Victory and Holiday Giving!
Victory! And Holiday Giving
What a week! Every candidate who went hard for reproductive freedom and justice won. And those who didn’t, like Brandon Presley in Mississippi, Elvis’ cousin or not, didn’t. And, of course, our victory streak of winning ballot initiatives continues.
Eighteen months after having our national right to bodily autonomy stripped away, we now know that:
1. Republican women are crucial for victory. They may not say it to their husbands or a pollster, but overwhelming state victories for repro only happens when Republican women vote for it. We saw it in Kansas and Arkansas and Ohio.
2. We vote on this issue, too. For years, they turned out to vote on this issue and we didn’t. We relied on Roe for way too long as our rights were being taken away, or, as in Louisiana or Alabama, never really in place – and then Roe was gone. Now, we vote as passionately and consistently on this issue as the anti’s do. I like what Connie Schultz said on election night, “They underestimate the rage of women.” It is infuriating when the talking heads seem surprised that women are “still” upset about having their rights stripped away. Of course, Rebecca Traister has been telling us this for a while, but now we are expressing our rage through the ballot box.
3. We won’t be fooled by “compromises.” Voters in Virginia weren’t fooled by the Gov. Youngkin’s 15 week “compromise.” We saw what happens when the extremist anti’s are in charge of public policy, they go straight to bans and access goes to zero. Your party can’t talk about a national ban and then suggest “compromise” and think we won’t notice. We won’t be fooled again.
Where do we go from here in 2024?
1. Focus on rights and access. Codifying the right to an abortion, as great as it is, is not enough, people need access to reproductive healthcare. A friend once told me that the difference between rights and access is like being invited to a table but not given a chair. That’s why the reproductive justice field was created by Black women, because telling a Black woman in Louisiana that she has a right to abortion doesn’t mean anything if she can’t access care near her. We need to fight for both the right to reproductive health care and access to care at the same time.
2. Keep building the state and local organizing infrastructure. Someone asked me this week whether the lack of enthusiasm for Biden will help or hurt next year. As counterintuitive as it sounds, I think it helps. We have been winning since 2016 not because of some overarching national campaign infrastructure but because we have created state and local infrastructure for turning out voters, groups like Indivisble, Swing Left, Red, Win and Blue. These groups are also better at cooperating and creating umbrella efforts like Ohioians for Reproductive Freedom than their predecessor orgs.
A Democratic party remade for the 21st century would be investing in communications at the national level and organizing at the local level. But that’s not the Democratic party we have, at least until someone puts me in charge of the whole thing. Therefore, our charge is to continue strengthening our political patchwork quilt.
3. Keeping fighting for access to the abortion pill. This is a critically important fight to ensure that any person has access to reproductive health care wherever they live and however much money they have. The biggest threat to access to the abortion pill is the case SCOTUS will rule on this term on whether mifepristone, a key abortion medication, should be banned because of the extreme religious views of Texas judges, or allowed to help women based on 23 years of scientific research. The issue before SCOTUS is much bigger than abortion rights, it’s also about the right of the FDA to, well, do its job and determine the safety of all drugs. In other words, are we a nation that creates and obeys laws and science, or a theology ruled by a tiny minority of idealogues? This is a really big deal.
What you can do right now:
1. Support ballot initiatives everywhere. We need to keep getting abortion on the ballot. Of course, as we saw in Ohio, they’ll go to ridiculous lengths to try and keep it off the ballot, they know what happens when people are given a real opportunity to vote for women’s health, we win. Check out
2. Stay local! Don’t get sucked into the shiny object elections going on in places like Texas and Tennessee. If you want to donate to campaigns, give locally. New York state’s Congressional debacle in 2020 where we lost four seats, is the best evidence of the need to stay local and make sure we win every single race up and down the ballot.
a. The Fairness Project. They are doing a great job with state-specific strategies to get abortion on the ballot.
b. The Act Group. This is an awesome group of smart, experienced advocates providing strategic help to activists and lawmakers to create telehealth shield laws, like the ones passed in NY and MA this year,. These laws enable telehealth clinicians to provide abortion medication to patients in any state. Repeat: In. Any. State. That’s’ the key to access.
c. Abortion Freedom Fund. A lot of money has gone/is going to support travel and clinical abortions. This is important, however, it is a LOT less expensive, invasive, time consuming, and safe for women to stay home and use abortion pills (if that’s what they want to do.) The Abortion Freedom Fund provides cash assistance for telehealth abortions up to $150 per person and only works with clinics that charge less than $300.
We’ve done amazing work this past year and a half! We are on offense and creating an online/on land ecosystem to provide quality information, access to clinicians and abortion medication. And we’ve voted, voted and voted. But, we’re no where close to being done. Next year we get to do even more work to safeguard our fundamental right to bodily autonomy – lucky us!