What you (yes, YOU) can do
to Stand with Planned Parenthood
What's happening right now:
It's real, folks. The House passed the bill to "defund" Planned Parenthood and devastate our health care. By a razor-thin margin of 217 to 213, they voted to axe it all. Birth control. Cancer screenings. Our last chance is to stop the bill in the Senate.
This is a sweeping attack on our bodies and our rights. Here's what you need to know:
- What exactly is at stake? It's Medicaid reimbursements, which cover basic health care things like cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and birth control.
- Blocking people from access to this care could result in increased rates of STDs, cancer deaths and unintended pregnancies.
- People of color, people who earn low incomes and rural folks will be most affected, as these folks already face barriers to health care and may have no other options.
We know this is serious. You know it's serious. So let's get going.
What's in this guide
- Become a Defender
- A bit more background on exactly how we can win this
- Your recipe for action
Become a Defender
If you haven't already done so, the most effective way to help is to become a Planned Parenthood Defender – a member of a core group of supporters who have raised their hands and said they'll give their time to amplify this movement when it's most needed.
This document outlines ways you can maximize your impact as a Defender, so make sure we've got your digits to keep you updated as urgent developments happen!
Step 1: Two things you can do right this minute to get started
First, share this emergency guide on social media right now. The more your friends see you actually DOING something about the issues you care about, the more they'll do. It really helps spread your message if you tag a few friends who'd be most interested.
Second, take two minutes to act: Call Congress and tell them to stop any attempts to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood. If your Senator's voicemail boxes are full, or you have trouble getting through repeatedly, contact them another way. And, if you haven't already, join over 750,000 people (and counting) and sign our letter to Congress.
OK, now we're ready to really dive in.
Step 2: Take This Week's Action
This week's urgent action: Join the Senate Showdown!
The House just passed the bill to "defund" Planned Parenthood and strip health care from millions of patients. Now the fight moves to a full-on Senate showdown, and this may be our last chance to stop it. That means bringing the full, fiery force of our movement in front of our senators this Memorial Day recess.
Here's what you can do THIS WEEK:
- Raise your voice in your community during Memorial Day recess!
- We have a plan for every senator, whether they're with us, against us, or undecided, but we need you and your friends to help put them into action. We'll give you everything you need. You bring the people, the passion, and the pink t-shirts. Sign up to help!
- Show up!
- Events are happening every day that you and your friends can join. See if there's something near you and show up wearing pink!
- If you don't see anything on our map, you can also check out resistancenearme.org, or townhallproject.com to see if others are organizing an event in your area.
- Not seeing anything near you? Make a call and then text 5 of your friends and ask them to do the same.
Be sure to wear pink! We want members of Congress to see us in force at every event they attend.
Finally, don't forget to send your pictures, stories, and videos from your actions to firstname.lastname@example.org and post your event photos on social media with the hashtag #IStandWithPP — and tag Planned Parenthood Action Fund on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.
Let's make sure Congress knows that we won't back down!
Step 3: A bunch of other simple actions you can take
Click the links below to jump directly to a description of each action in the document.
- Reach out twice: Once to friends in key states, once to Trump supporters you know
- Plan a visit to your senator's local office
- Send personal, snail mail letters to Congress
- Show up at your member of Congress's events
- Call a local radio show or write a letter to the editor
- Help build our power on campuses nationwide – even if you're not in college!
- One-minute actions you can take on your own, anytime
Reach out twice: once to friends in key states, once to Trump supporters you know.
Here are TWO ways to reach out to important groups of people.
First: Send a message to friends who live in key states and ask them to make a quick call to Congress. Click these links to see what Facebook friends you have in states like Indiana, Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Nevada, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, or Michigan. As you know, it's incredibly important that we get these folks involved. (If you're not on Facebook, just email the message below to any friends or family in states like these.)
If you're on your phone, tap next to each person's name to send them a message, If you're on your computer, click the down arrow and "Send message":
Here's a sample message you can use:
Hey -- hope you're good! I'm writing because of where you live. As you may know, one of your U.S. senators may end up being a key vote as Congress attempts to block millions of people from getting care at Planned Parenthood. I'm a big fan of PP, and if you haven't already, I hope you'll call the Senate to tell them to protect PP health centers: https://www.IStandWithPP.org/call
Next up: Did you know a recent poll showed that nearly half of Trump voters support Planned Parenthood? Reach out by email or social media to folks who may have voted for Trump, and send them a link to share their story at http://ppact.io/2hPjMyd. Here's a sample message you can use:
I just found out half of Trump voters don't want anyone restricted from visiting Planned Parenthood, and I hope more of them will speak out to stop Congress from blocking millions of people from care at Planned Parenthood health centers. This bill doesn't have anything to do with abortion at all, just prevents people from getting routine care like cancer screenings and birth control. I feel like we can all agree that's a bad idea. I hope you'll share your story and then help speak out in support of Planned Parenthood at http://ppact.io/2hPjMyd.
