The Overturning of Roe v. Wade


Yesterday, the Groundswell Community gathered to celebrate the powerful impact of the Reproductive Justice (RJ) movement’s work in 2021 during our RJ Impact webinar. We heard from incredible leaders from The Afiya Center, COLOR, Miami Workers Center, and TAKE, all of whom are working tirelessly to protect and defend reproductive freedom, including abortion access, bodily autonomy, trans youth, trans liberation, and voting rights.

Less than 24 hours later, the SCOTUS Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade came out. The decision comes alongside a concurring opinion from Clarence Thomas suggesting that the Court revisits two major LGBTQ+ victories: Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down nationwide sodomy bans, also based on the guaranteed right to privacy, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

Even though we knew this decision was coming, it’s hard not to feel defeated, angry, or frustrated today. Yet, we want to wholeheartedly affirm our belief in our grantee partners and our movements.

Despite the obstacles, we know that we will win because of the organizing and power-building of our movements. The right to marriage equality, LGBTQ+ liberation, bodily autonomy, abortion access, and full-spectrum reproductive and gender-affirming health care is ours, irrespective of the decisions of white supremacist institutions. We know the fight to protect bodily autonomy is also a fight for an abolitionist future where we stop the criminalization of Black and Brown bodies.

So what can you do to help?

History teaches us that whenever social justice movements make progress, there is an equal and opposite level of backlash. But as we’ve always said, the surest path to freedom is to follow and fund those who already know the way.

Two actions you can take today:

  1. Learn about the RJ Movement and support organizations on the ground.

Yesterday, we released the findings from our 2021 survey of 80 grassroots reproductive and birth justice organizations. Groundswell’s grantee partners have the vision, decades-long track record, and relationships with the communities most impacted by the SCOTUS decision. When we asked grantee partners what were the greatest barriers to their work, resourcing challenges were cited most often. In fact, 64% of organizations said that their work would be more powerful if they had the resources to adequately staff up and retain talent.

Of all of the challenges that our grantees face, philanthropy has the power to move money directly to the field. Will we as donors and funders be as unapologetic and courageous as RJ movement leaders who are literally putting their bodies and safety on the line to defend reproductive justice?

There is an RJ organization located in your state. You can support them today. You can also partner with Groundswell to direct dollars and capacity-building resources to hundreds of frontline defenders of reproductive justice who are under attack in the South, Midwest, Southwest, and across the country.

  1. Sign the pledge from Groundswell and a coalition of funders.

A coalition of funders and other stakeholders, including Funders for Justice, Funders for Reproductive Equity, Groundswell Fund, Ms. Foundation for Women, and the Women’s Funding Network, released an open letter calling upon philanthropy to protect abortion access and reproductive justice.

Please sign-on and share our op-ED with peer funder released today in Inside Philanthropy.

The time is now to fund the RJ movement at scale we can no longer be okay with the bust and boom funding that typifies the RJ movement. As poet June Jordan said, “we are the one we have been waiting for.”

Signing this pledge is a commitment to doing the hard work of donor and funder organizing to fund the RJ movement at scale, and being bold and transparent about your giving to bold, transparent, and clear funding commitments to support abortion access and full-spectrum reproductive health care that is culturally and gender-affirming.

At this moment, philanthropy cannot be complacent or operate as if this is business as usual. Our models cannot prioritize incremental change. Our highest purpose is to unlock resources for the grassroots RJ leaders and organizations doing the most liberatory work, moving money quickly and flexibly to the field.

May we all be courageous in the face of fear and uncertainty, and take this opportunity to abundantly resource our movements like we want them to win.