Tell the Senate to Pass the #EqualityAct to Protect LGBTQ+ Rights, and More
As more Republican state legislatures abuse the law to attack the rights and health of trans people - adults and children alike - it is clear we cannot wait another moment to pass the Equality Act.
The Equality Act would expand and modernize current federal civil rights law to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in the workplace, classroom, public accommodations, retail stores, transportation, housing, and - maybe most dire - health care. This bill would eliminate the country’s patchwork of state-by-state protections and undermine the new cruel state laws popping up around the country.
And while that should be enough to get behind this bill, it’s worth noting that it would also close large gaps in existing civil rights laws and expand protections for women, people of color, and people of all faiths.
In 2019, three House Republicans joined Democrats to pass the Equality Act - and the same three helped pass it again in February. But in the Senate, this was always going to be a steep uphill battle. West Virginia conservative Democrat Joe Manchin is further entrenching his bad reputation on LGBTQ+ issues by flinching at the Equality Act. And Maine Republican Susan Colins recently withdrew her support for the bill after losing the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign and after embracing a notorious local anti-LGBTQ+ group during her reelection campaign.
Even with Manchin and Collins on board, once again protecting the rights of millions of Americans comes down to ending the Senate filibuster. It is the essential broken record of this moment, so be sure to check out the end-the-filibuster pressure campaigns we highlighted in Best of the Left Episode #1411: "Our Democracy is Filibusted, Time to Kill the Filibuster
As always, we must do many things at once. You can get involved in building support for the Equality Act by visiting PasstheEqualityAct.com. Click the "Take Action" button to learn about the upcoming Lobby Day on April 21st and the #EqualityTime virtual phone bank. This national campaign was launched by a coalition of organizations, like the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Women’s Law Center, and more.
So, if expanding and entrenching equality as the law of the land is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling the Senate to Pass the #EqualityAct to Protect LGBTQ+ Rights, and More via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
The #EqualityAct would win important protections for LGBTQ Americans. That’s why hundreds of organizations, advocates, and individuals have come together to win this fight and pass the #EqualityAct today!— National Women's Law Center (@nwlc) March 25, 2021
Join us now ➡️ https://t.co/jLgnwyOE0u pic.twitter.com/o9gDW261f0
Hundreds of organizations, advocates, and individuals have come together to win this fight and pass the #EqualityAct because they know that it is the best way to ensure equal protections for LGBTQ+ people.— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) March 25, 2021
Join team Equality ➡️ https://t.co/1jyZfI2ih7 pic.twitter.com/NYyqcoY5v7
PasstheEqualityAct.com: *Lobby Day April 21st & #EqualityTime Phone Banking*
Learn about end-the-filibuster pressure campaigns in BOTL Episode #1411
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
What You Need To Know About the Equality Act (Center for American Progress)
Why the Equality Act Is So Important (Rolling Stone)
Beautiful, sacred and powerful: Inside the roller coaster fight for trans kids in Arkansas (Reckon South)
The Roots of Anti-Trans Violence - Report (Transgender Law Center)
This record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation would affect minors the most (CNN)
New poll shows Americans overwhelmingly oppose anti-transgender laws (PBS)
Posted April 16, 2021; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1412: Trans People as Disposable Chess Pieces in a Despicable Political Game
Take Action to #StopAsianHate & Protect APPI Communities via @StopAAPIHate
The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center was launched in March of 2020 in response to the escalation in xenophobia and bigotry toward Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their goal is to track and respond to reported incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning and child bullying.
Additionally, they provide multi-lingual resources, support community-based safety measures and restorative justice efforts, and advocate for local, state, and national policies that reinforce human rights and civil rights protections. This work is done with the understanding that in order to address anti-Asian racism, we must work to end all forms of structural racism against Black, Indigenous and other communities of color.
On their Act Now page, the organization lists a number of resources - including what to do if you are the victim of or witness to an incident of hate - and ways you can get involved to help make lasting change.
- Encouraging those who have experienced or witnessed acts of hate toward the AAPI communities to report an incident at StopAAPIHate.org. The reporting form is available in 11 languages and these reports guide policy development and advocacy.
- Donating to local efforts through the Movement Hub, a platform of 40 US AAPI organizations that advance racial equity and intersectional justice and are all part of the Shared Liberation Network.
- Asking your elected officials what they are doing to increase resources for survivors and their families and for intervention and prevention-based programs, such as anti-racism education in schools and communities.
- Advocating for expanded civil rights protections that would safeguard Asian Americans and others from harassment and discriminatory treatment in private businesses.