Plan a visit to your senator's local office
One of the most effective ways to show your members of Congress you care is to actually show up at their office. U.S. Senators have local offices, and their staff are assigned to meet with constituents, which they do on a daily basis. Planning a lobby visit is easy, and you can do it as many times as you're able with as many people as you can gather. The more, the better – there is power in numbers!
- Get at least three people from your emergency meetup to commit to visiting your senator's office with you when Congress isn't in session and lawmakers return to their state offices. If you need advice on which of your two senators to pick, shoot us an email.
- Whip out your calendars and pick a few time slots that would work for everyone.
- Call your target office (you can find the number here) and ask when someone would be available to meet with your group. Ask if the senator will be in the state office anytime soon, on a short trip or during a recess, and try to go at a time when they'll be around – you just might get some face time! If that isn't possible, set up a meeting with a staffer.
- Prepare what you're going to say. You don't have to be an expert. Lawmakers don't expect that. Personal stories can be even more effective than statistics (though you can get talking points here). Talk about what Planned Parenthood means to you, and back up your personal story with some facts about your state if possible (find your state's Planned Parenthood Action Fund site here).
- Bring your materials. Print three copies EACH of this fact sheet to leave behind. Be early, be courteous, be positive, and be succinct. Don't forget to take some pictures of your group inside or outside the office!
- Report back on how your meeting went by emailing us. Post your photos on social media with the hashtag #IstandwithPP.
Send personal, snail mail letters to Congress
It might seem old-fashioned, but it's a lot more work to write and mail a paper letter as compared to an email – and your members of Congress know it! That's why they pay more attention to mailed letters. When they rip that thing open, they know you really, seriously care.
If you're doing this at an emergency meetup, here's what you'll need:
- 3 envelopes per person and 3 stamps per person
- A few copies of the sample things to say for letters
- The mailing addresses of your members of Congress
Each guest will write three letters: one to their U.S. representative and one to each of their U.S. senators.
We've provided some sample ideas here, but it's really important that everyone write in their own voice as much as possible. Start your letter out with a sentence or two about why YOU care about Planned Parenthood and reproductive freedom – that's the most important message to get through.
Not sure who your members of Congress are or what their mailing address is? Look them up.
We urge everyone to write, address and stamp their letters at the meetup. Have one designated person whose job it is to collect and mail all of the letters.
Show up at your member of Congress's events
Every member of congress hosts town halls, constituent meetings, and other public events. These events are free to attend, and are a great opportunity to show strength and support for Planned Parenthood. And it's just as important for us to show up for friendly lawmakers as for swing votes or anti-choice extremists.
Find out who your member of congress is, then check out their website, Facebook, or Twitter, or this crowdsourced guide for information on their public events. If nothing is listed on their site, call the district office. If no events are planned for the immediate future, set a reminder on your calendar to call each week.
Before you organize an event, see if someone else has already planned an event nearby that your group could join up with.
When you're headed to an event, a few tips:
- Be ready to ask a question if there's a Q&A session or meet-and-greet line. Keep it short and to the point. Research where they stand on Planned Parenthood before you ask, and if possible, use their words.
- The senator will probably try to dodge the question. Ask for a follow-up. Make them answer the question you originally asked. Don't let them wriggle out of it!
- If it's a seated event, sit near the front. It makes it more likely you'll get called on to ask a question.
- Be firm but courteous. If you're in a seated indoor event, don't yell, no matter how angry you feel. We're all for yelling at rallies and marches, though!
- If it's a more public event with no questions, like a public speech or rally, be sure to PINK OUT! Wear some Planned Parenthood gear to show your pride.
- Give materials to the Senator or their staff. Print three copies EACH of this fact sheet to leave behind. If your Senator doesn't have any events planned, you can also just drop off the materials at their closest office.
- Report back on how your event went by emailing us. Post your photos on social media with the hashtag #IstandwithPP.
Talking points for your questions can be found here.
Call a local radio show or write a letter to the editor
Most local newspapers publish letters from readers. In addition, local radio call-in shows are a great way to share your concerns with the community.
- Do your research.
- Check out the websites for local papers or radio stations to identify opportunities where you can make your voice heard. For the paper, look for the option to send a letter to the editor. For radio stations, call the station to find out if there are any upcoming programs that accept call-ins.
