Hate disarmed, sex ed employed, and choice protected: Your civic action to-do list for 5-20-19

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3. Hate and guns are a deadly combination. More than 56,000 hate crimes in the U.S. from 2010 to 2016 involved a firearm, and that number continues to rise. Currently, individuals convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes are still allowed to buy and own guns, which puts innocent lives at risk if these perpetrators choose to act on their hate again.

In a nutshell: Last week, Rep. David Cicilline reintroduced the Disarm Hate Act, which will prevent individuals with a history of hate-motivated criminal conduct from accessing deadly weapons. In the wake of extremist attacks, from Poway to Christchurch and Pittsburgh to Charleston, we cannot allow hate to continue to devastate minority communities.

Take Action: Tell your Member of Congress to co-sponsor the Disarm Hate Act (H.R.2708) and curb the threats facing marginalized groups.

2. Access to quality sexual health education varies drastically across the country, but adolescents need accurate, inclusive, and empowering sex education to make informed sexual and reproductive health choices. 

In a nutshell: The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (REHYA) will fund comprehensive sex education and require discussion on healthy relationships and sexuality, contraception, and decision-making. It will also ensure that no federal dollars go toward abstinence-only programs, which are often ideologically-driven and stigmatizing.

Take Action: Encourage your elected officials to support REHYA when it is reintroduced this Congress to help reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and dating violence among teens.

1. As conservative state legislators continue to pass laws that gut abortion rights and challenge Roe v. Wade, pro-choice politicians are fighting back. Vermont’s statehouse has led the way in ensuring equitable access to abortion, enshrining reproductive rights in the state constitution.

In a nutshell: Legislatures in Massachusetts, Nevada, and a dozen other states are following Vermont’s example and protecting women’s health care. In the coming days, Massachusetts will review the ROE Act, which will remove unnecessary barriers to abortion access (for example, teens must obtain permission from a parent or judge) and codify reproductive freedom into state law.

Take Action: If you live in Massachusetts, urge your state legislators to support the Massachusetts Roe Act and let Gov. Charlie Baker know that reproductive choice is a fundamental human right.