Abortion is healthcare. Full stop. No hedging, no explanations. No one should have to say why they’re getting an abortion, or meet some goal post for “acceptable” reasons to choose not to be a parent. If this makes you uncomfortable you need to do pregnancy options counseling training to learn more. (See resources for med students to learn about that.)
The Introduction to Abortion
I’m glad you’re here and reading this info. It’s a lot, so I’ve broken it into sections. The language section is just as important as the resources, because the way we talk about abortion matters. So please read in order, and don’t skip straight to resources unless you’re an abortion provider who has partnered with social justice organizations and completed media training. If you’re entirely new to this movement, please use these websites to get started:
- Guttmacher Institute – https://www.guttmacher.org/abortion-rights-supreme-court
- Center for Reproductive Rights – https://reproductiverights.org/
- Abortion Safety – 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Report: https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/24950/the-safety-and-quality-of-abortion-care-in-the-united-states
- Reminder – Pregnancy is actually much, much more dangerous than abortion. https://twitter.com/Theresa_Chapple/status/1521312567943176193?s=20&t=ksEYDS5rtN3W0iUnvYu_NQ)
Language Matters – Discussing Abortion 101
Avoid saying this is “only a women’s issue”, “women’s rights”, “only women with uteruses” get a say, etc. Trans men can get pregnant. Women who cannot get pregnant can and should be involved in the fight for abortion rights.
Seriously, other women have opposed the reality of abortion as healthcare, with no exceptions, in several states in the past year. And this week. It’s not like being a woman magically makes you not be a bad person. A woman on the Supreme Court helped take away our rights yesterday. This is about reproductive rights, social and racial justice, body autonomy, privacy and the right to full access to healthcare.
So, check out this AMAZING resource from Liberate Abortion to guide the language you’re using! They have a great guide on ETHICALLY REPORTING on the SCOTUS decision here that will teach you terms to AVOID, including references to coat hangers, gendered language, etc:
- Liberate Abortion’s Report Do’s and Dont’s https://static1.squarespace.com/static/6190838c98732d54b730968a/t/6266bd0c9998724024546163/1650900236738/Liberate+Abortion+Reporter+Do%27s+and+Don%27ts+Guide.pdf
- Physician’s for Reproductive Health collection of Resources for Journalists Reporting on Abortion – https://prh.org/reporterresource/
Please stop saying things like “we should have mandatory vasectomies” or more “easy” sterilization process. In California childbearing-capable prisoners were sterilized without consent up through at least 2010. (Google claims this ended in 1979, but that is not true – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/30/california-prisons-forced-sterilizations-belly-beast and https://www.capradio.org/articles/2021/07/20/for-decades-california-forcibly-sterilized-women-under-eugenics-law-now-the-state-will-pay-survivors/ )
See also this very educational thread, by a PhD researching researching the History of Vasectomy in the UK.
This is not funny or edgy, it is suggesting something that was weaponized against people in our lifetime. Much like abortion, the rich and white will always have access, it is the disenfranchised, Black, POC and poor who will face consequences and harsh judgement from the laws.
Safety as a Medical Professional Online
DO NOT post how you’re going to stockpile Plan B (not an abortion pill, FYI, it’s emergency contraception and that is DIFFERENT, see also “don’t reinvent the wheel”), mife or give patients a fake diagnosis. The groups opposed to abortion are horrifically and hatefully motivated, and will be keeping tabs on you. The bounty law in Texas has been copied in at least one state already, and will be coming to more states soon. Keep your social media free of incriminating “This is how I’m planning to break the law” type statements.
But DO keep shouting that #AbortionIsHealthcare and talking about how these laws violate human rights. DON’T BE QUIET, but don’t incriminate yourself. Also, please review the patient resources about digital privacy and security, so you will be knowledgeable enough to help educate patients on not leaving a digital trail (Patient Resources)
Don’t Make Racist Comparisons
Stop making references to the Middle East, third world countries, Handmaids or Hunger Games, Sharia Law, etc. It was easier to get an abortion in rural India than in a majority of US states before the fall of Roe. Now it will still be easier to get an abortion in many of the countries you are looking down on. Please stop.
- Don’t appropriate use of the term “underground railroad” https://twitter.com/famplandoc/status/1521303063515963393?s=20&t=ksEYDS5rtN3W0iUnvYu_NQ
- Don’t Compare to Islam, thanks https://twitter.com/TheRaDR/status/1521465745586204672?s=20&t=ksEYDS5rtN3W0iUnvYu_NQ
Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel
Don’t say you’re starting an abortion underground railroad or auntie network or some other such foolishness. We have TONS of existing reproductive justice groups and abortion funds that are LOCAL. Many of these groups help ensure people have transportation to appointments, childcare while they get their abortion and funds for their abortion. They do much more of the work (especially when compared to big groups like PP who have not done much recently). Donate your TIME AND MONEY to local funds, and local justice groups. (See Donate and Support Organizations for suggestions).
And please don’t stockpile Plan B or mife – doing so is just going to take away medications people NEED, and they’ll end up expiring in a box in your home. Don’t sabotage us all, trying to make yourself feel better about this messed up nightmare.
- Don’t recreate the wheel https://twitter.com/MayaBassMD/status/1521457994785042432?s=20&t=ksEYDS5rtN3W0iUnvYu_NQ
- Don’t Try to Make Your own Network, use What We Already Have – https://twitter.com/TheRaDR/status/1541100711383126016?s=20&t=GRQ2YJD4eGCBtoin4r7ivA
This is Bigger Than You May Realize
Because the opinion mentions privacy not being protected (and Thomas straight up told us they plan to go after contraception, gay marriage and gay rights) you already KNOW that these same hateful groups will be going after all of that, as well as school de-segregation and interracial marriage. They’re already attacking trans children openly in multiple states. They have been attacking voter rights for YEARS and SPED UP after the last national election. We all need to protect each other, help each other. Don’t be quiet. GET LOUD.
Tell patients to delete THEIR DATA from period tracking apps (deleting the app doesn’t change their data). That data is being SOLD and can be subpoenaed from the few paid ones who don’t sell it. People will be criminalized and sent to jail for miscarriage. It’s happened in the past few years. It will happen more. When they go to clinics, have them turn off their cell phones/watches/anything that tracks locations. Because that data is being sold, too. Lots of discussion about states making abortion a felony, and how can you prove your miscarriage is not an attempted abortion? You cannot. Felons lose the right to vote. This is a coordinated, well planned attack. The last section, Security / Privacy in a Digital World, is key for this. Be sure to read and share with patients.
- Abortion Tracking Data – https://www.vice.com/en/article/m7vzjb/location-data-abortion-clinics-safegraph-planned-parenthood
- Obergefell and Lawrence https://twitter.com/BrynnTannehill/status/1521312454164336642?s=20&t=ksEYDS5rtN3W0iUnvYu_NQ and https://twitter.com/BrynnTannehill/status/1521481078376181760?s=20&t=ksEYDS5rtN3W0iUnvYu_NQ
- Right to Privacy in contraception, marriage and sex – Lawrence v. Texas, Grisold, Loving https://twitter.com/a_h_reaume/status/1521316453944758273?s=20&t=ksEYDS5rtN3W0iUnvYu_NQ
- Power of Attorney tips for those who will likely be affected in future https://twitter.com/ohhhZach/status/1521295824222892033?s=20&t=ksEYDS5rtN3W0iUnvYu_NQ