How Abortion’s Legal Landscape Post-Roe is Causing Fear and Confusion

The sheer scale of confusion required new legal tactics

“So many people across the country had questions,” said Clara Spera, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, where she helps lead the Abortion Access Legal Defense Fund. “What can I do? What can I not do? What’s different today than it was yesterday? There was just a real need to navigate the chaos.”

The laws are not only changing rapidly — so that legal guidance that is relevant today could be out-of-date only weeks later — but these laws often change locally. For example, in Texas last year, Lubbock County passed an ordinance that would bar pregnant people from driving through Lubbock County to get an abortion in another state. Meanwhile, the city council of neighboring Amarillo has yet to approve the travel ban.

To solve this issue — and provide legal expertise to attorneys navigating the uncertainty — nonprofit legal organizations have banded together to form coalitions. One such example is the Abortion Defense Network, launched last year by several organizations, including the Lawyering Project, the ACLU and the National Women’s Law Center.

“The Abortion Defense Network leverages the resources and expertise of six leading reproductive rights organizations, and a number of very well respected nationwide law firms, to provide legal help, assistance and support to those who provide abortion care, those who help people obtain abortion care, or want to do one of those things,” Spera explained