As more states ban abortion, a safe house movement grows

A girl in Georgia recently wrote Lynnie Couillard-Blance, of upstate New York, asking for help getting a pregnancy test. The girl was afraid that if she went to a store and bought it, she’d be captured on a video camera. Georgia has passed a restrictive law six-week abortion law.

This is a preview of what’s coming as states rush to ban abortion in an attempt to give the United States Supreme Court the tools to overturn a woman’s current constitutional right.

Couillard-Blance is behind a movement to set up “safe houses” for pregnant women who are afraid of being prosecuted, the Boston Globe reports.

She says it’s not necessarily to help women get abortions. It’s “to help them get to a place where they’re not afraid to make their decision. If that’s their choice, then we’ll figure out a way,” she said.

“This is so much bigger than abortion. It’s about women’s autonomy and bodily rights,” said Couillard-Blance. “And while the bans may be on abortion, women are feeling it in other ways.”

She wrote a post on social media telling women in Georgia, Ohio, and Texas to contact her if they needed to visit their “Auntie/Cousin Lynnie in NY.”

And the “Auntie House” movement was born.

Hey Georgia ladies (Ohio and Texas, too)If you need to visit your Auntie/Cousin Lynnie in NY, you just DM me. No…

Posted by Lynnie Couillard-Blance on Friday, May 10, 2019

Other women, like Andreya Willis of western Iowa, quickly joined in, using social media to organize the safe houses.

Reddit post

“Sadly, it’s not really a new thing for us,” the Rev. Katherine H. Ragsdale, interim CEO of the National Abortion Fund, tells the Globe. “With the number of restrictions and bans across the country, we’ve had far too much practice having to help women out of states to get care they need.”

The abortion bans have also been a boon to organizations providing services.

“We have gotten this amazing response,” said Amanda Reyes, president of the Yellowhammer Fund, a nonprofit that helps women obtain abortions in Alabama. “People said ‘No, we’re not going to take this, and we are going to send our money to people who can make sure that people in Alabama are getting the abortion care that they need.’”