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The personal is political and the local is global

132b1e6b 8889 ba1a 6b2d e9d46f293f5a The personal is political and the local is global

Many times we need not look further than our own communities to see how we can make a difference.

The truth is that attacks on reproductive health and religious freedom are not just issues that are debated on state legislative floors. They are happening in school, library, city and county board meetings throughout this whole country. Our voices and votes are needed just as much there — and in some ways even more needed. Let’s take a look at what’s going on locally throughout the country:

Local ordinances in Montana and New Mexico would make abortion care illegal within certain communities. These efforts mirror previous passage in Texas and Ohio cities of ordinances that make abortion inaccessible on a hyperlocal level. (On the other hand, there are cities in Washington, Illinois and New York aiming to make themselves sanctuaries that support abortion seekers and providers.)

Books in schools and public libraries throughout the country are under attack as Christian nationalist groups seek to eradicate literature on sexuality, reproductive health and diversity from their shelves. The American Library Association explains that in just the first six months of 2022, there were 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources and 1,651 unique titles targeted. This is the highest number of attempted book bans since the association began tracking these statistics more than 20 years ago.

Many school boards throughout the country are not supportive of comprehensive sex education. Rather, these Religious Right-dominated boards are passing abstinence-only education and curriculum that does not include birth control, abortion or LGBTQ-plus information. In fact, adolescents are less likely to report receiving instruction on key topics than they were in 1995.

Catholic hospitals and fake abortion clinics run rampant. In the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s home state of Wisconsin, there are over 80 anti-abortion centers and no in-clinic abortions available throughout the Badger State. These centers are often Christian-based and dissuade women from choosing abortion care. Additionally, Catholic entities run one-third of Wisconsin hospitals. These health care organizations do not provide comprehensive birth control, abortion, gender-affirming or family-planning services. However, they are often the only facility available for people in rural areas.

You do not need to turn on the national news or listen to a legislator in another state promote an anti-science, religiously rooted agenda. It is happening in your own backyard. That’s why you need to:

Vote in local elections. Learn about the candidates, attend listening sessions, and actively campaign and support candidates that align with evidence-based practices. Don’t see anyone on the ballot that aligns with secular values? Throw your hat in the ring!

Attend local meetings. Whether it is the local library, school or city council, show your interest and stay informed on the decisions that are being made in your area. Connect with your representatives and explain issues that matter to you.

Renew your library card. If your card has lapsed, now is a perfect time to get a new card and start using it actively. Let your local librarians know that you appreciate their work and advocacy for intellectual freedom.

Fund abortion. Abortion funds help cover the cost of abortion for people who cannot afford it. Find your nearest abortion fund here.

Talk about abortion pills. As abortion becomes harder to access, people will seek abortion medication for care. However, as we’ve already discussed, the future of medication abortion is precarious. Discussing abortion pills and distributing information to your community can help destigmatize medication abortion.

Share Freedom From Religion Foundation blogs, action alerts and news with your social network. You can also ask to get Freethought Radio on your local station.

The personal is political — and the local is global. Human rights issues are being taken away from us right before our very eyes in our own communities. Do not underestimate the power of your voice and actions in your own communities and neighborhoods.

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