State legislatures are where the battle lines over access to abortion are being drawn, in preparation for the real potential that Roe v. Wade will be overturned in the Supreme Court. Our Head of Giving Circles, Melissa Walker, spoke with Busy Philipps on her podcast, Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best, about why — with the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned hanging over our heads — we need to focus on state legislative elections, and how everyone who cares about protecting abortion access can work to create lasting change this November.
Read a snippet of their conversation and listen to the interview below!
Busy Philipps: Talk to us about action. Talk to us about what you do, what you figured out, what you’ve been doing, where we need to focus.
Melissa Walker: This is a moment for us all to really open our eyes to that and know that what decides whether women have full healthcare in this country is who is in charge of their state government. And I think that when the news talks about things like the abortion ban passing in Texas, people think “oh, it’s Ted Cruz!”— this has nothing to do with Ted Cruz. These are lawmakers in Austin whose names we don’t know, who are in the majority, who are making these decisions. And that is true state by state, by state, by state. But no one has an eye on their state capitol and their state representatives.
Busy Philipps: OK! Where do we go from here? What do we need to do? It’s too much, everybody’s overwhelmed!
Melissa Walker: So what I did after I found this pathway was, I got together with friends, family, co-workers, and formed a Giving Circle, and we are organizing dollars to try to change the balance of power in states and we do that with The States Project. And I am the head of Giving Circles at The States Project, so, I help other people learn to do that as well.
Giving Circle leaders start a page on our website, get their own name, write a description, we quip them tools, videos, sample language ways to reach out to people and bring more people in, and they raise the electoral dollars that The State Project needs, to go into key states and try to shift power in the legislature.
We’re currently in seven states, and that will expand a little bit, but these are states where we see a path to shifting power in 2022 — which will be a very tough year — but these races are won on the margins. So, for example, in your home state of Arizona, we need one seat in each state chamber to tie, and two seats to flip the chambers entirely. That isn’t going to be easy, but it is doable. If we flip the balance of power in Arizona, and control the majority, we can stop anti-choice bills, like the law that the governor just passed.
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