In December, when the election of Donald Trump still felt like a nightmare, we offered five strategies to fight anti-choice laws and rhetoric. Now that President Trump is a frightening reality, it’s more important than ever to defend choice. The battle might seem like a losing one, but Trump and his administration specialize in demoralization. By making things seem hopeless, they hope to subvert the progressive will to keep fighting.
Don’t let them win. Here are five things you can do right now to fight for reproductive freedom. Fight back against anti-choice!
Know What Abortion is Like in Your State
Alabama abortion clinics face a very different regulatory climate from those in, say, Oregon. It’s easy to focus on the federal big picture, but state laws may be what ultimately saves or destroys choice. If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, abortion regulations go back to the states. That means state-level activism is vital for the preservation of choice.
Even if a state abortion regulation seems unconstitutional, a change to abortion laws at the federal level could render the regulation perfectly legal. State legislators must see now that they will face a heavy backlash if they revoke abortion rights.
Become a Clinic Escort
Women seeking abortions are not a monolith. Some are happy about their decision. Some are scared. Some feel guilty. When these women are met with cruel words and inaccurate information from protesters, they don’t typically change their minds. But they do feel isolated, stigmatized, and afraid.
Clinic escorts can reverse this trend. By serving as a soothing, happy chaperone to women seeking abortions, you help make a difficult experience less traumatic. You can also directly combat anti-abortion rhetoric, helping women who have already chosen abortion feel more at peace with their choices.
Commit to Regular Action
If you’re like most choice supporters, your social media feeds may be flooded with calls to action. No one can show up to every protest, call every legislator, and donate to every cause. Too many calls to action can actually thwart the cause by making activists feel overwhelmed.
Don’t let this happen to you. Commit to a regular activism schedule, and don’t beat yourself up over things you can’t do. Decide to call one legislator a day, attend a protest per month, or send one letter every week. If everyone does a little bit, the end result is a massive flood of activism.
Do the Legwork Yourself—Don’t Ask Other Activists To Do it For You
Choice activism is, perhaps for the first time ever, fashionable. That means seasoned activists are welcoming newer advocates to the fold. That’s a wonderful thing. But it wastes seasoned activists’ time when they have to answer the same questions over and over—questions about where to donate money, how to research laws, where to find parking for the latest protest.
Be willing to do your research yourself. Activism embraces a self-help ethos, and by doing as much of the legwork as you can on your own, you free precious time and resources to focus on more pressing demands than where to park or how to find a local chapter of Planned Parenthood’s website.
Remember That Real Choice Requires Access
When abortion is under attack, it’s easy to solely focus on legal abortion restrictions. That’s not enough. A truly pro-choice society requires not just the right to have an abortion, but the ability to seek one—regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or other potentially confounding factors.
For many women, choice means little when they can’t afford their abortions, can’t take time off of work for a gynecological appointment, or can’t find providers who will give them accurate, judgment-free medical information. Supporting choice means supporting all women, and recognizing the intersectional nature of race, class, and gender-based oppression.
The preservation of the Affordable Care Act, the expansion of the social safety net, and comprehensive sex education can all mean the difference between coerced pregnancies and reproductive freedom.