Are You a Lawyer Feeling Helpless about the State of Abortion? Here are 5 Things You Can Do
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and our constitutional right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the legal community has responded and mobilized in an unprecedented way—and rightly so! We all have a role to play in the fight to protect abortion access, and the connections, and expertise, of the legal community are essential during these dark times.
If you are wondering how best to plug in during this moment, here are 5 suggestions and some NWLC resources to help you take some first steps in the right direction:
1. Recognize that People are Looking to You in this Moment
The Supreme Court decision has unleashed legal chaos. People are scared and confused about their rights. Individual lawyers and associations of lawyers, like a firm or bar association, are trusted voices in this moment, and for what lies ahead. Be mindful of the critical role you play, and the different audiences that may turn to you for credible information, resources, and guidance. Use your public platform to share statements of support for abortion and resources from trusted organizations with expertise on abortion.
2. Talk about Abortion – and Do it Well
It is critical to talk about abortion authentically, affirmatively, and proactively. Think about why you support abortion access and connect your support for abortion with the values that underlie it. Speaking from a place of values reminds people why they are for abortion rights and creates a deeper connection with the listener. Avoid stigmatizing language, and instead emphasize the lived experience of people who need abortion care.
NWLC’s abortion values messaging guides will help you connect more deeply to the values you hold and ensure you’re talking about abortion in an authentic way.
3. Donate Your Time and Expertise
Firms and individual attorneys have a range of critical expertise and often have the resources unavailable to nonprofit organizations on the frontlines of the fight for abortion access. Offer your legal services in the form of pro bono assistance, like research, litigation support, analysis, and advice, among other things. In this unprecedented moment, groups on the frontlines are working to mitigate immediate harm and connect patients to the essential care they need, as well as assess this new legal landscape and ensure everyone understands their rights and risks. The help law firms and lawyers can provide is critical, but it is also important for lawyers to follow the lead of the groups already immersed in the work.
If you would like to support NWLC through pro bono work, please complete this survey and a member of our team will be in touch on how best to leverage your expertise.
4. Donate Financial Resources
Do not underestimate the impact that monetary donations can have in this moment and in the months and years ahead. Many frontline groups, like abortion funds or practical support organizations, rely on a shoestring budget and are now responsible for helping people navigate traveling out of state to get the care they need. Independent abortion providers are being forced to shut down or need money to move to another state in order to keep providing care to patients in need. Think about setting up recurring donations, encouraging your colleagues in the legal community to do the same, or ensuring that these groups are included on the lists of organizations eligible for employee match programs. You can find out more information about abortion funds and independent abortion providers – and make donations – at the National Network of Abortion Funds and Keep Our Clinics.
If you would like to donate to NWLC to support our critical legal, policy, and narrative change work, you can make a tax-deductible contribution here.
5. Get Engaged Locally
The fight to not only restore, but to expand our right to abortion is happening everywhere. Take the time to find out what is happening in your community and to learn from those on the ground in your state who are working to organize and engage people on this issue. Learn more about who represents you at the local, state, and federal level, and their positions on abortion. Think about what you can do in your local community as a lawyer to protect and expand access – maybe it is becoming a judge or connecting with your local bar association to work on this issue or volunteering on a campaign or helping advise people of their rights.
Look for out for new “State of Abortion” blogs on our Resource Hub providing a regular rundown of the latest actions states are taking to dismantle or protect abortion access.
If you would like to connect with a member of our team who leads partnerships with the legal community and learn more about other ways to engage and support NWLC, please contact Asma Akram at [email protected]. The legal community has the resources, expertise, and capacity to support abortion rights and there is no moment better than right now to act.