HR7, passed by the House earlier this week, codifies the evil Hyde Amendment and further restricts access to abortion by prohibiting abortion coverage through multistate insurance plans. Millions of people could lose coverage for abortion. Obviously this is an incursion on human rights and bodily autonomy that could, if passed, could jeopardize people’s bodies, health, and lives. Anyway, I called Senator Peter Welch and Senator Bernie Sanders at their district offices to tell them this and to ask them not to let it get through the Senate.
Note: This was my first set of live calls, so I was very nervous. Therefore I made a quick script with the key points I wanted to make: my name and address, the fact that I objected to HR7, my biggest problem with it [restriction of abortion access and thus threat to constituents’ bodies, health, and lives], and what I wanted the Senator to do about it [filibuster it and keep it from passing the Senate]. I stuck to the script and made the calls very quickly, in like under 2 minutes each.
In both cases, I expected to just deliver my speech and walk away, but it didn’t happen. Anyone who calls a Congressperson’s office and gets a live response should be prepared for a little bit of conversation. Here are some aspects to a live call that you might not have considered:
- They might ask who you are and where you live again, even if you state that in your intro. The staffers specifically asked for my name and town again, which I gave. [I think they were making a record of that.]
- They might ask for your contact info [mailing address, phone number, and/or E-mail]. Leahy’s staffer asked if I had called the office before; I said no; he asked my contact info, which I gave because I am okay with being on a mailing list.
- They might ask for clarification. Leahy’s staffer was unfamiliar with HR7, so I added that it passed the House earlier this week and codified the Hyde amendment with even more restrictions on abortion.
- They might put you on hold. Sanders’ staffer said in the middle of my spiel that she had another call and had to put me on hold. She came back shortly after, and I finished my speech.
- Remember to be polite to the staffer and thank them!