I recently read an interesting discussion on Jezebel about how individuals could support the pro-choice movement. There were some great ideas, but as several commentors mentioned, they wished they could think of more things. So – with apologies to Fellini – here are 8 ½ ideas:
1. Ask your gynecologist if she or he performs abortions. As one awesome provider put it, “How would men react if they found out that their primary care doctors didn’t do prostate exams … and you gotta go and have somebody shove their finger up your ass who they’ve never met before? You think men would go along with it?”
2. Look beyond Planned Parenthood. This isn’t a knock on the incredible work that Planned Parenthood clinics do. It’s just a reminder that while they’re often the best-funded game in town, they’re not the only one. Independent clinics can use volunteers and clinic escorts, too!
3. Vote! The antis “vote their conscience.” You should, too. That goes double for Presidential elections, because the President is the one who chooses Supreme Court Justices.
4. Have the conversation. We all know how important it is to speak up about condoms with our sexual partners. For the same reason, you need to know how your partner would react to an unplanned pregnancy before it happens – and make sure that he knows where you stand.
5. Know your rights. Abortion laws vary drastically from state to state. Does your state have a waiting period? What about spousal notification laws? If you end up needing a later-term abortion, is that legal in your state?
6. Know your health insurance. Many plans cover abortion, but they don’t go out of their way to advertise how to get reimbursed – and some plans, like those for U.S. government employees, don’t offer any coverage.
7. Support local abortion funds. Local funds can always use both money and volunteers. Check out the National Network of Abortion Funds to see what’s in your area.
8. Talk about it. Abortion is so stigmatized in this society, it can be difficult to even talk about with friends or family. But talking helps deflate stereotypes and misconceptions, and that’s powerful. Don’t let this become another Scarlet “A.”
8 ½ And if you’re going to talk about it … encourage your friends to do the eight things on this list!
Sarah's first book, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, will be out March 2013. For more information, follow her on Twitter @saraherdreich, or check out saraherdreich.com.