Abortion Is Not a Crime. Texans, and People Everywhere, Deserve to Self-Determine Their Reproductive Lives Without Fear or Threat.

A statement from If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice.

Abortion is not a crime. That’s true even now, after Texas enacted an unconstitutional and unprecedented law that effectively bans abortion after six weeks and authorizes private citizens to patrol people’s health care, financially rewarding them for bringing lawsuits. At If/When/How, we know this law reinforces an already unjust, white supremacist, and classist legal system designed to perpetuate reproductive oppression.

As unconscionable as it is to end access to clinical abortion care at a point when most people haven’t yet discovered that they’re pregnant, this law goes even further to intimidate and threaten anyone who might help someone seeking an abortion. SB 8 permits and emboldens people to surveil, attack, and sue their neighbors in civil court on suspicion of “aiding or abetting” abortion care. For many — especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color, immigrants, low-income folks, youth, and LGBTQ+ communities —  accessing clinical abortion care already meant facing unnecessary logistical barriers. Now, it could also mean the people they love and the organizations they count on for support getting sued by anyone with an axe to grind about abortion. 

Lawyers, advocates, providers, and organizers are challenging this law in the courts and leveraging their expertise to mitigate the harm of Texas’ law as swiftly as possible. If/When/How’s RJ Lawyers Network will continue to update members on how they can apply their legal training and skills to help at this critical time.

Of course, law and policy cannot be the only tactics we rely on to challenge and change this untenable reality. Our reproductive lives do not occur in a vacuum: climate disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, evictions, threadbare relief and assistance programs, and global tragedies continue to unfold and compound the urgent need for action. No one should be forced to maintain these levels of resiliency. And yet, our movements do. 

Texans need our solidarity right now. Texas abortion funds joined together and compiled a website with an FAQ and other important information about SB 8 for people in the state. Support their work by donating to them directly. You can easily split your donation amongst these practical support networks or choose to contribute to a specific fund:

Although SB 8 does not authorize police or prosecutors to arrest people who have abortions, it nevertheless acts as a political dragnet, stoking an aura of transgression around abortion care throughout the country, putting thousands of people in a state of fear. Abortion restrictions beget abortion stigma, which fosters the fallacy that abortion is or should be treated as a crime. In more than 20 states, people have been unjustly criminalized for ending their own pregnancies outside the formal medical system or for helping other people do so. We know many people have questions about self-managed abortion and the law and are anxious about shielding people from navigating a cruel, unjust system alone. Please share If/When/How’s resources far and wide: 

  • Our Repro Legal Helpline can answer those questions and offer accurate information and legal advice about your rights: ReproLegalHelpline.org or 844-868-2812. 
  • Our Repro Legal Defense Fund offers real, tangible support to people criminalized for self-managed abortion and pregnancy loss assisting with bail, court fees, and funding expert witnesses: ReproLegalDefenseFund.org 

If/When/How is unwavering our commitment to ensure that everyone has the resources they need to self-determine their reproductive lives without threat, coercion, or violence so that they cannot only survive, but thrive. This is what people in Texas, and everywhere, deserve.