Tomorrow, January 22, marks the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide. The decision has withstood many tests and challenges, both legal and political, but while Roe established abortion as a legal right for women, restrictive laws in many states mean women still have to cross state lines or face other restrictions to secure their legal reproductive rights.
State legislatures have passed dozens of anti-choice laws that have a major impact on women’s abilities to exercise their rights. This map by NARAL Pro-Choice America neatly offers a state-by-state summary.
Moreover, many legal providers are facing growing obstacles, threats and outright violence. As Merle Hoffman noted in the Huffington Post, this month, the Guttmacher Institute released a study revealing that abortion providers have reported a major increase in harassment. Most infamously, in May 2009 Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country who provided late-term abortions—and whose dedicated service was guided by his slogan, "Trust Women"—was gunned down in a cold-blooded assassination.
So, in the face of an emboldened right-wing assault in both legislatures and clinic doors, the only thing to do is fight back. In honor of tomorrow’s anniversary, I’ve compiled a list of groups doing just that, all of which require continued support of all types.
You should also check out these great, more under-the-radar groups, all of which are in the trenches working on behalf of women coast to coast.
The National Network of Abortion Funds provide grants to low-income women who have trouble paying for abortions and works to close the gap between the legal right to abortion and safe access to abortion.
For more than 15 years, the Center for Reproductive Rights has used the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill. The group also created a powerful slide show letting women explain why Roe is important to them.
The National Advocates for Pregnant Women works to protect women’s human rights while pregnant, including the right to abortion but also to safe and healthy pregnancy.
The Young Women’s Empowerment Project organizes young women, especially young women of color, around choice and sexuality education.
Trust Women PAC is a national political organization executive director Julie Burkhart founded to carry on the vision that Dr. George Tiller had for women of the world. The organization was formed largely to protect physicians who work in states with an overwhelming anti-choice environment.
SisterSong, a women of color reproductive justice organization, was formed in 1997 to educate women of color and policy makers on reproductive and sexual health and rights, and to work towards fuller access of health services, information and resources.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health mobilizes Latinas around reproductive health with an emphasis on the unique needs of immigrants.
The Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice defines its mission thus: "reproductive justice will be achieved when all people have the economic, social and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies and sexuality for ourselves, our families and our communities." The group organizes nail salon workers, who are exposed to toxins that damage the reproductive organs.
Please use the comments field below to let us know about groups we missed.