Take Action to Defend Abortion Access with The Committee to Protect Health Care

REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM TOOLKIT

Share Your Perspective in Local Newspapers

Letters to the editor (LTEs) are short opinion pieces published in newspapers/online. They can influence readers as well as the paper’s editorial board.

Sample Letter 1

As a nurse in our community for 20 years, I have long standing connections with my patients and always strive to ensure they get the care they need to live healthy, happy lives. Sometimes, that health care includes abortion. That’s why I was so devastated that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and took away federal protections for abortion access. Now our state is allowed to enact a total ban on abortions, meaning my patients who need an abortion will be forced to travel hundreds of miles away — that’s if they can afford to do so — to access care. Others will, sadly, be forced to remain pregnant. I’ve seen too often the severe complications and risks that come with pregnancy, and firmly believe no one should be forced to go through it. I urge our lawmakers to pass laws to protect abortion access to protect my patients. (150 words)

Sample Letter 2

As a doctor, I pride myself on maintaining privacy and respect around my patient’s health and decisions about their health care. The doctor-patient relationship is a private and sacred one — it’s foundational to good health care. So it’s deeply disturbing that politicians and judges are trying to interfere. By overturning Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court paved the way for lawmakers to ban abortion, which is a normal, safe, and important part of health care. Without the freedom and privacy to make their own decisions about their bodies, patients will suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally. We must demand that our leaders protect abortion access and stop meddling in people’s health care decisions. (112 words)

  • Look up your local newspaper’s guidelines for LTEs and be sure to follow them. Usually, the word limit is between 150 and 250 words. With limited space, it’s most effective to stay focused on one or two main points you want readers to take away — don’t throw the whole kitchen sink.
  • Be authentic and share your experience as a health care professional.
  • The news cycle moves fast, so it’s best to submit your letter to the editor within a few days of the Supreme Court decision or other relevant news.
  • If it doesn’t get published, try again. You can adjust your angle and/or send it to a new publication.

Share your published LTE on social media and with our team so we can amplify it on our social media.

Record a selfie video to share your story

Record a video of yourself on your phone or camera to post yourself, or share with the staff at Committee to Protect Health Care to share.

  1. Be authentic. Wear scrubs, a white coat, or other indicators of your profession if you can.
  2. Keep your video under 2 minutes and 20 seconds so that it can be posted on Twitter.
  3. Make sure to have good lighting and record in a quiet spot.
  4. Use your personal story and experience as a health care professional to be credible and persuasive.

Speak Up on Social Media

Express your support for abortion access on your social media channels to generate public awareness and support. You can educate people about the importance of abortion access and the fact that the Supreme Court ruling means many Americans will find themselves without access to abortion in their state overnight. You can also call lawmakers to pass laws to protect abortion access, and call out those who are anti-abortion for putting your patients at risk.

  • As a doctor, I'm devastated by the overturning of Roe v Wade. It's on all of us now to work to protect and expand access to abortion. Call your lawmakers and tell them to protect our reproductive freedom! #AbortionIsHealthCare
  • Decisions around abortion should be made between patients and their doctors — not by judges or politicians. I'm speaking out on behalf of my patients, who deserve autonomy over their own bodies and futures. I'm calling on lawmakers to protect reproductive freedom! @ctphealthcare 
  • Today’s ruling is genuinely devastating for my patients and people across the country. More than ever before, it is critical that our elected leaders codify federal protections for abortion into law and ensure decisions around abortion are made between patients and their doctors. #HASHTAG
  • We’re discouraged, but we’re not backing down. As a physician and member of @ctphealthcare, I will continue to fight to protect reproductive freedom and abortion access. Join us: https://committeetoprotect.org/abortion/
  • As a nurse, I’m deeply disappointed by this Supreme Court ruling. Hear why: <post with a video> @ctphealthcare

  • Use visuals when you can! Photos and videos of good quality are compelling (see selfie video tips below).
  • Make it personal — share how this ruling affects you as a physician, patients, and those that you love. Be authentic, but don’t violate HIPAA!
  • Make sure your bio and profile picture show that you’re a medical professional – add “Dr.” “RN” “CNP” and/or any other degrees/licenses, use a profile picture of you in a white coat or scrubs, etc.
  • Use hashtags so that your posts are connected to those of others, and people can see them all just by clicking on the hashtag. One common one is #AbortionIsHealthCare. You could create a more specific one as well, such as #DoctorsForAbortionAccess or #MedicalProfessionalsForReproFreedom, and encourage colleagues to use them as well.
  • Tag us so we’re sure to see your posts and can retweet or share!
    • Twitter: @ctphealthcare
    • Facebook: @committeetoprotecthealthcare
    • Instagram: @ctphealthcare
    • TikTok: @ctphealthcare

Email Your Representatives

Write to your U.S. Representative and Senators to ask them to support the Women’s Health Protection Act, federal legislation that would protect the right to access abortion care nationwide.

