THE ACTIVIST CARTEL
a written challenge to a duel
ACTION LETTER #15: June 1st, 2017
Dear Activist Cartel,
Last week, I had the great honor of telling Gloria Steinem about The Activist Cartel, and her support encouraged new energy and resilience. Sometimes when I have moments of exhaustion or annoyance over calling a Senator, I think about Gloria's decades of activism, during times when there was no internet or a phone app to help. These aren't easy times, but they are certainly easier times to take action. I hope Gloria's hard work can inspire us to suck it up and send off an email that takes 1 minute.
I know so much is happening right now, but with many activism groups focused on the Russia investigation, I don't want to lose site of the massive threats to women's healthcare.
According to leaked documents yesterday morning, the administration plans to allow any employer to deny birth control coverage to its employee. Currently, employers (like Hobby Lobby) can obtain religious exemptions, and now with this new plan, any business would be able to obtain an exemption. This would significantly increase individual costs and change the life of 1 in 3 women who cannot afford to pay for contraception out-of-pocket. Due to recent increased coverage and accessibility, unintended pregnancies—and abortion rates—are at historic lows. Teen pregnancy rates have declined to the lowest level in 40 years. However, all of that can change with the GOP's healthcare plan and destruction of the Title X Family Planning program.
WHAT IS TITLE X FAMILY PLANNING?
It is the nation's only dedicated source for low income women to receive birth control, exams, cancer screenings, and STI treatment. In 2013, Title X's birth control services helped women avert 1 million unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 501,000 unplanned births and 345,000 abortions. You can learn more here, or this infographic sums it up beautifully.
HOW IS TITLE X THREATENED RIGHT NOW?
In addition to defunding Planned Parenthood with Trumpcare, the GOP recently made it legal to prohibit Title X funding to health centers that provide abortions, even though the funding only goes toward family planning services, not abortion services. As I've said before, 21% of the counties with a PP health center have no other safety-net provider available for low-income patients. By taking away Title X funding protections from these communities, it is a fact that unintended pregnancies will dramatically increase. Furthermore, Trump just appointed Teresa Manning, a person who denies the effectiveness of birth control, to oversee Title X Family Planning grants. Basically, the administration's anti-abortion crusade is now moving to prevent critical birth control services in a way that will ultimately and ironically create more and potentially riskier abortions.
1.) Contact the White House:
--Send an email- At this point, you can write about anything from the Paris Climate Agreement to losing birth control coverage. I just want you to have this contact info and use it regularly. What is the only thing that guarantees failure? Not trying. Not speaking up.
--Call and leave a comment: 202-456-1111
2.) Contact Secretary of Health Tom Price: Ask for birth control coverage and Title X funding protections.
--His email is Secretary@HHS.gov: Here is a sample message, however it's best to personalize it. Even a few simple sentences will be good:
Dear Secretary Price,
I'm writing in hopes that you will protect birth control coverage by requiring all employers to cover this preventative healthcare necessity. Additionally, I hope you'll support Title X funding for all health centers regardless if they offer abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the easiest and best Title X center in my community. By restricting affordable and accessible contraceptive care, you will be increasing abortions.
3.) Educate yourself and others on Title X and share this infographic on social media:
--There's a good chance that you've never heard of Title X? The beginning of this email is a little longer than usual because this information is not widely known enough. Let's get the word out before it's gone.
4.) March for Truth, this Saturday, June 3rd: Why are we marching?
--Find your local march.
People ask me all the time if they can share these emails with friends. The answer is yes! I feel like I've mentioned it before, but please know that people can subscribe on The Activist Cartel website, and the more you share, the bigger and more effective we'll become!
Thank you for all of the support!