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

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Since 2021, women’s hard-won reproductive rights and bodily autonomy have been reversed in the US in alarming ways. With state bans on abortion after as little as six weeks, such as approved in Texas on September 1, 2021, and now that the Supreme Court has overturned the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, it’s easy to imagine that we’ve slipped and fallen into a Handmaid’s Tale-style dystopia.

As that misogynistic ideology takes hold, it’s natural to feel hopeless. However, a recent rise in activist TikToks suggests a way forward. People have been pairing a sample of the song Paris by American electronic duo The Chainsmokers with the hashtag #if we go down then we go down togethermessages of solidarity and crucial information.

My research shows that people tend to think that activism requires some kind of direct action. But such narrow definitions of activism prevent people from participating. They also generally harm those who face the greatest structural disadvantages and related barriers to engaging in direct action.

Instead, it is useful to remember that doing something is always better than doing nothing, and to broaden our definition of what activism can be. Here is a non-exhaustive list of ideas on how we can support our sisters across the pond and further the global fight for women’s reproductive rights.

Protesters outside an abortion clinic.
Pro-choice and pro-life protesters clash outside a Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing in 2018.
PA Images | Stock Photo from Alamy

Create awareness

Research shows that the more people are informed about a topic, the more it is possible change dominant perspectives. The idea is to de-stigmatize talking about abortion, so that it becomes normalized as an issue related to women’s reproductive health and rights. This reduces the stigma around abortion and keeps the issue in the public sphere, demonstrating how “the personal is political.”

social networks have repeatedly it has proven to be a good way to share information, whether through memes that distill key pro-choice philosophical arguments into bite-sized words and graphics, or through links to news articles, petitions, feminist charities, and campaigns.

Having conversations with friends and family can be just as instrumental. Raising awareness and destigmatizing abortion allows us to better fight for women’s reproductive rights so that they are not hidden and are easier to attack.

Join a local pro-abortion group or create your own

I was part of a pro-abortion group in Nottingham, UK, that counteracts anti-abortion activism outside of hospitals and clinics. We position our bodies to block anti-abortion messages and provide a friendly face and chaperone for any woman seeking an abortion. We also provided brochures directing women to neutral pregnancy and abortion counseling services, such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

Social media can be a good place to look for these local groups, but if you can’t find one, join some friends and start yourself. That’s how the Nottingham group started ten years ago and is still going strong with almost 1,000 local members. grassroots campaign – from the social housing activist group Focus E15 Mothers towards New Age Tenants Associationwho fought to keep the houses of the tenants, has a direct hit in individuals and can mobilize the general public, having a significant impact about society and politics.

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Lobby your parliamentarian and respond to government inquiries

anyone can sign parliamentary petitions or write to your local parliamentarian to ask them to support women’s reproductive rights (find your PM here). There is an all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health in the UK, made up of MPs and peers who raise awareness in parliament on these issues: you can Sign up for news and events here. If you’re not sure how to write such a letter, charities often provide template letters by contact parliamentarians.

An interior shot of a debate in the House of Commons.
Writing to your parliamentarian is a good way to ensure that issues are debated in parliament.
PA Images | Alamy

You can also sign up for mailing lists of feminist organizations and charities, such as Daughter, to be notified of any relevant government inquiries. Research shows that citizen participation in parliamentary process they can affect politics.

During the lockdown, the UK government implemented a temporary measure allowing the provision of abortion pills with medication at home. The feminist campaign saw this crucial service expanded: on March 30, 2022, the UK Parliament voted in favor of amending the Health and Care Bill, making telemedicine for early medical abortions permanent in England and Wales.

Provide financial support

Grassroots organizations and campaigns often rely entirely on volunteers and private donations for their existence. Fundraising enables campaigns like right to abortionthe UK’s only national grassroots abortion campaign, to organize protests and keep up pressure on the government to support women’s reproductive rights.

Abortion funds provide practical financial support to help women access abortion. You can donate to National Network of Abortion Funds to support those in the US and to abortion without borders to support women in Europe.

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take it to the streets

Protest marches have long been a way to express dissent, on everything from pollution and political oppression a war Y racism. They have also consistently been a means of showing solidarity with women, from the suffragist marches of the early 20th century to the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.

A crowd with colorful banners fills a wide route.
The Women’s March on Washington, January 2017.
Johnny Silver Cloud | Shutterstock

Four years before Roe v Wade, in 1969, the radical feminist group the Redstockings held what they called a “speech on abortion” in New York City, where women spoke about their experiences with illegal abortion. These denunciation events spread across the US in response to government hearings where most politicians speaking on abortion, at the time, were male. American political scientist Erica Chenoweth Stand out how fruitful this kind of nonviolent civil resistance can be.

It is vital to continue to speak out and show solidarity with our sisters in the United States. We must also continue fighting to protect our right to protest and to prevent the invasion of similarly regressive laws in the UK.