How To Legally Protect Your Reproductive Rights

Millions of Americans, Donald Trump's election and the emboldening of the Republican party has created reason to fear for civil liberties. For women, it's particularly salient — reproductive rights were under attack for years before this most recent surge in far right wing politics. Life in Trumpland isn't going to be easy, but you can, and should, keep fighting for your rights until the bitter end. Here's how to tell your representatives to protect your reproductive rights, because this country will definitely be less great if millions of women are not allowed access to the medicine they need.

Contacting your legislators is free, simple, and takes barely any time. Just look up your representative and give them a call, preferably at their district office closest to where you live. If you have the time or opportunity, you can also schedule a meeting with someone in the office or stop by to deliver a letter, pamphlet, speech, etc. Communicating your message as often and directly as you can is the most direct and democratic way to achieve change, so don't give up until you hold the system accountable and see results.

Unfortunately, money is one of the most productive ways to accomplish anything in politics today. Donating to organizations that lobby for reproductive freedom is always helpful, but there's one trick that could make it even more effective. Every time you donate to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU or NOW, call your representative and tell them the money went to the non-profit instead of their reelection campaign. Since representatives depend on a near constant stream of dough to finance their public careers, hearing that your cash went to someone other than them might be enough to ease their opinions on the evils of women.

Rhetorical strategy is just as important as logistical strategy. Although it shouldn't be necessary because women should be viewed as independent people with inherent bodily autonomy and human dignity (crazy talk, I know), adding a personal connection to your plea might help sway some people. There are as many reasons for using birth control as there are women who use it, so either genuinely and eloquently communicate your own when talking about why access to reproductive care is so important. If you don't use it yourself, any likeminded friend or relative would probably be happy to have you share their story.

Contacting your legislators is important because that's the way that this whole America thing is supposed to work. We the people are supposed to be able to change our representatives' minds and policies because they are supposed to represent us. If you try and succeed, then mission accomplish, and if you try and fail, then you have gained something even more valuable — the knowledge that something has to fundamentally change.