5 simple ways to be an effective advocate for reproductive freedom:
1. Be audience appropriate: Be conscious of where you are and whom you are addressing. Words that pack a punch on the picket line might not be the right words for a coffee shop or class discussion. Matching the tone and tenor of the environment in which you find yourself is the best way to leave an impression on your listeners that will prime them to seriously consider what you have to say.
2. Be a great listener: Seriously. Teaching political science in the Heart of the Heartland may have tested my patience and jeopardized my mental health, but it has also educated me about opinions and policy positions that I could not wrap my head around before. So take a cue from our Moderate-in-Chief Barack Obama, tilt your head back, and listen for awhile. You (probably) won’t regret it.
3. Be knowledgeable: Know the laws regarding choice in your area. Know the organizations and major issues involved in the reproductive freedom debate. Start with pro-choice organizations’ websites, i.e. NARAL. This should go without saying, but knowledge is power and you will get ‘stuck’ in conversation if your intellectual foundation isn’t rock solid.
4. Be classy: I don’t like being called a baby-killing-godless-feminazi anymore than your target audience likes being called narrow-minded-women-hating-jesus-freaks. Keep it civil or walk away.
5. Be yourself: We all have different motivations. Perhaps you have had an abortion or been deeply touched by these issues in some other personal way. Maybe you have made a career out of advocating for choice. Or maybe you don’t consider yourself a strong advocate, but you believe that safe and affordable access to birth control and abortion is a fundamental right. Anchor yourself to your motivations and stay true to them – the talkin’ part will come naturally with practice.
Kate is a public policy expert with a vintage dress obsession.