There’s a lot at stake for reproductive freedom in the 2016 election. That’s why the Planned Parenthood Action Fund spent two months asking our members what matters most to THEM via Action Forums across the country. What did we hear? We heard that young people with Planned Parenthood Generation Action are bold and unapologetic about abortion, sexuality and sex-positivity. We also heard what issues we should be fighting our very hardest on. All that feedback has driven Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s strategy for the 2016 election.
Now, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is bringing together nearly 1,000 of our member leaders — including many who are part of Planned Parenthood Generation Action — to kick off our fall electoral work and get trained on organizing in our communities. For 2016 and beyond, these leaders will be driving the program that will result in real change for sexual and reproductive health, rights, and freedom; that will change the nature of power in this country.
Action Forum in Orlando, FL: Planned Parenthood Action Fund members discussed what's most important to them this election.
Action Forum in Orlando, FL: Planned Parenthood Action Fund members voted for their top issues with stickers.
How the Action Forums Worked
To build a strong, diverse movement inclusive of Planned Parenthood health centers’ patient base, Planned Parenthood Action Fund engaged hundreds of our members in Action Forums across the country. We got feedback from over 800 reproductive health advocates at 50 Action Forums 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 at North Carolina State University: Planned Parenthood Action Fund members included many young people who are part of Planned Parenthood Generation Action.
Action Forum in North Carolina: Planned Parenthood Generation Action folks 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 members, check out what these Action Forum 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
A break-out group at the Las Vegas, NV, Action Forum
The full group of Action Forum participants in Las Vegas, NV
What You Said: Your Values, Your Voices
Planned Parenthood Action Fund members 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 discussions at the Action Forum in Little Rock, AR
In addition to expressing their values, Action Forum participants — including both survey respondents and event attendees — 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.
Planned Parenthood Action Forum is using what we learned from our members 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 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!