Today marks the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt decision, a landmark reproductive rights case which pro-choice advocates believe reaffirmed women's rights to a safe and legal abortion. But instead of being in a celebratory mood, we have to admit that the possibility of losing our abortion rights in the Trump era is looking higher and higher.
Anti-choice politicians across the country are passing laws restricting abortion left and right, with little regard for women's autonomy. And so-called "pro-life" advocates sure aren't backing down, employing new strategies that include a softer lens on their beliefs and a batch of fresh millennial faces.
If the abortion apocalypse is nigh, what can we do to stop it? Well, there's plenty: You can make donations and volunteer with pro-choice organizations; you can go out and protest; and you can cast your vote for pro-choice politicians the next time a local or national election comes around.
But there's also a small action you can take every day to remind lawmakers that women's rights are human rights: contact your representatives.
Ahead, we break down exactly how to do that and list the elected officials you should be calling. The time to fight for our reproductive rights is now.
First, find your representatives and their contact info
If you don't know your elected officials at the state level, this is the time to find out. Go to this guide, which will direct you to your state assembly or legislature's website. From there, you can navigate the page to identify your representatives. And if you want the contact information for your governor, check this website.
To find out who represents you in Congress, you can input your zip code below.
If for some reason you lose their numbers, make sure to remember two crucial things: Their names and this phone number, 202-224-3121. That line will direct you to the Capitol's switchboard. Once you speak with an operator, you can ask them to connect you with the office of your representative.
Time to pick up the phone
Look, we know there are plenty of alternatives to contact your representatives. You can always send them an email, a tweet, or even an old-school letter. But the truth is that they respond better to pressure from phone calls; it's a quicker way to tally up support, and it's the most difficult to ignore. Plain and simple, they can overlook the build-up of tweets, emails, and letters, but they can't ignore a barrage of phones ringing without losing their mind a little bit.
It's very likely that a legislative assistant will be the one to answer the phone. They'll ask you whether you need a response, but it's better to say you don't. It will save everyone time, because they won't need to add you to a response database.
Make sure you're clear about what issue you're calling about. The reasons why you support or oppose certain topics are, frankly, irrelevant. Getting straight to the point makes things better for everyone involved, including those who are waiting in line for their calls to be picked up.
So, what do I say?
My dear friend, we're here to make your life much easier. Below, we have two scripts you can modify and follow.
First, let's say you're in a place like Missouri, where the state House passed sweeping legislation restricting abortion access. The Senate is currently working on the bill's revisions, so this is the perfect time to call. Here's what you could say:
"Hello, my name is Mary Williams. I'm a constituent from St. Louis County, zip code 63001. I don't need a response. I am opposed to the Senate Bill 5 and I strongly encourage the senator to please oppose this devastating bill. Thank you!"
"Hello, my name is Jane Smith. I'm a constituent from New York, zip code 10001. I don't need a response. I am opposed to the Better Care Reconciliation Act and the defunding of Planned Parenthood. I strongly encourage the senator to please vote 'no' on this bill. Thank you!"
You can modify these scripts when calling everyone from your mayor to your senators about any issue.
Who should I prioritize?
Congress can do plenty to restrict abortion access, especially now that the Republican Party controls both chambers, but the reality is that the real damage is being done at the state level. As long as Roe v. Wade is in place, anti-choice state lawmakers can keep pushing restrictions and trying to regulate abortion before the point of fetal viability.
Bills that could either help or hurt abortion access are being discussed in the following states at the moment: Missouri, Rhode Island, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. If you live there, you should call your state representatives. For a complete database of pending abortion legislation, click here.
And if you oppose the Senate healthcare bill, there are certain GOP senators you should prioritize, as they're on the fence about the legislation. If you live in their state, call: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (W. Va.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Dean Heller (Nev.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Ted Cruz (Tex.), Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Rand Paul (Ky). But if your representative isn't listed, it doesn't hurt to call your senators and tell them to oppose the bill.
Whether you contact your elected officials about local abortion laws or national legislation, it's important to remind them there's plenty of data proving most Americans support abortion access in some capacity. It's time to get with the times and let women decide what's best for them, full stop.