How To Protest HR-7, The Anti-Abortion Bill That Ignores Women's Best Interests
If you couldn't make it to your local women's march on Jan. 21, or are simply fired up and ready to get back out into the streets to fight for your rights, you're in luck — but that's the only luck that comes out of Congress' most recent attack on reproductive rights. The House of Representatives just passed a bill that will make abortions even more expensive and less accessible, and if you want to protest HR-7, the latest anti-abortion legislation, there are a number of ways you can get involved.
This regressive bill, whose full title is "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017," passed the Republican-controlled House 238-138, and will be up for vote in the Republican-controlled Senate soon. With the reinstatement of the anti-choice Ronald Reagan-era "global gag rule," President Trump will likely sign the bill into law swiftly if it passes both houses of Congress. Dark legislative and executive prospects aside, however, this bill is also a very early reminder of exactly what so many millions of people were protesting against during the Women's Marches. Now is the time to put our money where our mouths are, and use our voices, phones, wallets, and minds to protest this terrible bill.
Below are seven ways you can protest HR-7 now.
1. Contact Your Senators ASAP
Now that HR-7 has passed the House, it will be put to a vote on the Senate floor. Contact your senators as soon as possible and leave them a voicemail or a message with the staffer who answers, letting them know that you, as a constituent, oppose the bill. You can find your senators using tools like Whoismyrepresentative.com or the Senate's web directory and should call their office number. If you can, double up and find their office numbers in both D.C. and their home office in your state, which you can find by Googling their name plus "home office". Leave messages at both. Inundate them with calls. Let them know this isn't right and isn't the will of their constituents.
2. Contact Reproductive Rights Advocacy Organizations
There's no doubt that organizations like the Guttmacher Institute, NARAL Pro-Choice, the National Organization of Women, Planned Parenthood, the Center For Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, Ipas and many others will craft their responses to HR-7 swiftly. But in the meantime, contact them to ask them what they intend to do, and how you can help.
3. Donate Your Money (Or Your Time) To The Cause
If you have the money to give, the organizations above and many others will need funding, especially for the legal opposition this bill will require when and if it becomes law.
In addition to donating to organizations that will work to repeal and resist the law, you can also donate money or time to abortion fund organizations that help women pay for abortions, because if HR-7 is signed into law, more people than ever before will need the assistance.
4. Stay Informed & Spread The Word
Social media activism, if used in tandem with other protest measures, is a great way to get the word out about regressive bills like HR-7. Stay up-to-date on the status of the bill and the other attacks on reproductive healthcare that are likely to ensue, and don't shut about about them online and in-person to anyone who will listen.
5. Preparation Is The Key To Resistance
Start saving money for the "rainy days" that are sure to come. Make coffee at home instead of buying it at the coffee shop, buy second-hand and sell your clothes for spare change, start collecting coins in a jar. There might soon come a time when you or someone close to you has to pay for an abortion out-of-pocket, and that extra money will come in handy.
6. Look Ahead To 2018
With the circus surrounding the presidential race, many seemed to forget that there were also many House and Senate seats up for grabs — most of which remained in Republican control. Now is the time to start working to get your Republican congresspeople out of office in the 2018 midterms. Local campaigns will start soon, and getting involved in a campaign is as simple as emailing your local Democratic party or progressive organization.
7. Keep Up With The Women's March 10 Actions/100 Days Campaign
With this campaign, the Women's March has made it easy to stay involved post-Jan. 21. The first action involves writing a letter to your senators about what issues you care about most. This could be abortion rights. The second action will be released when the first 20 days of Trump's presidency begins. You can sign up to receive updates in your inbox here.
There's no nice way to put it — HR-7 is a devastating blow to abortion access, especially in light of Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the "global gag order" that makes abortion access even worse in the developing world. There are, however, things you can do to turn back the tide of this regressive policy, and if the women's marches weren't enough indication that Americans won't sit idly by during the Trump Administration, I don't know what is.