Women’s rights relating to family planning can lead to consumer participation in regards to policy change. Public trust and confidence in government, or policy capacity is important to gage in regards to a policy analyses (Kraft, 2013). The Supreme Court decision for private organizations regarding family planning affected the consumer and their rights, or impact on society. Kraft (2013) states that in a democracy public policies should be consistent with public inclinations and needs of the citizen. However, as seen in the Burwell vs Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, policymakers were more receptive to organized interest than in the general public.
Strategies have been to strengthen citizen capacity to participate in the policy process, one example can be given with the Tea Party activism (Kraft, 2013). It is noted that public participation in the policy process has degenerated in past decades. Arguments are made as to why the average citizen has detached from public policy making, and some say it’s because citizens do not see an impact on their life or cannot see how they can affect government policy (Kraft, 2013).
Social media could improve consumer participation such as Facebook or blogging in regards to information put out to the consumer. Promoting participation and education is important for the consumer to understand the repercussions from policies that are being presented in government. Providing information on the effects of a policy can lead to empowerment and advocacy for the consumer. Public participation can go beyond voting, letters to congressmen, or emailing policymakers. Organizing groups can lead to advocacy demonstrations as was seen before and after the Supreme Court decision in 2014, which brought media attention. Some policymakers advocate the use of web promotions like e-government to engage the public (Kraft, 2013).
Policy analyses have set 5 goals to further public involvement. They are:
“1) incorporating public values into decisions (a fundamental expectation in democracy); 2) improving substantive quality of those decisions (for example, by suggesting alternatives and finding errors of inappropriate assumptions underlying policy proposals); 3) resolving conflict among the various competing interest (by emphasizing collaborative rather than adversarial decision making); 4) building trust in institutions and processes (thereby improving their ability to solve public problems); 5) educating and informing the public (raising public understanding of the issues and building a shared perspective on possible solutions)” (Kraft, 2013, p. 518).
Kraft, M. E., & Furlong, S. R. (2013). Public policy: Politics, analysis, and alternatives (4th Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.