Restrictive anti-abortion laws have been sweeping the country, with eight states passing bills to limit the procedure thus far. These laws have been an assault on Roe v. Wade, effectively threatening bodily autonomy for women, gender nonconforming folks, and trans people across the nation; Alabama even passed a ban without exemptions for rape or incest.
We do have safeguards in place to protect abortion access in Washington: There's Initiative 120 that Marcy Bloom, previous president of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, called “our own statewide Roe v. Wade,” and the Reproductive Health Access for All Act, which was signed into law May 13. Still, our fight isn’t over.
Field organizer for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii’s Seattle chapter, Hana Hartman, expressed how important it is that folks continue to show their support for pro-choice causes in this dire time.
"I think there is a false sense of security of feeling like that would never happen here. What I have learned more than anything by organizing is that if it's true that it would never happen here, that's the case because we are working so hard,” she said at a #StopTheBans event on May 21. “We just think it is so important that in these moments people aren't just alone, scrolling through their social media feeds getting more and more terrified, but that we have a time and a space where we can share our strength and commitment to one another to really fight back against these horrible abortion bans."
So, outside of attending rallies like those that were held across Washington this past Tuesday, here's what you can do to show your support for the pro-choice movement.
- Volunteer! Organizations like the Northwest Abortion Access Fund are seeking volunteers to help keep their organizations running, which ultimately offer the financial and emotional support needed for folks considering abortion. Planned Parenthood is also launching a new volunteer program, Action Councils, on June 19 to encourage the masses to lead policy and advocacy initiatives.
- Consider making a financial contribution to pro-choice organizations in the area. Giving directly to institutions—NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands, and the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, to name-check a few, are fighting from all angles to preserve the right to abortion and provide essential health care—is a tangible and impactful way to offer your support for those who need it.
- Write to your representatives. While venues like The Cloud Room have held events specifically for Seattleites to write to Congress on this issue, you can do it on your own as well. Governor Jay Inslee, U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and U.S. representative Pramila Jayapal have all been vocal on the topic, but effective communication with legislators is an ongoing process. Make your voice heard.
- Listen to women and other folks impacted by these laws—and support the spaces that share their stories. Platforms like Shout Your Abortion and the #YouKnow Me social media movement project the experiences of real people, and attempt to eliminate stigmas around abortion.
- Show up, again and again. Upcoming events like the We Love Planned Parenthood protest on May 24 at Sylvester Park and a Planned Parenthood–hosted End of Session Debrief with the 22nd Legislative District representatives in Olympia on June 6 will continue to take place. While it may feel repetitious, continued support for pro-choice organizations and their events keeps the flame of resistance burning.