As abortion rights come under threat again and again, organizations across the country are gathering to fight for reproductive rights. Attending protests and staying apprised of other actions in your community can be a helpful way to show your support for abortion rights.
If you plan to attend a protest, make sure you do so safely. Unfortunately, government and police sometimes violate an individual’s right to protest, and protesters are sometimes met with violence. Knowing your rights is the most powerful weapon you have against police abuse. The ACLU has a guide to your rights while protesting.
There are also other ways to organize in your community. Collective action can be powerful. Some options may be to:
- Coordinate rides for people who need transportation to get to their appointment
- Provide free childcare for folks who need it
- Organize housing for people coming from out of state for abortion care.
Consider what abortion patients in your state might need and if you have access, resources, or skills that can help fill that need. We are in this together. It is important for people accessing abortion to know that they’re not alone.
You can also help reduce abortion stigma by talking about abortion with your friends and loved ones. Abortion stigma is a cultural understanding that abortion is morally wrong or socially unacceptable. This idea contributes to the shame and secrecy surrounding abortion and can make people hesitant to exercise their right to bodily autonomy. On a broader level, this stigma also contributes to the harassment and threats of violence that abortion patients and providers sometimes face.
People don’t often talk about abortion in their families and communities, but this silence only serves to perpetuate stigma. By opening the conversation with your loved ones, you can help normalize abortion and decrease shame. You may also identify yourself as someone that friends can come to if they need support.
Oftentimes, people stigmatize abortion without meaning to. It’s important to lead with empathy for the people who have abortions, center their needs and decisions, and bring the conversation back to shared values. Ultimately, abortion is an individual’s decision and they should have power over their own body. Abortion is a normal part of reproductive health care and should be treated as such.
For more information about abortion stigma, you can visit this page from Planned Parenthood Action Fund and this page from Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. To understand the myriad experiences with abortion, you can read abortion stories (keep in mind that these sometimes include stories of violence and can be triggering for some people). If you feel comfortable, you can also share your own experiences with abortion.