The Boston Foundation announces responses to Dobbs decision on reproductive rights

A letter from President and CEO Lee Pelton includes announcement of the Fund for Reproductive Health

June 30, 2022

To our community,

Fund for Reproductive Health square The Fund for Reproductive Health

Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was not unexpected – but that makes it no less devastating for the millions of those for whom the door to make safe, responsible decisions has now been closed.

While there are those who support the outcome of this decision, we know from data that prohibitions on abortion take the largest toll on people of color and curtail needed medical care that protects the lives of those who either cannot or choose not to continue a pregnancy. And as we have seen in a number of states across the country, the laws that will supplant Roe v. Wade are being crafted in ways that disregard the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people to maintain control over their own bodies, even in cases of rape, incest, or where carrying a child to term risks the lives and well-being of both child and parent.

The Dobbs decision, however, goes further. It also clears a path for the revocation of many other rights and protections that courts across the nation have long held as guaranteed by the Constitution.

We are fortunate to live in a Commonwealth that, for now, prioritizes the rights of its residents to make decisions about their own reproductive health free from state interference. We hope that lawmakers in other states will follow Massachusetts’ lead, protect the rights and safety of parents and families, whatever they look like or strive to become.

For those wishing to join us in working toward that end, we offer a three-pronged response:

  1. Fund Immediate Needs.

    The Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund helps people living in or traveling to Eastern Massachusetts to access abortion services.

    The Brigid Alliance works nationally to book, coordinate and pay for travel expenses and childcare, while serving as a single, trusted point of contact for every step of the journey. The Alliance works with individuals and communities disproportionately affected by abortion restrictions including women living at or below the federal poverty line, people of color, minors, undocumented immigrants, people living in communities with limited transportation infrastructure, individuals living in states hostile to women’s healthcare, disabled people, survivors of abuse, and those who rely on Medicaid or are uninsured.

  2. Fund Advocacy.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights is a global human rights organization that uses legal channels to advance reproductive rights.

    The American Civil Liberty Union's (ACLU) Reproductive Freedom Project works to ensure that every person has the power and the right to make the best decision for themselves and their families about whether and when to have a child without undue government interference.

  3. Contribute to the Long Game.

    We, of course, do not know yet the full extent of what the reversal of Roe v. Wade will mean for the Commonwealth or the rest of the country. TBF’s Our New Pathway has at its heart a deep commitment to equity, which includes gender equity. As we continue to expand our existing commitment to maternal health, it will be important to equip ourselves for the long term.

    To this end, the Boston Foundation is establishing and seeding the Fund for Reproductive Health. This fund will support local organizations with general operating support and technical assistance as they prepare for the future ramifications of the Supreme Court decision. This includes ensuring access to reproductive rights for Massachusetts residents and those who travel here to obtain services they cannot access in their own state, as well as supporting legal defense expenses for those facing unjust prosecution. The funds will be used over the next two years to respond to the evolving needs of women and others affected by this decision, as well as to support the organizations that are scrambling to serve them.

M. Lee Pelton
President and CEO
The Boston Foundation