Bad news sucks. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to hear news about laws that deny access to abortion and make choice impossible.
When I read about the crusade to eliminate state insurance coverage for abortion care in states like North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado and Kansas it makes me angry. I wanted to scream when I found out that Stupak was adding anti-abortion language to the health care bill. He was trying to use abortion to stop health care from being passed which is just an asshole thing to do. The health care bill should not be about abortion.
The sad stories depress me and have made me cry. When I read about women who are forced to stay in abusive relationships because they are pregnant, have no options, and can’t afford to leave the situation, I am bewildered. No woman should ever have to remain pregnant if she doesn’t want to. But knowing that there are people out there who try day in and day out to block access to abortion inspires me to fight harder for choice.
My inspiration to keep fighting also comes from other women. My mom is one of those women. When she was my age she worked at a women’s clinic in downtown Boston. We talk about her experiences and the threats her clinic received on a daily basis. My mom’s passion, dedication to the cause, and unwavering support keep me inspired. Reading feminist literature such as Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism and Yes Means Yes put a smile on my face and make me never want to give up. Being part of the Abortion Gang is also inspiring. Knowing that there are so many other young women who feel the way that I do and want to fight for choice is such a great feeling. Even though I haven’t met my fellow gang members I feel connected to them because we are fighting the same fight and have the same passion.
Something else that inspires me to keep up the fight is what I’ve learned in my graduate social work program. I believe in self determination. I want to be able to make my own decisions about my body and I want everyone else to be able to do the same. It is an individual’s thoughts and feelings that lead them to a decision. It may not be what I would decide, but that doesn’t matter because I am not that person. I think about self determination when I think about abortion. Pro-choicers are not asking everyone to have an abortion, promote abortion, or [insert other ridiculous accusation made by the antis here]. We want to be able to choose what we do with our bodies. We want safe and legal abortion as well as a wide array of other reproductive health care options to be available so that women (and men) can make their decisions based on their own feelings and beliefs.
I want to see the disappointing news go away but until it does I will use it as my fuel to stay inspired. The bad stuff just makes me want to do more. I will not stop fighting until everyone has access to safe abortion and comprehensive reproductive health care.