The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, and taken away our federal constitutional right to abortion. This decision will allow extremists across the country to ban abortion and deny women and others who can become pregnant control over their bodies and their futures.
Abortion is still safe and legal in D.C. because people in our community demanded their reproductive health care be protected against cruel attacks. As it stands, the D.C. Council has been a champion of reproductive rights, including passing a law in 2017 that made it illegal to discriminate against health care professionals who provide or publicly support abortions.
But because the District is not yet a state, Congress, where D.C. residents have no voting representation, has control over District laws and budgets, and has regularly restricted access to abortion care. For example, the Dornan Amendment currently prevents Medicaid dollars from being spent on abortions. If abortion is not federally protected, Congress could try to ban or restrict abortion in D.C. Restrictions would especially impact Black people’s access to this critical healthcare, as in 2019, 53% of abortions in the District were obtained by Black people.
Here’s what you need to know about abortion in D.C., and what you can do to ensure that every person in D.C. can get a safe abortion when they need it.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT ABORTION IN D.C.
- Abortion at any stage of pregnancy is legal – including late-stage and third trimester procedures. To learn more about or to schedule abortion services in the District, contact these providers or visit Metro D.C.’s Planned Parenthood’s website.
- People younger than 18 do not need to notify or get permission from parents to get an abortion. Check out the Young Women’s Project for more information and support.
- People can travel to the District to get a legal abortion. D.C. has long been a safe haven for people from states that restrict abortion. The National Network of Abortion Funds shows which abortion funds can help pay for travel and lodging.
- Medicaid cannot pay for abortions in D.C. because of Congress. Because D.C. is not yet a state, Congress, where D.C. residents have no voting representation, has control how District dollars are spent. Right now, the Dornan Amendment prevents Medicaid dollars from being spent on abortions.
- Abortion funding is available through the DC Abortion Fund (202-452-7564) and the National Network of Abortion Funds.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT AND EXPAND ABORTION IN D.C.
- Donate to the DC Abortion Fund (DCAF) and Mamatoto Village. Roe v. Wade only makes abortion legal, not accessible, so even with legal abortion, many people struggle to get the care they need. People who need an abortion but cannot afford one can get their healthcare paid for by an abortion fund. DCAF is the go-to abortion fund for the D.C. region, so make your donation here. Mamatoto Village is devoted to serving Black women through the creation of career pathways in maternal health; and providing accessible perinatal support services. They are offering safe, compassionate, inclusive, and radical collective carein the heart of Ward 7. donate here.
- Volunteer with the DMV Abortion Practical Support Network, DC Doulas for Choice Collective or Planned Parenthood of Metro D.C. There is so much on-the-ground work to do to make sure anyone who needs an abortion in D.C. can get one. From administrative tasks to escorting people to a clinic, and everywhere in between, there are lots of ways to plug in.
- Share your abortion story with Shout Your Abortion, DC Abortion Fund, or Planned Parenthood of Metro D.C. Abortion is healthcare, and abortion is normal. If you want to share your abortion story, it can go a long way to de-stigmatize a normal medical procedure.
- Sign up here to organize for D.C. statehood. Now that abortion laws have gone to the states, the only way to guarantee a right to a safe abortion in D.C. is to make D.C. a state. Residents of D.C. should have democratic control over abortion access in the District, and not put our rights in the hands of Congresspeople we cannot elect.
Keep track of pro-reproductive health bills. ACLU-D.C. supports two bills in front of the D.C. Council that would protect reproductive freedom in Washington, D.C.: B24-0808, the Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act of 2022 and B24-0726, the Enhancing Reproductive Health Protections Amendment Act of 2022 (introduced by Councilmember Henderson). Both bills would make D.C. a safe haven for all people who need reproductive freedom and ensure that LGBTQ+ folks, especially transgender youth, can seek gender-affirming care. As a reminder, abortion is still legal in D.C. and the ACLU-DC stands ready to defend these constitutional liberties.
The ACLU of D.C. will never stop fighting for our right to decide when and if to have a child. We the People of D.C. can and will work together to provide safe and accessible abortions for all.