Abortion rights are under relentless attack across the country, and there’s no sign of the fight abating: Three states have passed extreme six-week bans in just the past three months, and then earlier this week, Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive bill in the nation. Though none of the bills have yet to take effect — as of now, abortion is still legal in every state — many have responded to the harsh legislation with appropriate fear and outrage, and have been eager to find ways to help.
A great way to start is by donating to grassroots reproductive-rights organizations, but if you’re looking for a tangible way to fight back, consider volunteering to be an abortion-clinic escort. What that entails is pretty self-explanatory: You accompany women seeking reproductive care on the walk from their transportation to the clinic, during which it’s likely the women will encounter anti-abortion protesters who attempt to shame or dissuade them from going through with the procedure. To find your local clinics, visit the websites for the National Abortion Federation and Abortion Care Network, both of which have maps that will show you all the abortion-providing clinics in each state. Then, once you’ve decided on a place or two where you’d like to volunteer, reach out to the clinics to inquire about their needs.
“While anti-abortion extremists attempt to make it more difficult or impossible to access abortion, escorts support patients in accessing the care they need,” Nikki Madsen, executive director at Abortion Care Network, told the Cut. “Clinic escorts contribute to creating welcoming, supportive environments for patients, and play an essential role in de-stigmatizing abortion — a normal part of healthcare. These volunteers live the values of our movement everyday by showing up and following the lead of those working in the clinics.”
Alternatively, you could join Planned Parenthood’s broader Clinic Defender program, where they will ask you “to bring national attention to local fights, empowering local organizers and activists to make a real impact.” Either way, you’ll be helping women get the care they need.
This post has been updated.