When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had affirmed a constitutional right to abortion, feminists across the country sprang into action. As did the right wing. Ever since the landmark decision in 1973, the Right has devoted resources to denying abortions to the poor and working class. Now, instead of just restricting access, it could deny abortions completely through state-by-state legislation.
An early battleground was in Kansas, where a ballot initiative would have amended the state constitution to remove the right to abortion. DSAers in Kansas weren’t going to let that happen. The successful campaign against the amendment offers a model for other states.
Prepare your campaign. Do the research, give good information, work with other groups, be respectful of the voters, tailor the message to the audience (including having local activists do the translations).
Protect the rights you have. In states where abortion is supported by a majority of voters, new initiatives are possible. If you don’t live in one of those states, focus on maintaining or establishing a right to abortion. You can build on that base later.
Remember that every vote counts. In a statewide referendum, it doesn’t matter whether a vote comes from a “red,” “blue,” or “purple” district. Figure out where your votes are and go after them.
Use DSA’s national resources. Texting programs that allow you to reach thousands of voters with hard-hitting messages, Canva, and consulting with successful campaigns are all available options. Find out more at protectabortion.org.
Analyze afterward and don’t stop. The Right hasn’t stopped scheming since the day abortion became legal in the entire United States. We have to have that staying power. Figure out what went well, what you could do differently, and plan your next step.
Take help from other states. You’ll need money, postcard writers, texters, and other volunteers. Reach out.