As institutions demonstrate the short reach of democracy, women and feminist groups have stepped up to the plate to prevent the overturning of Roe v Wade from sweeping away abortion access altogether.
As reported by the Associated Press, networks of Mexican feminist groups working with their counterparts in the United States are stepping up their efforts to help women in the United States who are losing access to abortion services to end their pregnancies.
Knowing that the Court’s decision was final, the organizations have been coordinating efforts for several months and, so far this year, have helped at least 1,700 women living in the United States.
“The lawsuit is going to triple,” said Sandra Cardona of “I Need an Abortion,” a collective based in the northern Mexico City of Monterrey, 138 miles from Texas. “Before, we accompanied about five women a month from the United States; now, there are five to seven a week.”
With extensive experience fighting the system, activists and abortion advocacy groups in Mexico have drawn up a road map to help their neighbors in the United States.
The strategy is to put misoprostol and mifepristone in the hands of women who want to terminate their pregnancies and to accompany them virtually as they take the drugs.
As the Associated Press continues, these drugs, although legal in the United States, are only available with a prescription and the presence of a physician. Women’s health clinics made these treatments available until the Supreme Court decision. However, many have been forced to close.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Avila-Guillen, executive director of the New York-based Women’s Equality Center, to NBC News. “We need to be here for the long fight.”
Avila-Guillen, a leader of the Latin American “green wave” movement for reproductive rights, helped legalize abortions for women up to 24 weeks pregnant in her native Colombia, which now joins Argentina and parts of Mexico on the short list of places in Latin America where termination of pregnancy is no longer a crime.
Now, Avila-Guillen is helping to put structures in place to help women in the United States.
For the activist, focusing on advances in how abortion is practiced — including mailing abortion pills — and pushing for congressional legislation to codify abortion rights could help restore some of the lost rights sooner.
“Change doesn’t happen in a day, in a year, or one election cycle. We got here over decades of carving away access to birth control, sex education, abortion access,” said Kierra Johnson, deputy executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, which has been advocating for abortion rights, to NBC News. “We have to think 30 or 40 years out. That’s going to require us to be active locally, federally, and across issues.”