With the recent Women’s March drawing millions of protesters around the world, the impending repeal of the Affordable Care Act in Congress, and potential changes to health insurances plans, women’s healthcare has been the focus of a lot of attention recently.
Whether you’re worried about the increasing maternal mortality rate in the United States, access to family planning services, or the increases in costs of insurance and medical care, there is a lot to be concerned about regarding women’s health right now.
It might feel like there’s nothing you can do to make your concerns known. Though the thought of inciting large scale changes in complex government systems can be overwhelming, there are a lot of simple ways you can make your voice heard and help to affect change.
Many of us think of our elected officials as outside our realm of influence. It’s important to remember that the people in office for your district represent you, whether or not you voted for them. It is their job to accurately represent the needs and desires of all of their constituents, regardless of their personal agendas.
Calling the office of a Senator or Representative can seem intimidating if you’ve never done it. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- You won’t speak to your elected official. You’ll speak to an aide who answers the phones.
- You don’t have to be witty or eloquent. You just need to get your position on an issue across. It can be as simple as “Hello. My name is Jane, and I’m a constituent. I would like the Senator to know that I am against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.”
- If you call outside of office hours, you can also leave a message with your script on voicemail. It will have the same effect.
Though calling the offices of elected officials has been demonstrated to have the greatest impact, you can also voice your opinion through email and regular mail.
If you’re just not sure where to start, a lot of nonprofits are providing scripts and reminders to help you make regular calls to your elected representatives. For example, 5Calls.org chooses important issues and provides you with a short script and the phone numbers of your elected officials to call every week on important, current issues. It takes five minutes to make five calls and tell your representative where you stand on the issues.
Support Organizations Working for Change
There are numerous community organizations, advocacy groups and nonprofits dedicated to providing healthcare, resources and information to women throughout the United States and the world.
Organizations like Planned Parenthood, National Women’s Health Network and Global Alliance for Women’s Health work tirelessly to ensure that women have access to healthcare and resources. As many people fear that the current administration will have a severe effect on women’s healthcare options, these organizations are gearing up to lobby for women’s rights to accessible and affordable healthcare.
These groups need donations of all kinds to support their missions. You can donate time, money and supplies to help these organizations help women. You can also support them by sharing their message with your friends and family to encourage them to aid the cause.
Supporting and strengthening organizations that are committed to providing and protecting women’s health care services will amplify the message that this is an important issue and legislators will take note.
One surefire way to enact policy change is to write the policy yourself. If you’re passionate about getting the government to pay attention to women’s healthcare, then perhaps you should consider running for office in the next election.
Starting locally, at the city or county level is a great way to get involved in politics and understand the system. Find out what offices will be open for your next local election and learn how you can personally enact change. Even if holding a public office isn’t something you’ve thought about in the past, it might be the perfect way for you to influence your government and become a voice for women.
The organization She Should Run is dedicated to helping women run for public office. If you’re intrigued by the possibility of serving your country as an elected official, that’s a great place to start. Since the November 2016 election, more than 4,500 women have signed up to declare their commitment to running for office in upcoming elections.
If you want the government to care about women’s healthcare, you can’t stand on the sidelines. You have to take action and get involved in the fight. There are plenty of opportunities to show your support and make your voice heard. You don’t have to do everything, but you do have to do something.
As a nurse, mother and freelance writer, Cassie is passionate about anything related to women’s health and technology. She loves sharing her knowledge to help improve the lives of women around the world. You can find more of her work on Secure Thoughts and eHealth Informer.
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