When I first learned that the Supreme Court had struck down both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in their entirety — ending a half century of reproductive health justice in our country — I was in Washington, DC, chairing a board meeting of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Even though a draft of the Dobbs decision had been leaked seven weeks before the actual opinion was handed down, the weight and shock of Casey and Roe’s demise was still enormous. As our organization’s president was quickly whisked out of the room for the countless media appearances she would make that day, we sat in stunned silence. Finally, after refreshing the newsfeeds on our phones for what seemed the thousandth time and trying to comfort each other, we prepared to march to the Supreme Court alongside thousands from all over the nation’s capital.

The streets were overflowing with passionate voices. There was anger. And also fear. What would we find on the other side of this decision, as many states moved to criminalize not just abortion but also other procedures, including those used to treat ectopic pregnancies, a life-threatening complication?

A few blocks from the court, a makeshift rally was arranged where an array of speakers rose to declare that the Supreme Court, despite what we may have been taught in grade school, must not be allowed to have the final say. I was moved by much of what I heard. But while rage and grief were the emotional hallmarks of the crowd’s mood, a wave of despair and resignation seemed to overwhelm all of us in a way I hadn’t experienced in previous setbacks.

The sweeping implications of the ruling and the looming danger to everything from contraception to same-sex intimacy and marriage as outlined in Justice Clarence Thomas’ radical concurrence were chilling for America in 2022. And the impact that the decision, which will force millions of people to give birth against their will and diminishes the citizenhood of all women, will be felt most catastrophically by women of color and the poor, making our nation’s shameful infant and maternal mortality crises worse and trapping more people in violent relationships.

And yet, what are we to do?

The narrative thread of our American story has always included the expansion of rights for those most in need. In moments of grave challenge and even peril, we have taken comfort in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s admonition that though the “arc of the moral universe is long . . . it bends toward justice.” And yet, in this moment, the existential slide backward feels so all-encompassing that it is hard to figure out how to lend a hand and where our voices can have the greatest impact.

We must heed those protestors who rallied outside the Supreme Court on Friday, June 24. We must not allow a bare majority of justices, including six who were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, to have the final word. To join this urgent fight, it is critically important to understand both the landscape and the battle plan.

In the aftermath of the Dobbs ruling, up to 26 states are likely or certain to end access to abortions completely, impacting more than 40 million people. It will take some time to navigate all of the legal complexities in these states.

In Massachusetts, sexual and reproductive health care remain both legal and accessible. Gov. Charlie Baker recently issued an executive order that will protect health care providers who serve patients who travel to the commonwealth from a state where abortion is now illegal. And Attorney General Maura Healey, who has been a heroic advocate and will continue to hold the line as governor if she is successful this November, has reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring access to safe, legal abortions.

In a small number of states, access to abortion hangs in the balance and the outcome of the November elections will determine the fate of reproductive health care for their residents. These are the states that need our focus, our time, and our resources. Let me name a few.

In Michigan, the overturning of Roe and Casey meant that an outright and immediate ban on all abortions would go into effect based on a 1931 law. Lawsuits have tied this up in the Michigan courts, so for now, abortion remains legal. There is currently a petition drive going on to put a referendum on the November ballot that would legalize abortion. And Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is in the middle of a tough re-election campaign. Whitmer’s re-election will be crucial to ensuring that, if the ballot measure fight is unsuccessful, there is a champion in the governor’s office continuing the fight.

In North Carolina, one of the only remaining states in the South where abortion is legal, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has committed to support abortion access in his state. The state house is controlled by Republicans, but they do not hold a supermajority. If, in November, Republicans end up with 60 per cent of the legislative seats, that supermajority would enable them to pass anti-choice laws and override a veto by the governor. So the work here is to win enough legislative seats to, at the very least, keep Republicans from reaching that supermajority threshold.

After any great social upheaval, there are competing strategies for how to best move forward. And this fight will be no different. As we all struggle to “figure it out,” as the warriors on the front lines of these struggles for justice have long had to do, let’s commit to allowing our shared goal of creating a future in which all Americans are recognized and protected equally to bind and strengthen us, and let us keep our eyes on that shared faith so that we are not derailed by in fighting, or worse.

Many have urged us to donate to abortion funds, and I support that approach. Others have advocated for greater grassroots organizing and the creation of new self-help networks. I support that approach as well. I have outlined a few states which will need your time and attention this summer and fall. But there are others. Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia also have hotly contested federal and state legislative races that will help decide the fate of abortion access. I urge you to find other key races, call campaign offices up, email them, ask what you can do, have your friends who live in these states drive over to the campaign headquarters, and get involved however you can.

We will have to get comfortable with uncertainty — never an easy thing to do — and realize that the road back will be door to door, phone bank after phone bank, and state by state. I know we are up for this fight. So let’s get to work.

Joe Solmonese is board chair of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. He lives in Chilmark.