A guest post by Serena Freewomyn of Feminists for Choice.
I was talking to a friend recently who told me that she admired me for being so involved in the abortion rights movement. She said that she has always been pro-choice, but she’s never done anything about it. I responded by telling her that she was in the comfortably silent majority. Opinion poll after opinion poll has shown that the majority of Americans are pro-choice. The problem is that they don’t do anything about it, aside from send an occasional donation to Planned Parenthood.
That needs to change. We just observed the one-year anniversary of Dr. George Tiller’s murder. His death has motivated many people, myself included, to become more active in the pro-choice movement. Many of us have become clinic escorts and web-savvy activists. But there aren’t enough of us out there making a difference. We need more visible allies.
The upside is that the wing nuts who hassle patients at abortion clinics are in the minority. The sad part of this, though, is that they are vocal, well-funded, and extremely organized. They know how to make life miserable for women and the doctors who serve them. And it’s time to make them stop.
Our generation is considered to be apathetic. By our generation, I am referring to people like me – twenty- and thirty-somethings who spend most of their time on social networking sites, tweeting about the latest American Idol contestant, and griping about oil spills in the Gulf. It’s not that we don’t care – we do. We’re just very busy with our own lives. If someone sends us an e-mail that includes a link to tell our senators that we’re opposed to a certain bill, we’ll click on the link. But that’s about all we’ll do. We’re too busy working multiple jobs and going to school to do anything else. The perception of apathy is understandable, but it has to change. The generation of feminists who has gone before us is ready to pass the baton onto someone else, and we need to be ready to step up to the challenge.
If you are pro-choice but you don’t do anything about it, you need to get involved. Don’t just talk shit about the wingnuts, get out there and do something about it. Maybe you’re not ready to commit to clinic escorting. But there are other things that you can do to make a difference. You can volunteer to phone bank or canvas neighborhoods to help get pro-choice candidates elected in November. You can table at events to help educate your community about the issues. At the very least, you need to talk to your family and friends about what choice means to you. The personal is very political when it comes to the abortion debate. And you are in the best position to educate the people who are closest to you.
Let’s out-maneuver the wingnuts. Since they spend their time making ridiculous posters and spewing lies, it shouldn’t be hard to do. But we have to make it a priority. Will you do it?