Many businesses, investors, and nonprofits proudly support women by:
- designing parent-friendly employment policies,
- supplying venture capital or other kinds of funding,
- promoting anti-violence initiatives,
- encouraging greater involvement in politics, or
- working to eliminate the gender pay gap.
Many people realize, as women make up more than 50 percent of the population, women’s fortunes are ultimately America’s fortunes. But one area is often overlooked when it comes to supporting women — abortion rights.
TALK ABOUT IT
Yes, we should talk about it. Access to medically safe abortion is key to improving financial, physical, and personal lives. Studies show that when individuals have access to medically safe abortions, they can “participate more fully in employment and civic life and all aspects of our society.” They are more likely to:
- begin or continue education,
- obtain employment, and
- earn more money.
They have more agency in their relationships and family planning. Abortion care is also health care, especially for individuals facing health-threatening complications as a result of pregnancy.
As you know know, right now, the battle to access abortion is being played out at the state level — with the likely goal for a case to be referred to the Supreme Court so Roe v. Wade can be overturned completely. TRAP laws, fetal heartbeat bills, burdensome hospital admitting privileges for doctors who perform abortions, mandatory waiting periods, and other policies are used at the state level to limit abortion access for those who may need one.
With each state implementing its own health care policies, admitting guidelines, and insurance rules, abortion laws in the United States resemble the patchiest of patchwork quilts. So when thinking about the current “state” of abortion access, keep in mind the following (stats from the Guttmacher Institute):
- “Thirty states require abortion counseling specifically designed to dissuade a patient from obtaining an abortion, such as information asserting that personhood begins at conception; unnecessarily detailed descriptions of fetal development; or scientifically inaccurate claims about the ability of the fetus to feel pain or that the patient’s mental health could be negatively impacted by an abortion.”
- “…26 states restrict abortion coverage in private health insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, and 11 of these states also restrict abortion coverage in all or most other private insurance plans.”
- “Voters in Alabama and West Virginia approved state constitutional amendments intended to allow for additional abortion restrictions or even pave the way for outright bans on abortion in the event Roe is undermined or overturned.”
If you’re interested in the work being done around increasing access, here are a few ways to get involved:
Abortion can be prohibitively expensive, and states’ restrictions on insurance contributions make it more so. You can help make abortion more affordable by:
- Advocating for policies that enable states to use Medicaid funding to provide abortion coverage.
- Encouraging private insurers to lift restrictions on abortion coverage.
In the current political and cultural environment, the battles for access to abortion will more than likely only intensify. Another way to support abortion rights is to help fund those doing the work, particularly organizations and entities run by and supporting women of color.
- There are abortion/reproductive rights organizations in nearly every state. Here’s a listing with several.
- Give money to places that provide abortion care, including women’s health centers and clinics.
- Donate to legal organizations and counseling services.
Help change the conversation around abortion — literally. There’s a lack of quality education around reproductive and sexual health issues, and when it comes to abortion, a lot of stigma. Here are some ideas to lift up those working to change how society talks about abortion.
- Partner with individuals, organizations, and digital media entities working to fight misinformation.
- Support spaces — both in-person and online — that allow women to share their experiences of abortion.
- Learn about and share up-to-date research on abortion and other reproductive health issues.
Respecting women’s bodily autonomy is an essential element in becoming a country that embraces true freedom for all. It may seem a little complicated or even controversial — but if you, your business, or your organization truly support the well-being of women, you should support abortion access — by state. With a little research, you can learn more about the landscape of abortion in this country and seek out ways to assist those on the front lines of this ever-evolving battle.