The “Auntie Network” describes itself as “A place to help anyone who has a uterus” — and that’s more true than ever in light of Texas’s anti-abortion law
In Texas, it’s now so difficult to get an abortion that the procedure may as well be outlawed in the state. Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 8, which prohibits abortion after the time a fetal heartbeat can be detected — usually around 6 weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant. The Supreme Court decided in a narrow, 5-4 ruling that they wouldn’t block the law from going into effect while it waits on their docket for them to reconvene in October. In the meantime, the millions of women and people with uteruses in Texas are now in danger of being denied healthcare that’s guaranteed to them under our Constitution.
In light of the horror show happening in Texas, thousands of people joined and posted on a Reddit board called the “Aunti Network.” Billed as “a place to help anyone who has a uterus,” the Auntie Network “is dedicated to providing information and resources to those in need of abortion services,” according to its “About” section. On this board, “Aunties” can post their location and whatever they have to offer — airline miles, a spare room, transportation, food, Plan B pills, and other things — to people in need.
The Reddit Auntie Network has one strict rule: No one can ask outright for cash, in order to help cut down on scammers. But the board will help connect people in need of abortion services with other organizations that provide monetary help, and from there, the aunties step in. They can pick people up from airports, drive them to and from appointments, escort them through crowds of protestors at clinics, host and feed them while they recover, order them Plan B pills from Amazon — really, anything that will help as people undergo an incredibly personal and important medical procedure that they’re entitled to.
In the wake of the Texas law, the Reddit board swelled to nearly 27,000 members, with thousands of posts being made each day offering to help “nieces” in Texas. The “Auntie Network” isn’t new or exclusive to Reddit — they’ve existed for decades to help women receive safe healthcare in countries that make that difficult for them — but it’s become an active community of helpers ready to mobilize for women and all other marginalized people in Texas — and anywhere else in the country.
In light of the law going into effect in Texas, more states with conservative leadership are likely to follow suit with similar laws. This is the fight of our lifetimes to maintain access to reproductive healthcare, and grassroots helpers like the Auntie Network are as important as they’ll ever be.