2021 also posed similar challenges to 2020 for us in terms of organizing during a pandemic and amidst all out attacks on reproductive freedom, both at the state and federal level. This year, in line with our goal of shifting the narrative on reproductive rights and abortion access and educating our base of male-identifying allies, we launched an incredibly successful digital campaign called “Control Is Their Goal”. This campaign was inspired by yet another draconian effort to restrict abortion, through a spousal consent bill in Tennessee, and helped allies understand that the actual agenda and driving force behind oppressive anti-abortion laws, and the anti-choice movement itself, is controlling pregnant peoples’ bodies. Over just 45 days, our content generated 8.8M+ impressions and 1.3M+ engagements across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and also helped us grow our online presence significantly.
The primary focus of our educational, capacity-building, and organizing program was to expand and build upon the success of the Youth Fellowship Program we piloted in 2020. Over spring and summer 2021, our fellows organized 60 different community conversations, activating and educating 300+ new allies and bringing them into this work. Finally, in the fall of 2021 we launched our first ever state-based cohorts in Georgia and Florida, alongside a third multi-state cohort. Our fall fellows hosted more than 50 community conversations with their peers during the fall fellowship and we engaged 800+ new young allies into our work in 2021.This is critical capacity-building work, focused on training and organizing a pipeline of young allies who are ready to step up and take action in their communities to expand reproductive freedom.
In terms of our advocacy work, without question the single most impactful thing we did in 2021 (through Men4Choice Advocacy) is working as partners in a broad coalition to repeal Illinois’ harmful PNA (parental notice of abortion) law – a law that put young people trying to access an abortion in harm’s way by putting unnecessary barriers in their path. This victory was the result of several years of work by an amazing group of Illinois-based organizations. As partners in this fight, we were able to make a significant contribution to organizing efforts against PNA across Illinois. We contacted 125,000+ voters directly in key legislative districts. Men4Choice also uplifted the coalition’s awareness-building content across our digital platforms, and our ‘Repeal PNA’ digital content reached 500,000+ voters in key districts. Moving forward, young people in Illinois will have access to full reproductive health care, including abortion, without unnecessary legal burdens, and with the freedom to involve those they feel truly safe and supported by when they access care.
There is no doubt in our minds that 2022 will be one of the most critical and pivotal years for reproductive freedom and abortion access in this country. And our goal at Men4Choice is to leverage every successful strategy we’ve developed over the past few years, expand on our organizing and digital tactics, and leave it all on the field to turn out the vote, as well as support our partners with their work in our target states.
Thank you to all of our partners who helped us be better allies in 2021.