As news of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade sweeps the nation and protesters fill the streets, Black women remind us that organizers have prepared for this moment and that resources do exist.
LaKia Williams, a reproductive justice advocate and host of the Black Feminist Rants podcast, encouraged folks who may be feeling fearful about no longer having access to abortion care.
“For the people who aren’t in ‘repro’ and who are really scared and concerned about this decision, you have a right to be, and you should be, but I also want to just honor that people in the repro space have been organizing around this issue and have been preparing for this for so long,” she said on Tik Tok.
As a digital organizer for SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a national organization supporting the reproductive needs of marginalized women, she insisted organizers made provisions for this very moment.
“We have systems and networks in place to support people…I’m talking about abortion funds. I’m talking about aid access who will ship you abortion pills. That’s what I’m talking about. I’m talking about abortion doulas. I’m talking about reproductive justice orgs. There are people out there who have been preparing for this and knew that the government was going to try to strip away our rights,” she said.
Williams previously taught followers how to utilize the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), a directory of abortion care providers that seeks to “remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access.”
Some of the NNAF’s members work with clinics to pay for others’ abortions. Some also provide transportation, childcare, translation, doula services, and a place to stay for people who travel to get abortions.
The organization, which recently appointed a Black woman as its executive director, said, “although we’ve been anticipating this outcome, the reality of this final decision hurts.”
But even in the midst of grief, they’re choosing to continue fighting.
“We don’t have the option of being shocked into inaction by the cruelty of this decision. This moment is about abortion, and it’s about so much more — the systems of white supremacy and economic oppression are working exactly as they are meant to, using our laws and institutions to control our bodies, families, and futures,” NNAF said in a statement. “We’ve seen time and time again that abortion bans and restrictions harm Black communities, Indigenous communities, people of color, and people experiencing financial hardship the most.”
NNAF said the impact of the court’s decision is already being felt.
“Right now, people living in and traveling to states where abortion is more accessible are already experiencing a shortage of providers and clinics,” they said. “As the access landscape constricts further, the strain on our healthcare system will be catastrophic. While we prepare ourselves for roughly half of states to limit or ban abortion outright — either immediately or very soon — it’s important to remember: abortion is still available in the US, and abortion funds are still here for us.”
Likewise, Black-women led reproductive justice organizations stood in solidarity with women and birthing people around the nation.
According to Williams’ Sister Song, more abortion bans could follow on a state level.
“Today’s decision abandons nearly 50 years of precedent & marks the first time in history that the Supreme Court has taken away a fundamental right. The Court’s decision will likely lead to half of U.S. states immediately taking action to ban abortion outright,” the organization tweeted.
Linda Goler Blount, CEO of Black Women’s Health Imperative, a nonprofit organization created to protect the health and wellness of Black girls and women, said life will be made harder for Black women and their families.
“Black women will be disproportionately impacted as more families will be condemned to a lifetime of poverty, more women will die in childbirth, and more futures diminished because the ability to make the most basic healthcare decision has been denied,” Blount said in a video on Twitter.
Kay Matthews, the founder of The Shades of Blue Project — a Houston-based non-profit focused on improving maternal mental health outcomes for Black and brown birthing people — said the organization “will continue to work with organizations that see this decision as the travesty it is and work to restore the fundamental human right to bodily autonomy.”
“Today, we mourn,” she stated. “Tomorrow, the fight continues.”