With abortion care now facing a gauntlet of legal challenges around the country, Elizabeth Barnes thinks everyone should be worried — not just women seeking abortions.

“The right to bodily autonomy is a human right,” she told the Gazette in a recent interview. “Abortion is the canary in the coal mine.”

As a longtime Vineyard resident and president of The Women’s Centers, a network of independent abortion clinics across the country, Ms. Barnes knows from where she speaks.

Late last month she was honored for her decades of work toward expanding access to abortion when she received the Champion of Choice Award from the National Institute of Reproductive Health. As a busy working mother with much on her plate, she missed her own awards ceremony.

“I often end up doing the hard things, not the fun things,” she said.

The recognition comes during a turbulent time in reproductive health care.

And while Ms. Barnes ordinarily likes to stay out of the public spotlight, with abortion access at the center of so much political and public debate these days, she said that too is shifting.

“One of the things about being an abortion provider is I tend to shy away from public attention,” Ms. Barnes explained. “But we’ve recently started talking more publicly about our work because of the need for awareness.”

A few weeks earlier a federal judge in Texas had struck down approval of the medical abortion drug mifepristone.

The ruling was later stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court, allowing temporary access to mifepristone, but depending on the eventual outcome, reverberations could reach all the way to Martha’s Vineyard. With no surgical abortions currently available on the Island through clinics or the hospital, mifepristone and its sister drug misoprostol are the only available options for women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.

At the national level, Ms. Barnes said she and other reproduction rights advocates are holding their breath. Since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade a year ago, more than 430 bills have been introduced nationwide to restrict access to abortions.

Which isn’t to say Ms. Barnes is particularly shocked. After nearly 30 years working in reproductive health, she said the renewed wave of anti-abortion legislation is the result of decades of deliberate, organized effort.

“One of the most successful tools of the anti-abortion movement was to silo abortion care as not a part of regular, everyday medical procedures,” she said.

The outcome is felt acutely today: most public hospitals have halted abortion procedures and medical schools are increasingly opting not to offer abortion training, according to Ms. Barnes. She said the burden to provide abortion care falls disproportionately on independent clinics, who often struggle to stay open even as they provide a multitude of other maternal health services.

That’s where Ms. Barnes’s current work comes in. Since 1972, The Women’s Centers, encompassing clinics in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and beyond, has provided reproductive health care and financial assistance to patients in need, as well as training for providers looking to expand their health services.

“We’re able to pool our resources as a network of clinics to receive the kind of resources and training that one clinic on its own wouldn’t be able to get,” she said.

Transportation costs are the among the biggest obstacles patients face, she also said. With 12 states effectively banning abortion care and more considering similar legislation, organizations like The Women’s Centers have stepped in to cover bus and air fare to pro-choice states such as Massachusetts.

“A huge number of our resources go to problem-solving,” she said. She worries that the approach is not sustainable.

“We are talking about abortion rights for most people as a theory, not a reality,” Ms. Barnes said.

On the Island abortion access has long been scarce, but that too appears to be slowly changing. Medical abortions are now available thanks to the advent of telehealth. And starting July 1, the Island reproductive health clinic Health Imperatives will begin offering medical abortions directly via local pharmacies.

Previously, patients had to receive medication in the mail or take the ferry to Woods Hole to intercept their package.

While Ms. Barnes is encouraged by these developments, she believes Island health providers could go further and begin providing surgical abortions.

“This is not a service that is complicated to offer at all,” she said, adding that the procedure on average takes little time and requires minimal staffing.

“I know we live on an Island and we do what we can with what we have,” she continued. “This is something we can do.”

She said the other thing Islanders can do is support people who live in states where abortion has been made illegal. As maternal mortality rates rise across the country, particularly among Black women, she said such support is a racial justice issue as well as a feminist one.

In that spirit, she encourages people who have the ability to consider contributing time or funding to grassroots voting rights organizations, reproductive health organizations, or candidates who have demonstrated their commitment to abortion access.

“Growing up here taught me that being a person is about being part of a community,” she said. “Valuing community means you’ll fight for your community and for others.”