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Reproductive Rights Under Attack

How Can We Help?

On June 17. 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States passed Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which effectively overturned Roe vs. Wade. Roe v. Wade protected the constitutional right to have an abortion. This case effectively blocked individual states from banning abortions in their state. Now, with the overturning of this case, states are free to decide to make abortions illegal and to restrict other reproductive rights. This ruling takes away a woman’s right to choose what is right for herself, and her body.

The overturning of Roe vs. Wade has the LGBTQ+ community worried. The same legal points used to rule on the original Roe vs. Wade were also used in the 2015, 2003, and 1965 rulings that protected same-sex marriage, gay sex, and married couple’s right to use contraceptives (Staff and AP, 2022). What is the future of LGBTQ rights? We have already unfortunately seen some changes, as with laws in places like Tennessee and Florida.

The overturning of Roe vs. Wade is particularly concerning for the LGBTQ+ community. In a recent study, it was found that aside from lesbians, all sexual minority groups have been found to have a higher pregnancy, teen pregnancy, and abortion rate than cisgender women (Charlton et al. 2020). Another study by Moseson et al. found that 36% of LGBTQ+ women thought of self-managing an abortion, and 19% actually attempted it. This is due to issues of access, availability, stigma, and other social concerns. While some methods are safe, others are conclusively unknown or even found to be dangerous. This prevalence will definitely increase with the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, especially within the LGBTQ+ community.

There already exist multiple barriers for LGBTQ+ people in accessing reproductive services such as fertility treatment, abortion, and gender affirming care. With the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, these barriers will only increase. LGBTQ+ people living in rural areas or other places where gender affirming facilities are not close by may need to travel far distances to access services. This requires taking time off of work, which some may not be able to afford (Mosenson et al., 2022). Furthermore, many people who access gender affirming care, fertility treatment, or abortions pay out of pocket, as private insurance may not cover the procedure, or they are unsure that it does. There are also other costs associated with gender-affirming care procedures such as surgeries, fertility treatments, and abortions, such as travel costs, child care costs, and other expenses, which many can have trouble paying for (Jones et al. 2013).

Individuals who are AFAB (assigned female at birth) find other barriers to adequate sexual medical care. There is difficulty finding clinics and professionals who are knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ sexual and reproductive needs. There is a lack of health professionals that are able to provide competent care in this area, including abortion and family planning needs. Also, many gynecology clinics may feel non inclusive to LGBTQ+ patients, being primarily female anatomy oriented. They may choose to receive care in facilities that advertise LGBTQ+ competence. But even when an inclusive facility or provider is located, other barriers such as long wait times for appointments, and limited hours, may force individuals to seek care elsewhere, thus exacerbating the financial and logistical barriers to receiving care (Harb et al., 2019).

Trauma-informed care for clients seeking reproductive rights must include acknowledgement and support for the client. First, clinicians and organizations must be open and make it known that questions, knowledge, and help-seeking for reproductive rights is universally accepted and acknowledged. Clinicians must acknowledge that the client may feel stress and have trauma regarding their reproductive care-seeking process. Clinicians must then support the client in their right to make their own care decision, in their right to self-determination, and self-advocacy. Care after a reproductive decision should focus on mental and physical recovery, and problem solving for the client (Ely et al.. 2018).

Agencies can do things on an agency level to be more inclusive and affirming for LGBTQ+ and all people. This starts with gender-neutral restroom labels. The National LGBTQ Taskforce (2017) suggests an informative label stating that everyone is welcome in the restroom regardless of gender identity or disability need. Using proper pronouns for coworkers, clients, and stakeholders provides a clear and affirming message. When everyone uses pronouns to introduce themselves, or in their e-mail signature it sends the message that self-determination is valued, and those who choose non-conforming pronouns are not singled out. Using gender-neutral language in the dress code and other company policies, educational literature given to clients, and signage around the office or campus affirms and welcomes all people. Educational literature given to clients should include relevant LGBTQ+ issues, as well as depict LGTBQ+ images.

The National LGBTQ Taskforce advocates for access to information regarding abortion laws and community protests nationwide. They advocate writing letters to Health and Human Services, local lawmakers, and state assemblies to advocate for protecting LGBTQ+, women, and reproductive rights (National LGBTQ Taskforce, 2017). You can find out who your local lawmakers are at:

Planned Parenthood National advocates for those who are outraged at the overturning of Roe vs. Wade to join a local or national rally to show their support. They also advocate for individuals to tell their own abortion stories on social media platforms. The advocate for contacting local and state officials to pressure them to uphold abortion-safe laws, or overturn anti-abortion laws.

The ACLU advocates for individuals to write letters to their representatives. They provide an easy online form that is quick to fill out that automatically sends a pre-written letter to your representatives based on the user's address. They call for individuals to sign up to receive information on how they can mobilize at a later date. They encourage people to share their stories on social media, and talk to friends and family about the issue. The ACLU has fought in many states to uphold or pass reproductive rights laws, and will continue to do so (ACLU, 2022).



ACLU. (2022). Six ways you can join the fight for abortion rights. [web page].

Charlton, B. M., Everett, B. G., Light, A., Jones, R. K., Janiak, E., Gaskins, A. J., Chavarro, J. E., Moseson, H., Sarda, V., & Austin, S. B. (2020). Sexual Orientation Differences in Pregnancy and Abortion Across the Lifecourse. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health, 30(2), 65–72.

Ely, G. E., Rouland Polmanteer, R. S., & Kotting, J. (2018). A trauma-informed social work framework for the abortion seeking experience. Social Work in Mental Health, 16(2), 172–200.

Hadland, S. E., Yehia, B. R., & Makadon, H. J. (2016). Caring for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth in Inclusive and Affirmative Environments. Pediatric clinics of North America, 63(6), 955–969.

Harb, C., Pass, L. E., De Soriano, I. C., Zwick, A., & Gilbert, P. A. (2019). Motivators and Barriers to Accessing Sexual Health Care Services for Transgender/Genderqueer Individuals Assigned Female Sex at Birth. Transgender health, 4(1), 58–67.

Henry, P.J., Steiger, R.L. & Bellovary, A. (2022). The contribution of gender equality to the coexistence of progressive abortion and sexual orientation laws. Sex Roles. 86, 263–281.

Janipk, E., Fulcher, I. R., Cottrill, A. A., Tantoco, N., Mason, A. H., Fortin, J., Sabino, J., & Goldberg, A. B. (2019). Massachusetts' parental consent law and Procedural tming among adolescents undergoing abortion. Obstetrics and gynecology, 133(5), 978–986.

Jones RK, Upadhyay UD, Weitz TA. (2013, May-June). At what cost? Payment for abortion care by U.S. women. Womens Health Issues. 23(3), 73-78. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2013.03.001.

PMID: 23660430.

Moseson H, Fix L, Gerdts C, et al. (2022).Abortion attempts without clinical supervision among transgender, nonbinary and gender-expansive people in the United States. BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health 2022;48, e22-e30. doi:10.1136/bmjsrh-2020-200966

National LGTBQ Taskforce. (2017). Queering reproductive justice: A toolkit. [pdf file].

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund. (2022). Solidarity in action: Planned Parenthood's legislative agenda. [web page].

Staff and AP (2022, June 24). End of Roe threatens gay marriage, birth control access: The 14th Amendment, explained. nbcBoston.


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