Watch CBS News

Bay Area volunteers share coded message offering to help women get abortions

Bay Area volunteers mobilize with coded message to help women needing abortions
Bay Area volunteers mobilize with coded message to help women needing abortions 02:49

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bay Area volunteers are banding together to offer resources for women travelling to California from out of state to get an abortion, all while staying under the radar with a coded message.

Thousands have taken to social media to offer their support to women who need to go "camping."

"When she posted it I was like, 'Excellent. I know exactly what she's talking about.' And I wanted to make myself available too of any women looking to camp in," said Shari Carruthers.   

In this case, "camping" is code for an abortion. Carruthers says the code is directed towards women seeking an abortion from out of state. 

"Unfortunately we have to be cryptic. It's unfortunate," she told KPIX. "We don't have to be cryptic in California; we know that. But people in other states have a lot to lose and we know that."  

In the days following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Carruthers posted a coded message on Facebook: "I love camping! If you want to camp in Northern California, I am eight minutes from the airport and we have various campsites we can look into." 

She says references to camp grounds, tents and flashlights could equate to bedding, transportation, facilities, and food. 

Carruthers is just one of thousands of women in California who have offered to help with a cryptic message.

"I know darn well what I'm posting and I'm not dumb on that. And my friends who feel strongly about this know it and are willing at this point to fight for other women," she said.   

The effort is personal for Carruthers, who is a mom. 

"I can't sit back and do nothing. It's also important for my daughter and, if she has children, the next generation," she said.

She says she knows her Facebook community may not be the ones in need of aid, but any effort is helpful. 

"Get the message out to other women who are not as fortunate as we are to live in the location that we are. That there are women who want to help and we're willing to put our lives on the line legally and financially to help people who need help," she explained.

Although California Governor Gavin Newsom has vowed to make the Golden State a sanctuary for people seeking abortion access, additional funding for those women was not included in the state budget agreed to over the weekend. 

State lawmakers have proposed legislation that would supply grants to non profit organizations that provide women's health resources and abortion. The funds could then be used to support people both in and out of state, to cover logistical costs such as transportation, housing, and childcare. 

But opposition to the move persists. 

"Our state has been blessed with abundant natural resources, world-class medical facilities, and a historic budget surplus," Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council, told KPIX. "Surely we can offer better options to expectant mothers than free abortions courtesy of California taxpayers."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.