Association Letter

Contact your medical specialty or health professional association and urge their Political Action Committee (PAC) to cease any contributions to candidates who seek to take away reproductive freedom.

Dear PAC Committee,

As a member of NAME OF PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION, in the wake of the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the constitutional right to an abortion, I urge our organization to immediately stop all political contributions to any candidate who opposes abortion rights and the criminalization of physicians who practice this medical procedure.

Abortion is safe, standard health care. As medical and health care professionals, we know this.

For many patients, an abortion is vital to overall health and well-being, a position that has the support of the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Family Physicians and many professional medical associations. At least 24 professional medical associations signed a letter opposing bans against abortions. <if applicable>THIS INCLUDES OUR ORGANIZATION.

Without abortion access, many patients will be forced travel outside of their states to seek care. Out-of-state travel can be long and costly. Many may not be able to afford it. For these people, forced pregnancy may be their only remaining option. Forcing people to carry an unexpected pregnancy to term is harmful at best, and deadly at worst.

As physicians, we are all too familiar with the many types of trauma that can happen around pregnancy.

Patients may experience preeclampsia or placental abruption, conditions that endanger the life of the pregnant person and the fetus, and the choice becomes whether the mother survives or the fetus. Patients who wait eagerly for a wanted child may learn the fetus has a chromosomal abnormality or severe birth defect that will result in fetal demise. Patients include victims of sexual assault, some of them minors, who get pregnant, and banning abortions forces them to carry to term the results of the horrifying violence they have already suffered.

For patients who simply do not wish to be pregnant, forcing them to remain so, and take on the risk of severe health impacts or even death, is cruel and dangerous, and in complete contradiction to our medical ethics.

Abortion and reproductive health care are already the areas of medicine most saddled with onerous government interventions, most with no basis in science or medical practice.

By contributing PAC dollars to the committees of politicians who seeks to ban or intervene on abortion care - we use our own money to undermine the profession and the practice needs to stop.

For these reasons I strongly urge you to immediately stop any and all state or federal PAC contributions to candidates who support laws undermining abortion services, candidate committees that support candidates who undermine abortion service, or party committees that contribute to candidates who would undermine abortion services.

Your medical association likely has a Political Action Committee (PAC) that may contribute political funds to anti-abortion candidates. Use the sample letter below to contact your organization’s PAC leadership. You may be able to find more information about their contributions at OpenSecrets.org, and you can likely find their contact information, if you don’t already have it, by simply googling your organization name and “PAC.”

Messaging Tips

The language we use to discuss sensitive topics like abortion is important. We must ensure patients understand safe abortion care is available and there are resources to help people overcome barriers to care.

  • Terms like “back-alley” or “coat hanger” abortions — these can scare patients away even when they still have safe options such as abortion pills. Times have changed, thankfully,  and the greatest risk to people who have abortions is legal, not medical.
  • Saying that people could die from illegal abortions — again, this could scare people away from seeking care. Instead, emphasize that there are safe options that didn’t exist pre-Roe, such as abortion pills.
  • Calling them “unwanted pregnancies,” which can paint the patient in a negative light. Use “unexpected pregnancies” instead.
  • Using “choice” — this implies that patients have options, when, in fact, many people have to travel thousands of miles, jump through hoops, etc. to access care. Use the word “decision” instead.
  • Gendered language. People who do not identify as women need access to abortion as well. Use terms like “patients” and “people,” which are inclusive and accurate.
  • Calling for abortions to be “rare” — this can further stigmatize them.
  • Focusing ONLY on the physical health risks of pregnancy as a reason to support abortion access. There are also mental health risks, and we want to emphasize the fact that people should have autonomy over their bodies and be able to end a pregnancy because they want to, not just because of a health issue.
  • “Late-term abortion” is a term created by the anti-abortion rights movement, instead use medically accurate terms such as “second-trimester abortion”

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About CTP's Reproductive Freedom Taskforce

CTP’s Reproductive Freedom Taskforce (RFT) is a collaboration among abortion providers, health care providers, attorneys, and elected officials promoting strategies to ensure freedom in reproductive care and accountability for those that seek to undermine reproductive health care.

The Taskforce will pursue strategies in educating the public in the media, producing content for public consumption, and ensuring reproductive care is protected from anti-abortion idealogues weaponizing this medical issue for political gain. To learn more about CTP’s Reproductive Freedom Taskforce, visit the link below.

How We're Standing Up and Speaking Out

We launched our Reproductive Freedom Taskforce with an open letter signed by over 2,500 medical professionals urging the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade

Dr. Bhavik Kumar shares the consequences of a post-Roe world from Texas

Texas OB/GYNs urge the Supreme Court to strike down Texas’ abortion law

Michigan OB/GYNs and abortion providers say patients and providers should make abortion decisions–not judges or politicians

Florida Physicians Denounce 15-Week Abortion Ban

Physicians speak out in Newsweek: Abortion Sanctuaries Ramp Up Expansion Anticipating Red-State Patient Surge

Become a member of Committee to Protect Health Care

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