Accessing Abortion Care in Pre- vs Post-Roe America
People’s ability to manage their reproductive health is vital to ensuring their physical and emotional well-being. Abortion care is an essential part of reproductive health care. So it comes as no surprise that abortion bans don’t protect anyone’s health.
While Roe v. Wade granted a right to abortion, it never provided abortion access, a difference felt by many in need. However, its repeal was a historic loss for our country. The elimination of Roe’s protections has not only rolled back generations of reproductive rights but has jeopardized the reproductive health of generations to come.
Abortion bans devastate people.
Thankfully, shifts in technology and culture mean those who need an abortion in 2024 do not necessarily face all of the same obstacles as abortion seekers before Roe was decided in 1973.
First, telehealth is now available for many across the country. Some telehealth companies have taken advantage of the FDA’s 2021 decision allowing medication abortion (via mifepristone and misoprostol) to be prescribed without an in-person clinic visit. Consequently, some now offer abortion care as one of their regular services. Extensive research has demonstrated that telehealth abortion is safe and effective. A recent survey found that since the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Dobbs v. JWHO, which overruled Roe, the country has seen a marked increase in medication abortions via telehealth. Between April 2022 (two months before Dobbs) and December 2022 abortions provided by virtual-only clinics increased by 137%.
Next, we have seen a change in people’s willingness to talk about abortion. It wasn’t always appropriate to talk about abortion in ‘polite society’ before. Today, we are hearing more abortion stories and louder support from even more voices: those whose abortions saved their lives, those whose abortions were a calm and supportive experience, and those who have not had abortions themselves but who believe in access for all.
In and of itself this is a positive development. These shifts have also helped pave the way for sites like Power to Decide’s AbortionFinder, which have replaced the whisper-networks that were previously many individuals’ only hope to access an (often unsafe, downright dangerous, or unreliable) abortion. In the Pre-Roe era, many had to rely on these whisper-networks, but not everyone was able to find someone to connect them to a network or travel to where these networks existed.
AbortionFinder is an easy-to-use search tool built on a database of more than 800 verified abortion providers across the country. Users can enter their age, the first day of their last period (or mark this as unknown), and their location to instantly receive a list of abortion providers who can help.
The chaos and confusion caused by the Dobbs decision is harmful and threatens timely access to abortion care. Amid so much uncertainty and misinformation, AbortionFinder gives people accurate information about abortion options so they can make informed decisions and access the care they need without getting tricked by anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center scams. It also lists practical support, including emotional, financial, informational, and legal resources.
Since its launch in 2020, AbortionFinder has had 8.25M visits. Fully 6.5M (over three-quarters) of these visits have accrued since the Dobbs decision (Due to confidentiality, AbortionFinder only tracks the number of visitors; no personal information about site visitors is collected.). The sharp increase in visits reflects both the urgent need for abortion care across the US and the growing turmoil and confusion about abortion options and availability.
We created AbortionFinder before Dobbs because we saw firsthand that the process of figuring out where and how to get an abortion is confusing, complicated, and overwhelming for too many people. And the situation has only worsened in the last two years.
We want it to be easier for people to find care, but we need your help to keep growing.
As the ongoing attacks on abortion access expand, we need the funds to continue to provide the information and resources so desperately needed by millions. Consider supporting Power to Decide with a donation today.
Amongst the chaos we’re continuing the fight to create and support safe and informative resources for people with the greatest needs. Please join us as we build a movement to advance reproductive well-being for all!