As the fight to uphold Roe v. Wade wages on, this week, Planned Parenthood lobbed a virtual clapback at legislators and anti-abortion advocates seeking to roll back the reproductive rights granted in the landmark case. As reported by the New York Times, on Tuesday, the organization debuted an online tool called the Abortion Care Finder, which does exactly what its name suggests: helps those in need find access to legal and safe abortions, if needed.
Adding to their recently launched interactive abortion access map, which demystifies restrictions from state to state, Planned Parenthood’s newest resource uses an individual’s age, zip code and most recent menstrual cycle to connect them to a database indicating the nearest available Planned Parenthood abortion provider able to legally terminate a pregnancy. Additionally, the tool provides information on state laws, abortion methods and services available at each clinic, as well as potential options for financial assistance. If the nearest provider located is more than 60 miles away, the Abortion Care Finder refers users to the National Abortion Federation’s map of independent providers.
The new resource comes in response to what has been a prolonged and persistent threat to overturn Roe v. Wade, including the passage of first-trimester abortion restrictions in states like Georgia, where legislation now renders most abortions performed after six weeks illegal. Following withdrawals of federal funding and the passage of draconian new legislation in places like Louisiana, Missouri and Alabama (where a near-total ban was blocked by a federal judge in late October), Planned Parenthood noticed a spike in online searches for legal abortion providers, and subsequently “wanted to make sure that we were connecting them directly to our centers,” said McGill Johnson.
While the Abortion Care Finder is, therefore, a welcome new tool for those seeking services and support in ending an unwanted pregnancy, the Times notes that the app is not the first of its kind; Cara, an iPhone app with similar features, launched in 2016. But with more restrictions come the need for more resources, and with efforts to squelch reproductive rights accelerating, so too must be the efforts to preserve choice, as McGill Johnson notes.
“Restrictions have just been coming so fast and furious,” she told the Times.