Some Americans are offering to help others travel out of state for an abortion. But in the post-Roe era, experts urge caution

“We have to support each other, tell (people) that they are not alone,” said Stephanie Bolivar, who lives in Brooklyn, New York. In a Facebook post, she offered a home to anyone who needed to move to New York to have an abortion. Then, she messaged several young women that she was once a babysat in Georgia, where Bolivar grew up, and pushed the offer, should they ever need it.

“I feel like we have to be with each other,” Bolivar said. “It affects everyone.”

Eddie Fanichkul, who lives in Milwaukee, posted that he would help cover transportation expenses for anyone traveling to a neighboring state to have an abortion. His motivation was, in part, thinking about the rights his child had been stripped of.

He was among hundreds of people who angry with the verdict, posted similar messages with offers like financial aid or housing for Americans who would need to travel across state lines to have an abortion. Some used coded phrases, while others, such as Funicul and Bolivar, were more direct.
But while many proposals may come with good intentions, abortion rights activists and legal experts warn that in an era after row-America – and unprecedented digital surveillance — Those online communications can come with complex security and legal risks for both parties: A patchwork of vastly different abortion laws take shape and to be effective

Legal experts told CNN that some posters may be looking to defraud vulnerable individuals, while in other cases the communication could create digital trails that could be used for potential prosecution.

“There are people out there who are honest and would welcome a stranger into their home,” said Khyara M. Bridges, a law professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Law. “But I think it does raise some questions about opening yourself up to liability.”

National Network of Abortion Funds She told CNN that both demand and donations skyrocketed since the court’s decision and urged individuals seeking abortions to reach out to an established abortion fund or local clinic.

“When someone is facing barriers to care, it is often complicated. Often, it is more than one compounding constraint and the abortion fund is actually providing the callers with money, travel, housing, child care, Language holds distinct expertise in helping to overcome barriers, including barriers.” NNAF Managing Director Debashree Ghosh.

“It is amazing that there is so much support,” Ghosh said. “We want to make sure that energy is directed in a way that really helps people care about their safety and privacy, with a focus on them.”

why are they offering help

Phanichkul said that he was shocked by the decision. A 19th-century law banning abortion, shortly after the overthrow of Roe v. Wade took effect in wisconsin After the state’s Republican-controlled legislature refused to repeal it earlier that week.
In the neighboring state of Minnesota, Democratic Gov. Tim Walzo signed an executive order It is designed to protect women seeking an abortion from being subject to legal consequences in other states. and Illinois has one Comprehensive Abortion Access Protection Law which came into force in 2019.

Feeling frustrated and blind, Fanichkul offered a short post to help set up or pay for transportation to Minnesota or Illinois for someone in Wisconsin who needed to get the procedure done. “If someone is really struggling, I’m ready to help find the resources, help pay for it, help drive them,” he told CNN.

Bolivar, who worked as a software engineer in Brooklyn, said she also thought about the many people around her who had been affected: the young women in her home state who were now going to college and the best of her college students. Good friend, who needed the process years ago. Bolivar said she wants those close to her – and anyone who finds her post – to know that she was there to help in her own, small way.

“It was very disappointing,” she said. “(Feelings) really still really, really angry and just extremely sad and trying to figure out what I can do to help.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochulu Earlier in June signed a slate of bills With the aim of protecting out-of-state patients and abortion providers from legal action in other states, five of the six bills went into effect immediately. During this, Georgia There is a restrictive law that will likely take effect soon, which bans abortions when “fetal beats” are detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy Before many people know they are pregnant.
Kentucky state court blocked two state laws that blocked abortion services following Roe's ruling

Sydney Corridor, a therapist and racial equity consultant in Brooklyn, said she was saddened by the decision and wanted to serve as a resource for those around her to help find organizations to contact. may need or may require other types of assistance.

“As long as I am able, I will pay/contribute to someone without access to abortion, needing their care,” he wrote on Twitter, offering to help people find medical options.

“I am by no means rich or wealthy, but being able to have a steady income… I wanted to show up as a member of a community and acknowledge my privilege and the people of my community. Wanted to be able to put forward some money for and beyond the need,” she said.

Volunteer clinic escorts protect a patient from anti-abortion protesters at the Hope Clinic for Women on June 25, 2022 in Granite City, Illinois.

An ‘unprecedented’ legal landscape

But at a time when there are jurisdictions across America so divided on this issue of abortion — and how aggressive to prosecute Process Seekers — Simple offers of this kind of help can be complicated. For example, there are many questions about whether there are legal consequences for residents who seek process across state lines – and those who help.
The horrific legal landscape was touched upon by three disgruntled judges in the decision of the Supreme Court Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationwho wrote the ruling “invites many questions about interstate conflicts,” including whether a state can bar women from traveling to another state for abortions – and puts the Supreme Court at the center Which will soon be “interregional abortion”. war.”
Some big city district attorneys vow not to prosecute abortion cases, setting off legal struggles in red states
National Right to Life Committee, the country’s oldest and largest anti-abortion group, already pushing For states to prohibit “conspiracy to, or aid in, or abetment to perform an illegal abortion”, the “smuggling” of abortion-inducing drugs, and the “abortion trafficking” of a minor.

“It just depends on which anti-abortion state decides to do so first, which providers, or aides or patients they target, what the state law says, what the abortion-assisted state law says. and how they fight it,” said Greer Donnelly, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. “These are going to be extremely complex questions.”

“I am absolutely not sure that there has ever been an example in history, or at least modern history, where states have been so divided and there is such an intense interest in opposing directions,” Donnelly said. “It’s certainly unprecedented in modern history.”

What the Experts Say You Should Consider

It’s not just legal concerns that experts and advocates worry about – especially for those who want to travel for the procedure. Law professor Rachel Rebouche, interim dean of Temple University Beasley School of Law, said she worries that some online offers of help may be attempts to spread misinformation or take advantage of vulnerable individuals.

Can red states regulate abortions performed outside their borders?  A post-row scenario would test just that

Others are concerned about the privacy implications of information posted online.

“We all know that our data is not secure on social media, with very little privacy protection when you connect to social media apps,” Bridges said. “It would be surprising to me if that data isn’t being surveyed.”

digital rights specialist have warned People’s search histories, location data and other digital information may be used by law enforcement agencies to investigate or prosecute cases related to abortion. Civil rights lawyer Cynthia Conti-Cook previously told CNN That many online behaviors – including search histories, call and text logs and emails – could become part of investigations and court proceedings in states where helping provide access to abortion is a crime.

That’s why abortion rights advocates urge anyone seeking an abortion to look to established organizations for assistance, NNAF’s Ghosh said.

network is more More than 80 member organizations Which can connect people to financial and logistical resources for access to abortion, including transportation, housing and childcare, according to its website.

Ghosh said those who want to help others can reach out to established organizations to see which services are needed.

“We encourage people to connect deeply with local abortion funds, ask them what they need right now, whether it’s volunteering, providing rides or financial support,” Ghosh said.

“I deeply believe that there is a place for all in this movement but we must be strategic and responsive to the needs of those who are doing this work on the ground.”