I’ve officially recovered from my election exhaustion. For months, I’ve been working alongside many other young feminists to fight off politicians and policies that would have backpedaled our reproductive rights into the dark ages. During the election season, we heard so much political discourse about abortion and contraception, mostly from those who have no related expertise or experience. It’s finally time to re-group and refocus on moving forward. It is time to take these matters into our own hands – it is time to mobilize our communities to fight for total access to abortion care!
Many people have no idea what kinds of barriers there are to obtaining abortions and other reproductive healthcare services in our country – the lack of abortion clinics and providers, the misinformation and lies given to those seeking abortion care, the harassment of patients and clinic staff entering the clinics, not to mention the financial barriers – all of these things make it incredibly difficult for people to obtain the care they need. There is little point in having a legal right to an abortion if in reality there are no ways to exercise that right.
That is what we have to change. Our Choices Campus Leadership program provides toolkits you can use to help your group organize and take action to combat barriers to abortion and reproductive care in your communities.
Many abortion clinics around the country, especially those near college campuses, experience anti-abortion protestors harassing and intimidating patients as they enter the clinics. The Adopt-A-Clinic campaign gives you and your peers the opportunity to work with your local clinic to help combat this harassment. We’ll connect you to a nearby clinic to promote a relationship between your group and the staff there and see see what kind of help they mayneed from you. Some clinics ask for volunteers to escort patients to the entrance or to be a physical pro-choice buffer between patients and the anti-choice protestors. Clinics have other needs as well, like planning events and rallying for support. Clinics may also be able to help your group by hosting a teach-in on abortion, birth control, and sexual health. There are many ways that clinics can use your help and passion, so make sure to check out our toolkit!
Women seeking abortions are often met with misinformation when attempting to learn more about what’s available to them. Much of this misinformation, deception, and even coercion come from Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). CPCs are abstinence-only counseling centers that call themselves “medical clinics”, yet are often run by volunteers from local churches who seek out and misinform those who might be considering abortion. You’ve probably seen their ads: “Pregnant? Need help?” They usually offer free services to get women, particularly low-income women, in the door.
At these centers, women are told lies and misinformation about abortion procedures. CPCs often use religiously-fueled shame tactics as well as false promises to pressure a woman into carrying her pregnancy to term. Even worse, these centers receive government funding through the abstinence-only education programs. Our Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics is focused on mobilizing students to expose fake clinics for what they really are.
It’s so important as we organize around these issues to find ways to engage the people around you. People are much more likely to get involved and stay involved when the issues you’re approaching them with have a direct impact on their lives and their communities.
These campaigns are a great way to activate and educate your peers about barriers to abortion care on your own campus. Check them out and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. See you on the front lines!
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