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Lena Dunham: 7 Ways to Fight for Women’s Rights in 2017 (Guest Column)

Variety logo Variety 1/17/2017 Lena Dunham

I grew up in a vocally pro-choice household and was raised to speak loudly in defense of women’s access to a safe and legal abortion. But it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a chronic reproductive illness that I fully understood how essential it is that all women have access to the full range of reproductive health-care services. Even in my unique position of privilege, I have experienced firsthand how painful and destructive it is to be treated by a doctor who does not know (or care to know) the specifics of women’s health.

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I am one of millions of women terrified about the implications of the coming administration on women’s access to reproductive health care. The threat to defund Planned Parenthood is not just a blow to women; it’s a blow to their friends, families, and the workforce that relies on them to contribute every single day. Contrary to popular belief, these concerns exist across party lines. Women of every belief system and political stripe rely on Planned Parenthood, often as their only health-care provider. When women are not empowered with affordable health care that addresses our needs, we suffer within our families, our communities, and as a nation. There has never been a more important time to advocate for this 100- year-old institution than right the hell now.

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JAKE CHESSUM for Variety

So how do you do it? Let’s start simple: Be loud. Chat to your friends and family. Contact your reps and let them know that you demand access to Planned Parenthood. Dudes, do this too!

Donate: It can be a dollar. It can be a million. (Hey, cast of “Big Bang Theory,” I’m looking at you. That’s only a week of work!) Whatever you can give helps the women, men, and young people who need it most.

Volunteer at your local Planned Parenthood. Show the patients and staff how much you respect and admire them. Bring donuts!

If you’re looking for high-quality reproductive care, use Planned Parenthood as your provider. They are the experts in women’s health care in America. It’s a place for every woman and family in this country.

“Let’s finally end the stigma around women’s health.”
Lena Dunham

Tell your story–to your reps, to your followers, to your friends and family. One in five women have been to Planned Parenthood for care, and the world needs to hear from as many of them as possible and be reminded of how diverse, passionate, and strong they are.

If you’re in the entertainment industry, find ways to decrease stigma using your platform. It’s amazing the power that film and TV have to show us new ways of being, seeing, and understanding. Let’s finally end the stigma around women’s health by telling layered stories (funny stories!) that remind every woman that she’s not alone and that she does have resources. I promise, you don’t have to be didactic or self-serious, and your viewers will thank you.

Visit IStandWithPP.org to get educated, sign petitions, and learn more about what you can do. It’s not just a woman’s issue. It’s not just a liberal issue. It’s an everyone issue, and we won’t go down without a fight.

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