A reader recently asked me how she could get involved in the pro-choice movement.

I first need to say that, if you are pro-choice, don’t sit back and think everything is okay in this country.   In 1973, abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court and those who oppose legal abortion remain energized to this day.  And, in many ways they have been successful. 

They have succeeded in restricting accedss to abortion in many states (parental consent, 24 hour waiting periods), federal funding for abortions has been generally prohibited for decades and the balance on the Supreme Court is precarious.   Indeed, rumors now persist that Justice Stevens, the most liberal member of the court, might resign soon.  Before you say “Obama to the rescue,” remember that the President no longer has 60 votes in the Senate so he will have a difficult time nominating an openly pro-choice justice.  Finally, the pro-life movement has successfully stigmatized the abortion procedure, an absolutely ludicrous development since over one million women a year obtain abortions.

So, there’s work to be done.  I also realize that you have a life, that pro-choice people do not wake up in the morning thinking of legal abortion.  Personally, I think about breakfast.  So, I will only suggest a few things lest you get spread too thin:

Make a donation to the Abortion Care Network (www.abortioncarenetwork.org).  The ACN is the only organization whose main goal is to de-stigmatize and normalize the abortion experience. Founded from the merging of two abortion provider based organizations, the National Coalition of Abortion Providers and the Abortion Conversation Project, ACN has created a network of independent abortion providers, supportive allied organizations, and socially conscious individuals who are deeply invested in creating a more positive environment where women who choose abortion, and those that provide care, are no longer harassed or shamed by the choices they make.  Send a check today!

Make a donation to the NARAL Pro-Choice America (www.prochoiceamerica.org) Political Action Committee.  While I have criticized the continual emphasis on the word “choice,” NARAL does serve an important purpose – they contribute money to candidates who are pro-choice.  As we are seeing in the Congress today, the legislative battle over abortion comes down to one simple fact – who has the votes?   That’s what the NARAL-PAC is all about.

If you live near an abortion facility that has protestors, become an escort for women seeking abortions.  Escorts are organized by various organizations in the area, so the best thing to do is to call the clinic and ask them if you can help. 

Speak up!   I’m not saying go into someone’s face and tell them you’re pro-choice but, if the issue comes up express your feelings.  For example, if you go to a town meeting for your local Member of Congress, during the Q&A, ask him or her how they feel about abortion or, if you know they are pro-choice, THANK THEM.   Those in the pro-life movement are quick to express their opinion and the fact that they are so loud gives the impression that they are greater in number.  Do not shy away from your beliefs, tell people you are pro-choice when the opportunity arises.  At times, our silence is deafening and it has hurt us over the years. 

I look forward to other suggestions!