To say that the Trump administration poses a threat to Planned Parenthood is an understatement. Vice-president-elect Mike Pence was the first person to introduce a bill into Congress to defund Planned Parenthood back in 2011. Trump said in February that, despite the fact that the organization helps millions of women, he’d still defund it “because of the abortion factor.” After his victory, Trump named Marsha Blackburn, the leader of the congressional “witch hunt” of Planned Parenthood over a set of sting videos, to his transition team. The reproductive-health picture looks even bleaker when you consider that millions could lose their insurance from cuts to Medicaid and insurance subsidies — they would need family-planning clinics more than ever.
Americans immediately responded: Planned Parenthood has seen an outpouring of support and a flood of donations since the election. They’ve received more than 200,000 donations thus far, 46,000 of them in honor of Pence. While trolling a legislator who gets his reproductive policy from the 1950s sure is fun, many people might be wondering what else they can do to help the 100-year-old organization that provides birth control, STD testing and treatment, breast exams, Pap tests and HPV vaccines, hormone therapy for trans people, and, yes, abortions.
“Everything is important right now,” says Erica Sackin, Planned Parenthood’s director of political communications. “Whether it’s in person, whether it’s a letter to your legislator, whether it’s on social media, it is absolutely key to keep emphasizing how important basic reproductive health care is, how much Planned Parenthood means to people across the country, and how resolute people are that we will not stand for rolling back our reproductive health or rights.”
“We’re unsure what this next year is going to look like,” Sackin told the Cut. “In the past, when we’ve seen defunding fights and legislation, it targets people who have low incomes who already depend on safety-net programs, so we’re especially looking to make sure those people are protected.”
Here are five things you can do to help.
Making a one-time or recurring donation helps ensure that Planned Parenthood’s doors stay open for the patients who rely on them for care. You can give directly to health centers or to the organization’s political arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. When making a gift to health centers, if you select “give to Planned Parenthood,” your donation will be split between your local affiliate and the national federation. If you want all of your money to go to a single affiliate (in your community or not), click “specific giving,” then select the group. Donations to the separate Action Fund will help Planned Parenthood fight against laws and regulations that limit access to reproductive care.
Volunteer at a clinic
Call your local health center to see what their volunteer needs are. One of the opportunities might be a clinic escort, which Sackin says ensures that people coming in for health care see a warm, welcoming face before they walk through the doors.
Become an activist
Every state’s needs will be different, but you can sign up to volunteer with the Action Fund at PPaction.org/volunteer. You can also reach out directly to groups in your state. College students can join Planned Parenthood Generation Action, which has more than 275 chapters nationwide.
Stay informed and be outspoken
Follow the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for email alerts to stay up-to-date on attacks on reproductive rights and how you can get involved. This helpful page lists the social accounts for groups in every state. You can also use the hashtag #WeWontGoBack in posts about your support of health care and equality and join the more than 85,000 people who’ve signed the “We Won’t Go Back” pledge.
Planned Parenthood also encourages its supporters to speak out against hate toward people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and LGBTQ people, all groups that have been targeted during this election. “They’re our staff, they’re our volunteers, they’re our patients, they’re part of our community,” Sackin says, adding, “health care shouldn’t be political but we value being able to provide a safe space for people who need it.”
Keep getting care at its centers
… or go there for the first time. If you need any service that Planned Parenthood provides — birth control, an annual exam, STD testing — you can support them by making your appointment there.