So You Think Times Have Changed?
I find myself at many tables discussing issues surrounding reproductive health, rights and justice; and I am often the only woman of color and the youngest at these tables. I am very fortunate to have such rich and open dialogue with individuals that are also fighting for reproductive rights. But there are also moments where I’d like to rip my hair out.
Every January the reproductive rights community highlights and celebrates the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling granting the right to abortion. And if I had a quarter for the number of times I’ve heard: “You youngin’s don’t know what it was like to not have access to legal abortions!” I’d be rich, or rather, richer.
While they are not wrong, it shows how far we still have to go.
Yes, I was fortunate enough to be born a few decades after Roe. But this reply strips me of why I do what I do, because of my age, regardless of my advocacy and education work – it strips me, as a woman of color, and other women, like my mother, aunts and cousins, whom continue to face barriers to accessing varied reproductive health services including abortion decades after the Roe decision.
The article, Women of Color Gain Electoral Influence, Lose Access to Health Care, states:
Really, is access to reproductive health care that impactful? Well, Roe v Wade was passed in 1973 after the civil rights movement. Communities of color were challenging the systems that had for so long disenfranchised them from gaining access to equal opportunities in many arenas, such as education, health care, jobs, and, well, the list goes on.
Still, forty years later women of color continue to be in the margins. Women of color continue to put their reproductive health care on the back burner; services such as prevention and treatment of reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, as well as other preventative care and family planning services continue to be neglected. Today women of color still disproportionately face barriers to care because of travel costs, cost of daycare, missing work, less likely to have paid sick days and not having the money to afford their services.
I want to stress that Roe v. Wade is important to celebrate, but we also have to be critical about our “win” and ask ourselves: Have we settled? Is Roe v. Wade really about just abortion? Or is it about allowing individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive health? And if so, what are we doing 40 years later to make sure that every single woman has the access to these services?
Join us today, Tuesday, 22nd to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that recognized women’s fundamental right to abortion and discuss it’s impact on women of color. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 303-393-0382 with questions.
Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive rights is located in Denver. You can find out more about our organization at www.colorlatina.org.
Find the full article mentioned above here: Women of Color Gain Electoral Influence, Lose Access to Health Care COLOR among other Reproductive Justice leaders are mentioned.
I’m angry and I don’t know what to do about it.
Listening to and reading about all sorts of arguments against abortion pisses me off. It really, honestly, and truly pisses me off. It angers me for a variety of reasons, one of the top being that people are deciding that they are in charge of what you can and can not do with your body. Another stings with a bite of hypocrisy:
These women decide that they can’t or shouldn’t have this baby right now. They acknowledge that they don’t have the financial means to give birth and take care of a baby, the physical health to give birth, the physical health to take care of a baby, the mental health to give birth to a stillborn or handicapped child, the mental health to be a mother, the mental health and/or financial means to take care of another child, that this child would ruin their life, that they’re simply not ready for the responsibility and weight of being pregnant and eventually a mother, or any other number of reasons. Whatever these reasons are doesn’t matter, because no matter which way you look at it, these women acknowledge their shortcomings in potentially being the child’s mother. They avoid being irresponsible by acknowledging this and refusing to go through with it. They acknowledge their incapability in handling the immense responsibility of being a mother throughout pregnancy and after birth.
They are being responsible by acknowledging their own shortcomings, whatever they may be. And people who vote against abortion are punishing them for their foresight and self-awareness. They look at these scared, self-conscious women who are making a difficult, wise choice by looking for a safe and legal way to deny taking on responsibility they can’t handle and these people practically say, “Oh, now you definitely should have to have the kid now.”
Why the hell do they even want women who would “murder a child” to raise said child? Why? As punishment? Aren’t children supposed to be blessings? If children are being used as a punishment then they’re acknowledging that children will inevitably cause you financial and mental hell. And personally, when you didn’t want it in the first place, I don’t view anything with those side effects as a blessing.
Also, if these women know they aren’t financially capable of paying birth costs, vaccines, diapers, formula, food, furniture, toys, and hell, even have the financial freedom to take time off from work, how the hell are they going to do it? Many pro-lifers, conservative Republicans, also tend to vote against social welfare programs which would help these women who are incapable of supporting the child they didn’t want. What kind of sick twist is that? Not only did you already punish the woman by forcing her to accept a responsibility she knows she can’t handle, you would choose to punish her further by denying her charitable financial help from the people who forced her to have the baby in the first place. At least be consistent.
Maybe the argument is “Well, she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place!” What a stupid overstatement. Saying this implies that she consciously chose to get pregnant purely for the desire to have an abortion or raise the kid in a strained environment. These women didn’t choose to get pregnant with a baby that they knew they couldn’t handle. Choosing to get an abortion doesn’t automatically mean that she’s doing it for fun or frivolously. It can be a traumatizing decision, but they’re making it because they know it’s the better choice for the both of them in the long run.
Maybe they wanted the baby, and it just didn’t work out. Something is physically wrong with the baby or the mother that would make giving birth so much worse than ending it early.
This only scratches the surface of what makes me angry about people who actively try to condemn abortion. I didn’t even talk about being pregnant with a rapist’s baby, because, fucking hell. The woman’s choice about her body was already violently taken away once. Taking away her choice again and forcing a raped woman to go through with her pregnancy is almost exactly like what the rapist did, except this time, it physically lasts for at least nine months versus the duration of time she was raped. And instead of a penis being forced into her vagina, something the size of a toaster is being pushed out of her vagina. Fucking hell, sometimes I hate people. People hating on the right to choose an abortion offends me, so I’m rather in the mood to offend them.
You can be against abortion. I don’t give a flying fuck whatever your personal morals dictate about abortion as long as you don’t start forcing other people to follow your own rules for yourself. You can’t even say your invisible sky daddy is telling you to feel this way about abortion. This atrocity is all on your decision making skills, and that makes it worse, because you choose to feel this way without it even being a staple of your religious beliefs. You choose to say that you feel the addition of another child in this world is more important than preserving the someone’s pre-existing way of life.
If children are that important to you, you goddamn better sure as hell be doing your hardest to improve the lives of children already on this planet. Not even just starving, homeless children in foreign countries and your own city, you better be working to improve public education systems, foster care programs, and accessible healthcare for children from poor families for starters.
You should be working to provide a better world for everyone already living here, not forcing more people into a crowded world that you’ve been abusing and taking for granted.
I want to give the world this post. There are no words in existence to describe the beauty of it.
What these people seem to be forgetting is that once you grant a person rights, their rights cannot infringe upon anyone else’s rights, so unless Mississippi also plans on taking rights AWAY from pregnant people and implementing some kind of forced birth policy, pregnant people’s rights still protect their own body. How are these great public officials, pastors, and patriots planning on getting around that one?
I would like for everyone to be physically and emotionally healthy.