Even before the bombshell leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, 2022 was a harrowing year in the fight for abortion access. From the halls of state legislatures to clinics, advocates, organizers, and abortion providers worked tirelessly to prepare and protect abortion access. When the Dobbs decision was finalized in June, it wasn’t just the revocation of the federal constitutional right to abortion on paper — it was a direct attack on our agency over our lives and our futures, with immediate and devastating consequences.
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In the face of this attack on women’s rights and the bodily autonomy of all people who can become pregnant, we showed up and fought back with the full force of our organization. Alongside our affiliates, partners, volunteers, members, and clients, the ACLU worked to protect and extend access to care in statehouses, courtrooms, and at the ballot box. As we head into the legislative sessions that await us in 2023, we know the road won’t be easy — but we’re ready. Here’s a look back at how we showed up for abortion access this year.
1. Together, we fought back against abortion bans introduced in state legislative sessions earlier in the year, and post-Roe special sessions called in the summer. Though some passed, we were able to defeat bans in key states to preserve health care access.
2. After Roe was overturned, ACLU attorneys and our partners filed lawsuits in nearly a dozen states. We successfully blocked abortion bans in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Utah, helping to keep abortion services legal for millions of people.
3. Alongside our affiliates, supporters, volunteers, and partner organizations, we came together to fight for abortion rights in Kansas and Kentucky and to enshrine reproductive freedom in the Michigan, Vermont, and California state constitutions, and we won every race.
4. To harness people’s outrage at a fundamental right being taken away, ACLU People Power launched the Abortion Activist Series, a collection of virtual events and trainings on how people could join the fight for abortion rights in that moment — no matter where they lived.
5. In advance of Roe v. Wade being overturned, we worked with activists and partners across the country to mobilize supporters and give them concrete actions to take in the days following the Supreme Court decision.
6. We partnered with We Testify to share the stories of abortion rights advocates whose own experiences with abortion shaped their activism.
7. We launched a public education campaign to share the harms of banning abortion and barriers to access when essential care is cut off in your home state.
8. We shared why it’s important to use inclusive language when talking about abortion, and explained how the ACLU talks about this issue.
9. In races across the country, voters and ACLU supporters showed up at the ballot box and told anti-abortion politicians loud and clear that they support abortion access.
10. Our privacy and technology experts explained how our digital privacy is implicated by abortion criminalization.
As we enter a new year, we’re clear-eyed about the uphill battles that await us in the courts and in state legislative sessions. But the 2022 midterm elections made it clear where the public stands: a majority of voters do not want to see abortion banned, and they believe the people, not politicians, should have the power to make the best medical decisions for themselves and their families. Building on that momentum, we’ll keep fighting to ensure women and people who need abortion can access the health care they need as we enter into our first year without a right countless people have relied on for 50 years. With you by our sides, we know we can win.
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