be a CEO job. We have to fight this now, harder than we ever have or it won’t be there for women who need it nor will anything else. These men don’t even care if they kill women and there are women who will die just for being pregnant- pre-eclampsia, HELLP Syndrome, another emergency conditions of pregnancy can and do kill, if the pregnancy isn’t terminated- either through abortion or giving birth early (can’t always save lives through birth and abortion the only way). It could leave a lot of children motherless because of it, but what do they care? They can just find another woman to mother their kid(s) and if she dies in childbirth… oh well. We have to fight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rawgod says:

      Go on STRIKE. Women did it in the 70s, refused to do housework, cook, take care of children, HAVE SEX, and the men relented quite quickly. I do not remember the cause then, but this stealing of WOMEN’S RIGHTS is certainly worth fighting IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE! Women! Withdraw your services. Please.

      Liked by 4 people

      • mriana says:

        I think it will take more than that. These men take what they want from their wives, whether they submit or not. They don’t care. Luckily, I’m not married to such a man and I’m beyond childbearing age, but I couldn’t have anymore without risking my life after my last child. If these guys shove their will down our throats, the next thing will be voting rights, marriage rights, women’s rights, same sex marriage, etc. Women won’t be able to get a credit card or own property again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • rawgod says:

        Exactly. If we don’t fight now, however we can, we will lose everything!

        Liked by 1 person

    • They are horrible. And yes, we must continue fighting. We just can’t fix the supreme court for, probably at least a decade, so will have to outsmart them and out battle them in other ways.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Pingback: Supreme Court & Abortion | Nan's Notebook

  3. rawgod says:

    Go on STRIKE. Women did it in the 70s, refused to do housework, cook, take care of children, HAVE SEX, and the men relented quite quickly. I do not remember the cause then, but this stealing of WOMEN’S RIGHTS is certainly worth fighting IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE! Women! Withdraw your services. Please

    Liked by 1 person

    • mriana says:

      Theoretically, one that would hit the Religious Reich in the gut is for the birth rate to drop dramatically for at least a decade because of this. Before this is overturn is completed, women of childbearing age need to snag as much Plan B as they can and make sure they keep birth control on hand. Of course, they may try to take birth control away once the lower birth rate becomes noticeable. The thing is, are there enough women willing to refrain from having children to make a significant dent in the birth rate? We all need to keep a record of where women can still get a safe abortion in secret too. This will get more difficult as time goes by though, less they go to coat hangers and/or Belladonna.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rawgod says:

        The birth rate is hard to control, especially if you lose the right to safe abortions. And, in my mind, it takes far too long to see a real drop in numbers. The good thing is there are a lot of very smart and potentially powerful women out there. If they can find each other and learn to work together, they can do great things. To use a phrase from the 80s, YOU GO, GIRLS!

        Liked by 1 person

      • mriana says:

        Yes, it is difficult to control, thus why I said “theoretically”.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. now4dw says:

    Good morning from Australia, Valerie. I’ve been watching this travesty unfold over the past decade. I totally support your cause – as I am confident the vast majority of Australians would.

    Of course this will hit those at the bottom of the economic ladder hardest, undoubtedly further compounding the divisions within your society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David. I very much agree. My daughters and their friends who are middle to upper-middle class pretty much all have top tier contraceptives. None that I know of have needed an abortion because they have good medical insurance that would cover a $1500 total bill and knowledgeable providers who are experienced with contraceptive devices. Many are on their second hormonal IUD or implant. It is girls with fewer recources-those who are already more vulnerable, who are most likely to end up with a surprise pregnancy.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: FIGHTING THE SUPREME COURT OF THE USA! WE MUST WIN! – Ideas From Outside the Boxes

  6. mriana says:

    Here’s something I heard on Rachel Maddow- If the Supreme Court can overturn Roe v Wade, then they can do it for Brown v the Board of Education, Gay Marriage, Civil Rights, and one that they didn’t say, but did lead to my sons being born and me getting to keep them, Loving v Virginia. There’s a LOT at stake here, besides abortion and all of women’s rights. We MUST ALL vote this coming election. VOTE

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Reblogged this on silverapplequeen and commented:
    A MUST-READ. Even if you are over the age of child-bearing, this fight must be fought for ALL WOMEN.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. john zande says:

    This is truly unbelievable that the US is sliding backwards.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. As always to the point. Zillion thanks Valerie! Will share around. Too important not only for the US if I may say so :-) Hope you stay safe and sound. In my line of work you always come as an existential breath of fresh/humane/intelligent/caring air. Greetings from my wife and I !

