In the current political climate, finding ways to fight anti-abortion laws is on every feminist's mind. Just this month, two states have passed legislation placing further limitations on access to the procedure. On Tuesday, the Ohio legislature passed a "heartbeat bill" as a last-minute addition to House Bill 493, which primarily deals with reporting child abuse and neglect. The addition bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually between six and eight weeks into pregnancy. Although the heartbeat bill hasn't yet been signed into law by Governor John Kasich, a different bill banning abortion at 20 weeks also presents a threat to reproductive rights in Ohio.
Then there's the situation in Texas. Earlier this week, the state moved forward with new rules requiring the cremation or burial of fetal remains, as opposed to placement in a sanitary landfill, no matter the gestation period. Unsurprisingly, requiring what amounts to funeral services for embryos is predicted to raise the cost of abortions. These proposed rules will go into effect on December 19, state officials told the Texas Tribune. Furthermore, according to Mother Jones, the most recent edition of the state's guide to abortion, given to women seeking the procedure, makes a few scientifically dubious claims.
Given the results of this year's election, which maintained Republican control of Congress and placed a self-proclaimed grabber of p*ssies in the Oval Office, many pro-choice advocates are preparing to defend reproductive rights in the coming year. Few people have the time or money to attend protests every weekend, but that doesn't mean you can't do your part in your everyday life. Here are 11 everyday ways to fight anti-abortion laws.
1. Start Lobbying
If you have the time and inclination, there are plenty of pro-choice lobbying groups out there, such as NARAL Pro-Choice America. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also has a history of fighting laws banning abortions.
2. Be Skeptical
The debate surrounding abortion access tends to be highly emotional, and with that comes misinformation. In a study released earlier this year, researchers found that nearly a third of the information issued in informational packets given to women seeking abortion was misleading. Overall, they estimated that 35 percent of women were provided information exaggerating embryonic and fetal development. This isn't to say you shouldn't trust medical professionals, but be aware that state regulations may not be the best source of accurate information.
3. Know Your Facts
The flip side of skepticism is forming your own opinions, but that requires you to be informed. Make sure to do your research, so you fully understand abortions and the laws regulating them. First rule of thumb: Check your sources. (The World Health Organization, UCSF Medical Center, and Ipas are all good places to start.)
4. Help Others Stay Informed
Now that you've done your own research, pass it on to others, especially if they're considering an abortion. Talk about this stuff, even though "polite society" would rather we didn't.
5. Support People Who Seek Abortions
It probably goes without saying, but if you know someone who is considering an abortion, support their decision. Be nonjudgmental. If they're up for it, visit them after the procedure.
6. Defend Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood has been targeted by anti-choice advocates for years, and in January, one of its fiercest opponents will become vice president. People have already begun preparing for battle, sometimes in hilarious ways. Last month, donations to Planned Parenthood began pouring in — many of which were in the name of Mike Pence. (The organization offers the option to donate in someone else's name.) According to The Cut, more than 82,000 donations to Planned Parenthood have been made in Pence's name since the election.
That's just one way to support one of the nation's foremost women's healthcare providers; aside from donating, you can join the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, follow them on Facebook, or volunteer your time and skills.
7. Stop Saying "Pro-Life"
"Pro-life" is something of a nebulous term. Whose lives are in question? Do pro-life believers support the lives of prisoners facing the death penalty? How do they feel about euthanasia? When referring to those who oppose abortion, call them what they are: Anti-abortion advocates. There's already enough misinformation swirling around.
8. Contact Your Representatives
If your state is considering legislation limiting access to abortion, make sure the politicians involved know how you feel. Calling is best, as Emily Ellsworth pointed out in an extremely valuable Twitter thread immediately following the election; however, writing a letter or email, or even just tweeting at them is better than doing nothing at all — and it only takes a few minutes of your time.
9. Share Your Story
You may have noticed that while abortion is often discussed theoretically, it's rare to hear firsthand accounts of the procedure. If you've had an abortion, there are a few ways you can fight the stigma, which in turn fights the rhetoric used by anti-abortion lawmakers. Consider hopping on a hashtag like #ShoutYourAbortion, writing an essay (anonymously if you wish), or even just talking to people about your experience.
10. Volunteer At Clinics
If you're fortunate enough to live near a clinic providing abortions — something that's harder to come by than you'd think — consider volunteering. There are all sorts of opportunities, from registering people to vote to working as a clinic escort.
Finally, one of the easiest ways to fight anti-abortion legislation is to vote for pro-choice candidates in local, state, and national elections.
Images: Giphy (9)