How to Fight Back Against the War on Women

By Caitlin Campbell and Anne Morrill of Portland Oregon. Caitlin is a Field Coordinator for NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon and Ann is the Access Coordinator for the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health.

As American women we wake up every day to a new attack on our health care access, our decisions regarding our bodies, and if/how/when we choose to become parents. When we speak to other women, it's clear that we're all feeling shocked and marginalized, and that many feel exhausted, and confused about how to fight back. It's important to know that this is not a lost cause- it's an opportunity to turn our anger into action, and our passion into progress.

We can fight back with a 3-pronged approach for real systematic change.

The first element of our counter-attack in the War on Women is: to elect and support pro-choice pro-woman candidates, both state-wide and federally. We have seen firsthand the power of having allies like Governor John Kitzhaber and US Senator Jeff Merkley, just two of Oregon's elected officials who have been bravely outspoken in their support for women's health in recent months. While the government, both on federal and state level, wages a War on Women's health access, complete with mandated ultrasounds, waiting periods, and (perhaps most shocking) attacks on contraception, Oregon has worked to not just protect women's rights but also improve their access to preventive health care through the implementation of health care reform.

The second crucial step in fighting back: supporting the implementation of health care reform and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Governor Kitzhaber's editorial in the Oregonian highlights not just the effort here in Oregon to support women's health care but also the ACA, which benefits and protects women and their families. The ACA would address the deficiencies in our health care system for women and children by emphasizing protection, prevention, and security:

Last, but by no means least: women and their allies need to speak out. Talk about the War on Women with your friends and family, discuss ways to fight back in your social media spaces, and when the opportunity to gather and demonstrate presents itself- be there with signs and your convictions. We have marked our calendars for April 28th, the day of the Unite Against the War on Women rally in Salem, where we'll stand with Oregon women to celebrate and support our pro-choice legislators, to fight for health care access, and to prove that Oregon really does "fly with her own wings" by refusing to follow a destructive national narrative against women.

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