How To Contact Congress About Birth Control, If Trump's New Rule Outrages You
As of Friday, Oct. 6, the Trump administration announced that they are rolling back birth control coverage previously protected under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare). The change could potentially impede access to free birth control for as many as 62 million women across the United States, as the new rule will allow employers to decide if their employees' contraception will be covered under their company's health insurance. If you're having some feelings about this news, then you might be wondering how to contact Congress about birth control.
And, just so you know, you are far from the only person contending with some feelings about this announcement. Responding to the rollback, Planned Parenthood Cecile Richard said in a statement,
This is an unacceptable attack on basic health care that the vast majority of women rely on. With this rule in place, any employer could decide that their employees no longer have health insurance coverage for birth control.
We’re talking about a fundamental right — to be able to decide whether and when you want to have children.
Birth control is not controversial — it’s health care the vast majority of women will use in the course of their lifetime.
Jordan Brooks, managing director and chief operating officer of the nonprofit organization The United State of Women, echoed this sentiment, saying in a statement that this change will take "us back to the days when the high cost of birth control was a barrier and a burden."
But what this all really boils down to is giving women the freedom to decide what they want to do with their bodies — that’s what is being compromised today.
If you want to contact Congress and make your voice heard on this issue, luckily for you, there are plenty of ways to go about it.
And, if you're like me, this news probably makes you want to scream from the top of a building until your lungs give out. Instead of doing that, I highly recommend utilizing each and every one of these methods of contacting Congress so there's no confusion whatsoever about how you feel, and you can save your lungs a bit of unnecessary distress in the process, too.
One way to make your voice heard is to call the Capitol switchboard number at (202)-224-3121. From there, someone will connect you with the Senate office of your choice. To figure out which senators represent your state, you can select your state on the Senate's website. Fun fact: That link also provides you with additional contact information for each U.S. senator, so you can get in touch with them directly over the phone, or even send them some snail mail if you so choose.
I know I'm personally terrible at talking to any human being over the phone, even if it's just the pizza delivery guy calling to try to get into my apartment building. If you can relate, here's a quick, easy script of what you can say during your call:
Hello, my name is _________, and I’m calling from ________ to urge Senator _________ to support a woman's right to birth control coverage in the United States, and I'd like to urge them to do everything in their power to protect that right.
I would like to know how Senator _________ plans to protect this right so that I can fully support them in doing so.
And thanks to the blessing that is technology, there are a few ways to contact Congress that are even more convenient than a scripted phone call.
You can download the Countable app, which, according to their website, makes it super simple for you to find out about any upcoming or active legislation that's important to you, tell your lawmakers how you'd like them to vote on those issues, and follow up with those officials after the fact, so you can hold them accountable for as long as you want.
There's also the app Democracy.io, which similarly makes the conversation between you and your representatives as seamless as possible. According to TechCrunch, you begin by simply entering in your address, which will then generate a list of your representatives, and you'll be able to start drafting an email immediately.
Another one of my favorite ways to easily bug Congress about my reproductive rights is through something called Resistbot. As their website explains, all you do is text the word "RESIST" to the number 50409, they'll figure out who your representatives are, and then you can text them the message you'd like to relay to your officials. Seriously, it doesn't get much easier than that.
In the meantime, if you feel a sense of helplessness in response to this news that even a text to Resistbot or a call to the Capitol switchboard just won't quell, you'll be happy to know there are already several organizations poised and ready to challenge the sh*t out of the rollback in court, including the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the National Women's Law Center.
We don't have to stay silent about this, and Congress can make damn sure that we won't.