The Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) hosted two events last week to highlight the importance of voting in the midterm election on November 4th. The upcoming midterm election is particularly important because hundreds of state legislators, 36 governors, 33 senators and the entire house of representatives are up for re-election. These elected officials write, pass, and enact laws that directly impact access to contraception and abortion care.
September 23rd was National Voter Registration Day. RHAP spent the day in New York’s Union Square registering voters, handing out hundreds of voter resource flyers and answering questions about the upcoming election. If you haven’t registered yet there may still be time. Find out your state’s voter registration deadline and register to vote online.
On Saturday, September 27th, RHAP friends and supporters packed the Soda Bar in Brooklyn for V to Shining V, a national event created by Lady Parts Justice. Lisa Maldonado, RHAP’s executive director, opened the event with an introduction and a reminder of why we were all gathered there—to celebrate women and strategize how to protect access to reproductive health, especially in this crucial midterm election. She then opened the floor to our emcees for the evening, local sketch comedy group, Buzz Off, Lucille.
Wearing paper exam gowns over their RHAP t-shirts, the hilarious ladies of Buzz Off, Lucille kept the crowd energized with some excellent feminist comedy. The lineup included comedians Naomi Ekperigin (who writes for Broad City) and Alise Morales. Interactive artist Anoush Froundijan walked around in a dress constructed of colorful post-its asking folks to write their answer to the question: “If your vagina could talk, what would it say?”
A few lucky attendees won some great raffle prizes, including handmade IUD earrings, a gift basket from the Chocolate Room, a $100 certificate to P.J. Clarke’s, ice cream from Ample Hills, donuts from R & D Foods, wine from Fermented Grapes and a vibrator from Babeland. Everyone went home with a great goodie bag filled with information on registering vote, resources for researching candidates and helpful items, including male and female condoms!
The most heartfelt moments of the evening came when several family physicians spoke about the importance of providing comprehensive reproductive health care. These incredible doctors touched us all with stories about the work that they do for their patients on a daily basis. Dr. Linda Prine, RHAP’s medical director, honored the hard work, dedication and passion of the health care professionals who help make quality reproductive healthcare accessible to everyone.
As the event wrapped up, everyone was sent home with a worksheet and resources to find out who their elected officials are and where they stand on reproductive health issues. Ultimately, the empowering combination of celebration and activism inspired us to go to the polls on November 4th!
Help us keep the momentum going. Find out where your candidates stand on reproductive health issues, mark your calendars for November 4th and get your friends to join you at the polls!