a written challenge to a duel 

ACTION LETTER #28: July 8th, 2018

--Reproductive Rights--

​Dear Activist Cartel, 
Justice Anthony Kennedy has been widely known as the Supreme Court swing vote in support of reproductive rights, so yes, his retirement is highly alarming. If you are "going numb" to the news onslaught, please keep in mind that silence and "numbness" is a luxury. I encourage you to read, 
It's All too Much, and We Still Have to Care. It wisely reminds us:

"Going numb" is the gateway drug to acceptance.

I'm asking everyone to speak out louder than ever before, specifically men, because this affects you too, and we need male allies to counter the very vocal men speaking against reproductive rights. They're organized and already have legal cases in the pipeline that are intended to challenge Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

This new domestic "gag rule" will prohibit federal 
Title X funding to go to any health care provider who offers or refers patients to abortion care. It will "gag" doctors from discussing the safe and legal medical procedure of abortion. Keep in mind that zero federal tax dollars go to fund abortions, which is already restricted by the Hyde Amendment. This Title X funding does NOT cover abortions, but rather covers family planning services like STD & HIV screenings, cancer screenings, and BIRTH CONTROL. 
So let me spell this out:

Easy access to birth control is the #1 way to prevent unintended pregnancies 
--> This gag rule will devastate low income women's access to birth control. 
--> Consequently, this rule will increase unintended pregnancies.

This rule politicizes abortion to the point of potentially causing way more abortions. To add to the stress, the rule will shut down access to health care providers like Planned Parenthood where 1/3 of Title X patients receive their birth control. In 20% of the counties where Planned Parenthood operates, 
there are no other health care providers who serve Title X patients. Title X covers 4 million people, 64% of which live below the poverty level. Read this article for more data and ramifications.

There is still time to speak out against the rule until JULY 31st. The thing that strikes me the most about The Handmaid's Tale is how the flashbacks show the slow process by which women start losing their rights. By swallowing changes in increments, the unacceptable gradually becomes acceptable. Many people feel like the gag rule is unconstitutional, and perhaps it is, but by the time it goes to the Supreme Court, Trump will most likely have enough judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, and it's way too late. And you'll look back on this moment, asking yourself, "Did I do anything to stop this when I could?"


1.) Officially Comment on the Gag Rule, DEADLINE July 31st: 
Click Here for The Dept. of Health & Human Services Request for Public Comment. This website is a very under-utilized area of activism. It requires agencies that don't have elected representatives to solicit public comment for a brief time before moving forward. 
--On the right-hand column, please read some posted comments, so that you can see the strength and organization of the anti-abortion movement. In a largely uninformed manner, they are speaking up very loudly on this rule, and we must counteract it. 
--Simply click the upper right, “Comment Now!” button. It's best to use your own words, but for scripts, you can use my talking points above, or copy/paste from these next links:

2.) Comment through... 
--Planned Parenthood's 
commenting link and script
--Center for Reproductive Rights's 
commenting link and script.

3.) Call the Dept. of Health and Human Services: 
(202) 205-5445 
--It's an easy, voicemail comment line. You won't be speaking with someone directly, so it's easy to recite one of the above scripts or simply say your name, location, and that you oppose the domestic gag rule for Title X funding.

4.) Call your Senator to oppose any extreme SCOTUS nomination who could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. 
--Use the 
5Calls phone script that gets specific for several Senators and each political party. 
--In addition to the House, we must also put focus on flipping the Senate in November, since Senators confirm SCOTUS nominations. There's a good chance that Justice Clarence Thomas will retire under Trump as well. Nevada, Arizona, and Tennessee have become new target states for flipping the Senate.

5.) Post on social media while there is still time to comment on the rule. 
Here is my own Tweet that has gotten some good exposure. You can retweet it or use it as an example. 
​--Share this Activist Cartel letter by copy/pasting this link:

However things turn out, I don't want to feel regret for not speaking up. 
"We lose only when we get quiet."