By Rev. Terry Williams, Ohio RCRC Faith Organizer

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Not quite sure what to do or where to start? Especially around issues of reproductive health, rights, and justice here in Ohio, it can be easy to look at all the options for engagement and not know quite where to begin.

Here are five concrete things you can do today that will make a huge impact in the fight for reproductive freedom and abortion rights in Ohio:

  1. Attend a Reproductive Freedom Event: Keep a lookout for local pro-choice events from organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, URGE (Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity), Planned Parenthood, and Ohio RCRC. These gatherings provide a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a positive, pro-choice community filled with dynamic people who are actively making change happen in our state. (There’s actually one coming up next week for faith leaders in Columbus: Holy Callings: Advancing Reproductive Health and LGBTQ Justice.) To learn about the various organizations fighting for reproductive freedom in Ohio, visit www.abortionislegalinohio.com

  2. Organize a Care Package Program Night: Ohio RCRC along with Women Have Options Ohio have built a new program that you can easily engage with any group or organization. Your book club, a religious study group, or a collection of your closest friends — literally any group can contact us and get a Package Night set up. We provide most materials, all the instructions, and a professional facilitator; you provide some comfort items (tea, snacks, feminine sanitary products), as well as a free will donation to help continue the program. You get to spend time learning about post-abortion care while making care packages that will help local abortion clinics provide comfort and support to their patients. To learn more, contact us at info@ohiorcrc.org.

  3. Write Letters to Your Local Newspaper: It’s often overlooked, but short letters sent to your local newspaper are critical for advancing the pro-choice conversation in states like ours. It doesn’t have to be fancy — usually 200-250 words on any number of topics (why reproductive freedom is important to you, why you support people who have had abortions, why your faith tells you abortion is a faithful choice) can prove invaluable for helping end the stigma around abortion and help people who support abortion rights to end their own silence on the subject. Short letters sent every few months can make a huge difference in your community.

  4. Grab a Drink at Repro Health Happy Hour: Did you know you can show your support for abortion access through happy hour? These happen regularly in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo, and Dayton, and they’re just what they sound like: events where you can support reproductive rights while networking with other pro-choice Ohioans in a fun happy hour environment. Sometimes the most important work we can do in support of reproductive health, rights, and justice is to take care of ourselves and build strong relationships with other like-minded people who are dedicated to reproductive freedom. Give yourself the gift of community and support reproductive health at the same time!

  5. Speak Out & Speak Up in Your Faith Community: Offer public prayers about reproductive freedom: give thanks for abortion in the prayers of your community of faith, pray for the safety of abortion clinics in our region, and speak up in support of abortion rights during meetings of your faith community and its leadership. Talk to your rabbi, minister, imam, or pastor about your support of abortion care, and invite them to make a public declaration of their support as well. Research the pro-choice movements within your faith tradition or denomination and bring those perspectives to your local community of faith. Any opportunity you have to help introduce faithfully pro-choice, abortion-positive perspectives to your community, do it!

Start somewhere — start anywhere — but be sure to start. The sooner we all pitch in and join in this work together, the sooner we’ll see the kind of changes we all know we need.