This riveting, informative interview with guest #VOTEPROCHOICE leader Heidi Sieck is a MUST podcast listen. Heidi L. Sieck is Co-founder/Chief Empowerment Officer of #VOTEPROCHOICE, a national political engagement platform connecting prochoice voters with prochoice champions in critical elections.
Heidi sounds the alarm that we need to organize where the anti-choice minority is organizing. There are 180,000 races across the country this mid-term elections! And she’ll tell us how VOTEPROCHOICE provides resources to candidates and connects voters to critical election resources in their state.
All episodes begin and end with the 2017 single “Rise” by rock group Betty (www.hellobetty.com)
The question is not, “How do we fight back?” The question is, “How do we fight forward?”– Gloria Feldt (15:19)
In this episode:
What our hosts are pissed about (02:00)
Introducing Heidi Sieck (07:33)
Why every elected office needs to be pro choice (17:05)
#VoteProChoice strategizes (20:07)
Maintaining your voting access (30:40)
The Hosts Start by Sharing What They’re Pissed About
Carol is pissed about Michelle Goldberg’s opinion piece in the New York Times centered on how feminism is dead and the struggles that modern feminism is having.
Betty is pissed about New Yorker’s article “A Texas Teen-ager’s Abortion Odyssey” which tells the story of a father used all of his savings to get his daughter across Texas state lines to have an abortion.
Sherrye is pissed about the 10 bipartisan Senators who didn’t even consider doing something about banning 18-year-olds from buying assault rifles. She reads a piece suggesting those who want to buy guns should go through the same steps that those seeking abortions need.
Gloria is pissed about how the workforce and workplaces are not supporting women, mothers, and citizens. The pandemic is giving us an opportunity to make big systemic changes for women, and she doesn’t want to see the moment pass us by.
#VoteProChoice CEO, Heidi Sieck
Voteprochoice.us connects pro choice voters with pro choice champions in critical elections, such as the midterm elections in November 2022.
#VoteProChoice is sounding the alarm that we can’t count on the courts and Congress to save our right to our own bodies, and citizens have to mobilize on the down-ballot races.
Heidi discusses how the anti-choice minority is dictating the health of millions of Americans who need access to abortion care. She discusses the strategic political decision that mobilized the evangelic minority to get conservative politicians elected around this issue. It was a very coordinated political strategic by the GOP which Democrats failed to answer over time.
Even though people have complex feelings about abortion, fundamentally, 80% of people in the country agree that Roe v. Wade should be the law of the land. In the past, the misogyny of the Democratic party caused politicians to offload abortion access issues to organizations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood. All aspects of the Democratic ecosystem should have embraced abortion as a part of a political platform.
Gloria Feldt talks about her experience joining Planned Parenthood one year after Roe v. Wade had passed, and from her perspective, what happened in the 1970s was that Democrats thought they had won. With victory, social movements lose steam.
Nothing is ever won forever.– Gloria Feldt (14:40)
A Comprehensive Nationwide Voting Guide
Every single elected office has a role to play in protecting or expanding reproductive freedom. Voters have to invest in leadership pipelines that are sending pro-choice politicians to higher office. The #VoteProChoice voter guide highlights those who support reproductive freedom and also shows which candidates are anti-choice at every electoral level.
A great example that Heidi discusses is how Austin, Texas, is a charter city. The city council members are currently discussing how they can create a safe haven for abortion in Texas by making moves to detangle themselves from city funding going to law enforcement to prosecute abortion providers and how the city can protect itself from state laws.
Priority States for #VoteProChoice
The organization doesn’t start with the federal political landscape. Vote Pro Choice analyzes how dangerous it is to be pregnant in any particular state. That’s how they build their high-priority states.
They further rank states by:
- Distance to clinics
- How many clinics
- Post-Roe trigger bans
- Constitutional protection
They then find down-ballot races in the most dangerous states where those leaders can transform the conversation around reproductive freedom.
Carol Asks About How to Get Young Women Engaged
Heidi talks about her experience with young people really getting engaged in the political process, especially around this issue. She thinks that word about Roe v. Wade being overturned is going to mobilize and fire up a lot of voters.
Young people know what’s at stake, and they’re starting to really show up. As someone who is committed to the solution, Heidi sees that young people are the solution. And from what Heidi sees, young people are showing up with a lot of energy on the platforms that they use. It might not look like the feminism that we’re used to, but Heidi feels heartened by the energy she is seeing.
Pro Choice TikTok is completely overwhelming and amazing to me.– Heidi Sieck (26:06)
Political Strategy Behind Voting Pro Choice
Mobilizing in our communities is critical, and this is not a one-time deal. Participating in democracy is like going to the gym. You got to do it all the time, show up day after day, to get a little stronger. The solution is in those state legislative races, so folks need to be looking at those seats and the elected criminal justice positions, especially in the 28 states where abortion will be banned in a post-Roe world.
Heidi’s call to action is that people need to be obsessed with local and state legislative seats. The Supreme Court is going to let the states decide, and so it’s up to voters to make sure that pro-choice candidates are now in the places where those decisions are being made.
Gloria asks how voters can make sure they’re able to vote given the current voter suppression climate.
Heidi discusses how the same anti-choice infrastructure is being used to do voter suppression. However, that gives us a slight advantage because we can fight them both in the same way. These are very similar tools of oppression that work by creating undue burden, and the #VoteProChoice voter guide addresses how people can make a plan to get to the polls.
Closing Thought from Heidi Sieck
There are 108,000 races on the ballot in November. That’s 108,000 opportunities to change the future.
Award-winning civic entrepreneur with a lifetime commitment to political organizing, civic technology innovation and reproductive freedom. Heidi has been organizing in the reproductive rights and feminist movement for over 30 years and is a sought after candidate coach, mentor, speaker and political strategy consultant.
Heidi was also involved with Emerge America. Listen to our episode with current Emerge America president A’shanti Gholar.