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The GOP is counting on a quiet recess in their home districts. That’s where you come in.

It's real, folks. The House passed the bill to "defund" Planned Parenthood and devastate our health care. By a razor-thin margin of 217 to 213, they voted to axe it all. Birth control. Cancer screenings. Our last chance is to stop the bill in the Senate. I don’t need to tell you that there’s a lot at stake. But women's health advocates know that standing up and speaking out can change the direction of government. Now, Congress is on recess for Memorial Day, and your members of Congress are likely at home in your district.

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Why Congressional Recess Matters

When members of Congress go home, they have to answer for their positions on women’s health and rights at their town halls, public appearances, and even at the corner store. It’s important they hear from Planned Parenthood supporters during the recess so they get the message that their constituents will hold them accountable, will not tolerate attacks on Planned Parenthood — and won't back down.

5 Ways You Can Advocate for Reproductive Rights This Recess

Here are the top five ways you can drive the #IStandWithPP message home while your members of Congress are nearby. (Wondering what, exactly, to say? See our “What to Tell your Member of Congress” section below.)

1. Attend Your Senators’ and Representatives’ Events

Attending your lawmakers’ town halls or public events lets you advocate for reproductive rights during recess face-to-face with them and fellow constituents.

2. Meet Your Member of Congress

It’s entirely possible that your member of Congress won’t be holding any public events during the recess. You can still request an in-district meeting with your congressperson by reaching out to a scheduler. In your meeting, let them know that you won’t stand for attacks on women’s health.

3. Call Your Member of Congress

If you can’t make it in person, call your congressperson or senator on the phone. You can find each lawmaker’s phone number on their official website. If you aren’t able to actually speak with them directly, it’s still helpful to speak with staffer or leave a message.

4. Write a Letter to the Editor

While your Member of Congress is on recess, they are certainly reading your local newspaper. Submitting a letter to the editor is a powerful way to get on their radar and send the message that you won’t stand for attacks on women’s health. Use our step-by-step guide to submitting a letter to the editor.

5. Attend or Host Your Own Pro-Planned Parenthood Event

Some Republican lawmakers may not be holding hearings on the impact of their repeal bill, but Planned Parenthood patients, providers, and public health experts will offer testimonies about what the ACA repeal and efforts to block patients from going to Planned Parenthood for preventive care would mean to them. Elected officials will host women’s health field hearings in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tucson, and Las Vegas tomorrow through the Congressional Memorial Day recess  to hear from people who will be impacted by the ACA repeal and its “defunding” of Planned Parenthood.

What to Tell Your Member of Congress

Once you’re at a town hall, dialing up your member of Congress, or ready to write your letter, you may be wondering exactly what to say in order to advocate for reproductive rights. We’ve got you covered! Use these ideas and talking points.

Share a personal story.

Has Planned Parenthood helped you or someone you care about? Sharing your personal story is an impactful way to illustrate the importance of protecting Planned Parenthood.

Talk about the importance of rejecting any legislation that threatens women’s health care.

Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood and the health care it provides. One of the latest polls shows that 75% of Americans support Planned Parenthood.

If anti-abortion politicians succeed in cutting patients off from care, millions of people could be left without access to birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and other essential health care. Many of them will have nowhere else to go for the health care they need. Tell your lawmakers that any effort to “defund” Planned Parenthood and prohibit  patients who rely on Medicaid from care at its health centers is not acceptable.

Talk about protecting the Affordable Care Act, including the birth control benefit.

Before Obamacare became law, many women had to pay out-of-pocket for basic preventive health care like cancer screenings, Pap tests, and birth control — costing them hundreds of dollars a year or more. Furthermore, before the ACA’s birth control benefit went into effect, contraception accounted for 30% to 44% of women’s out-of-pocket health care costs. Preserving this benefit improves lives.

Talk about how Trump has targeted women since his first day in office,

Even early into the administration, it’s clear that women are worse off under this president and this Congress. In less than 100 days, the Trump administration and Congress have waged a slew of political attacks on women’s health, including expanding the global gag rule, trying to gut maternity care coverage, eliminating funding for UNFPA, and outrageous attempts to block patients from care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

Say Thank You

If your lawmaker has been a champion of women’s health, recess is a great time to thank them for advocating for doing what’s right. By thanking women’s health champions for their efforts, you’ll help energize them for our fights ahead.  

Tags: Abortion, Obamacare, Donald Trump, ACA, Defund, AHCA, Trumpcare, town halls

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