Depending on your family dynamics, it may be tempting to keep the conversation tepid when it comes to politics during this holiday season. But the reality is that 2024 is an election season, and reproductive rights will be on the ballot in many states. There’s no time like the present to take a stand as long as you’re ready for potential pushback with accurate facts and a gravy boatload of compassion.
LEAD WITH THE DATA
- According to a 2022 Pew Research Center report, 61% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. A July 2023 poll by Gallup found that 61% of Americans disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and 52% of adults in the U.S. consider themselves “pro-choice.”
- If a family member or friend brings up so-called “late-term” abortions, point out that 92% of abortions take place during the first trimester of pregnancy, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
- If you’re challenged on the safety of mifepristone and misoprostol, the two pills used to terminate a pregnancy, point to a large-scale study by the New York Times, which found that 99% of all study participants who used abortion medication had no serious medical complications.
- According to data from the U.S. Federal Drug Administration and analyzed by CNN, abortion pills are safer than many widely used drugs, including penicillin, Tylenol, and Viagra.
POINT TO RECENT ELECTORAL WINS FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
- Ohio: Earlier this month, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved Issue 1, an amendment to the state Constitution that protects the right to abortion. “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion,” the amendment reads.
- Virginia: Although there was no abortion measure on the ballot, Democrats won all the General Assembly seats that were up for election after Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin repeatedly indicated support for a 15-week abortion ban. One Republican state lawmaker who lost her seat claimed the 15-week ban had “consensus” from Virginia voters. It did not.
- Kentucky: Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear won reelection against his anti-abortion opponent, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
- Pennsylvania: Judge Daniel McCaffery handily beat his opponent, Carolyn Carluccio, a judge who was endorsed by local anti-abortion groups. In October, McCaffery told the American Independent that the issue of abortion would define the election. “In Pennsylvania, we elect judges, and people have a right to know where you stand on those issues. Because, and I mean this, I would much rather lose an election on the merits than win an election by being deceitful,” McCaffery said.
DESTIGMATIZE ABORTION CARE WITH WORDS AND STORIES
- One in four Americans with a uterus will have an abortion in their lifetime, according to the Guttmacher Institute. So it’s worth reminding your loved ones that someone sitting at your dinner table has likely either had an abortion or knows someone who has gotten an abortion.
- Refer folks to the work of Dr. Warren Hern, an obstetrician-gynecologist specializing in abortion care later in pregnancies. In June, Hern told The American Independent that patients travel to his office from around the nation, usually because a wanted pregnancy has become dangerous to the pregnant person’s life or the fetus has been diagnosed with a deadly abnormality. “Many of my patients have catastrophic fetal abnormalities that end a desired pregnancy. They don’t want to have an abortion. They want to have a baby,” Hern said. “We have situations with very young women who may not even be adolescents yet, 10 years old, 11, 12, who have a very advanced pregnancy because they didn’t understand or know that they were pregnant or they’ve been victims of sexual abuse within the family.”
- It might feel awkward or impolite to share your abortion story in between bites of turkey and pumpkin pie. If you’re uncomfortable sharing your own story, there are still websites you can point friends or family to so they can learn about the various circumstances that lead people to choose to get abortion care.
- Lastly, remember that abortion care is health care. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, “abortion is an essential component of women’s health care,” and it is “included in medical training, clinical practice, and continuing medical education.” Just like any health care choice, the decision to get an abortion should be between a patient and their doctor, not an elected official.