- Supporting Ethnic Studies in your local school districts and educational institutions, which teaches the sources of our country’s anti-Asian racism and helps promote racial empathy and solidarity.
- And, of course, supporting local Asian-owned businesses, which have been impacted before the first COVID-19 case was even confirmed in the U.S.
Go to StopAAPIHate.org and click "ACT NOW" for more actions, details, resources, and more.
So, if supporting AAPI communities and ending white supremacy is important to you, be sure to tell everyone you know about Taking Action to #StopAsianHate and Protecting APPI Communities so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Stop AAPI Hate Calls to Action:
Donate to 40 local U.S. AAPI organizations via Movement Hub
Ask your elected officials what they are doing to combat anti-Asian hate
Advocate for expanded civil rights protections safeguarding Asian Americans and others
Support Ethnic Studies in your local school districts and educational institutions
Support local Asian-owned businesses
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
How to stop the dangerous rise in hatred targeted at Asian Americans (USA Today)
Asian Americans Have Been Attacked, Spat On, and Cursed Out. Activists in the Bay Area Are Bracing for More. (Slate)
A Tense Lunar New Year for the Bay Area After Attacks on Asian-Americans (NY Times)
Hundreds of volunteers are escorting elderly Asian Americans to keep them safe (The Hill)
The history of fetishizing Asian women (Vox)
Posted March 31, 2021; Researched and written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1408: Anti-Asian Hate and White Ignorance
Shut Down Detention Centers: Join the #FirstTen to #CommunitiesNotCages Week of Action, March 22-26 via @DetentionWatch
A cage by any other name….is still a freaking cage. It doesn’t matter what you call it or who is in the White House. America’s archaic and inhumane immigration system began decades ago and today is built on a network of 200 barbaric detention centers across the country managed by money-hungry contractors and ICE - an agency with such a vile history of violence, misogyny, neglect and racism, its very existence should be a crime against humanity.
Trump took advantage of this already broken and cruel system and added his own brand of evil. But, until Biden does something bold and transformational to show he’s not okay with the status quo, we are in for more nice-sounding re-namings and shuffling people’s lives around on a spreadsheet.
That’s why the immigrant rights organization Detention Watch Network is planning a week of action March 22nd to 26th to demand the beginning of the end of immigration detention in the United States.
The “First Ten” is the next phase of Detention Watch Network’s “Communities Not Cages” campaign launched in 2018. “First Ten” demands that Biden shut down ten of the most notorious ICE immigration detention facilities in the first year of his administration and end detention contracts. As Detention Watch puts it, “these ten centers are emblematic of how the immigration detention system as a whole is inherently abusive, unjust and fatally flawed beyond repair.”
The ten centers include Irwin County Detention Center in Irwin, Georgia, which recently made headlines due to reports of gynecological procedures performed without informed consent on detained women. That’s in addition to serving meager and often rotten food, as well as hosting a “work program” that exploits the labor of those detained, paying one dollar for a full day of work. Others centers on the list, like Farmville Detention Center in Virginia and Otero County Detention Center in New Mexico, have had the most COVID-19 cases during the pandemic with a well-documented history of inadequate medical care and use of disciplinary solitary confinement.
These facilities cannot stand under any administration. Abolition is the end goal, but the First Ten can and must go now.
Join in the week of action March 22nd to 26th by visiting https://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/take-action/communitiesnotcages (or go to detentionwatchnetwork.org and select the #CommunitiesNotCages campaign in their "Take Action" drop down). If you live near one of the ten facilities, you can email Detention Watch and be connected to local campaigns leading shut down efforts. Everyone else can download the campaign toolkit, share the social media materials and videos, sign the petition, and spread the word on social media using the hashtags #FirstTen and #CommunitiesNotCages. Be sure to follow Detention Watch Network on Twitter @DetentionWatch.
And finally, if you live in Maryland, New Mexico and Washington state, help support the anti-detention legislation that has been introduced in your state this year as a result of the Communities Not Cages campaign. These pieces of legislation prevent new detention centers from being built in your states and prevent renewing existing contracts. Other states, take note.
