Abortion is a family planning tool. All across the United States, of the 25 percent of people who will get abortions before they turn 45, 60 percent of them are already mothers and half of those have more than one child. Abortions are had in the context of financial and family planning decisions, and the laws that are being passed across the country right now to limit those decisions are harming families. Parents know this.
In light of the recently leaked SCOTUS document on May 2nd, 2022 showing that the majority of the Court has decided privately to strike down Roe v. Wade, and the slate of laws that have passed over the past few years that outright ban abortion at six weeks shows that the right to choose is under attack and may very well be over within months. Pregnant people, people who may choose to end a pregnancy for any number of reasons – because it is a major medical event that is dangerous, because their pregnancy is not viable, because they do not have the money to raise a child, because they may not want a child or another child – may soon not be in charge of their own bodily autonomy.
In times like these, it’s tempting to imagine that abortion is only an issue for people who can get pregnant. But that is not true. Cis men are often part of family planning decisions, and when they are not, they know people in their lives who benefit from the full legal right and access to abortions. Their spouses, their romantic partners, their kids, their friends. So what can men who want to protect the right to choose do to support pregnant people? Here are seven actions men can take.
Donate to the National Network of Abortion Funds
The National Network of Abortion Funds, or NNAF, is a network of over 80 state-level abortion funding organizations that helps people in financial need acquire the money and logistical support they need to terminate their pregnancies. These groups are volunteer-run and run out of money every single year. Because abortions are, on average, between $ 350 and $ 950, for some pregnant people, particularly those without health insurance, the procedure is too expensive for them to afford on their own. By donating directly to NNAF, an organization in your state, or by volunteering your time to work at a state-level abortion fund, you can help people get the access to health care that they need.
Become a Clinic Escort
In particularly hostile states, people who are simply walking from their car to a Planned Parenthood or other reproductive health clinic can be met with anti-choice protesters, vitriol, and video cameras. Between 2019 and 2020, assault and battery by anti-choice protesters increased 125% and will likely continue to increase as the clock ticks down on the Supreme Court decision. In many states, volunteer escorts can serve as a support system and help those going to the clinics get from their car to the front door without having to wade past protestors. To find out where the closest clinic is to volunteer to be an escort, log on to the National Abortion Federation or the Abortion Care Network, which has a map of all abortion clinics in each state. Be sure to call the clinic before volunteering.
Become a Trained Volunteer for Planned Parenthood or an Independent Clinic
Anyone concerned about abortion access in the US should become a Planned Parenthood volunteer. Planned Parenthood offers volunteers the ability to help out clinics by calling Congress, joining letter writing campaigns, organizing and taking part in rallies, or even working as a volunteer at the local abortion clinic.
Provide Rides for Those in Need
Roe v. Wade is under attack at the federal level, but states across the nation have slowly been chipping away the right to choose for years. This has resulted in a slow erosion of access to abortion in states that are hostile toward the right to choose. Consider Texas’ ban on abortion over the summer, which resulted in abortion rates in Oklahoma rising astronomically. Now, Oklahoma has passed a similar ban, leaving the two southwestern states in a gulf of medical need and little access.
One way to get involved is to volunteer to drive those in need to clinics. State-level activist groups like the Kentucky Health Justice Network and Women Have Options in Ohio not only provide funds for those who can not afford an abortion, but they also provide legal assistance for clinics, rides to clinics for those who do not have cars, lodging ahead of the appointment, and meals for those who might be in states that require a 72-hour-waiting period and do not live in one of the few cities with clinics. To see what organizations help provide lodging, funds, and rides to those who need abortions, check out the Post Roe Handbook, written by Robin Marty. It’s regularly updated. Donating money or time to these organizations would go a long way.
Write and Call Your Congress People
One of the biggest ways that people can exercise their political power is through their vote. Though Democrats have the majority in both the House and Senate and a Democrat sits in the Oval Office, the majority Conservative Supreme Court has the final say on abortion for as long as Congress decides not to act. Unless Congress enshrines the right to abortion before the SCOTUS ruling is official, which is highly unlikely as it would require them to abscond with the filibuster and take decisive action on abortion, it would take a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Court’s anti-choice decision. Congress could pass the Women’s Health Protection Act today. Now is the time to contact your legislators and tell them you support a person’s right to choose and believe in bodily autonomy for pregnant people. Urge them to pass a federal law that would enshrine the right to abortion federally.
Support Alternative Abortion Providers
Groups that supply access to medication abortions in states with limited access are vital to maintaining the right to choose. Just the Pill / Abortion Delivered and Aid Access are just two of the non-profits working today to provide safe access to medications through the US mail after a telehealth consultation with a licensed provider. Medication abortion is legal and safe and the medications can be taken through the tenth week of pregnancy, allowing pregnant people access to safe abortions in areas with no physical abortion clinics. Just the Pill / Abortion Delivered is also working to bring mobile, in-clinic services to under- and un-served areas.
Vote for Pro-Choice Legislators
The midterm elections are coming up, and though Democrats control both the House and the Senate, as well as the White House, there is not a pro-choice majority. “At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law,” President Biden said in a statement regarding the leaked document. “I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned”. Ensuring a pro-choice majority is voted into Congress is a first, basic step to ensuring family planning services like abortion remain legal and safe.