Why I'm Optimistic About Reproductive Rights
Welcome to “Our Next Chapter!” My aim is to share news and information about what is happening around the country regarding reproductive rights and to help us go on offense and build political power through a feminist lens.
My guiding principles for this work are:
1. We succeed by lifting people up not pushing them down.
2. We can never presume to know what other people need without asking them. Helping local people build power is so much more important for long-term success than outside groups parachuting in before elections.
3. Rage isn’t sustainable. It is a waste of energy to become enraged every day about what the jackasses are saying on Fox News or Twitter. We need to stay focused on what we can do right now to build political power.
Why I’m Optimistic
I want to begin by telling you why I’m optimistic about repro freedom in this country. I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. When Roe was decided in 1973, we didn’t have the Internet or abortion medication. Together, they completely change the landscape of what we can do, where and how. Healthy pregnant people do not have to travel for abortions, we just need to get the pills to them. And we can communicate, raise money, and organize locally and nationally online at almost no cost but our time. (Hmmm, maybe someone should write a few books about that.😘)
As much as the antis would like to pretend that they can stop women or medication from moving around the country, they can’t. Our job is to create a new ecosystem of support centered on these two components. We need to keep everyone safe online and on land, we need to share successes and we need to move money in smart ways.
So, let’s get started! Here are a few things you should know about and can do today:
What is abortion medication and how do I get it? Plan C Pills, an online hub of information and resources, can answer any question about what/where/when/how having to do with abortion medication.
Can I get pills before I’m pregnant? Yes, you can! If you may become pregnant in the next few years, go to AidAccess today and get your abortion pills. They expire two years from manufacture date. Put them in your medicine cabinet, your purse, under your mattress, wherever you want, and use them when you want. Or give them to a friend!
What’s legal in my state? If you want to know what’s legal in your state, go to the Repro Legal Helpline.
Abortion medication questions? If you have medical questions about managing your own abortion, go to the M&A Hotline staffed by clinicians who can answer your questions. They also have a great guide you can download.
But, before you do any of that, make sure you’re safe online. Use Duck, Duck, Go as your web browser, text people using the Signal app. Do not use WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook. Create an account on wire.com if you want to organize with a team of people. And if you live in a restricted state, shut down that app for tracking your period. And don’t forget to turn off the location services on your phone’s settings! Here’s a great guide on how to keep yourself safe from digital surveillance:
There are five states with abortion on the ballot between now and Election Day: Michigan, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana and Vermont. Here is more info on what each referendum says/does: https://ballotpedia.org/2022_abortion-related_ballot_measures
The first one up is in Kansas on August 2nd. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this is tough, it’s in the middle of the summer, there hasn’t been a lot of time to organize and, well, it’s Kansas, a historically very anti state. Currently, Kansas requires counseling designed to discourage abortions and where the pregnant person has to pay the full cost. In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court determined that the state constitution provides the right to bodily autonomy. This amendment would nullify that ruling. BUT, there is good news! In the last three weeks, voter registration in Kansas has skyrocketed.
Here are a few ways to help our friends in Kansas:
Encourage everyone you know in Kansas (not Missouri!) to VOTE NO on August 2nd!
And, of course, abortion is still legal in Kansas, and the Kansas Abortion Fund could also use your support.
What to Fund This Week
You probably heard the horrific story about Dr. Caitlin Bernand, the OB-GYN in Indiana who did her job and provided abortion services to a 10 year-old rape victim. Dr. Bernand reported the rape, as she is required to do, and instantly became a target of a nationwide, right-wing smear campaign (as did her 3 year-old daughter.) A GoFundMe campaign was created to help defray Dr. Bernand’s legal and security expenses. And, btw, the OB-GYNs I’ve spoken to say 10, 11 and 12 year old rape victims having abortions is an everyday occurrence. Seems to me we should be more focused on the rapists than the doctor’s helping these young girls.
If you still have some money to donate, here are a few grassroots organizations doing really great and hard work in tough places that could use your support: Yellowhammer Fund, Sistersong Reproductive Justice Collective, Spark Reproductive Justice NOW.
Thanks for reading! Please let me know what you think of On Power and what other issues you’d like to hear about. And remember: You are already powerful because you care about these issues and want to learn more. We need to lift up our voices and each other and vote, vote, vote!
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