So, if ensuring the humane treatment of our fellow human beings is important to you, be sure to tell everyone you know about Shut Down Detention Centers: First Ten to Communities Not Cages March 22nd to 26th so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Starting March 22, join the #FirstTen to #CommunitiesNotCages Week of Action to demand the Biden administration shut down all immigration detention centers and end all detention contracts, starting with the #FirstTen facilities.— Detention Watch (DWN) (@DetentionWatch) March 15, 2021
Sign up here: https://t.co/V7ezLgscGK pic.twitter.com/zsUmOPDb34
Join Detention Watch Network's #FirstTen to #CommunitiesNotCages Week of Action - March 22nd-26th
Support anti-detention state legislation in Maryland, New Mexico, & Washington
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE:
‘Like an Experimental Concentration Camp’: Whistleblower Complaint Alleges Mass Hysterectomies at ICE Detention Center (Law & Crime)
“A SILENT PANDEMIC”: Nurse at ICE Facility Blows the Whistle on Coronavirus Dangers (The Intercept)
COVID-19 Outbreak Reported at Otero County Prison Facility (US News & World Report)
New Report Documents Systemic Abuse at a New Mexico Immigrant Detention Center (Innovation Law Lab)
Thousands of immigrants suffer in solitary confinement in U.S. detention centers (NBC News)
Op-Ed: Why abuse and neglect of immigrants proliferate in ICE detention (LA Times)
A Cage is Still a Cage: President Biden Must End U.S. Detention of Children and Families (TIME)
Pass #MedicareforAll Resolutions in Your Communities to Build the National Movement via @PublicCitizen Medicare4AllResolutions.org
Public Citizen, along with partners such as Social Security Works, Democratic Socialists of America, People’s Action, National Nurses United, and many more, have launched Medicare Four All Resolutions: a campaign that aims to build a national Medicare for All groundswell ahead of the 2020 elections through local action.
To do it, they want people across the country to help pass Medicare for All government resolutions in their own towns and cities. This is in addition to any complimentary state single-payer efforts.
This week, October twenty-eighth through November third, is the first campaign week of action, which kicked off with a virtual Town Hall with Representatives Ayana Pressley and Ilhan Omar. To learn how to take action in your town, get tools for local activism, and watch the recording of the virtual Town Hall, head to Medicare4AllResolutions.org.
You may be wondering why the campaign is targeting local governments.
According to Public Citizen, local governments are often on the front lines of dealing with the consequences of our unaffordable and inequitable health system. This means they can play an important role in highlighting the desperate need for shifting to expanded and improved Medicare for All. Local resolutions can shape the public narrative and build political will necessary to support the national movement.
And let’s remember that we know what we are fighting for. The legislation already exists and it is true to the rallying cry for “Improved Medicare for All.” Thanks to the hard work of disability rights activists, both the Jayapal Medicare for All bill in the House and the Sanders version in the Senate now include long-term care services and supports for people with disabilities. The House bill has a record number of 106 original co-sponsors, and the Senate version has 14 original co-sponsors. Now, we need a national conversation in communities across the country to counter disingenuous politicians in both parities, and the media, who are muddying the waters.
Envision the future for a moment: Medicare for All covers everything except elective procedures, puts a 200 dollar annual cap on prescription costs, and would let patients see any doctor they want. The days of premiums, co-pays, deductibles, exorbitant out of pocket costs, physician networks, and fighting for-profit companies to pay for necessary care would be over. Despite new taxes, the vast majority of Americans will pay less for more comprehensive care and would never be denied.
Building a national grassroots movement for Medicare for All leading up to the 2020 elections is critical to making this future a reality. Join the movement today at Medicare4AllResolutions.org.
So, if you believe healthcare is a human right, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Passing #MedicareforAll Resolutions in Your Communities to Build the National Movement via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Pass a local #MedicareforAll Resolution in your town or city!
Watch the Week of Action Town Hall with Reps. Pressley and Omar
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
Nationwide Campaign Urges Cities and Towns to Pass Resolutions Supporting Medicare for All (Common Dreams)
Massachusetts Unions Vote to Vet Presidential Candidates on Medicare for All, Breaking with Labor's Top Brass (The Intercept)
Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pay for Medicare-for-all, explained (Vox)
Ady Barkan: Elizabeth Warren’s Plan Is a Massive Win for the Medicare for All Movement (The Intercept)
Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan, explained (Vox)
Two Leading Economists Say Medicare for All Would Give Workers 'Biggest Take-Home Pay Raise in a Generation' (Common Dreams)
Researchers Detail How Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All While Creating Progressive Foreign Policy Americans Want (Common Dreams)
Posted November 1, 2019; Researched and written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1316: Winning the messaging war for a just, moral health care system
Demand an End to US Concentration Camps #DontLookAway #EndUSConcentrationCamps #Lights4Liberty
Two weeks ago, Congress passed - with bipartisan support - a Senate version of a bill that gives $4.6 billion to the very immigration agencies committing human rights abuses at the border and in detainment centers across the country. This version did not include any of the humanitarian safeguards that many House Democrats demanded in order to support the House version of the bill. Despite this, Speaker Pelosi still brought the toothless Senate version to the House floor where it passed with more Republican support than Democratic.