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If folk do not think this concerns them they would do well to bear in mind this is but one part of a larger agenda by the Right. If they are still not convinced they should ponder on this poem written at the time of the rise of the Nazis in Germany

    Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller

    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. PS:
    Sorry, I made a rookie error there- the poem was actually written in 1946 as a retrospective reflection of the Nazi era- must check my notes next time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mriana says:

      You’re only human, but at least you admit your mistake. Still the poem applies, because that is what will happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Although a Brit who never quite made that physical trip to the US; it’s been my adopted country culturally and latterly socially. I feel a pain for those of you suffering under this Right Wing frenzy.
        Based on some of our own very British door stop canvassers of all sorts and the nuances soaked up from the US, I can imagine ‘them’ first calling all smiles and affability, then the smiles tighten, then the coldness sets it, the feeling of isolation and maybe some drunken loudmouth on your lawn (or hallway).
        Social peer pressure by degrees on a whole family is a hard one to fight against.
        Then will come the intimidation.
        Take care, all of you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mriana says:

        Thank you, cousin from across the Pond. As one how has an ancestry that goes back to the Prescots and even the pilgrims, I too feel a kinship with the Motherland.

        Like

  12. Pingback: FIGHTING THE SUPREME COURT OF THE USA! WE MUST WIN! – A New Spirituality

  13. John Zelnicker says:

    Valerie – You may be interested in this article from Lynn Parramore about ancient abortifacients::

    https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/abortion-drugs-fundamental-to-ancient-economies-argues-historian

    Like

  14. seidensticker2 says:

    I’ve heard it said that the GOP will, at the state level, make delivery of Plan C by mail illegal. But how could they do that in practice? The post office is federal and out of reach.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dave Burgoyne says:

    While I support choice and all that is outlined here, I think we need to be cautious in our conversations with the “opposition.” Shouting, calling them names, deriding their religious views will make them more recalcitrant, no matter how clever and passionate our rhetoric. They see abortion as infanticide, killing babies, inhuman desecration of the sacred. Period. For that to change, we (women and men) need to tell our stories, describe how the impact of this potential Supreme Court decision is very personal. In other words, we need to re-word the term abortion and present the positive outcome of pregnancy termination and the negative side of making it illegal. And do it without shouting. Right now, the anti-abortion crowd sees us as the enemy, hell-bent to destroy millions of unborn. We need new strategies to change that vision. As a mediator, I’ve found that in a dispute, the first thing I must do is help the “combatants” see each other as human beings. Until that happens, only force will win the day. And that is never a good long-term solution.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Tamar Amidon says:

    Please remove the term “Judeo-Christian” . It’s offensive to most Jews, and in this case it’s just flat out wrong. Judaism does not forbid abortion, and actively requires it if the the mother’s life is at risk. The bible says, in clear terms, that the soul enters the body with the first breath. BTW, don’t call it American Taliban, either, as Islam also does not forbid abortion

    Like

    • Thank you for expressing your preferences. I understand your concerns, but I won’t be removing the term because the treatment of women as reproductive chattel traces back through Christianity into the Torah and the cultures that predate it. I recognize that Judaism does not forbid abortion and that abortion in Judaism can be seen theologically as a moral good; At this point, to my mind, Judaism is more morally advanced than Christianity in many ways, not just this one.

      I wouldn’t call anything the American Taliban though some by way of analogy use the term Christian Taliban when referring to fundamentalist Christian dominionists, and to my mind, the analogy is fitting. Traditional, conservative Islam absolutely treats women as reproductive chattel, despite lacking a prohibition on abortion. And the Taliban is an extreme of that tradition. What pray tell do you think the Taliban would do to a woman who chose to abort a pregnancy without a man’s permission?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. If memory serves me, I recall an article that dealt with unreliable birth control. One part of it mentioned the 99% rate of effectiveness for the pill. OK. What about that 1%? How many births result? Then what happens? Did you write that? If so could you re publish it?

    Like

    • Hi Denise – The efficacy rate for all IUDs and implants is better than 99%, but in real life efficacy for the pill is significantly worse–around 91%. I would link what is considered the definitive chart, but their whole website is down right now. It’s at contraceptivetechnology.org efficacy if you want to try later.

      Liked by 1 person

      • seidensticker2 says:

        91% for the pill? This must mean that using the pill for a year would prevent 91% of potential pregnancies or something similar. Surely it doesn’t mean that 9% of every sex act will result in pregnancy.

        Liked by 2 people

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