Reproductive-health organizations in the South have their hands full post-Dobbs.
In the year since the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn abortion rights, millions of people have lost access to the procedure. Most of them live in the South.
We’re the leaders of an abortion clinic in Georgia (Kwajelyn) and abortion fund in Texas (Zaena) — two states with some of the country’s strictest abortion bans. The Dobbs decision and subsequent abortion bans have severely affected our work. While we can’t provide the level of abortion care we previously offered, organizations like ours are doing everything possible to connect abortion seekers with out-of-state care, expand services to meet changing health needs, and win back basic reproductive rights.
Fulfilling these goals requires sustained activism and community organizing, but too often, the resources needed to advance reproductive justice fluctuate with the political winds. Immediately after Dobbs, reproductive-justice organizations saw a surge in gifts and donations from individuals and funders. For many, the moments immediately following the Dobbs decision felt like the right time to get involved. Unfortunately, that funding has since slowed, even while abortion seekers’ needs are ongoing, and even growing.
Those who help people find out-of-state abortions also depend on ongoing resources to keep up with changing state laws. Take Cathy Torres, who fields calls every evening at Frontera Fund’s abortion helpline in McAllen, Tex. Cathy and others on the helpline tell us that the abortion seekers they speak with are confused, scared, and desperate for information about their rights. These calls are longer than in years past, often lasting more than an hour.
Sometimes callers reach out multiple times a week, asking legal and logistical questions and getting connected to abortion providers out of state.
Despite the obstacles anti-abortion lawmakers lob at us, we need to stay open and pay our staff in order to help these callers now and maintain a strong foundation for our future. Sustaining ourselves today ensures that when abortion rights are eventually restored, our communities won’t have to rebuild from nothing. Right now, resilience means betting on our future.
Foundations, individual donors, and allies: Don’t give up on abortion rights in the South, or anywhere else. We’re still here, and we’re still fighting.