The US Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, arguing that the Constitution doesn’t guarantee the right to an abortion and paving the way for at least 20 states to ban the essential medical procedure.

The decision puts over 33 million women at risk of losing abortion access in their state and lawmakers now have the right to pass laws that call for the prosecution of people seeking abortions.

Without constitutional protections, clinics in some states that currently provide legal abortions are expected to close in a matter of days, while others could close within months. 

The landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling safeguarded the constitutional right to abortion across the country. Without Roe in place, each state can decide on its own abortion restrictions. 

The decision follows a draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that leaked on May 3, sparking global backlash and prompting some states to start rolling back abortion access before the Supreme Court announced an official abortion decision.

There are already 25 million women every year forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe methods to terminate pregnancies and, as in other countries, criminalizing abortion disproportionately affects women and girls living in poverty in the US.

The US joins a small group of countries that have cracked down on abortion laws in recent years, including Poland, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. A quarter of women of reproductive age worldwide live in one of the 66 countries that prohibit abortion or only allow it in life-threatening circumstances. Unsafe abortions are the third-leading cause of maternal deaths globally and the World Health Organization estimates that 47,000 women die from unsafe abortions annually.  

Investing in sexual and health services, including abortion access, enables girls to remain in school, delay marriage, avoid unintended pregnancy, increase lifetime economic earnings, and lift themselves and future generations out of poverty. 

Reproductive rights advocates worldwide are calling for urgent action to protect abortion rights and ensure women can choose when and if to become pregnant.

Here are six ways Global Citizens can take action to ensure safe access to abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

1. Tweet the US government. 

You can join us in taking action by tweeting the US government — including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi — to urge them to do all they can to protect women's and girls' fundamental sexual and reproductive rights, and defend women's choices over their bodies and futures. 

2. Sign this petition urging leaders to invest in sexual and reproductive health. 

Countries around the world are facing unprecedented attacks on reproductive health care, including abortion access. World leaders of G7 countries need to prioritize the protection of access to sexual and reproductive services, supplies, and support. 

You can join Global Citizen and take action to call on governments to make new and timely funding and financing commitments to realize sexual and reproductive health and rights for all by signing this petition.

3. Make your voice heard by joining protests.

Protests can help draw attention to an issue, shift public opinion, and prompt congressional action to drive change. Major demonstrations are an efficient method to send strong messages to leaders about what is important to you, and they have helped advance reproductive rights throughout history.

You can find pro-abortion rights rallies in your city or state, or organize a rally on your own.

4. Donate to impactful nonpartisan abortion rights organizations.

Abortion funds are grassroots organizations that offer support in arranging and covering the costs of abortion care for patients who need it. Donating to these funds helps pay for transportation and lodging costs for patients who have to travel long distances to receive care because they can’t access services in their area. Smaller funds especially need support.

5. Vote for legislators who support SRHR in its entirety.

Global Citizen campaigns on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), which include abortion rights, bodily autonomy, and women’s ability to plan their families. Leaders at every level of government have the opportunity to support women’s health care and reproductive freedom to keep abortion safe and legal. 

The 2022 midterm elections offer a chance for you to exercise your civic duty at the polls, and primaries are taking place across the US right now. The 2024 federal elections are another opportunity to center abortion rights as a core issue. In the lead-up to the upcoming elections, you can start by asking your elected officials and local candidates where they stand on reproductive rights, and let them know reproductive health care and the protection of reproductive rights matter to you. 

Major decisions are made in every election, and Global Citizen’s partner HeadCount can help you check your voter registration status and register to vote.

6. Start an open dialogue about abortion with friends and family.

Discussing abortion openly and transparently can help break down the stigma and stop the spread of misinformation about the medical procedure. The American Civil Liberties Union created a guide to help you navigate conversations about abortion that come up. The recommendations include staying informed on abortion facts and discussing the harms of forced pregnancy. 

You can also take more actions to help empower girls and women around the world now by heading to our Empower Girls NOW campaign page

Global Citizen Life

Demand Equity

Roe v. Wade Overturned: 6 Ways You Can Take Action Right Now for Abortion Rights

By Leah Rodriguez