Normally I spend the anniversary of Roe v Wade decision volunteering at a clinic and organizing a fundraising event. This year I stepped back because of other commitments I have going on. For a moment I felt a pang of not being ‘in the mix’ of the protestors downtown – but as I crawled back in bed with a vicious head cold (not a planned commitment)I reminded myself that it is the sustained efforts of the abortion rights movement that is important.
But it is important today to speak to how a Supreme Court decision has shaped our lives. I grew up in a post-Roe nation. As a member of Gen X I had decent sex-ed provided by my school while my home didn’t so much address humans sexuality. When I started dating an aunt handed me a copy of “Our Bodies Ourselves” and my mom added by shouting into my room “I’m not raising any grandkids”
I first understood abortion as a personal rights issue when my friend Sandy* called on a Saturday when were 14 or 15. Her mom was out of town, and her stepdad was freaking out: screaming at her & throwing things because of an abortion she had scheduled for the following week. She need a place to stay and asked if she could come over . She hadn’t mentioned the pregnancy before then, or any issues with the boyfriend, which weren’t details she was obligated to share with anyone. After conferring with my mom Sandy came over and stayed until her Mom returned.
After she left my Mom and I had a long talk about the whole thing. While she never questioned the importance of legal access my mom had wavered about what she saw was the morality of it. But she always saw it a personal choice up to the pregnant person. In fact that night she told me stories of driving friends to illegal abortions before Roe.
That night that Sandy stayed with us was formative, I wouldn’t get involved with clinic defense for nearly a decade – but it was Sandy’s brave insistence at her personal autonomy, her own mother handling the issue with Sandy’s needs at heart, and my mother providing shelter for person in need that taught me the how important access is.
* not her real name
If you haven’t already this month, consider giving to a local abortion fund (I can vouch for the DC Abortion Fund) and get involved into your local, and a national politics for abortion rights for all.