Young Women ARE Paying Attention

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Note: This is the text of a speech given at the Roe v. Wade Anniversary Event held at the State House in Augusta.

I was born in 1987. By the time I even considered becoming sexually active Roe v. Wade had been the law of the land for over 30 years.

I come from a middle class, loving, supportive, pro-choice family.  I tell you this because not only I have had the legal right to choose my entire life but it has also always been an accessible choice for me.

Due to the amazing work of the feminist movements that came before me, I was taught, as a girl, I could do anything.  The things I wanted to be when I grew up ranged from a chemist to a teacher to a pilot.  I was free to be who I am and become what whatever I wanted.

As a young adult I began to understand that there were people in the world that did not have the same rights as me AND I started to realize that there were powerful people and institutions out there who did not want me to have the freedom I felt entitled to.

As a woman in my reproductive years, the possibility that I may lose my right to decide what happens with my body terrifies me.  And the unjust reality that many folks do not have the right or do not have access to that right motivates me.

For the past 40 years anti-choice organizations and politicians have worked together to, slowly, and without too much publicity, chip away at our right to abortion by restricting access– state by state, law by law. But in 2011 they picked up their pace.  2011 and 2012 were scary years for reproductive freedom. In 2011 a record number of bills were passed with the purpose of restricting access to abortion care. And 2012 did fall too far behind.

The past two years have been frustrating and at some points overwhelming.  But, the silver lining — it is motivating people. More specifically, it is motivating young people to get involved.  Time and time again I read blog posts, newspaper articles, and overhear people questioning young people and young women’s commitment to the reproductive justice movement.

I am here today to say, young women care, we are paying attention and we are involved!

We are clinical workers. We are bloggers. We are raising money for abortion funds. We are educating our friends and our families. We are telling our stories. We are in medical school. And we will become providers! We are nursing students. We are clinic “greeters.” We are your interns. We are sex educators. We are full spectrum doulas.

We are part of this movement.  Just look around. We are here and we are ready to move forward!

~ Abbie, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center

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