The Affordable Care Act remains, and so does Planned Parenthood’s ability to serve people with Medicaid coverage. For now. We know there are some in Congress who will not stop, and neither will we.
Being an advocate for health care can be invigorating, as well as exhausting. With your help we made thousands of calls, we held rallies, we met with our Congressional members’ staff in meeting after meeting, all with the same message – Americans need health care and they need Planned Parenthood.
We are so proud to be part of an amazing group of organizations who fought hard to keep the Affordable Care Act intact – protecting the care it provides to millions of Americans. We know that there are things that can be improved upon in our health care systems (cough*patriarchy*cough), but the goals of the ACA - access, affordability and quality care - matter. These components save lives, and they need to stay.
So what’s next for all of us, for health care, for PP warriors? What should we be doing? Here's our stance as the advocacy branch of a reproductive health care organization in Colorado:
First, take a breather. Support yourself and your loved ones. We loved this article from Melissa Harris Perry about what we need to be doing in these hard times when so much is at stake. She calls it “squad care.” Let’s support one another now and throughout the fights to come. We will be there standing with our communities - our LGBTQ communities, our immigrant communities, our communities of color - as assaults are attempted on their rights. We remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Second, we recommend warriors follow the other ways government actions can and will impact people – and fight back. The big bills in Congress matter. They have major impacts (like 16 million people’s health care being put at risk). But so do decisions made in our state legislatures, in our city council, and in all of governmental administrative offices. Right now cities, including many in Colorado like Denver, are looking at possible city policy changes to ensure they are not helping the Trump Administration rip immigrant families apart. We agree and stand by them. Read more about Denver’s proposed policy changes and how you can act.
Third, we must keep responding when our partners and friends are attacked by the Trump Administration. We are seeing the Administration already do things to roll back on the rights we support. For example, the President has said transgender individuals can no longer serve in the military or get their health care through it. What his *tweet* means and how it could possibly be implemented is a very big question mark. But in reality it could result in transgender people losing their jobs, being pushed out of a community they are a part of, and to feel the continued stigmatization of their identities, of their existence. This is wrong and we cannot stand back.
Or take, for example, the U.S. Department of Justice recently filing a brief stating LGBTQ people are not protected against discrimination under federal law. This was a protection the past Administration had fought for, and countless people’s rights have been protected by it. Now our government, which is meant to serve and protect all people, is stating to the country that LGBTQ people are not protected from discrimination. We say no. We will protect our communities at our state and local levels. One way we can do that is advocating to our state legislature to protect the rights of all people.
The Trump Administration is also doing things to undermine access to reproductive health care and education. The Department of Health and Human services announced a few weeks ago that they are shortening all grants for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, a program that invests resources in research and outcomes-based sexual health education. This is devastating to the work planned and invested time, energy and dollars into to creating resources American youth need - now.
When we see the Trump Administration target our partners, our allies, our health care, we must demand Congress act. We have to keep calling. We have to keep meeting.
We know there is more to come. The Affordable Care Act has provided access to care and protections for women and so many others, and has defined "what health care is" and what exactly insurance has to cover - from maternity care to birth control without co-pays. These policies worked - they resulted in lower unintended pregnancies, lower rates of abortions and all-around more opportunities for more Americans. Now, with the Administration's goal to undermine the ACA and women's health care - including safe and legal abortion, these protections still are at serious risk.
So we have taken a breath. Gotten support from our squad (you!). And are back to work. PPVC is working hard and will let you warriors know when the Trump Administration acts - so that you can fight back. So that we can fight back together. And we will not stop fighting back.
Together, we will stop what’s next.