The only string that remained somewhat attached to that giant pile of money was that members of congress must be allowed to visit and inspect the migrant detention facilities - but only with two days advanced notice. However, that opened the door for a congressional delegation to visit some of these detention centers the following week, bringing back first-hand-account horror stories. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that even in the presence of members of congress, the Customs and Border Patrol officers at the El Paso detention center told detained migrant women asking for water to drink from the toilet. She also said migrant women reported being subjected to what they called “phycological warfare” by being woken up at odd hours for no reason and being called “whores.” Just before the congressional visit, Pro Publica exposed a private Facebook group of over nine thousand current and former Customs and Border Patrol agents which was filled with racist and violent language and photos about immigrants, Hispanic people, and even AOC herself. In response, AOC said, “This isn’t about a few bad eggs. This is a violent culture. How on earth can CBP’s culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?”
On the same trip, Representative Joaquin Castro bucked the bullshit rules and snuck his cell phone in to capture video. A group of women from Cuba agreed to be filmed who had had been sleeping on a concrete floor with no running water in the room for over 50 days. They hadn’t showered in over 15 days, hadn’t received the medication they needed, and some had been separated from their children.
Right now, these accounts are one of the few tools we have to expose the truth about what is going on inside these camps and to demand action and accountability. Call your members of congress today and demand that they visit the detention centers, bring back their first-hand accounts to share publicly, and block any further funding for this state-sanctioned abuse and torture. Remember: seeking asylum is not against the law and the Department of Homeland security has multiple alternatives available to manage asylum seekers besides detaining them. Trump has chosen to manufacture a crisis for political gain at the cost of human life.
Together & Free has published a comprehensive guide outlining all the ways you can help. Read it and choose one or more things to do and enlist friends and family to join you.
And finally, on the heels of the “Close the Camps” rallies across the country last week, this Friday, July 12th, people around the world will be taking part in Lights for Liberty. This action is a global candlelight vigil founded in the belief that all human beings have a right to life, liberty and dignity. Lights for Liberty is sponsored by over 150 international, national, regional, local and community organizations, including Code Pink, Indivisible, and Jewish Voice for Peace. Over six hundred worldwide events are scheduled thus far. You can visit LightsforLiberty.org to find an event near you or register one yourself. Follow the event on Twitter @Lights4Liberty and via the same hashtag, #Lights4Liberty.
So, if treating all humans with care, dignity and respect is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Demanding an End to US Concentration Camps via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Demand your members of congress visit the camps & bare witness with public testimonials
Demand your members of congress withhold further funding unless strict humanitarian safeguards and guardrails are attached
Read Together & Free's guide to how you can help
Attend a Lights for Liberty vigil near you on Friday, July 12th
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE:
Reminder: Trump doesn’t need to keep migrants in detention camps (Vox)
Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes (ProPublica)
House Approves Border Aid, Seeking to Curb Trump’s Crackdown (NY Times)
Rep. Joaquin Castro posts videos purportedly of Texas migrant detention centers (ABC News)
AOC Put a Spotlight on Migrant Detention Conditions. Conservative Media Focused on Her Manners. (NY Magazine)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Claims CBP Officers Told Women to Drink Out of Toilets in Detention Facility (Newsweek)
‘Don’t Talk to Her’: We Toured the Troubled Border Station Housing Migrant Children (NY Times)
Five Takeaways From the Border Aid Vote (NY Times)
AOC Goes to Border, Shares the "Systemic Cruelty" of Migrant Detention Centers (Vanity Fair)
Democrats folded on border bill — now they must demand to see detention centers (Salon)
What The Hell Is Nancy Pelosi Doing? (Huffington Post)
Posted July 9, 2019; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1288:
Demand the Senate Pass the Equality Act & Protect Trans Health Rights
This Pride Month also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. And while Pride is a celebratory time, it continues to be the protest it always was as the Trump administration attacks the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community on multiple fronts.
There was a bright spot in May when the Equality Act passed the House with bipartisan support.
Currently, anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQIA+ community have to be fought for state by state, but 30 states still lack full protection for LGBTQIA+ people.
The Equality Act would expand current federal civil rights law to protect LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in the classroom, in public accommodations, retail stores, transportation, and more.
