Understanding Abortion Access in North America
In May 2019, social discourse erupted with the news that the American state of Alabama had passed a bill that effectively banned abortion—at any stage of pregnancy—and could persecute doctors who continued to perform them. It was a devastating blow to feminists and reproductive rights activists the world over, who know that in the case of women, a loss for some is a loss for all.
Perhaps the silver lining in it all is that it exploded the conversation around women’s reproductive health, forcing us to, in many ways for the first time, discuss abortion—too often a taboo subject—openly and honestly.
Still, there’s a lot of confusion about what kind of care, funding, and information is available to women in different American states; even in Canada to the north, it can be hard to know what is possible where. So we decided to round up some of the best resources on the internet, allowing everyone—from those who simply want to educate themselves to those who need immediate care—to find what they’re looking for.
News came in late October 2019 that an Alabama judge had temporarily blocked the aforementioned bill, which was supposed to come into effect on November 15. It allowed activists to breathe a sigh of relief, though the fight is far from over.
Planned Parenthood recently launched its Abortion Care Finder, which allows you to plug in your zip code and find a help centre near you. You can also chat with a health educator and learn more about the legalities of abortion across the States.
Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization specializing in sexual health, offers a comprehensive overview of abortion laws in America, and even lets you search by state to dive deeper based on where you live. And the National Abortion Federation has its own search tool for finding a provider, along with a hotline that refers patients to nearby clinics.
The Center for Reproductive Rights explores what would happen if Roe v. Wade, the law that made abortion legal across the United States, collapsed; it also has maps for abortion care around the world. Lastly, Amnesty International has an easy-to-digest list of 10 things you should know about the state of abortion access in America.
While abortion is legal and covered by regional health insurance across Canada, care varies greatly based on your location; the lack of operating clinics is the main issue here. The National Abortion Federation a great starting resource, because it outlines abortion coverage by province and territory. And the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has a list of all abortion clinics across the country; Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights is also a great resource, outlining access at a glance, as well as potential barriers and procedure options.
If you’re in need of an abortion, know that there are people out there working every day to make sure you get the care you need and deserve. A rising tide lifts all women.