Message Toolkit for Bold Reproductive Justice
The gathering a couple of weeks ago in Washington, D.C. of nearly 200 reproductive justice advocates from all over the country under the auspices of the All Above All coalition to restore and sustain abortion coverage for low-income women, was not only high spirited but also grounded in solid messaging.
The role-plays we observed or participated in the day before we descended on Capitol Hill were based on the most recent qualitative and quantitative research. We were briefed, not only on the issue we were there to get some attention for (the last week before a Congressional break for elections), but also immersed in the underlying values that serve as touchstones to remind us why we so persistently support keeping abortion “legal, available, and affordable.”
Values like autonomy: being able to make personal life decisions without interference from politicians, fair treatment; and economic security.
A woman facing these pregnancy decisions should have no interference in her personal decisions; her health and safety need to be a priority; women with fewer resources should not have inferior care or have her options limited due to lack of money.
Many of the mostly younger women who were invited to be part of this lobbying day were connected to student organizations, community health centers, and national family planning and abortion rights organizations. Others formally represented religious groups, or were willing to share their personal convictions. In preparation for our visits, we were also given talking points and message frames for faith-based support for abortion funding.
Interfaith messages like we believe in the inherent worth and equal worth of all people; as such, each person must be treated with respect, regardless of income or insurance. We must not allow our elected officials to single out low income women or others enrolled in public health care programs to limit their access to the full range of reproductive health options and services.
That we believe each person must be able to follow their own beliefs, moral code, and conscience when making life decisions. Current insurance coverage imposes one religious viewpoint on all people, thus infringing upon individual religious liberty.
That a core tenet of most faiths is a commitment to economic and/or social justice. Abortion care restrictions, we were reminded, fly in the face of our commitment to pursue justice. Reducing access to healthcare is an immoral threat to the economic security and well-being of low income families. No matter how much money she has, a woman should be able to access the full range of pregnancy-related are she needs. No one should be forced to choose between her health and her family’s financial future.
Inherent worth and dignity, right of conscience, justice – and compassion. Values of our UU faith.