(Washington) Odelle Chalet prepares for “the worst.” At the helm of an organization that helps American women have abortions outside their state, it is “doubling its efforts” in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling that could make its services even more important.
Posted at 10:09 am
The leak in early May of a draft Supreme Court ruling had the effect of a bombshell: its conservative majority seemed ready to bury “Roe v. Wade” which has guaranteed, since 1973, a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy in the United States. Then states would be completely free to allow or prohibit voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) on their territory.
A final decision is expected by June 30. As the deadline approaches, big moves are accelerating between abortion rights advocates and opponents, in anticipation of what they call a “post-Ro world,” with America split in two.
Odell Shalit’s organization, Brigid’s alliance, will bridge the chasm. It is preparing for heavy flows. “We’re hiring as much as we can, we’re doing awareness campaigns, and we’re trying to increase our list of donors,” she tells AFP.
His team now includes ten employees, organizing and financing the monthly trips for approximately 125 women who have exceeded their state’s legal deadlines for abortion. Odelle Chalet has just hired six additional employees to help up to 200 women per month by the end of the year.
But, if Roe falls, “we won’t be able to meet all the needs,” she admits.
However, it has recently seen a jump in donations. New Yorkers even organized a fundraiser for the Brigid Alliance by selling donuts. “It is heartening to see the support expressed since the closure plan leaked.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 22 of the 50 US states, mostly in the conservative and religious south and the center of the country, are ready to ban abortions once the Supreme Court makes a decision.
Nine kept in their arsenal laws adopted before 1973 banning abortions, which can be immediately resuscitated. Thirteen (four of them also in the first group) have recently adopted so-called “zombie” or “dormant” laws, but they would come into force almost automatically if the higher judges modified their jurisprudence.
In addition, four countries have texts that prohibit abortion from six weeks of pregnancy. They will be banned in court, and they will be able to take action if the legal framework changes.
So, democratic coastal states, where abortion will remain legal, are preparing to flock to their clinics.
To deal with this, Connecticut and Delaware just expanded the number of professionals authorized to perform abortions, to nurses and midwives. California elected officials released $152 million to support access to abortions and New York’s governor promised $35 million.
The powerful Planned Parenthood, which performs more than a third of about 850,000 annual abortions in the United States, is bolstering the resources of its clinics in Colorado or Illinois, and neighboring states that potentially ban termination of pregnancy.
“I want to help”
Ordinary citizens are also mobilizing. Since May 2019, the Reddit discussion forum has featured a group of “Aunties” (“Tatas”) who offer their help anonymously to women wishing to have an abortion. Since May, the number of members has increased from 45 to more than 75,000.
“I am in my 60s, retired and really want to help,” wrote Tata from Central Tennessee, offering to relocate women from neighboring states.
“It’s great, we’ll need more hands,” commented Odile Chalet, while calling on well-meaning people to turn instead to organized organizations “in order to avoid increasing chaos.”
Anti-abortion opponents have already multiplied in recent years “pregnancy crisis centers” where they lure – by playing on the ambiguity of their names – women wanting to have an abortion to try to dissuade him from doing so.
Final preparations are being made about the abortion pill, which today accounts for half of all abortions in the United States. They are easy to buy on the Internet, via websites operating abroad, and can be used without much risk until ten weeks of pregnancy.
Many conservative states realize that their presence reduces the scope of their ban, and are looking for reviews. Kentucky and South Dakota recently banned mailing of these pills.
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