The Fight For Bodily Autonomy
Every person has the right to bodily autonomy, including the freedom to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. Currently, our bodily autonomy is under attack as anti-abortion leaders continuously attempt to restrict our reproductive freedom across the country. From the overturning of Roe v. Wade to the current lawsuit to overturn the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, our communities are under attack. Those most vulnerable to these attacks include Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people who are immigrants, people with low incomes, young people and people in geographically isolated areas.
People have always had abortions and will continue to do so with community care and generations of wisdom. As abortion advocates, we must come together and take action to ensure that our communities have the resources and support they need to thrive.
This resource is meant to help guide you on how you can take action in your campus community to help fight for a world where all people, no matter their zip code, gender, race, religion, income, or age have access to the healthcare they need.
What You Can Do on Your Campus
The legal landscape on abortion access in this country is ever-changing as state lawmakers continue to introduce bans and restrictions on abortion. Currently, access to abortion is determined by what state you live in. Listed below are trusted resources created by our partners at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice (If/When/How) that you can refer back to for the latest information regarding the status of abortion access in your state.
- Visit the CRR’s After Roe Fell: Abortion Laws by State map, which explains all the bans and restrictions currently on the books in each state. This tool is updated in real time.
- As states continue to criminalize abortions, it’s important to know where you can seek legal help. If/When/How’s Repro Legal Helpline is a free, confidential source for legal advice and information on abortion and the laws in your state, including the rights of someone under 18.
- Right now, there are 36 states in the U.S. with laws that require someone under 18 (or, in some cases, under 17, 16, or 15) to involve a parent or legal guardian in their decision to have an abortion. If you or someone you know cannot or does not want to involve a parent when seeking abortion care, judicial bypass (sometimes called a judicial waiver) is another option. Visit If/When/How’s Judicial Bypass Wiki to learn more about abortion access for young people in your state.
Look up your local reproductive rights/health/justice organization and get connected to them! Connecting with these organizations can be a great way to show your support and get involved with organizing already taking place in your community. We are stronger when we join coalitions with those around us! After locating your local reproductive rights organization, sign up for their email list, go to their next event, or attend a volunteer session.
- Need help locating national or local organizations in your community? Check out this list: usow.org/repro/volunteer/
Find your nearest abortion clinic and ask them what support they need! The clinic might be in need of clinic escorts to help guide patients into the building or they might just need support through donations.
- Tips before reaching out:
- Remember, clinics are extremely busy juggling multiple patients throughout the day — please be patient when waiting for a response.
- Identify yourself as someone seeking to support the clinic’s work.
- Be mindful of confidentiality and respect — don’t show up to a clinic unannounced.
- Maintain the boundaries set by the clinic. Don’t try to get involved beyond your invited role.
- Learn more at: usow.org/repro/#action.
Be aware of anti-abortion counseling centers nearby. Anti-abortion counseling centers tend to be near real reproductive healthcare clinics. These centers — also known as crisis pregnancy centers or fake clinics — exist to deter pregnant people from accessing comprehensive reproductive healthcare. Their goal is to deceive and pressure people to carry a pregnancy to term. Make sure your community is aware of the real motives of these centers.
- Learn more on pages 9 and 10 of The Feminist To-Do List: Abortion Access Edition.
The greatest tools you have in our fight for abortion access are your time and your voice — and taking action on campus is one of the best ways to amplify both.
Some activities you can organize on your campus:
- Plan a review-a-thon to leave honest and accurate reviews about anti-abortion counseling centers.
- Fake clinics often deceive patients looking for honest and unbiased approaches to reproductive care. Gather a list of all the anti-abortion centers in your area and recruit a team of students to leave Google and Facebook reviews marking the clinics as fake crisis centers. Take a peek at this fake clinic mapping tool to help get you started! Need some guidance on what to write? Check out these sample reviews.
- Host a postcard writing party to show your gratitude and appreciation for your local clinic.
- Host a fundraiser to raise money for your local clinic or abortion fund.
- You are the missing piece to your community’s needs. Utilize your community organizing skills to throw together a fundraiser in support of your local clinic or abortion fund. Try and partner with local businesses you support, aiming to donate a portion of all proceeds collected within a certain timeframe.
- Host a teach-in to educate your community about the campus resources that are available to them.
- Most campuses offer free or discounted health services to their students. Put together an in-person panel or a virtual conversation on social media discussing these resources and how they intersect with a student’s reproductive care. Be on the lookout for key university centers, such as a Wellness or Gender and Equity Centers. Visit this checklist to help you get started!
- Check out the Feminist To Do-List: Abortion Access Edition for more ideas.
We want to acknowledge how participating in this work may affect you emotionally and/or remind you of your own experiences.
If you are seeking to have or have previously had an abortion, that is your decision alone to make, and whatever you choose should be respected. We support your right to make informed, independent decisions about your body. Whatever emotions you may feel in regards to this decision are completely valid. Give yourself the freedom to process, spend time with loved ones, and do some of your favorite activities.
Additionally, the current political and social dialogue around abortion access can feel exhausting. It’s important to check in with yourself about your capacity and emotional well-being. Do not feel obligated to participate in this work beyond what you currently feel capable of. However much or little you are able to give to this movement is enough. Showing up as you are is so incredibly powerful.
Get Involved with USOW
Now more than ever, we need abortion advocates to join us in an effort to protect abortion access. Pledge to be an abortion advocate with USOW today and take your activism to the next level.
The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) would re-establish abortion access for people across the country. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, this critical legislation would ensure that no person faces unnecessary barriers when accessing the healthcare they need. Urge your representatives to support the Women’s Health Protection Act today!
Additional Organizations We Support
The United State of Women, End Rape On Campus, and It’s On Us came together with guest speakers from Advocates For Youth, Black Feminist Rants, and If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice for a virtual panel discussion on ways to organize for abortion access on your college campus.