You can help fight to advance and pass this legislation in the Senate, where it has 46 co-sponsors in addition to Sen. Jeff Merkley who introduced it. The only Republican on that list right now is Susan Collins, while the rest are crying “religious liberty” and have a sudden concern for women’s sports…both of which, of course, would not be impacted by this act.
Call your members of congress today and keep the pressure on by sharing your stories through letters, tweets, and letters to the editor, and by educating your friends and family on the Equality Act so they can fight for it too.
At the same time as the Equality Act is moving through Congress, trans people are still fighting for basic health care rights. The Trump Administration is undermining the ACA’s Health Care Rights Law, which protects people accessing health care from discrimination by providers or insurers. This law is essential for transgender people, as they face dangerous health care discrimination on a regular basis - from being ignored in the examination room to ridicule and lack of care after calling for an ambulance.
To play to their base, Trump and Pence have had the Department of Health and Human Services propose a regulation that says discrimination against transgender people is legal in the name of religious liberty. Specifically, the regulation claims that “gender” or “gender identity” should not be covered under discrimination based on sex. The problem is that they can’t change existing law that easily, so the new regulation only acts to confuse patients, providers and insurers and puts the health of transgender people in jeopardy.
The public comment period for this proposed regulation is open now through August 13th. The Transgender Law Center and the National Center for Transgender Equality have made it easy to make your comment. Go to protecttranshealth.org for more information, commenting tips, and a form to easily submit your comment.
So, if protecting your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, and/or yourself, from bigoted discrimination is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Demand the Senate Pass the Equality Act and Protect Trans Health Rights via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Tell the Senate to Pass the Equality Act
Protect Trans Health: Comment on Trump’s Discriminatory Rule
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
7 maps show the mess LGBT laws are in the USA (USA Today)
The Senate should stand up for all Americans and pass the Equality Act (Rep. Patrick Maloney in The Hill)
A Transgender Anti-Discrimination Law Won't Mark The End Of Women's Sports (The Atlantic, Deadspin)
A History of Federal Non-Discrimination Legislation (93rd - 114th Congress) (Human Rights Campaign)
Why Trump Is Rolling Back LGBTQ Health-Care Protections (The Atlantic)
The Trump Administration Will Allow Health Workers To Refuse Abortion And Sex Reassignment Services (Buzzfeed)
Black Trans Women Are Being Murdered in the Streets. Now the Trump Administration Wants to Turn Us Away From Shelters and Health Care. (ACLU)
Official government page for the new Trump regulation (The Federal Register)
Posted July 2, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1286: The Rise of Christian Nationalism
Defend & Strengthen the Future of Reproductive Justice Beyond Roe v. Wade
We all understand that the latest state legislative assaults on reproductive rights are the final steps of a 40 year, long-game strategy on the right. It’s easy to look at this moment and already feel defeated, but how we choose to respond in this moment will make all the difference.
So, let’s get right down to it.
First, let’s not forget that, for now, abortion is still legal in every state, so throw your energy into protecting those exercising their legal right to this medical procedure.
If you have time to give, consider becoming an abortion clinic escort. Escorts are volunteers who accompany those seeking reproductive care on the walk from their transportation to the clinic, a journey often filled with anti-abortion protestors who hurl shame or aggressively try to make patients question their choice. The National Abortion Federation and the Abortion Care Network have maps to help you find clinics near you. Reach out to clinics where you’d like to volunteer to see what help they need. Escorts not only help provide a supportive environment for patients, but also help de-stigmatize abortion.
There are also organizations working across the country to help people access reproductive care, such as the National Network of Abortion Funds. The Cut has curated a list of these organizations, along with local organizations in states with already extremely limited access to abortion, like Missouri, Kentucky, and Mississippi.
Excerpt from The Cut article "What You Can Do to Help Women in States With Extreme Abortion Bans":
• Access Reproductive Care - Southeast: ARC is a volunteer organization that helps families in 12 states across the southeast access reproductive care.
• National Network of Abortion Funds: NNAF is a network of more than 80 funds in at least 38 states that seeks to eliminate economic barriers for low-income individuals seeking an abortion.
• The Yellowhammer Fund: Based in Alabama, Yellowhammer not only provides funding for abortions at one of the city’s three clinics, but also helps with other barriers to access patients may face, such as travel or lodging. (Yellowhammer is part of NNAF.)
• Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund: Run entirely by volunteers, the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund helps people access abortion, and provides both support and resources to parents.
• Women Have Options: This Ohio-based organization provides financial assistance and support to low-income patients seeking reproductive care, abortion included.
