Rainbow Rant: Support your local abortion fund

Reproductive justice activists are our leaders in the fight for safe, legal abortion

Joy Ellison
Clinic escort Michelle Davis (right) holds a sign in front of anti-abortion protester Michael Coughlin while he's speaking outside of Your Choice Healthcare of Columbus on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. People gathered in protest of the clinic being blessed by a coalition of religious leaders. [Tyler Schank/Dispatch]

Does anyone else have déjà vu? The Taliban is ruling Afghanistan. A hurricane has pounded New Orleans. Bennifer is back. And Texas has banned abortion after the sixth week. Is this 2021 or 2001?

Pretty soon, it may feel more like 1972, before abortion became legal. Some experts believe Roe. v. Wade may soon be overturned or eroded into meaninglessness

If you’re feeling scared about the future of reproductive rights, good. We need to take action — but we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. 

Successfully challenging abortion restrictions starts by understanding their impact. Abortion bans don’t stop abortion; they make it less safe. More than that, abortion bans make abortion inaccessible for poor people. History shows us that financially secure people will always be able to access abortion services. Pregnant Texans who have money will fly to California, or even Canada or Mexico. The people who will suffer under the Texas law are the poor, including a disproportionate number of Black people, Indigenous people and people of color.

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There is one piece of good news: Reproductive justice activists already know all of this. They’ve been working to make abortion accessible for everyone for decades. For them, the Texas law is nothing new; it’s simply an expansion (albeit a terrifying one) of a web of restrictions that has made it ever more difficult to access safe, affordable abortion. They know exactly what needs to be done and they’re asking for our support. 

Reproductive justice activists in Texas have made it clear that the best thing supporters can do is donate money to local abortion funds. These organizations, many of which are run by people of color, provide transportation, housing, medical funds and support for pregnant people who would be otherwise unable to access abortion services.

The organizers who run abortion funds are the experts in dealing with laws like the Texas ban. They are better stewards of resources than the Satanic Temple, which is also fundraising to support its own legal challenge to the Texas law. The Satanic Temple’s talent lies in grabbing headlines and sometimes pulling off creative legal maneuvers. The group’s efforts, however, are drowning out the voices of seasoned reproductive justice activists. Our money is better spent directly supporting people who need help accessing abortion. 

In Columbus, our local abortion fund is Women Have Options. WHO provides support to all pregnant people, including trans men and non-binary people. “The cost of a first trimester abortion can be more than a low-income family lives on in a month,” the group writes on its website. On average, an individual receives $100 from WHO. That’s a small cost to make a huge difference in someone’s life. 

It’s unnerving to watch the past come back with a vengeance, but there is still reason for hope. Because we’ve already fought these fights, we know what to do. We can win if we follow our leaders.