In fear of the turning tide in the political atmosphere, leading abortion organization Planned Parenthood is preparing for an overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide. Having put into motion a multi-million dollar plan “to protect and expand abortion access in the face of [a] hostile Supreme Court,” according to their website, the abortion giant is trying to “ensure abortion is still accessible in the United States no matter what happens at the Supreme Court.”
Though the organization has been aware of the growing political shift, Brett Kavanaugh’s recent confirmation to the Supreme Court seems to have exacerbated the shift for PP and its cohorts. In a press release PP claims that Kavanaugh’s appointment cements “an anti-abortion majority on the highest court in the land, and [makes] it likely that the nationwide right to safe and legal abortion will be further eroded, if not eliminated, in the near future.”
Planned Parenthood’s 2019 plan for how to function in this “post-Roe” culture has been in the making since June. According to the same press release,
Planned Parenthood convened staff members from 19 states and Washington, D.C. to strategically plan for an expansion of abortion access in key states, address current inequities in access, and prepare for a legal environment that fails to protect abortion access nationally.
This plan will be enacted in three manners — access, policy, and culture change — according to California’s Planned Parenthood (PP) CEO and President Crystal Strait:
• Access: Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates will expand services in states where abortion is likely to remain legal and accessible, and invest in technology and other resources to help people living in hostile states access abortion, no matter what. Planned Parenthood will do this through investment in a Regional Access Network, expanding where telemedicine is offered, and leveraging technology and innovation to help connect people to services.
• Policy: Planned Parenthood Action Fund and local Planned Parenthood advocacy organizations will partner with state advocates and coalition partners to use state policies to ensure there’s an ironclad network of states across the country where abortion will still be legal, no matter what happens at the Supreme Court. They will also continue to work to enact good laws that both protect and expand access to abortion, and fight tooth and nail to stop legislation that seeks to further restrict access.
• Culture change: This work encompasses fighting abortion restrictions at their source: the stigma that still surrounds abortion in this country. Planned Parenthood will be enhancing our efforts to destigmatize abortion in the media, in everyday conversations, and across popular culture — including working with the music, fashion, movie, and television industries, and with additional public awareness campaigns to be announced in the coming months.
In light of this rally cry from PP, abortion activists are networking and forming defensive tactics as if expecting a cataclysmic end of the world. In fact, an article in Elle magazine entitled, “How to Prepare for a World Where Abortion is Illegal,” lays out a strategy for making a “disaster plan,” expanding on PP’s plan.
In this article they claim Kavanaugh’s confirmation has “ushered in a kind of nuclear winter for the reproductive rights movement.” Going on, the article quotes Robin Marty, author of the upcoming book A Handbook for Post-Roe America, as saying, “I’m a huge fan of disaster plans — if there was a zombie apocalypse you’d totally want me on your team.”
Part of the “preparedness” this article calls for is to “think outside the law.” Reminiscing of times past when the law was disregarded in order for women to have “safe” abortions when abortions were illegal, the article discusses the underground abortion service known as the “Jane Collective,” with Jane being a code name. Operating in Chicago from 1969 to 1973, the underground service was formerly known as the Abortion Counseling Service of Women’s Liberation. According to the article, this group was formed in order to “[train] laypeople to provide safe surgical abortions.”
The ideals and actions of this group are eerily in keeping with the infamous abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, who has recently been back in the spotlight. Gosnell believed he was above the law simply because the law didn’t suit his purposes. Consequently, he killed numerous women and babies and was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his “unethical” and illegal practices. This consequence seems to be of no importance to the activists rallying to the apocalyptic cry.
Laura Kaplan, a member of the Jane Collective and also author of the book The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service, believes that today’s abortion activists are in a “better” position than she was years ago, “especially with the “abortion pill” (actually a set of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol) making safe abortion as easy as smuggling pills into someone’s mailbox,” the article states. This “smuggling” has been organized by groups such as the Dutch organization Women on Waves, using drones to carry abortion pills to countries with “unjust” laws. Not only is there no accountability for these groups, but no concern for the women who have complications once they’ve taken the illegal pills.
In a misapplied justification of the illegalities being encouraged, Kaplan says, “I don’t know what will happen, but a society based on the rule of law can’t continue if the laws are being blatantly violated and publicly violated.” The article begins to wrap up with more rationalization of illegal activity, declaring, “even if things get as dark as they can get, women and trans people will find a way to look out for each other. We did in the past, as the story of Jane demonstrates; we will have to do so again. It’s more than just the right thing to do, it is key to winning our rights back.”
Though these thoughts and strategies of abortion groups and activists are disconcerting, their fear means hope for future generations of unborn. Their fear helps shine a light at the end of a long dark tunnel of legalized abortion.
Image: Screenshots of ad from PlannedParenthood.org