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Reproductive Health in the Voting Booth

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This year it has become clearer to me than ever that our elected officials – at every level – are controlling reproductive health care access.

Our political representatives have the power to write, pass and enact laws that directly impact access to contraception and abortion care. They appoint judges who make critical legal rulings limiting or mandating health care. They appoint officials who create policies and programs that provide and oversee health care across the country.

In 2013 state legislators passed over 141 laws on reproductive health care (half of which restrict access to abortion).  This year we have seen the power of the judiciary branch of our government, from the Supreme Court’s groundbreaking decision undermining employer coverage of contraception, to the recent federal court ruling on the restrictive anti-abortion laws in Texas. Local elected officials have an impact too –  consider the city laws protecting protecting crisis pregnancy centers.

On November 4th we will have the opportunity to weigh in on who our elected officials will be at the national, state and local level. There is a lot at stake this election year:

-36 states will be electing governors, the largest turnover in 60 years.
-All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election.
-33 seats in the Senate are up for election.
-Hundreds of state and local legislative seats are up for election all across the country.

We have an opportunity to shape the discussion and affect who elected leaders are.

The Reproductive Health Access Project has been thinking a lot about what we, as a small non-profit dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to reproductive health care, can do ensure that our country’s laws and policies support universal access to reproductive health care. Our expertise is clinical, but we can’t deny that profound effect that laws and policies have on clinical care. So, we have decided to dedicate the months of September and October to urging our colleagues, friends and followers to register to vote. We are also providing information on how to help others in your community register to vote and to sharing information and resources so that come November 4th voters who care about access to reproductive health care access can make informed decisions at the ballot box.

This campaign starts now.  Get out the vote. #GOTV

Here are three things you can do to make a difference this election.

1.  Register to vote in time for the November 4th election. If you don’t know if you are registered, check here. If you need to register, you can register on online.
2.  Learn where your candidates stand on issues you care about. Make sure to find out not only what they say, but what they do. Check this page, especially in October, for updates on state and local candidates records on reproductive health access.
3.  Vote on November 4th. Not sure where you vote? Find out here.

Think of joining the GOTV campaign as a bit of preventative medicine for our country. Careful, thoughtful action now will have a great impact on our nation’s health and well-being in years to come.

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