On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court officially* overturned Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 ruling that gave people the right to an abortion before fetal viability.
Individual states can now decide their own abortion laws, including whether or not people can access medication used for abortion or a surgical abortion procedure within state lines.
At the time of this writing, at least 9 states have enacted complete bans on abortion. At least 16 states and U.S. territories are expected to substantially limit abortion access or enact a complete ban on abortion in the coming weeks.
If you’re a person who can become pregnant, know that whatever you might be feeling right now is valid. You aren’t alone, and you do have options, regardless of where you live.
If you’re a person who can impregnate a sexual partner, know that you are also affected by this legislation. It’s imperative that you show up in this fight and help carry the weight of our new reality.
Read on for steps you can take to help protect yourself, your partners, and your communities against unintended pregnancy.
*While the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a huge loss for reproductive rights overall, it’s worth noting that many, many people in the U.S. have previously lost their legal right to autonomy and agency.
BIPOC individuals, transgender folks, people with disabilities, incarcerated people, and other marginalized communities have long been affected by policies that limit their reproductive rights.
This step is crucial if you can impregnate a sexual partner or have sex with people who can become pregnant.
While all parties involved are responsible for using and advocating for safer sex practices, there is already an additional burden placed on those who can become pregnant — both physical (hello, hormonal birth control) and financial (especially if pregnancy occurs).
Not to mention,
Our advice? Talk about safer sex practices with every partner, every time. Make sure you bring a couple of condoms with you or be prepared to swing by the store before taking a partner to bed. Tell your partner(s) that you want to use a condom and actually wear it.
Although there are two types of EC — the copper IUD and oral medication — only the latter is available online and over the counter.
You can take levonorgestrel EC pills up to 120 hours (5 days) after sex, but their efficacy reduces over time.
If you weigh 155 pounds or more or have a BMI of 30 or higher, Plan B and other levonorgestrel EC pills may be more effective if you double the dose.
Plan B has a shelf life of 4 years when stored as directed.
A single dose of ella may be more effective than Plan B and other levonorgestrel EC pills for people who weigh 155 pounds or more or have a BMI of 30 or higher.
If you weigh 195 pounds or more, ella may be more effective if you double the dose.
Unlike Plan B and other levonorgestrel EC pills, ella is available by prescription only. You may be able to get a prescription for ella at your local health department, nearest Planned Parenthood, or from a primary care doctor.
Ella has a shelf life of 3 years when stored as directed.
Drugstore costs v. telemedicine costs
EC pills can be expensive. Plan B, for example, usually costs around $50.
Generic versions of Plan B — aka those “other levonorgestrel EC pills” we mentioned above — cost less, but aren’t always available at local pharmacies and drugstores.
Ella also costs about $50.
If you have insurance or Medicaid, you may be able to get Plan B and ella at no cost to you.
If you’re able to stock up on EC pills in advance, you may be able to take advantage of coupons and other offers available online.
Check out the following telemedicine providers:
If you’re concerned about being pregnant, the last thing you want is to deal with locked cabinets and prying stares at the pharmacy.
That’s where pre-bought pregnancy tests come in.
For one, those purchased online are usually less expensive. And already having a stash of tests means you can take one as soon as you need to — something that’s especially important if you live in a state with a so-called “heartbeat bill.”
Some of our favorite online retailers:
- bird&be offers a one-time purchase of 4 tests
- Modern Fertility offers a one-time purchase of 4 tests or a recurring subscription
- Natalist offers a one-time purchase of 4 tests or a recurring subscription
- Stix offers a one-time purchase of 2 tests or a recurring subscription
If you only take one thing away from this article, make it this: You can buy abortion pills online, no matter what state you live in.
Even if you live in an abortion-hostile state, there are ways to get abortion medication delivered to you.
And in this climate, it’s much more efficient to jump through the hoops and navigate the delivery process well before the pills may actually be needed.
The organization Aid Access, for example, ships abortion pills to all U.S. states and territories. It can take up to 3 weeks for the pills to be delivered.
Depending on where you live, using this service may cost $110 or $150. Financial assistance is available for folks who need it.
Online pharmacies can also ship abortion pills to your address, but they may not offer physician support. These organizations often allow you to buy in bulk and may even offer a discount on your order.
If you’re unsure how or where to get abortion pills, the advocacy organization Plan C has you covered.
Prioritize your privacy
There are legal risks to self-managed at-home medication abortion. Some states restrict access to telehealth abortion or receiving abortion pills by mail.
This means discretion and privacy are extremely important.
If at all possible, tell as few people as necessary about your pregnancy and your decision to terminate it.
Clear any internet search, private message, or phone call history that might connect this to you.
Although national advocacy organizations like Planned Parenthood are essential in the fight for reproductive rights, they’re often well-resourced. In other words, they usually don’t need your money.
Practical support organizations (PSOs) like abortion funds, legal defense funds, and independent clinics are typically run by small, local groups who do on-the-ground work in communities that need it.
PSOs can help abortion seekers with travel, lodging, child care, and food, as well as provide direct cash assistance to pay for arrangements.
If you have the means, consider making a one-time or recurring donation — be it $1 or $100 — to help keep these organizations afloat.
One of the most effective ways to help abortion seekers is to connect with your community’s existing abortion network.
Attempting to create a new network or otherwise “go rogue” in your efforts to help can actually do more harm than good. At best, it delays folks in their journey for care and, at worst, it can lead to criminal charges for everyone involved.
If you aren’t sure where to start, the nonprofit organization Apiary for Practical Support has a list of national, regional, and state PSOs that could use monetary or in-kind donations.
Volunteer tasks can be as varied as volunteers themselves. For example, you might be able to help your local PSO by:
- escorting people into and out of the clinic
- collecting donations for care packages
- driving people to and from the airport
To learn more, check out the Apiary for Practical Support’s guide to volunteering.
You, your partner(s), and your communities deserve accurate, unbiased care and information.
To help prevent unintended pregnancy:
- Use condoms correctly.
- Consider a secondary method of birth control.
- Take Plan B or other emergency contraception.
To help identify early signs of pregnancy:
To learn more about different methods:
- Abortion “home remedies”
- Medication abortion (abortion pills)
- Self-managed medication abortion (at home)
- Surgical abortion
To find a reputable healthcare professional:
Take a deep breath. Whether you’re reading this to help yourself, a friend, a family member, or another loved one through this process, know that you’re not alone. We’re in this together.
Tess Catlett is a sex and relationships editor at Healthline, covering all things sticky, scary, and sweet. Find her unpacking her inherited trauma and crying over Harry Styles on Twitter.