Draw the Line: Why Kevin Bacon and Meryl Streep Want You to Stand Up for Reproductive Rights


Meryl Streep has had it.

And she’s not the only one. Looks like someone’s Bacon Number is one.

A new campaign launched by the Center for Reproductive Rights aims to #DrawTheLine when it comes to reproductive health care rights. I spoke with Julie Rikelman, the litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights via email to learn more about the social media campaign and its goals IRL.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is “the only global legal advocacy organization dedicated exclusively to advancing and defending reproductive rights” which “fights to ensure strong legal protections for reproductive rights, and affordable and unhindered access to a full range of reproductive health care services—including contraception, pregnancy care, abortion, and fertility treatments.” As a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the Center does not support nor oppose candidates for election. “This can’t be about a single election or candidate or party,” said Rikelman.

Nonetheless, the Center is highly concerned at recent legislative and political assaults on women’s right to safe and accessible reproductive health care, including increasing restrictions on abortion to access, battles over contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and other reproductive health issues.

“There are generations of Americans who do not know of a time before Roe v Wade, and so it’s difficult to imagine a day when women could not have safe and legal access to abortion. But this fight isn’t just about abortion, and we hope to reach not only those young people, but Americans from every walk of life,” explained Rikelman.

“This campaign is about activating everyone who cares about women having the right and access to a full range of reproductive health care —including birth control, cancer screenings, abortion, pregnancy care, and fertility treatments.”

The Draw the Line campaign, according to Rikelman, is “building a movement to rescue women’s health from political and partisan games” through leveraging its star power—celebrities involved include Amy Poehler, Lisa Kudrow, Sara Silverman, Billy Crudup, Olympia Dukakis, and, of course, Kevin Bacon and Meryl Streep — to garner support for the organization’s Bill of Reproductive Rights.

Rikelman explained, “The Draw the Line campaign is primarily aimed at amassing hundreds of thousands of signatures, and supporters are encouraged to help us do that by emailing their friends and family to urge them to sign as well! It also includes sharing the campaign and videos far and wide among their social networks on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest and Google+. And you can support the campaign and the Center’s work by donating.” Since the campaign’s launch on Tuesday, over 66,000 people have already signed the Bill, and the signatures keep coming in. Once enough signatures are collected, the Center plans to present the Bill of Reproductive Rights to the federal government, state legislators, and politicians across the country to “tell them that these are fundamental inalienable human rights that they must guarantee and defend for all.” As an added bonus, signing the petition earns you a video shout-out from Amy Poehler.

As Thursday night’s vice presidential debate discussion of abortion indicates, Americans have a long way to go before they consider reproductive rights to be inalienable human rights — and very likely, some never will. But in the meantime, the Center for Reproductive Rights will continue to draw the line across the internet, and encourage others to do the same.