• National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum: NAPAWF is a multi-issue community-organizing and policy-advocacy organization that fights for policy changes that would benefit women, transgender, and non-binary Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
• Gateway Women’s Access Fund: Based in Missouri, Gateway provides both educational and financial support to people in the state who can’t afford the full cost of an abortion.
On a national level, many on the right are practically giddy with anticipation that one of their barbaric state laws will go to the Supreme Court and be upheld. But they don’t seem to be looking beyond the end of Roe. Those on the Left should be.
We can raise the alarm along with solutions that will make the right to reproductive freedom even stronger than Roe v. Wade ever did. Multiple Democratic presidential candidates are behind passing the EACH Women Act, which would prohibit abortion restrictions on private insurance, and an end to the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal dollars from paying for abortion services.
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s multi-point plan to protect choice includes both of these legislative moves plus…
- creating federal, statutory rights that parallel the constitutional right in the Roe v. Wade decision,
- passing laws that preempt state efforts to limit reproductive health care,
- guaranteeing reproductive health care coverage as part of all health coverage, including Medicare for All, and
- ensuring equal access and reproductive justice by providing access to contraception, sex education, maternity care, adequate wages, and more.
Remember that even if you live in a blue state, reproductive rights may still be under threat. So, no sitting on the sidelines.
And finally, we want to emphasize that talking about this issue with family and friends, and sharing your own personal experience with abortion can change hearts and minds. We also encourage you to check out the #YouKnowMe to read other’s stories and share them in your online communities.
So, if protecting quality reproductive health care and justice is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Defending and Strengthening Reproductive Justice Beyond Roe vs. Wade via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
*REMINDER: Abortion is still legal in all 50 states*
Become an abortion clinic escort:
- Find a clinic near you via National Abortion Federation & Abortion Care Network, and ask what help they need.
Support organizations helping people access reproductive care:
Excerpt from The Cut article "What You Can Do to Help Women in States With Extreme Abortion Bans":
- Access Reproductive Care - Southeast: ARC is a volunteer organization that helps families in 12 states across the southeast access reproductive care.
- National Network of Abortion Funds: NNAF is a network of more than 80 funds in at least 38 states that seeks to eliminate economic barriers for low-income individuals seeking an abortion.
- The Yellowhammer Fund: Based in Alabama, Yellowhammer not only provides funding for abortions at one of the city’s three clinics, but also helps with other barriers to access patients may face, such as travel or lodging. (Yellowhammer is part of NNAF.)
- Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund: Run entirely by volunteers, the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund helps people access abortion, and provides both support and resources to parents.
- Women Have Options: This Ohio-based organization provides financial assistance and support to low-income patients seeking reproductive care, abortion included.
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum: NAPAWF is a multi-issue community-organizing and policy-advocacy organization that fights for policy changes that would benefit women, transgender, and non-binary Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
- Gateway Women’s Access Fund: Based in Missouri, Gateway provides both educational and financial support to people in the state who can’t afford the full cost of an abortion.
Push politicians and candidates to support:
Read Sen. Warren's Multi-Point Plan to Protect Choice
Talk to friends and family about this issue, share your story & check out the #YouKnowMe hashtag.
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
What You Can Do to Help Women in States With Extreme Abortion Bans (The Cut)
How to Help Protect Abortion Rights in Alabama and Georgia (The New York Times)
The corporations backing Alabama's war on women (Popular Information)
When life begins and ends (Washington Post)
A woman signed Alabama’s abortion ban into law. We need to talk about that. (Think Progress)
Posted May 31, 2019; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1277: We have entered a new stage of attacks on abortion
Protect Real Reproductive Healthcare: #ProtectX and #EndHyde with the EACH Woman Act
In the latest blow to reproductive justice, over the last few months the Trump Administration has made radical changes to Title X, which is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to providing low-income people with affordable birth control and reproductive health care.
In addition to redirecting federal funds away from actual health care providers and restricting providers from delivering medically accurate and essential information to their patients, the changes could put more than 40% of the more than 4 million Title X patients at risk of losing access to care.
Last month, the administration had announced it would be giving as much as $5.2 million in Title X funds over the next three years to a California organization called Obria Group. It’ll come as no surprise that Obria is a nonprofit crisis pregnancy center funded by allies of the Catholic Church that describes itself as being “led by God” and pro “natural family planning,” with unabashed aims to divert patients and money away from Planned Parenthood.
Of course, that’s also the aim of the Trump administration. In February, the Department of Health and Human Services rushed through a gag rule that blocks Title X funding from going to healthcare providers that perform abortions or give their patients referrals to get abortions elsewhere. This is a work around to disqualify Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding, even though the Hyde Amendment already prevents federal dollars from being used for abortions.
