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Congressional Recess Tactic:

Protesting at District Offices

This is an excellent opportunity to show your anti-sexual and reproductive rights member of Congress exactly what you think about the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — eliminating abortion rights for millions of people — and generate some press! Protesting right outside of district offices seems simple, but it can be enormously effective. 

Like birddogging, protesting at in-district offices are recommended tactics only for members of Congress that are against abortion rights.

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Congressional Recess Home

District Office Protest Step-by-Step

How to Plan Your Protest

Review a Protest Safety Plan:

Peaceful protest is our right. Demonstrations are a compelling way to demand justice — they can lead to transformative change. But it's not easy to know what to expect.

Concerned about COVID-19 protections? Police presence? Harsh weather? Counter protesters? Before you go out to rally for abortion rights, review this Protest Tips: How to Stay Safe at Abortion Rights Rally guide.

Pull Your Group Together to Start Planning:

Jump on a Zoom or conference line and start talking logistics.

Pick a day to protest and a time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., since that’s when district offices are usually open. Consider what’s convenient for the members of your group, such as during lunch hour.

Register Your Event on the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Map:

Once you have your event set, register it on the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Map (include SCOTUS as the event issue focus). That way, Planned Parenthood Action Fund can measure the reach of the movement, help recruit attendees, and connect you with a local organizer who can provide support.

Pro-tip: Is your event only for established group members and volunteers? Mark it as “private” when you register.

Delegate and Determine Roles:

You’ll need at least three people: one to sign in attendees (which includes getting their contact info to build your group), one to prep speakers, and one to post on social media.

If your event is large, you may want to create teams or have one point person for specific duties.

Brainstorm and Recruit Speakers:

Most effective events have two to three speakers who talk for 3-5 minutes each.

  • Recruit speakers who can discuss abortion rights.
  • Is there a developing activist with a personal story about abortion rights?
  • Is there an ally from a local reproductive health, rights, or justice organization that you can invite?

Make a plan to invite and confirm your speakers.

Build a Recruitment Plan and Start Recruiting:

Get recruiting tips from house party toolkit.

Prepare Any Props or Setup Needs:

You'll need a megaphone and a few signs showing your demands. If available, set out a podium and water, as well as orange traffic cones to block off traffic.

Right Before the Event:

30 minutes before the event: 

  • Gather the people who have key roles (MC, speakers, etc.). 
  • Bring snacks and water.
  • Assemble any art pieces, test any technology, and prepare any individual accessibility accommodations that have been requested.
  • Make reminder calls to everyone who signed up to attend.
  • Huddle with the speakers and run through their talking points: Make sure they’re calling out your member of congress’s anti-abortion rights stance, and that they know the order in which they will be speaking.

15 minutes before the event: 

  • Sign in attendees. 
  • Huddle with your activists. Introduce new faces and remind them of the importance of these protests.
  • Explain the plan of action and get into position.

During the Event:

Kick-off the event: The MC starts some chants and welcomes the crowd.

Speakers: Each speaker talks for 3-5 minutes about  attacks on reproductive rights and the dangers of anti-abortion efforts, including the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Close: The MC closes the event by thanking everyone for coming, clearly reiterating our asks, and finishing out strong with some chants.

Ongoing: The social media manager records, live tweets, and/or broadcasts the entire experience live. Tweet excerpts from speeches, pictures of the crowd, or GIFs.

  • Tag your member of Congress and news outlet(s).
  • Use the hashtag #NoAbortionBan.
  • Post photos of the action to your social media accounts.

After the Event:

Immediately after: Send your stories and pictures to your organizer and/or [email protected].

The night of the event: 

  • Email your attendees to thank them. 
  • Immediate follow-up is important for recruitment and group longevity.
  • Invite attendees to a debrief meeting.

For More Information:

See sample questions for birdogging at officials' town halls and other public appearances.

Return to the Congressional Recess Guide's homepage

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