Difference between revisions of "This Door Stays Open: A Community Action Guide"
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(Created page with "<pre> National Abortion Federation Washington, D.C. Abortion is a part of good reproductive health care. By providing this service, health practitioners who perform aborti...")
Latest revision as of 13:42, 29 July 2020
National Abortion Federation Washington, D.C. Abortion is a part of good reproductive health care. By providing this service, health practitioners who perform abortions have contributed to the improvement of the health of women and children in this country. What can you do to support abortion providers in your community and protect access to reproductive health care? Plenty and here are some ideas to get you started: Supporting Providers 1. Wear a "This Door Stays Open" Button all the time! Put it on when you go shopping, when you're on public transportation, when you go out to eat. You'll get lots of questions "What door? Why should it stay open?" These are opportunities to get more people involved! (Carry a few extra buttons with you.) 2. Ask your local abortion provider what you can do to help. Some possibilities: Volunteer as a patient escort when clinics have blockades or picketers. Sponsor a "clinic watch" program if you live near a clinic or drive by one regularly, make a point of scanning for anything or anyone unusual on the premises, especially late at night. You can even set up a schedule if enough people are interested and the clinic agrees. Offer your professional services pro bono legal work, accounting, graphic design, or other skills. Provide transportation for patients or staff, especially in bad weather. Host a fundraiser many clinics have funds to help women who cannot afford to pay for abortion or birth control, and these funds are usually stretched to the limit. Organize a neighborhood or city "clinic support" group and plan activities. For example, if a nearby provider is being personally harassed, sponsor a block party for their family. When the picketers arrive, the neighbors will all be out on their lawns, socializing, having a potluck meal, and displaying signs that say "Friends of Dr. ," or "We support Dr. ." 3. Correspond with the clinic regularly. Send the staff holiday cards, and write notes of encouragement and concern if you hear of an incident of blockading or vandalism. A positive letter from a supportive neighbor will brighten the day for the entire staff. Involving Other Physicians and the Medical Community 4. Ask your own family physician or OB/GYN if he or she performs abortions. If the answer is yes, refer friends to this physician and back him or her all the way! If the answer is no, ask why not. Ask if they support the abortion providers in the area and would consider working with them. If your physician is anti-choice, change doctors! 5. If there is a medical school in or near your community, find out if their program includes abortion training. If not, submit a proposal that they add this training. Ask if the medical school's residency program includes a rotation with a local abortion provider. Again, if it does not, demand that it be added. Abortion is one of the most common types of gynecological surgery, and it must be taught universally in medical schools and residency programs. 6. Do you know a retired doctor who remembers the days when abortions were illegal? Ask him or her to speak out about those experiences and share the understanding of why we must protect access to safe, legal abortion. 7. Find out if your local hospital provides abortions. If they do, send supportive letters to the hospital board. If not, organize a petition drive asking the hospital to add abortion services. Work in Civic, Religious and Professional Groups 8. Join local civic organizations where you can make a difference on this issue. Get involved with the PTA, the school board, the hospital committee, and other educational, medical, and public service groups. 9. Involve your professional, philanthropic, educational, religious, or other community group. Do you belong to an organization such as the Jaycees, Kiwanis, the library association, the downtown merchants' association, or a church council? Ask if you can plan a program for one of your group's meetings, and invite a provider to speak as part of the program. 10. Ask your minister, pastor, rabbi or other clergy to speak out during worship and condemn violence and intimidation directed against providers. 11. Go to city council or neighborhood committee meetings, and get on the agenda! Prepare a brief statement calling on the city or your neighborhood to get involved in supporting abortion providers. 12. Ask local and national organizations to which you belong to adopt an official pro-choice position, if they don't have one already. 13. If you are a lawyer, and you don't belong to the American Bar Association, join! Be sure to tell them that one of the reasons you are joining is because the ABA has readopted its official pro-choice position. Letters and Lobbying 14. Write a letter to the editor or op-ed page for your local newspaper. Talk specifically about the services of abortion providers, their importance, and how urgent it is that your community stand together against harassment and terrorism. (Be sure to share copies of these and other letters with your providers.) 15. Write to all your community leaders, asking that they advocate strict penalties against those who blockade, vandalize, and terrorize abortion facilities and their staffs. Write to and follow up with your mayor, city council, city, district and state's attorneys, local judges, and chief of police. 16. Encourage city officials to adopt a resolution or policy statement stating the city's pro-choice position, and declaring that the city welcomes abortion and reproductive health care facilities as part of the community. 17. Find out if your state has an anti-stalking law, and if so, if the state's attorney general has an opinion on whether the law applies to those who stalk abortion providers. Lobby your governor and state legislators for such laws. 18. Write to companies with which you do business, and ask their position on choice. If they have a corporate giving program (most large companies do), ask if they give to Planned Parenthood or other reproductive health service organizations. Explain why every corporate giving program should support abortion services and reproductive health care. Do not do business with companies whose policies are anti-choice. Media Advocacy 19. Call in to community talk radio shows or national call-in programs such as C-SPAN, and speak out against clinic blockades and antiabortion violence. 20. Ask your local radio or television stations to air programs on the need for accessible abortion services, and the threat posed by antiabortion militants. One good film to suggest is Dorothy Fadiman's "When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories." You can find out more about this Academy Award- nominated documentary by calling (415) 321-5590, or writing Concentric Media, 1070 Colby Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025. What Doctors Can Do 21. If you're a physician and have not been trained in abortion practice, find out if a local facility offers a training rotation. 22. Support colleagues who perform abortions. If a colleague in your medical building or hospital is being harassed or picketed, work with other physicians to lend your personal and professional support. 23. If you are a medical student or resident and your program does not offer abortion instruction and training, organize a student movement to demand that it be added to the curriculum. Hold petition drives and speak-outs. If You've Had an Abortion 24. Claim the experience. Share it with friends and help to combat the idea that having an abortion is a shameful or secret experience. You made a choice that was right for you, and you should not have to hide. 25. Keep in touch with your provider. Over forty percent of American women will have an abortion at some time in their lives. You are a powerful force. If you want other women to have the same good care you had, write or call your provider on occasion and ask how you can stay involved. Pass It On and Keep It Going 26. Share this list with friends and brainstorm new ideas! Please write to NAF and tell us of your efforts. If one of the suggestions on this list pays off, let us know. If you're inspired to create a new project, tell us about it! Abortion is safe and legal in America. We must work to make sure it remains accessible and that women who seek abortions and the professionals who provide them are not harassed, intimidated or terrorized. You can make a difference, and you must. Get started!