Fighting for our future: How NARAL members are mobilizing for reproductive freedom

Group of protesters with signs that say "Protect Roe" and "Stop Kavanaugh"
For more than four decades, Roe v. Wade promised the right to legal, safe abortion care.

But that promise, more often than not, doesn’t square with reality. The reality is that for many, access to abortion care is nonexistent  – because of laws that shut down the nearest clinics. Or policies that block insurance companies from covering it. Or bans on public funding for abortion, like the Hyde amendment, which make it next to impossible for low-income women to get the same care as everyone else.

Put simply, a right is not a right if you cannot access it.

Seven in 10 Americans support legal access to abortion, even in red states. Nationwide, 71 percent don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned and gutted.

But for decades, long before Trump took office, anti-choice extremists have chipped away at access – by stacking the courts with anti-choice judges at every level, electing biased officials to the governor’s mansions, legislatures, and Congress, and passing hundreds of state-level restrictions, designed to shut down clinics and cut off access to abortion and contraception.

And, most recently, by railroading Brett Kavanaugh through to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Yet we fight on because we know the stakes. We fight on because we want better for ourselves, our families, daughters and sons. We fight on because we continue to be the torch bearers for the promise of a democracy that assures dignity, equality, and justice for all people.

As we take to the streets and demand leaders fight for our rights and values, we’re seeing the power of the people.

The resounding victories by pro-choice candidates in the 2018 midterms prove once again that when candidates stand up for women and our essential rights – including the right to access abortion – they have the power of the people on their side. More than 100 women were elected to Congress – a diverse group of women who stepped up to fight for their communities.

Our members were out in full force, making over 1.1 million calls to voters all across the country, knocking on nearly 350,000 doors and sending almost 2 million pieces of mail and 343,000 text messages. They held postcard parties, debate watch parties and rallies in dozens of states. NARAL’s $5 million election program focused on not only mobilizing our members but expanding the number of pro-choice voters.

That’s the power of the people. The power of NARAL members.

The road to progress is challenging. With Kavanaugh already on the Supreme Court, opponents know they have a real chance to gut Roe and criminalize abortion – and women.

So that’s why in the coming months NARAL is launching a major, 50-state campaign to educate people about the reality of reproductive freedom in their cities and states – and what they can do to change that.

The promise of Roe was an important first step in giving women the reproductive freedom they deserve in order to determine their own destinies. It was a critical starting point, but much work remains to be done in the fight for full reproductive freedom.

As NARAL approaches our 50th anniversary next year, we must take a moment to honor and reflect on how far we’ve come.

But we can’t dwell. It’s been a long, hard fight, and progress can feel slow. But the momentum is on our side. So let’s fight like our lives and futures depend on it.

Ilyse G. Hogue is the president at NARAL Pro-Choice America, an organization that fights every day to protect and expand reproductive freedom, including access to abortion and birth control, paid parental leave and protections from pregnancy discrimination.  Since 1989, CREDO members have voted to donate over $718,000 to NARAL.