Waiting for June: How to Support Reproductive Rights While We Wait for SCOTUS to Rule

For the past few weeks, everyone in the reproductive rights movement has been on pins and needles awaiting a momentous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

At issue is a medically unnecessary “admitting privileges” law enacted by Louisiana in a thinly-veiled attempt to close clinics and push care out of reach. Everyone knows these laws are a sham and just four years ago the Supreme Court agreed. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court ruled that an identical law in Texas was unconstitutional and failed to provide any health or safety benefits to patients.

The pending decision in June Medical Services v. Russo will determine whether states will have the green light to effectively push abortion care out of reach or whether the Supreme Court will again recognize these laws for what they are: unconstitutional attempts to bully women, shutter clinics and deny people care.

For providers like Trust Women and the communities we serve, the stakes could not be higher.

Trust Women operates clinics in both Kansas and Oklahoma, and we see the difference a state line can make when it comes to people’s access to care. In 2016, the Oklahoma Supreme Court enjoined an admitting privileges law in that state, citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Oklahoma politicians used the pandemic as an excuse to restrict or ban access to abortion entirely. We subsequently witnessed the displacement of hundreds of people wanting to access abortion services.

A bad decision by the U.S. Supreme Court will exacerbate the geographic disparities, making a person’s access to abortion even more dependent on their geography, their income and the color of their skin.

So what do we do while we wait?

We may not know how the Supreme Court will rule, but we do know that regardless of the outcome of this case, the assault on reproductive rights will continue. Politicians will continue to intrude on people’s most personal medical decisions until their political interests tell them to do otherwise. States like Louisiana and Oklahoma will continue to devise ways to chip away at the fundamental right to abortion and erode the precedent set in Roe v. Wade. Extremist lawmakers will continue trying to deny women the right to decide when and whether to become parents — until We The People stop them.

The Supreme Court’s relentless rightward tilt means we cannot depend on the country’s highest court to defend access to abortion. Instead, we must defend it ourselves, with our voices and our votes — not only in the courts, but in state capitols and in our communities.

The time to act is now. Don’t wait until the Supreme Court rules. Know your state legislator’s positions on abortion rights, review laws that could be repealed, and then work to repeal them. Vote. Talk with your friends, family and colleagues about the importance of bodily autonomy and how reproductive rights intersects with every aspect of a person’s life.

Defending reproductive freedom takes all of us, and there’s no time to waste.

Consider supporting a frontline abortion provider like Trust Women or an abortion fund in your community. There are also amazing organizations like Sister Song leading the fight for reproductive justice who need your support.

One thing will never change: Trust Women will be here — we lean into access — no matter what — to provide our clients with compassionate abortion care, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. We will continue to fight for laws to ensure all women can make their own decisions about their health care. And we will win.

Founder and CEO of TrustWomen.org