Good News (Really!)
I’ll start with the good news this week, and then move to, you know, the rest of it.
Young Women are Registering to Vote. The voter registration data emerging post-Roe is very encouraging. According to TargetSmart, an org tracking voter registration data, the energy and turnout in Kansas wasn’t an anomaly. In Michigan, where abortion rights are on the ballot in Michigan in November, women are out-registering men 8:1 since Roe was overturned. Organizers collected nearly twice as many signatures as necessary (753,759 signatures, close to double the 425,059 needed) to have a constitutional amendment affirming abortion rights placed on the November ballot.
In Pennsylvania, which has a critically important gubernatorial and senate race on the ballot, 30% more Dems than R’s have registered since Roe was overturned. More than half of these new voters are women under 25 years old.
In Wisconsin, women have out-registered men by over 15%. Republicans only make up 17% of these new registrants. However, Dems are 52%. This means that a big chunk of these new voters are Independents. Frankly, I don’t care if they are D’s or I’s, if they are women, I am betting they are going to vote for repro rights in November – and hopefully beyond.
Where Are All the Men? Too many men think abortion rights isn’t an issue for them. We don’t need men to lead the fight, but we do need them in the fight with us. Men4Choice is a terrific organization inviting men, particularly young men, into the repro rights efforts. According to Oren Jacobson, the co-founder, the lack of involvement from men is because:
Most men don’t understand the harm caused to a person/community when abortion rights are denied.
Most men look at this as a gender issue. Stigma is also a factor (sex, sexuality & anatomy; abortion, in particularly, is very stigmatized).
Most men don’t see a natural entry point into the movement, or they don’t know where to start.
Even for the men who move past the first 3 points above, they don’t have a playbook and worry about saying/doing something wrong and even getting canceled.
Bad News on College Campuses: College health centers are not covered by the federal privacy laws, HIPAA, but by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a widely-criticized federal law. As one law professor put it, “FERPA is about as protective as cheesecloth.” This puts students seeking abortion care and health care professionals who may help them at risk of prosecution in banned states. This is dreadful for students going to college in banned states. We know the Biden administration is aware of the problem, Vice President Harris had a meeting with college presidents to discuss it recently – and, yet there don’t seem to be any changes coming soon. Honestly, I thought the biggest problems students in banned states would have was accessing services, but not having secure health data makes it much worse. I get that going to a football game with 99,999 other people on a sunny Saturday afternoon is a LOT of fun, but how about going to Penn State instead of Alabama?
Things to do this week:
My new friend, Brenna McCaffrey (who has a terrific TikTok channel providing information on abortion medication. Feel free to share it with friends!) told me about OARS, the Online Abortion Access Resource Squad. You can volunteer at OARS to provide accurate information about abortion access, services, medication etc. on their Reddit channel.
Share this fantastic playbook created by Men4Choice to help men get started as repro activists: https://www.men4choice.org/wp-content/themes/men4choice/files/starter-kit.pdf
Here are great graphics from the Digital Defense Fund on digital privacy and safety for those seeking or sharing information on abortion right online that you can use and share.
Enjoy the end of summer!