After a draft of a US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade was leaked, people across the country now worry about the future of their ability to access safe abortions.
A collective of city and state leaders across the United States are working together to create a facilitative network for women seeking abortions in states where the procedure will still be legal.
States have the final say
Individual states have the ultimate say in whether abortions are legal or illegal within their borders. If the Supreme Court follows through with overturning Roe V. Wade, there is more than likely to be an influx of women seeking abortions into safe haven states and cities. These places now need to strengthen their connections and relationships to help those in need.
For instance, Texas is one of the states almost certain to go through with the abortion ban. Austin City Councilmember Vanessa Fuentes is working to build the infrastructure and relationships necessary to get Texans who need abortions to New Mexico, who is unlikely to make it illegal.
“There’s a lot of logistics that have to be worked out,” Fuentes said. “And so that’s really what I think is incumbent upon local leaders, during this time between now and the end of June, is to establish those networks; to start thinking through the ramifications of the anticipated ruling and how we can best set up Texans in response.”
Preparatory initiatives like this are taking place in many states. California is very likely to become a major hub for abortion patients, so LA County will support a $20 million state reproductive health care pilot in LA that would “amplify the work of being a safe haven for abortion and reproductive healthcare,” the motion reads.
The fight continues in cities in predominantly anti-abortion states that may provide the one place where reproductive healthcare and abortions are provided. Tishaura Jones, mayor of St. Louis, Missouri said that it will be a struggle to keep the state’s one abortion provider open.
Local Progress, a coalition of local officials that organizes around progressive policies, is working to collect support from city and state officials who support reproductive rights and push legislation to ensure that future generations retain their rights.
“We see the role of elected officials at the local level at this moment as being really strong conveyors of the values that people really want to see represented,” said Sarah Johnson, executive director of Local Progress. “Especially as there’s going to be tons of misinformation, and lots of confusion.”