Americans United joined over 15 other organizations last Wednesday morning outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in a show of support for the right of all women to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions. The groups, which included both secular and faith-based organizations, gathered on the steps of the court in response to the hearing of Zubik v. Burwell. AU presented a brief to the court on behalf of more than 240 students from religiously affiliated universities that could be impacted by this decision.
The morning consisted of chants, songs, dancing, and passionate speeches by a number of supporters, including Congress people and AU’s own Rev. Barry Lynn. Our message to the court was loud and clear: employers and schools should not have a say in a woman’s healthcare decisions.
In addition to the presence outside the Supreme Court, AU participated in a digital rally, which gathered the support and attention of millions of people online. The digital rally allowed us to reach a much wider audience while also generating debate and discussion of the issue over the internet. Organizations and individuals sent over 15,000 tweets using the hashtag #HandsOffMyBC in support of women’s reproductive rights. The message reached over 17 million Twitter users, exponentially increasing our ability to draw awareness to this issue.
The hashtag rose as high as the number three “trending topic” on Twitter that day, and our own Twitter profile, @AmericansUnited, was retweeted almost 200 times during the digital rally and reached over 35,000 individual users. This means that thousands of people beyond those on the steps of the court in Washington, DC were talking about the potential impact of this case. Social media allowed AU to engage in a discussion about Zubik v. Burwell all across the country and beyond.
Ultimately, the coalition of organizations succeeded both at the court and online in voicing our strong support of the right of women to have access to contraception, regardless of the religious affiliation of their employer or school.
Thank you to all of those who joined us!