Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Where to Act Now for Reproductive Rights

Are you wondering what to actually DO about reproductive rights, right now? 

I've been going to a lot of protests and panels about what to do next in the wake of the Roe v. Wade overturn, and I thought I'd share a rundown of the most important areas we should be applying our attention, according to the experts. Feel free to share!! 

đź’šAbortion funds and providers: If you are in a state that is protecting abortion, please donate directly to your local Planned Parenthood affiliate. Donating to the national organization is important, of course, but directly funding capacity to provide care in pro-choice states where demand is about to surge is essential. Support your local providers financially and volunteer for them where you can. 

Find your local Planned Parenthood affiliate here: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/contact-us

Abortion funds also need you, wherever you are, and are currently the essential link to services for people who can no longer access reproductive healthcare locally. The cost of abortions is going up as the number of providers is cut and the delays to care complicate procedures in the wake of bans (and threats thereof). Travel is obviously a huge added expense as well, and all of these expenses fall most heavily on the most marginalized and impoverished people, who are of course also the most disadvantaged by forced birth and general lack of access to healthcare. 

Abortion funds are counterbalancing these already-existing inequities as well as working to meet increased demand. Help them!! They know this work, they are doing it already, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel—look for the helpers, and help them. 

In California, ACCESS is doing this work: https://accessrj.org/ 

Nationally, WRRAP and the National Network of Abortion Funds are doing this work: https://wrrap.org/ and https://abortionfunds.org/ 

đź’šCalifornia: We are explicitly setting ourselves up to be a sanctuary state for reproductive rights and abortion access, and this means there are actually a lot of opportunities for folks here to take meaningful action. 

The Select Committee on Women's Reproductive Health – the first select committee in the nation dedicated to women's reproductive health—is a group in our state assembly that has already prepared a package of bills that Newsom is set to sign which protect abortion providers as well as those of us that offer practical and material support to folks seeking care here. 

They have also already voted to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot for us in November that explicitly protects not only abortion access but also contraceptives. Very soon, this will have a proposition number and a campaign to join, and both legislators and abortion providers are emphatic that getting this passed is a crucial item for us here. Focus on this—register to vote, register other people to vote, and vote in every election and especially November. 

We also have opportunities to volunteer to care for folks coming in from out of state, check in with ACCESS to get involved. https://accessrj.org/access-rj-volunteer-sign-up-form/ 

đź’šNationally: State legislatures have never been more important, and we need a revolution in so many of them! 

Local elections have been given a whole new importance now that we lack national protection for abortion rights; recently a California Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan stated that she wouldn’t vote for an anti-choice candidate for the Fire Board right now, because local elected officials tend to move up to statehouses or other positions of political importance by using smaller wins to build their careers and platforms. Do not give conservative, anti-choice candidates any support whatsoever, at any level, because it all contributes to a power structure that is successfully stripping women and people generally of our rights to bodily autonomy and privacy (the latter being the structure upon which many of our civil rights wins were gained, and which is openly under assault right now). 

Also: Women, we need you to run right now, for any office you can, wherever you are. School board, city council, state legislature—you can be the revolution, and the book-banning, transphobic and homophobic rightwing extremists have already figured that out. We have to show up, too. (Two of our Bay Area stars on these issues—Assemblymembers Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and Buffy Wicks—ran for California State Assembly to take action against Trumpism; Bauer-Kahan is the Founder and Chair of the Select Committee on Women's Reproductive Health, of which Wicks is also a member, and both have helped craft key legislation to make California a reproductive healthcare state for all in just a few short years.) 

Fund pro-choice women running for office at every level, and get involved with their campaigns by knocking doors and making calls for them: https://www.emilyslist.org/ 

Also, follow Gretchen's List for monthly calls to action about where best to put your money and time to move the ball forward on these issues. Gretchen is truly an expert in reproductive health and will clue you in to what the state of play is in actionable ways: https://gretchen.substack.com/ 

đź’šDestigmatize abortion: No more of this, “I support abortion in cases of…” talk. No qualifications, no caveats. Support abortion on demand and without apology! This is essential healthcare, talk about it that way. 

Tell your story, if you have one—no one can debate your experience, it is your story and it is yours to share as you choose. Everyone loves someone who’s had an abortion, even if they don’t realize it yet. Our life choices are linked to our freedom to choose when to be mothers, whether or never, and there are deep tranches of data that reflect the better mental health and economic well-being of women who received an abortion when they needed it versus those who were forced to give birth after care was denied. 

Simply being able to choose to not be pregnant is good for us, and very often the choice is a straightforward one. (Mine certainly was!) https://shoutyourabortion.com/ 

đź’šMeetings and organizing: There’s a lot going on right now, much of it pretty spontaneous. Reproductive rights groups have been preparing for this moment, so there are already gears turning, but in terms of engagement opportunities for the general public, things are popping up in events everywhere and with little time to get the word out. 

If you know of Bay Area organizing opportunities, or national events that are virtual, please share them here. If you know of organizing happening in your community outside the Bay Area, share that info and invite others to get involved. We need to be organizing in our communities right now.



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