People’s ability to exercise their reproductive autonomy, control their reproductive lives, and decide if, when and how to have children is essential to the full realization of human rights for women, girls and all people who can become pregnant*. Access to abortion is a human right, and international human rights committees have consistently found that criminalizing abortion violates the rights of women, girls, and people who can become pregnant in a number of ways. Pregnant people themselves—not the state—should have the ultimate authority when it comes to their decision on carrying a pregnancy. If a pregnant person decides to seek abortion care, it is their human right to have access to a safe and legal procedure without the fear of discrimination.
The following guide has been created to assist activists to fight for abortion rights in their home state, as well as other states across the country, when abortion restrictions are introduced and after they have taken effect.
As of June 24th, 2022, the Supreme Court has overturned their decision on Roe v. Wade– a reversal of nearly 50 years of legal precedent. Denying safe and legal access to abortion jeopardizes all of these rights. It is our responsibility to step up, show up and defend our human rights. See the sections below on how to take immediate action to fight for abortion rights in your state!
Click here to connect with organizations that support abortion patients with things like transportation, lodging, and childcare.
You can also support abortion seekers in your community by becoming a clinic escort. To become a clinic escort, you can reach out to your local abortion provider to see if they take volunteers, or you can sign-up online if they have a volunteer webpage. You can also Google “[your city] + clinic escort volunteers” to find opportunities.
Here are some of the events you can take part in to get involved in the reproductive justice movement during the month of June, and join the national outcry against the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision:
Learn more about how abortion is a human right! A variety of human rights are violated when abortion bans are implemented, such as the rights to:
Criminalization of abortion limits people’s right to decide whether and when to reproduce, a right which human rights authorities recognize as integral to physical and mental integrity and to their dignity and worth as human beings. Visit Amnesty’s Access to Abortion is a Human Right page to learn more!
There are two types of abortions available for pregnant people: medication abortion, and in-clinic abortion.
States across the country use different tactics to pass abortion restrictions. Make no mistake: all abortion restrictions are put in place with the ultimate goal of banning abortion entirely. Some of the most common abortion restrictions are listed below:
The Texas ban allows private citizens to sue anyone in the state they think provided an abortion for a pregnant person after a heartbeat in the fetus was detected, around the six-week mark. This ban has also been described as having a “bounty hunter system”, as people who report possible providers can be awarded $10,000 in damages by the state.
The Mississippi ban makes abortions illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which is about 2 months earlier than Roe v. Wade allows. This ban will be reviewed by the Supreme Court in the summer of 2022, and it is the reason why Roe v. Wade could be overturned.
The Oklahoma ban is currently the strictest abortion ban in the country. It makes abortion illegal in every case except for when a pregnant person’s life is in danger if they continue to carry their pregnancy (which is a functional total ban).
Dictate the point during pregnancy when an abortion is permissible. These limits can be arbitrary, and vary greatly by state or country.
Support the notion that a fetus has legal rights that are independent of the pregnant person carrying the fetus.
Laws in some states restrict abortion coverage in all private insurance plans, or by restricting health insurance plans for public employees.
At the national level, the federal Hyde Amendment has blocked Medicaid funding for abortion services for decades, placing an unnecessary financial burden on pregnant people who are seeking an abortion.
Several organizations have created live trackers and interactive maps to help find abortion restrictions in your state:
We are not just fighting bad legislation; we’re fighting for good legislation! Positive legislation that protects the right to abortion care can promote human rights in your state and serve as a model for other state legislatures when it comes to protecting the liberty and autonomy of people who can become pregnant. Examples of positive legislation include:
The following videos provide information you can use to educate yourself and people in your community!
When you’re speaking to your friends, family, and community about abortion rights, it can be difficult to choose the best way to explain why abortion access for all Americans is so vital. Here are a few resources you can use to start having open conversations about abortion with the people closest to you:
Here are some idea for events and other actions you can take to educate your community on abortion rights!
These are just a few ideas- be creative and do what makes sense for your community! Amnesty has also created a comprehensive advocacy tactic guide that lists other ways you can spread your message.
Here are some resources you can use to plan and prepare for any protests you will attend:
Using social media to gain support and spread your message is free, easy, and allows you to reach a massive online community. In this guide, we have listed slogans and ideas for social media posts that advocate for abortion rights in your state.
We also have general messaging guidance you can use to frame discussions about abortion:
Stripping protections for the right to abortion is out of step with the rest of the world as sexual and reproductive rights advance.
We do not use exclusive “women and girls” language when talking about abortion. Transgender and non-binary people get pregnant and have abortions, too, and can sometimes have the hardest time accessing non-discriminatory and gender-appropriate care, including abortion care. Using gender-exclusive language further marginalizes transgender and non-binary people, which can lead to further rights abuses against them.
Call your state legislators to demand they support the right to abortion. There are many different ways to get in touch with your state’s legislators. This guide provides information on how to find your legislators; it also provides examples of templates you can use when calling or emailing their offices.
If you decide to contact your state’s legislators using our outreach guide, please fill out this debrief form to log your interaction.
Q: Wait, why does Amnesty say “women, girls, and people who can become pregnant”?
A: Transgender and non-binary people get pregnant and have abortions, too, and can sometimes have the hardest time accessing non-discriminatory and gender-appropriate care, including abortion care. Using gender-exclusive language further marginalizes transgender and non-binary people, which can lead to further rights abuses against such groups.