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#DearJohn: Resources for the Digital Activist

A number of people have expressed an ardent desire to join #DearJohn but asked for assistance with Twitter and I promised yesterday that I would post some resources for them. Deanna Zandt has written an introductory guide to the #DearJohn campaign, with links to step by step walkthroughs to help you sign in for the first time, start tweeting, and get your message to as many people as possible. Here are some things to keep in mind while tweeting, contacting your representative, or educating those in your community:

  • HR3 makes permanent the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for a legal medical procedure. As it stands, Hyde must be renewed each year.
  • HR3 strong arms private insurance companies into removing coverage for abortions by instituting an anti-choice litmus test to discriminate against companies and programs that cover them.
  • HR3 will make it harder for rape victims to seek justice, by creating a hierarchy of rape that is based on the worst elements of rape culture. HR3 is based on the idea that “good” people are only raped by strangers and “good” people are the only ones deserving of  medical care.
  • HR3 disempowers survivors economically, financially, legally, and socially. Under Hr3 a person who is drugged, raped, and forcibly impregnated could be left to withstand the ordeal of a rape trial while pregnant, going into the courtroom each day and facing their attacker, without the money or the resources to stop it.
  • Rapists already thrive on power. Rapists already want to control their victims, want them to get and stay pregnant as a constant reminder of the attack or out of a need for control. It is unconscionable that elected politicians are empowering rapists and using the lives of survivors to prove their anti-choice credentials.
  • The opening of the bill mentions that it provides “conscience protections” against tax dollars being spent on abortion. If your conscience tells you that abortion should be free, safe, and legal, it apparently isn’t worthy of protection. Every single person who co-sponsored this bill has sided with people who want to control other people’s bodies and call it morality.

We are all, to some degree, learning. Each protest, each act of activism is a chance to learn from others, to become stronger, better, faster, smarter. Activists learn by doing, by reaching out for resources, and by finding a need and creating ways to address it. Amadi has assembled a list of the co-sponsors of HR3, along with links to their Twitter accounts. We want you to get on Twitter, to call your representatives, to educate people within your own communities about HR3 and why we oppose it so vehemently.

When you do, do so within the bounds of acceptable discourse. Do NOT use violent or threatening language. The people who support this bill don’t want to withdraw it. They want to prove their “commitment to life” while conveniently forgetting the lives of survivors. They are no doubt scrutinizing every part of this protest looking for ways to discredit us, to spin their own complicity with rape culture, to make us all shut up and go away.

Don’t shut up. Don’t go away. Call your representative and tell them that for the reasons listed above and more, you insist that they take a stand for Reproductive Rights. Let them know that attacking Reproductive Rights, as they are doing in State Legislatures across the country, is a cynical attack on the most vulnerable among us, and we demand better.


  1. I plan on convincing many Twitter holdouts that it’s time to join the #dearjohn action. I’m also letting anyone and everyone know that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trying to get on the bandwagon, though nine Dems are HR 3 co-sponsors! WTF!

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  2. Stacey Burns wrote:

    Thanks, Sady! What an amazing campaign! The National Network of Abortion Funds (@AbortionFunds) has been on the #dearjohn bandwagon since it launched, and we also have an action page where people can send a message to their Reps, here: Please RT early and often, and thanks!

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  3. Christina wrote:

    I’m in MD and attempted to contact the two MD reps who are co-sponsoring this bill. I emailed Bartlett, but Andy Harris is a wimp who won’t accept email from anyone not in his district.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
  4. Aaron wrote:

    Andy Harris is a medical doctor. The fact that he’s behind this makes him even more the scum of the goddamned earth than it does everyone else who is.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
  5. Sarah wrote:

    Thank you so much for putting this together in one place. I’ve been tweeting and e-mailing since yesterday. I’m so frustrated at all the representatives that won’t allow you to e-mail them if they’re out of district!

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink
  6. This issue is something that is extremely important to our ongoing struggle for women’s rights. At EMILY’s List, we know that over the past 26 years, our members have fought for the freedoms my generation enjoys today by helping to elect pro-choice Democratic women. We’re asking the GOP: what are your priorities? You spoke of an economic mandate, but your actions show a dedication to rolling back the rights of women.

    Join EMILY’s List in sending this message to Speaker Boehner: we will not stand for these attacks on women’s rights.

    Visit today to join us.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
  7. kb wrote:

    If you can, calling is a good way to get your voice heard. It’s pretty quick (less than 5 minutes), and everyone who I’ve talked to has been very pleasant. You also don’t need to give them your address (some ask, some don’t) – all they care about is if you’re in the district, so just telling them a city is usually enough.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  8. Dawn. wrote:

    Great tips, Sady. I don’t have a Twitter account, but thanks to Amadi’s list, I sent a personal email to two of the Ohio (my home state) reps who are co-sponsoring HR3. The other 4-6 didn’t accept emails from people outside their district. Chickens.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink