Local governments can and must continue protecting and expanding abortion access. Here’s how.

Today marks what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. But last June, the Supreme Court of the United States eliminated the constitutional right to abortion, decimating access and jeopardizing people’s health, lives and economic security.

All our fights are connected and we know that this decision impacts every single other fight we care about. Abortion access is reproductive justice. It is racial justice. It is economic and worker justice. Immigrant justice. Environmental justice.

At the same time we mourn the loss of Roe, we acknowledge that the abortion access crisis started long before Roe was overturned – for too long, access to abortion has been dependent on where you live and how much money you make, leaving working-class Black, Indigenous, and people of color without the dignified healthcare they need to determine their own reproductive freedoms. 

Today, while we commemorate Roe, we also recommit ourselves to building a world where communities thrive, and people can exercise their full agency and live with dignity.

Act now to protect abortion & reproductive rights locally

Localities can and must continue to advance reproductive freedom – including access to abortion, birth control, and gender-affirming care. Here’s what local elected officials can do:

  1. Use your local governing power and explore policymaking options. Local governments have and must continue to use their governing power to increase access to abortion services and lessen the harm and impact of state bans and restrictions. Even in states with abortion bans or restrictions, there are policymaking options that you can explore in your locality – including removing economic barriers to reproductive healthcare for public and private sector employees. Learn more:
  2. Fund abortion access and amplify calls to support abortion funds. Allocate municipal dollars to local abortion funds, directly to local abortion providers, and/or to support funds that help people pay for costs associated with accessing abortion, such as travel, lodging, and childcare. In Atlanta, GA, they were able to create an abortion fund as well as an advisory board to direct them to the best possible policies. Learn more about abortion funds here. Plus, more information if you’re in a blue state or city or a state with an abortion ban.
  3. Protect people seeking care. Engage every relevant department in the city to implement and enforce policies and practices to prevent harassment and disruption at abortion clinics, including noise regulations, parking and traffic regulations, and anti-nuisance regulations. In Texas, LP members have introduced resolutions to prevent police from investigating abortion and ensure reproductive health decisions are protected from discrimination in employment and housing. Local governments in states where abortion will remain accessible can, for example, expand abortion care to accommodate out-of-state patients and refuse to cooperate with criminal and civil investigations against individuals seeking abortions. For additional resources, check out NIRH’s roadmap and policy agenda for localities.  
  4. Ensure access to unbiased information. This includes supporting public awareness campaign to ensure residents know about the safe and legal abortion care they can access in your locality, and to educate residents on how to identify crisis pregnancy centers. Localities can also pass ordinances regulating crisis pregnancy centers that provide false and misleading information about abortion. More on that here
  5. Use your public platform to support abortion rights. Local elected officials are key messengers on issues impacting their residents, including abortion and reproductive healthcare. It is crucial that local elected officials use their platforms to call out the impact of abortion restrictions and bans, and advance narratives that support the overall goals of the reproductive justice movement – helping contextualize reproductive justice as synonymous with racial and economic justice. Here are values-based messaging resources to help you speak authentically about your support of abortion rights.
  6. Work together with other Local Progress members and the abortion rights on state advocacy strategies. Reach out to the LP team to get engaged and find support.


Cover photo: Neeta Satam/The Washington Post via CityLab