There’s a lot at stake for reproductive freedom in the 2016 election. That’s why the Planned Parenthood Action Fund spent the last two months asking our supporters and volunteers what matters most to them, and what issues we should be fighting our very hardest on. Their answers are what will drive Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s involvement in the upcoming 2016 elections.
Action Forum participants in Orlando, FL
Participants in Orlando, FL, voted for their top issues with stickers.
We Heard You. Here’s How We Did It.
To build a strong, diverse movement inclusive of Planned Parenthood health centers’ patient base, Planned Parenthood Action Fund engaged hundreds of reproductive health advocates. We got feedback from over 800 people in 50 Planned Parenthood Action Forum member events and over 6,500 people online about what they’d most like to see Planned Parenthood Action Fund (and presidential candidates) fight for in this election.
- We talked with Latinx voters in Las Vegas who stressed the importance of ensuring that all people, regardless of immigration status, receive quality and affordable reproductive health care.
We heard from folks in Idaho, Alaska, and Washington state on the need for elected officials to support — and Planned Parenthood health centers to provide — reproductive healthcare in rural communities.
In North Carolina and New Orleans, we got the word from our youth activists — who are part of Planned Parenthood Generation Action — on the importance of fighting campus sexual assault.
And on Twitter, we talked about whose voices should be at the forefront when decisions are made: young people, people of color, LGBTQ people, women — everyone who will be impacted by the decisions.
Action Forum Participants at North Carolina State University
Participants at the Planned Parenthood Generation Action Action Forum in North Carolina led a powerful chant!
Week by week, we heard from teachers and college professors, LGBTQ community leaders, youth activists, faith leaders, recent immigrants, and longtime volunteers. In Nevada, a promotora (Latinx community health educator) even recruited her car mechanic to be part of the abortion discussion group at the Las Vegas Action Forum — that’s the type of power we’re building!
To get a better sense of the values and needs of our people, check out what these participants said:
“I’ve been fighting for a GSA (gay straight alliance) at my high school for three years and I’ve stood in front of our school board 17 times to make it happen. I don’t want any student to have to go through that to feel accepted as a person or in the classroom. We need comprehensive and inclusive sex education, as well as safe spaces for all.”
— New Hampshire Action Forum participant
“I really enjoyed the forum! My 1st time in a meeting with Planned Parenthood, and I was blown away with how much my voice as a young person was valued and included!”
—North Carolina Action Forum participant
"This was a wonderful event! Thank you for allowing me to share my opinions. Let’s do this every year!"
—Florida Action Forum participant
Las Vegas, NV, Action Forum participants
The full group of participants in Las Vegas, NV
The reproductive health advocates and voters who support Planned Parenthood shared several strong, core values, including:
- Inclusivity and intersectionality in everything Planned Parenthood does — especially the connection to racial justice, economic justice, immigration reform, transportation and other issues that directly impact our supporters’ and patients’ lives.
- Ending abortion stigma, and taking a bold and proactive stance in fighting to expand access to abortion care
- Access to reproductive health care in safe and secure environments, free from violence, harassment and intimidation
- Sex Education that is comprehensive, inclusive, medically accurate, and emphasizes consent.
Small group break-out discussions in Little Rock, AR
In addition to expressing their values, participants in the Action Forum survey and events cited laws and policies that they care about:
Guidelines and policies for sex education K-12, as well as opportunities for lifelong learning about sexuality and sexual health.
Affirmative consent legislation (i.e., “yes means yes” laws)
Medicaid expansion in states that are rejecting it and withholding access to affordable care to hardworking individuals and families
Repealing the Hyde Amendment so that all women have access to safe, legal abortion regardless of their income, employer, or zip code.
Protecting access to safe and legal abortion by defeating bad laws, such as:
Targeted restrictions against abortion providers (TRAP) that place unreasonable requirements on health care centers, slowly erode access to abortion, have nothing to do with improving the health or safety of women — and have everything to do with politics
Barriers and bans on telemedicine — a safe and effective method for providing medication abortion that incorporates video conferencing and in-person care; such barriers can make safe and legal abortion inaccessible in rural areas
So-called parental notification and/or consent laws for abortion, which do nothing to improve communication between parents and children but rather have the potential to harm young people who are already vulnerable — and can especially endanger minors when they are victims of abuse, rape or incest at the hand of a parent.
Youth Leaders gathered from across the country in New Orleans, LA
The Washington, DC, Action Forum team
Holding Politicians Accountable
Now that Planned Parenthood Action Fund has this powerful and diverse feedback, we want to share it with to key local, state and federal decision-makers — as well as 2016 candidates. Why? To gain support for issues like abortion access, affordable birth control coverage, and inclusive sex education.
Over the next few months, Planned Parenthood Action Forum will use what we learned from our supporters to hold elected officials and 2016 candidates accountable for their positions on reproductive health.
Here’s to electing leaders who will work toward reproductive freedom — not against it!
Dozens of people came out to the Action Forum in Seattle, WA
Join the Fight
Inspired? Join the fight to elect pro-reproductive health leaders in 2016!
We can't let these attacks on reproductive care keep happening. Now more than ever is the time to fight back. Now is the time to make sure everybody gets the health care access they deserve. Now is the time to join the I Vote Planned Parenthood Action campaign!