Guest writer Maggie is a White lesbian who works a 9-5 in NYC. She’s also a music junkie and lapsed activist whose current obsessions include visual journaling, 5Rhythms®, and The Wire. These are her words.
At some point, small gold lapel pins meant to suggest a baby’s footprints were passed around the room. Whether I said “no” out loud or not, I don’t remember, but I knew I wasn’t going to wear that pin. I was a young girl sitting in the corner of a small Catholic church within a small Southern city. Our CCD teacher was only doing what the church expected of her, but I was beginning to learn about the intersection of my beliefs with those around me. Somehow, I knew that the pin meant that women wouldn’t be able to choose abortion over pregnancy and parenting, and I felt that was wrong. How exactly, or when I became pro-Choice is hard to say, as our beliefs are such a complex alchemy of race, gender, class, nationality, religious affiliation, familial dynamics, and so on. I do know, though, that my understanding of Choice and my activism have changed as I have come to appreciate more of the color, texture, depth, and scale of my own journey. Today, I remain pro-Choice, but I see the pro-Choice movement as one piece in a larger, broader, messier movement for reproductive justice*.
It’s been said before and should be said again: the era of George W. Bush was a frightening time for the world. On his first day in office, Bush instituted what is commonly referred to as the Global Gag Rule . . . what foreshadowing! In the early Bush (Jr.) years, my activism consisted mostly of irregular clinic escorting and writing small checks. I was naive and had not had an abortion, but I felt I could contain my anger and fear in the face of protestors. Escorting challenged me on many levels, especially because the protestors don’t see the women they’re chasing, and this process reveals larger complicated truths about reproductive health care in our country. Standing there, in a woman’s body, on cold, early mornings felt mostly like an extended session of “hurry up and wait,” where you’re looking for women you’ve probably never met and with whom you will only spend a few seconds. These women – patients – became part of my life simply because they were accessing care in an environment that makes access, let alone inclusive, high quality care increasingly rare. I realized that, for some, just arriving at a clinic might have been a victory. And, I felt deeply how fervently some people seek to deny women such access. [Read more...]