As a 23-year-old PSU student, I can’t remember a time that access to safe and legal abortion was not the law of the land. Our grandmothers, our mothers and our communities fought for this right so that I would be able to make my own decisions about my body. Growing up in the wake of Roe V. Wade, I appreciate what my generation has and how essential it is for me to continue the fight for reproductive freedom.
Across the country, there have been more attacks on safe, legal abortion in the past three years than in the entire previous decade. Using bogus claims of protecting “women’s health and safety,” politicians have been chipping away at our reproductive rights,s tate by state. Since 2010, more than 200 restrictions on abortion access have become law—70 of these new restrictions passed in 2013 alone. The result: More than half of women of reproductive age like us are living in states where access to abortion is being restricted by their state legislatures. Make no mistake: Safe and legal abortion is under attack. Even here in Oregon, politicians have introduced three abortion restrictions since last year.
I adamantly oppose these unprecedented efforts to turn back the clock on women’s health, and I’m not alone. In fact, six out of 10 young Americans believe abortion should be available in all or most cases, and 68 percent believe it should be available in their own community.
This fight isn’t about being pro-choice or pro-life. Those outdated labels don’t come close to defining who we are or the complexity of this issue. Instead of talking about what divides us, let’s talk about what we can agree on. What the majority of us do agree on is that these are decisions that should be left to a woman and her doctor. And it doesn’t stop there.
For us, reproductive freedom is not just about abortion. It’s interconnected with the spectrum of social justice issues we care about. It is impossible to discuss access to abortion without addressing poverty, racism, immigration and the range of issues that impact our ability to truly make the decisions that are best for ourselves, our families and our communities.
Although we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, it’s our responsibility to create a new reality for sexual and reproductive freedom. That’s why I was thrilled to participate in Planned Parenthood Generation Action’s 2014 Power Tour last summer in Olympia, Washington. I joined other activists from the Pacific Northwest for a robust training aimed at mobilizing young people across the country to truly show our power.
We know that in order for this fight to be successful it has to be not only interconnected with other social justice issues, but intergenerational. Help us make the Planned Parenthood Generation the generation that puts an end to the attacks on safe and legal abortion once and for all.
To get involved, visit PPAOregon.org.
Political Science/Women’s Studies major, PSU
Member of the Multnomah County Leadership & Advocacy Team for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon
To get involved visit PPAOregon.org