“Every move­ment can be tracked back to the impor­tance of abor­tion access,” said Lizz Win­stead of the Abor­tion Access Front. This was the cen­tral theme of Sat­ur­day morn­ing’s Net­roots Nation pan­el titled: Post-Roe Doesn’t Mean Post Abortion…If You Step Up. This pan­el also includ­ed Cece Caru­so from Plan C Pills, Tara Murtha from the Women’s Law Project, Lara Chilean from North­land Fam­i­ly Plan­ning, and Kristin Hady from Abor­tion Access Front.

Tara Murtha addressed this issue as well, not­ing that abor­tion access has been strate­gi­cal­ly iso­lat­ed on all sides: the pro­ce­dure being iso­lat­ed from hos­pi­tals, the move­ment stig­ma­tized in the broad­er pro­gres­sive move­ment, and racism with­in the repro­duc­tive free­dom move­ment per­pet­u­at­ing this iso­la­tion. Murtha cit­ed mass incar­cer­a­tion and LGBTQIA+ rights as two addi­tion­al areas that clear­ly lead one back to the need for abor­tion jus­tice.

For these rea­sons, pro­gres­sives need to have very open con­ver­sa­tions about abor­tion. Lizz Win­stead said that if you can­not say abor­tion, if you can­not talk about abor­tion, the peo­ple in your com­mu­ni­ty who have had them will not trust you with their sto­ry. She notes that if you do not know many peo­ple who have had abor­tions, this could eas­i­ly be the issue.

Murtha also talked about the need to call out pro­gres­sive rep­re­sen­ta­tives and can­di­dates who oppose abor­tion but avoid tak­ing a posi­tion. Peo­ple need to know where their law­mak­ers stand, mak­ing it very impor­tant to pub­li­cize abor­tion stances or the refusal to offer one. Murtha tasked advo­cates to “…make life hard for your local politi­cian.” This means mak­ing phone calls and vis­it­ing gov­ern­ment offices to demand meet­ings and demand the space to share your sto­ry before state leg­is­la­tures.

Cece Caru­so point­ed out the active nature this kind of advo­ca­cy demands: “It’s always ‘vot­ing and’ not ‘vot­ing just.’” Vot­ing just rhetoric tends to be per­pet­u­at­ed by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, which Caru­so believes to be extreme­ly prob­lem­at­ic. Their call to action in response to this is to per­sis­tent­ly “agi­tate” both con­ser­v­a­tives and pro­gres­sives to “…remem­ber who they rep­re­sent and who they work for.”

Caruso’s work at Plan C Pills includes pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion and resources for self-man­aged abor­tions, a par­tic­u­lar­ly con­tro­ver­sial form of abor­tion access. They addressed the need to be care­ful about this option’s legal­i­ty and risk, but also pur­sue it as a viable option for peo­ple in abor­tion care desserts with­out the abil­i­ty to trav­el. As areas where abor­tion care is inac­ces­si­ble grows, the group of peo­ple this ser­vice can ben­e­fit increase.

A siz­able por­tion of this pan­el focused on what the peo­ple can do now to help abor­tion providers and sup­port the move­ment. All pan­elists gen­er­al­ly agreed on the ben­e­fit of ask­ing cur­rent­ly exist­ing providers which areas they need the most help in. Lara Chilean encour­aged advo­cates to avoid self-start­ing move­ments with­out con­sult­ing abor­tion providers in the area — for exam­ple, counter-protest­ing out­side of clin­ics with­out ask­ing first. She said that this is often harm­ful and has the poten­tial to cre­ate a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion for peo­ple seek­ing care.

Win­stead added to this by also dis­cour­ag­ing sup­port­ing “Aun­tie Net­works,” which most often include inde­pen­dent forums where peo­ple offer their homes to peo­ple cross­ing state lines to seek legal abor­tions. She point­ed out the prob­lem­at­ic nature of these net­works as they are like­ly to vio­late the right to pri­va­cy when seek­ing abor­tion access. Peo­ple should not be forced to be a “good guest” in order to receive an abor­tion. Instead, Win­stead sug­gest­ed donat­ing to an exist­ing provider that finan­cial­ly assists with trav­el and hotels.

Cece Caru­so con­clud­ed the pan­el with three help­ful resources to spread in com­mu­ni­ties that are list­ed below. The Repro Legal Helpline pro­vides sup­port to those who are seek­ing legal infor­ma­tion and guid­ance con­cern­ing state abor­tion laws. This resource con­nects those seek­ing abor­tion with legal advo­cates and resources. The sec­ond resource, Plan C’s Guide to Pills, pro­vides exten­sive infor­ma­tion on self-man­aged abor­tion and also includes a loca­tor for clin­ics that offer this ser­vice. Final­ly, the Mis­car­riage and Abor­tion Hot­line is run by abor­tion clin­i­cians seek­ing to give advice to those self-man­ag­ing mis­car­riages and abor­tions.

Repro Legal Helpline: 844–868-2812
Plan C’s Guide to Pills
The Mis­car­riage and Abor­tion Hot­line: 1–833-246‑2632

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