Since Planned Parenthood serves 41% of the 4 million people who rely on Title X for reproductive health care, most of whom are people of color under 30 years old, more than a million and a half people would lose reproductive care. A lawsuit has already been filed by Planned Parenthood. California, and a coalition of 21 states including D.C., are also suing the administration over the Title X changes.
Like many other issues, people of color and those in poverty will be disproportionately and negatively impacted by these new restrictions. The left needs to get collectively louder about the damage being done and there are a few ways you can help amplify that message:
- First and foremost, call and write your members of congress to tell them to support the EACH Woman Act, which aims to end the Hyde Amendment’s blockade on federal funds going toward abortion costs. After first introducing the Act in the House in 2015, Congressional Pro Choice Caucus cochair Barbara Lee re-introduced it in March. The Senate version is being led by Senators Tammy Duckworth, Mazie Hirono, Patty Murray and Kamala Harris.
In an interview, Senator Duckworth said, “…we should all agree that what’s legal for a wealthy American shouldn’t be illegal or inaccessible for a poor American or a person of color—and that’s what this bill is about: fairness, equality, and equal opportunity.”
- Title X has also been at the mercy of funding cuts. Nearly every state has experienced federal funding cuts to the Title X family planning program since 2010. So, we also encourage you to check out NationalFamilyPlanning.org’s interactive map to find out how Title X impacts your state and share this important data and information with your networks.
- You can also help amplify the benefits of Title X by downloading the “Save Title X” graphics created by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and sharing them on social media. If you happen to be a physician, check out the other actions this organization encourages you to take.
This conversation is also happening on Twitter with the hashtag #ProtectX if you’d like to learn more or engage.
So, if protecting quality reproductive health care and justice is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Protecting Title Ten via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Call & write your members of congress to tell them to support the EACH Woman Act via Center for Reproductive Rights
Explore & share this NationalFamilyPlanning.org’s interactive map on Title X data and impact by state
Download & share the “Save Title X” graphics created by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Share this video from Planned Parenthood on Protecting Title X
Learn more about how Title X changes impact care at istandwithpp.org/no-gag-rule
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
Trump administration awards $1.7 million family planning grant to anti-abortion group (USA Today)
Trump Administration Gives Family Planning Grant to Anti-Abortion Group (New York Times)
California sues Trump administration over rules restricting abortion access (LA Times)
Radical Attempts to Ban Abortion Dominate State Policy Trends in the First Quarter of 2019 (Guttmacher Institute)
Senators Introduce Legislation to Finally Repeal the Hyde Amendment and End Wide-Ranging Federal Abortion-Funding Ban (Vogue)
Supreme Court Sides With California Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers (NPR, June 2018)
Posted April 5, 2019; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1262: Waiting for the Roe to drop (Reproductive Justice)
Join Your Local Single-Payer Advocacy Group via @HCNow
It’s been 9 months since Bernie Sanders - flanked by a dozen Democrats - officially announced his Medicare for All bill. Though numerous political fires are all raging at once these days, the single-payer movement is alive and well and still building steam.
Last week, medical professionals, politicians, activists and leaders of the Medicare for All movement held their annual Single-Payer Strategy Conference in Minnesota. The conference, jointly sponsored by the Labor Campaign for Single Payer and Healthcare NOW!, aimed to construct a national campaign to make Medicare for All a reality by building momentum through the 2020 elections.
If you’re interested, you can watch some of the conference on the Social Security Works Facebook page via their posts from June twenty second to the twenty-forth.
Although this conference helped shape the launch of a national campaign, that campaign will be executed on the ground locally. And that means you can help by taking the time now to get engaged with your local organizations fighting for single-payer.
Go to Healthcare-now.org and click “Join a local action group” under the Action tab. There you will find a state-by-state list of local organizations working for single-payer healthcare across the country. You may even find that your state is in need of a local advocacy group, in which case, consider being the founding member. We are going to need 50 state coverage to win this.
And, of course, continue to put pressure on members of congress to sign on as co-sponsors to the Medicare for All Act in the House and Senate. If they haven’t seen the writing on the wall yet, come the midterms this November they certainly will.
So, if making Medicare for All a reality as soon as possible is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Joining Your Local Single-Payer Advocacy Group via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Honored to give the keynote speech @HCNow to a bunch of activists/heroes fighting for the *only* solution that will guarantee access to health care and bring down costs to what the rest of the developed world pays: #SinglePayer #Medicare4All pic.twitter.com/HW0sCRYE1V— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) June 25, 2018
Find & Join your Local Single-Payer Advocacy Group via Healthcare NOW!
