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Five ways you can get involved in fighting for women’s reproductive rights

Writer : Emma Craddock, Senior Lecturer in Well being Analysis, Birmingham Metropolis College

Since 2021, hard-won ladies’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy have been rolled again within the US in an alarming style. With state bans on abortion previous as little as six weeks – as was handed in Texas on September 1, 2021 – and now the Supreme Courtroom’s overturning of the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, it’s simple to think about that we have now slipped and fallen right into a Handmaid’s Story-style dystopia.

As such misogynist ideology turns into entrenched, it’s pure to really feel hopeless. A latest surge in activist TikToks suggests, nonetheless, a means ahead. Individuals have been pairing a pattern from the tune Paris by US electro duo The Chainsmokers with the hashtag #ifwegodownthenwegodowntogether, messages of solidarity and essential info.

My analysis exhibits that folks typically assume that activism requires a sure kind of direct motion. However such slim definitions of activism forestall individuals from collaborating. In addition they sometimes hurt those that face the largest structural disadvantages and associated boundaries to getting concerned in direct motion.

As a substitute, remembering that doing one thing is at all times higher than doing nothing – and widening our definition of what activism might be – is useful. Here’s a non-exhaustive listing of concepts of how we will help our sisters throughout the pond and additional the worldwide struggle for ladies’s reproductive rights.

Protesters in front of an abortion clinic.
Professional-choice and pro-life demonstrators face off exterior a Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing, in 2018.
PA Pictures | Alamy Inventory Picture

Elevate consciousness

Analysis exhibits that the extra persons are knowledgeable about a problem, the extra it’s doable to shift dominant views. The concept is to destigmatise speaking about abortion, in order that it turns into normalised as a problem regarding ladies’s well being and reproductive rights. This reduces the stigma round abortion and retains the problem within the public sphere, demonstrating how “the private is political”.

Social media has repeatedly been proven to be a great way of sharing info, whether or not that’s by way of memes that distil key philosophical arguments for abortion into bite-size graphics and phrases or by linking to information articles, petitions, feminist charities and campaigns.

Having conversations with family and friends might be simply as instrumental. Elevating consciousness and destigmatising abortion allows us to higher struggle for ladies’s reproductive rights in order that they don’t seem to be hidden out of sight and simpler to assault.

Be a part of an area pro-choice group or arrange your personal

I used to be a part of a pro-choice group in Nottingham, UK, which counters anti-abortion activism exterior of hospitals and clinics. We positioned our our bodies to dam out the anti-abortion messages and offered a pleasant face and chaperone for any lady in search of an abortion. We additionally offered leaflets, directing ladies to impartial being pregnant and abortion recommendation companies such because the British Being pregnant Advisory Service.

Social media is usually a good place to search for such native teams however in case you don’t discover one, group up with some buddies and begin it your self. That’s how the Nottingham group started ten years in the past and it’s nonetheless going sturdy with practically 1,000 native members. Grassroots campaigning – from social housing activist group Focus E15 Moms to the New Period Tenants Affiliation, which fought to maintain tenants’ properties – has a direct influence on people and might mobilise the broader public, having a vital influence on society and politics.

Foyer your MP and reply to authorities consultations

Anybody can signal parliamentary petitions or write to their native MP to ask that they help ladies’s reproductive rights (discover your MP right here). There may be an all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive well being within the UK, comprising MPs and friends who elevate consciousness in parliament of those points: you possibly can join information and occasions right here. When you’re uncertain of easy methods to formulate such a letter, charities typically present template letters for contacting MPs.

An interior shot of a debate in the house of commons.
Writing to your MP is an effective means to make sure points are debated in parliament.
PA Pictures | Alamy

You too can signal as much as mailing lists of feminist charities and organisations, equivalent to Filia, to be notified of any related authorities consultations. Analysis exhibits that citizen involvement within the parliamentary course of can have an effect on coverage.

Throughout lockdown, a brief measure was put in place by the UK authorities, permitting the supply of at-home medical abortion capsules. Feminist campaigning noticed this significant service prolonged: on March 30 2022, the UK parliament voted in favour of amending the Well being and Care invoice, making telemedicine for early medical abortions everlasting in England and Wales.

Present monetary help

Grassroots organisations and campaigns typically rely fully on volunteers and personal donations for his or her existence. Fundraising allows campaigns equivalent to Abortion Rights, the UK’s solely nationwide grassroots pro-choice marketing campaign, to organise protests, keep stress on the federal government to help ladies’s reproductive rights.

Abortion funds present sensible monetary help to assist ladies entry abortion. You’ll be able to donate to the Nationwide Community of Abortion Funds to help these within the US and to Abortion With out Borders to help ladies in Europe.

Take it to the streets

Protest marches have lengthy been a means of expressing dissent – on every little thing from air pollution and political oppression to struggle and racism. They’ve additionally constantly been a way of exhibiting solidarity for ladies, from the suffragist marches of the early 20th century to the 2017 Girls’s March on Washington.

A crowd with colourful banners fill a wide route.
The Girls’s March on Washington, January 2017.
Johnny Silvercloud | Shutterstock

4 years previous to Roe v Wade, in 1969, radical feminist group Redstockings held what they known as an “abortion speakout” in New York Metropolis, which noticed ladies come ahead to speak about their experiences of unlawful abortion. These speakout occasions unfold throughout the US in response to authorities hearings the place many of the politicians talking about abortion – on the time – have been male. American political scientist Erica Chenoweth highlights how fruitful this sort of non-violent civil resistance might be.

It’s important to proceed to talk out and present solidarity to our sisters within the US. We should additionally proceed to struggle to shield our proper to protest and to stop the encroachment of equally regressive legal guidelines within the UK.


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