Our rights, our fight
If you are reading this, the expected has happened.
Federal protection for abortion rights in the United States is over. For now.
In a 213-page decision, Justice Alito wrote an opinion that overturned long held precedents of both Roe and Casey that safeguarded our right to privacy and abortion, saying that the Constitution does not mention abortion and therefore does not protect it.
Fifty years of right-wing legislative and judicial activism and Democrats’ inaction have succeeded in stripping away protections for a fundamental human right. It isn’t the first time that conservatives have dragged Americans into their dismal world governed by willful ignorance, bigotry and corporate theocracy. Nor will it be the last. So, feel your feelings — as loud as you can, for as long as necessary. Then get focused. The future needs you.
As abortion is now banned or illegal in about half the states, we must keep top of mind that people with means will always have access to abortion and won’t be criminalized for it. And people who already face discriminatory obstacles to health care will face a devastating price, particularly Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, undocumented people, and those who can’t make ends meet.
We need strong, smart, creative organizers and communicators who can lead the fight at every level of government and in every community – writers and artists who can continue to create a culture where our rights are sacred and taking them away is unthinkable.
We know that this is only the beginning. The far-right wants total control over everyone who doesn’t look, think and love like them. They’re already criminalizing the words teachers can say, the history we teach, how we protest, the way we parent our children – even if we can drink water while we wait to vote. They will attempt to dismantle every civil and human right we have counted on: marriage equality, the right to birth control, the right to clean air and water, the right to unionize, vote, assemble, choose our own religious beliefs and to speak out.
Let’s make these rollbacks temporary by creating a society where we expand our rights and protect each other. One where the right to bodily autonomy, privacy and sexual and reproductive health not only exists, but is the floor and not the ceiling. One where we don’t have to be afraid if our needs are outside what is "deeply rooted in history and tradition," to quote Justice Alito.
Spitfire commits to the fight. From the first day we opened our doors, Spitfire has stood on the side of expansive human rights. We are not wavering now.
Ensure that all Spitfire staff have access to insurance coverage that guarantees contraception and abortion services;
If necessary, provide paid time off and resources for staff and their families who live in anti-abortion states to access the services they need;
Support staff who are having or assisting others with access to abortion and comprehensive reproductive health services;
Increase our pro-bono fund for strategic communication services to Black-led reproductive justice organizations, and;
Use our voice, and encourage our clients to do the same, to prevent the further elimination of civil rights and restore legal abortion for everyone in the U.S.
Decide what you and your organization will do to build long-term, deep, civic and cultural support for the political will required to right this horrendous, inhumane decision.
Start by finding your center. What are you feeling? What can you do? Where do you want your energy to go? What can you commit to? You might not know. Take a moment. Read this poem by Judy Brown. It reminds us that when we get hit by a wave, if we panic, we go under. But if we wait for a moment, the wave brings us back from its low point to its top, and we will know which way to swim. Some suggestions on where to paddle:
Create messages that encourage and inspire your community to stop rollbacks and restore rights.
You may decide that you need to make a public statement, or it might only be an internal message to staff, volunteers and funders. Spitfire has created guidance for both. Find those here. Most important of all, in the middle of the terrible, traumatic events happening, keep providing hope. Hope leads to action. Hope is action. In your statement, tell people what concrete steps you and your group are committed to taking.
Make sure your staff are taken care of. Check in with everyone. Bring people together just to share where we are. The temptation is to go straight to solutions. There will be time for that. We need to exhale, listen to each other, support each other and feel the moment. Review your health coverage. How will the decision impact staff and their families? What are the likely local restrictions they will face? How will you and your organization be able to support them? What are the questions they will likely have? We have some resource links for you. This decision and the cascading consequences may change your organizational or staff priorities. Be prepared.
Create and support campaigns that focus on restoring and preventing the complete erosion of civil rights in your state. If you are an advocacy organization, you already know how to do this. If not, here’s a campaign planning tool for you. You should contact and join the campaigns of advocates and reproductive healthcare providers in your state and across the country who are fighting back while continuing to provide essential family planning care and education, including abortion and contraception. Small, local, community-based, and BIPOC-lead organizations will require the most help and may have different needs and concerns than you expect. If you don’t know them, do that now.
Get elected officials on the record that reproductive justice is important and a right that cannot be denied. This is a political fight. Make no mistake. Get clear and comfortable on your 501(c)(3) limits. You may already have a (c)(4) or other structure. Put it into action. Educate your staff, board, volunteers, funders and communities on how this decision impacts your work and what they can do to restore civil and reproductive rights. Build your relationships with policymakers and their staff. Be clear where you stand and what you expect of them.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow reminds us that "There is no finality in the battle for civil rights. Wins don’t stay won. They must be defended and can sometimes be reversed."
In the same way, rollbacks are also temporary. Fight on the side of our rights and reverse this despicable ruling. Since our start 20 years ago, Spitfire has created free communication tools and provided strategic services to expand a progressive world that ensures all people are free to live healthy, open, happy lives. Give up? Hell, no. We are fired up to get the U.S. on the right side of human rightsThis entry was posted on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 07:48 am and is filed under Crisis communication and Opposition containment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Founder and Strategist