CALL/WRITE/TWEET your members of congress to push them to publicly support the Medicare for All Act before the Midterms:
The Midterm Elections and Medicare For All (Healthcare NOW!)
Is Medicare-for-all a winning message for midterm elections? DSCC chairman weighs in (CBS)
Why So Many Democrats Are Embracing Single-Payer Health Care (The Atlantic)
"Medicare for All" is a winner in Democratic primaries (Axios)
Single-Payer Health Care Is The Key To Democratic Victory In 2018 (WBUR)
Posted June 26, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1192: Fighting for Single Payer and against our neoliberal health system
Tell Congress to END Family Separation #FamiliesBelongTogether via @womenbelong
First they came for the immigrants…
The news that children of asylum seekers are being forcibly taken away from their parents by ICE and Border Patrol and then kept in warehouse-style detainment centers around the country sparked an immediate outcry and public demonstrations.
Leading that movement is We Belong Together, a coalition of human rights, civil rights, immigrant rights and women’s rights organizations, which held demonstrations in early June under the banner “Families Belong Together.” They are calling for the end of Trump’s family separation policy and to defund Border Patrol and ICE, and you can find their petition, sharable graphics and protest posters for download at familiesbelongtogether.org.
We now know a little bit more about the treatment of these immigrants. After Senator Jeff Merkely's visit to a facility in Texas, he described children in “dog kennel-style cages, people crowded in with nothing but a space blanket.” Representative Pramila Jayapal met with immigrant women at a federal prison facility in Seattle whose children were taken away at the southern border. They described how agents used excuses, like a photograph or bath, to calmly take their child away. But the child was never returned. Some could hear their children screaming for them from the next room. The mothers are being prosecuted in criminal courts, not immigration courts, before they’ve had their asylum hearings. Many plead guilty to border crossing not fully aware that they now have a criminal record, disqualifying them for asylum - which is, of course, the whole idea.
While we’ve heard crickets from Republicans, Democrats do seem to be mobilizing quickly. Representative Jayapal is leading 108 of her fellow Representatives to demand that Congress stop Department of Homeland Security budget funds from being used for separation practices. In the Senate, California Senator Diane Feinstein and 31 other Senators have introduced the “Keep Families Together Act,” which prohibits any agency form separating children from families, unless it is a case of abuse, trafficking, or neglect. The bill was developed with input from child welfare experts and it’s sponsored by organizations including the Children’s Law Center, the Young Center for Immigrant Rights, and Kids in Need of Defense. That also happens to be a short list of organizations that could really use your financial support right now as they hire lawyers and counselors to help these detained children and reunite them with their families.
In the House, Representative Lucile Royal-Allard of California has introduced two different bills. The first is the renewed Help Separated Families Act of 2018, which aims to protect the parental rights of all immigrant parents, no matter their status, and ensures they have the right resources to try to place their children with family members or other caretakers while they are detained. The second bill is the HELP Separated Children Act, which aims to give certain legal protections to immigrant children separated from their families, allowing detained parents to participate in the family court system and ensuring that parents and children can still visit and contact each other while the parent is detained.
So, call your members of congress today to throw your support behind these bills. And of course, if you live in a red state, your persistent calls, emails, tweets, etcetera, are all the more important.
If keeping families together and protecting basic human rights is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Congress to END Family Separation via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Since October, Trump has separated more than 1300 immigrant children from their parents. Come out this Thursday June 14 to say #FamiliesBelongTogether! Find an event close to you: https://t.co/6GPoqsOAjy @familiesbelong pic.twitter.com/xzic9TZulF— We Belong Together (@WomenBelong) June 12, 2018
Get involved with familiesbelongtogether.org & follow @womenbelong
Tell Congress to #AbolishICE & pass:
Help Separated Families Act of 2018
Give to organizations like:
The Young Center for Immigrant Rights
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Democrats are trying to stop Trump from separating families at the border (Vox)
Rep. Pramila Jayapal—‘They Could Hear Their Children Screaming for Them in the Next Room’ (The Nation)
Keep Families Together Act (Feinstein.senate.gov)
Feinstein bill would prohibit family separations at US-Mexico border (ThinkProgress)
Sessions Says Domestic and Gang Violence Are Not Grounds for Asylum (NY Times)
Posted June 12, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1189: Our dehumanizing, traumatizing, child-abusing immigration system