Are you okay with abortion becoming illegal or with losing your right to affordable reproductive healthcare? If not, register to vote in the midterms. ‘Cosmopolitan’s Editor-in-Chief tells you why it’s so important to vote.
‘As the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and editorial director of Women’s Health, I’ve been thrilled (but not surprised) to see young women using their voices super-forcefully over the past two years: taking to the streets for the Women’s March, speaking out for gun control on social media, and starting a long-overdue revolution with the #MeToo movement. But in one area, we still aren’t being heard loudly enough: the United States government. Women account for more than 50 percent of the population but hold just 30 percent of elected offices in this country. Not cool. That underrepresentation threatens our safety and well-being. How so? Our reproductive freedom is under constant attack, access to affordable birth control is in jeopardy, and the gender wage gap remains an abyss.
I can’t believe we’re still grappling with these issues!! Decades ago, when I was in high school, my divorced mother was crazy-busy…she worked full time and went back to school to get a master’s degree to boost her abysmally low teacher’s salary. As a result, I was very independent. And one of the things I did on my own was obtain birth control. (To be honest, my mom and I weren’t exactly BFFs back then. So even if she wasn’t pre-occupied, I probably wouldn’t have confided in her.) I vividly remember going to the Planned Parenthood clinic in a neighboring town and talking to a doctor there. She examined me, thoughtfully discussed my options—and the importance of practicing safe sex—and dispensed the Pill. I continued to go there for refills and routine health screenings until I moved away from home. That critical early experience instilled the responsible behavior I’ve displayed my entire adult life when it comes to reproductive and sexual health.
Flash forward to now: The Trump-Pence Administration has proposed a “gag rule” that would prevent patients from getting full and accurate info from their doctors about things such as legal, safe abortion and contraception. The people impacted most are, as usual, women and those who live below the poverty line.
Why is it okay to try to control people’s destinies—their economic security and family planning—in this way? It’s not.
That’s why I’m so shook to imagine that the opportunity to access affordable reproductive health care (among other basic human rights) is being threatened. I mean, they even want to control access to INFORMATION — as in preventing access — because after all, information is power and we can’t allow women to have that now, can we? It is simply unfathomable, unnerving, and unacceptable.
But we can’t afford to hide under the covers. Eff that. We’re way too smart and strong to stand for this lunacy. The very best way to fight back and protect the erosion of our rights is to get more women elected. That’s why Cosmo published this award-winning guide to How to Run for Office. Our info, along with the push from dozens of other organizations, is having an impact. Since the 2016 general election, women have been signing up to run in record numbers (Hi, Democrat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez! ICYMI, she unseated an older white male, in Queen’s, NY, in a bid to run for the U.S Senate). More than 40,000 fired-up females have contacted our friends at Emily’s List about becoming candidates since Trump’s victory—versus 920 in the entire election cycle before that.
Now it’s time to do your part by voting for them—not just in presidential election years but in the more frequent primaries and midterms too. Cosmo’s #VoteTwice campaign is galvanizing young women to exercise their power two times in 2018, in state primaries (crucial for choosing quality candidates!) and in the midterms this fall. I get it—midterms are not sexy, and you may not know many of the candidates. But if we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that eye-rollingly far-fetched things—such as Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling which made abortion legal throughout the country, being overturned—are now within the realm of possibility. So what happens in your state matters more than ever (for example, do you live in 1 of the 22 states where abortion becomes instantly illegal if Roe is overturned?). It’s critical to elect local representatives who, for starters, believe in preserving women’s health-care and economic empowerment and who will legislate gun safety, because more women are killed by firearms in domestic violence situations than in mass shootings.
Don’t even get me started about the recent news that the State Department was going to allow the blueprints for 3D-printed guns to be published online, before being stopped by a court ruling. Domestic abusers and terrorists would have a field day—and there would be no way to put the bullet back in the chamber if these plans go live. It’s downright terrifying.
Also alarming: a whopping 80 percent of young voters skipped the last midterm elections. But in an exclusive poll Cosmo did with SurveyMonkey, 68 percent of respondents said they’re definitely planning to vote this time around. If they—and you all—follow through, we can thwart the regression of women’s rights and instead charge forward. No excuses. Get out there!
And if you’re not registered to vote, you can do that right here with HollywoodLife.com’s register to vote module embedded below. HollywoodLife.com has partnered with Rock The Vote to make it super easy to vote. So register now and prepare to vote in the midterms on Nov. 6th!
Michele Promaulayko is the Editor-In-Chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, the world’s largest magazine for young women. She’s also Editorial director of Women’s Health.