August is here and for advocates in Washington D.C., it means one of our biggest audiences, Capitol Hill, is on a month-long hiatus. As Members of Congress march in parades, hold town halls, and visit schools, we reflect on the flurry of activity that happened in the past few months.
But what does this mean for the everyday citizen? What can you do to continue to speak on behalf of international family planning and reproductive health issues? Believe it or not, there are many ways to make your voice heard. And if there is ever a time when members are almost exclusively focused on their constituents, it’s now. Here’s how to get started:
Check to see if your Representative or Senator is a co-sponsor of this key family planning and reproductive health legislation:
The Global Democracy Promotion Act (S. 119 and H.R. 2783). The act provides for the permanent legislative repeal of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule. This would also prevent a future President, hostile to family planning, from reinstating the policy unilaterally.
The Women and Climate Change Resolution (H.Con.Res.36). This resolution recognizes the disparate impact of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change.
The Peace Corps Equity Act of 2014 (S. 2291 and H.R. 4578). The act corrects an inequity in the health care coverage provided to Peace Corps volunteers, who are currently the only federal workers denied coverage for abortion services without exception. The bill would amend the Peace Corps Act to allow coverage for abortion services in the cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.
The Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act (H.R. 3206). The act authorizes the President to expand access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health and rights. This would ensure individuals and couples can freely and responsibly determine the number, timing, and spacing of their children, while reducing the incidence of unsafe abortion and providing care for women injured through unsafe abortion.
The International Violence Against Women Act (S. 2307 and H.R. 3571). IVAWA recognizes that the global epidemic of violence against women impedes the progress of U.S. global development goals, including decreasing maternal mortality and limiting the spread of HIV.
If not, what can you do to ask them to co-sponsor?
Write or call: If they aren’t already a co-sponsor you can call or write their office directly, you can find contact info for your representatives by clicking HERE.
Social media: More and more members are actively participating in all things social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. You can tweet at them to be co-sponsors, or share articles that touch on why they need to support key family planning policies. You can find a number of articles to share at our PAI Media Center.
This month also marks the anniversary of the creation of the Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy. To learn more about the harmful effects of this U.S. policy and why it needs to be repealed for good, take a look and share our recent video: 30 Years Is Enough: End the Global Gag Rule.
Get some face time: Look up your Representative or Senator’s homepage for a list of local events. Sign up, attend, and let them know why it’s important to support this legislation and U.S. financial commitments to international family planning and reproductive health programming.