- Editors of local papers typically prefer letter submissions that tie back to something that has already been published, such as an article or other opinion piece, so keep your eyes open for articles about Planned Parenthood or reproductive health that you can respond to!
- Check out our talking points and read some powerful stories here.
- Craft your message.
- If you're calling into a radio station, have a room-temperature glass of water on hand, and bullet out your speaking points ahead of time so that when you get nervous (it happens to everyone!) you can still make your points.
- If you're writing a letter to the editor, research the length requirements. Often, the letters that the paper accepts and goes on to publish are short – sometimes less than 200 words – so keep it brief and make a strong argument that includes a local story or statistics, if you have them available.
- Make contact.
- Once your letter has been written, have it proofread by a friend or two before you submit or send it in. They can catch mistakes that you might not have otherwise seen.
- If you're calling into a show, make sure you introduce yourself and make a personal case for why you're calling into that particular program. Try to be yourself!
- If you're calling into a program designed to create discussion, such as those on local NPR stations, tell people who came to your meeting when and where to listen, and ask them to be prepared to call in to reinforce the message.
- Report back how it went.
- Let us know at email@example.com if your letter is published online, and post it on social media so others can read and share.
- If you called into a radio station and made it on the air, see if the stream is archived on their website and share that on social media.
- Call in again at a later date, write to other papers, and continue spreading the message!
Help build our power on campuses nationwide — even if you're not in college!
Whether you're in college, have a bunch of friends in college, or are long past college, there's something really important you can do to build Planned Parenthood's power. Send an email encouraging college students to join the Planned Parenthood Generation Action network – a nationwide network of activists who raise awareness about reproductive health and rights and help other students become advocates in an inclusive and open environment.
(If you're not in college, think about your friends' kids, your younger cousins, neighbors, nieces – all of those energetic, motivated do-gooders are powerful voices in this fight.)
Here's some sample copy. Be sure to make it personal! Share your OWN reasons to support Planned Parenthood and fight for reproductive rights.
Hey, just wanted to reach out and spread the word about an amazing program called Planned Parenthood Generation Action. Basically it's a radically inclusive group of activists on college campuses, fighting not just for reproductive rights and sexual health and education, but to create lasting change in their communities. The work they're doing right now to defend Planned Parenthood is so urgent. You should link up with them: https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/communities/planned-parenthood-generation-action
1-minute actions you can take on your own, anytime
Here are a few simple ways people can get involved with this fight. Do them and share them on social media and help us get bigger, louder, and stronger!
- Call Congress, call again, and keep on calling: https://www.istandwithpp.org/call
- Tweet your Women's March photo to your members of Congress. We've got a sample tweet and a handy tool to find your members on Twitter — even a photo you can use if you don't have one.
- Change your profile pic on social media: http://twibbon.com/support/istandwithpp-2
- Read and share stories of how Planned Parenthood has changed lives.
- Share your story about why Planned Parenthood services matter to you.
- Buy some #IStandWithPP clothing and accessories – proceeds support the cause!
- Read and share our explainer: Defund Defined
- Follow us! On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, and Snapchat.
- Sign up to volunteer for Planned Parenthood! http://ppact.io/2j5QjCn
OK, OK, I'm doing my part! What else is Planned Parenthood doing?
Right now, Planned Parenthood and advocates across the country are engaged in a complex, multifaceted campaign to protect reproductive rights and ensure access to health care. Here are a few things you might be interested in:
350+ events nationwide. We're holding emergency community meetings, marches, and rallies EVERYWHERE. Find your closest event and start getting involved.
The Women's March on Washington. Planned Parenthood was proud to be a sponsor of the biggest inauguration demonstration in the country.
Showing that voters of every stripe support Planned Parenthood.A strong majority of people in this country support Planned Parenthood – rural, city-dwelling, Black, brown, white, low-income, high-income and everything in between – including half of Trump voters. We're working to lift up the voices of this majority and show just how out-of-touch extremists are with the will of the American people, even within their own party.
And, of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg. We're organizing lobby visits, speaking out in the media, and mobilizing experts across the political spectrum. We're putting the voices of the most marginalized communities front and center, since they'll be hit first and worst by this. (Be sure to follow @Latinos4PP and @PPBlackComm on Twitter.)
And through it all, Planned Parenthood continues to provide the care that this fight is all about. Planned Parenthood health centers have seen a rush of new appointment requests since the election, and their staff are busy providing compassionate care and expertise to anyone who walks through their doors. No matter what.
With your help, we will help make sure Planned Parenthood keeps doing just that, for generations to come.
Thank you for being a part of this fight. Thank you for never giving up.