Abortions remain legal in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota.
It started with a simple offer.
“Based on current events, does anyone need an emergency ride to Illinois?”
Soon, the reactions, shares, and comments came pouring in.
“I’ll help drive.”
“Hey, add me to the roster.”
These messages, shared in the “Dane County Neighbors Helping Neighbors” Facebook group (a public page created in March 2020), were posted in reaction to last month’s US Supreme Court decision, reversing 50 years of precedent and making abortions immediately illegal in Wisconsin. Since then, similar posts, groups, and helpful offers have been spreading through counties across the state
“I can give free rides for reproductive healthcare to Illinois anytime after 5 pm Saturday and all day Sunday and Monday. Standing offer, every weekend.”
“I too will go on my dime and time. I am self-employed and flexible. If anyone hears about a list from Planned Parenthood being put together, let me know. They were my only health provider after college before I had a full-time job. They are vital.”
The list referenced above is a guide to the closest out-of-state abortion clinics. Currently, abortion remains legal in every state that borders Wisconsin: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota. Planned Parenthood’s site has a search tool, where users can enter their zip code and the services they’re looking for to find their nearest clinic.
Back on Facebook, neighbors were offering more than rides.
“Even if I can’t drive someone, I’m happy to give money or locate resources in other states.”
Others pointed out the parallels to history, with some posters sharing personal stories from five decades back, when abortion care had to be kept secret and many risked their lives to obtain it.
“I lived through the ‘70s and have seen what women were doing to their bodies to perform their own abortions with wire coat hangers. So many of them died. Or they would go to underground doctors and get botched so badly they would die. Or end up sterile.”
“The only thing they’re doing is preventing safe abortions.”
Many users posted resources: links to Planned Parenthood Wisconsin, as well as the Women’s Medical Fund Wisconsin (WMF), which has been helping women pay for abortion care since 1972.
“As of 9 a.m. on Friday, June 24, no clinics in Wisconsin are providing abortion care,” reads the current message on WMF’s site. “However, you still have options.”
WMF is directing women to POWERS (Pregnancy Options Wisconsin: Education, Resources, and Support), a group of volunteer doctors, midwives, doulas, educators, and activists who support pregnant women with safe, accurate information and connect them with resources.
“Abortion is health care. Abortion is normal. Abortion is a human right,” WMF’s emergency message concludes. “People have always had abortion and always will regardless of the law. We do not rely on the system to save us. We stand up for each other. That’s the true power of abortion funds.”
Back on Facebook…
“I will drive you, feed you, and get you home safely.”
“This is so heartening. I was feeling so outraged and helpless that I could not think straight. Thank you for helping me see the actions I can still take.”
“Y’all, we need to keep this thread going for those that are feeling helpless right now.”
Near the bottom of the thread, which now has more than 200 comments and 700 reactions, one user summed up the effort with a hopeful adage.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
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