Monday, January 25, 2010

Guest post: 10 ways to celebrate Roe v. Wade!

Guest post by Jesse Michener, treasurer of Kutztown University's Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance!

Friday was the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that re-legalized abortion in the United States. This is a day we feminist activists are supposed to be celebrating, but when looking at all of the barriers to obtaining safe, legal abortion, it’s difficult to celebrate.

There are more barriers to a woman’s right to choose today then there have been for decades. Many states have parental consent laws and mandatory delays. Add to that the lack of abortion providers and the harassment they face, and one can see how truly a woman’s right to choose is in jeopardy. That’s why on this anniversary, I think it’s important to remember a quote by Mother Jones, a labor activist, who once said, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”

Before Roe, women died because they were unable to find safe abortion providers, and 37 years later we are still fighting to keep abortion safe and legal. That’s why we as pro-choice activists need to redouble our efforts to protect a woman’s right to choose, so that hopefully we can work to break down many of the barriers to choice that now exist. For this anniversary, I thought of ten things we all can do to support the pro-choice movement.

1. Online Activism: Everyone has a Facebook or a Myspace or a Twitter account. Use yours to support choice. Post pro-choice articles, make your status a pro-choice message, join pro-choice groups and become a fan of pro-choice organizations.

2. Join a group: There are many great pro-choice organizations out there from FMLAs on campus to local NOW chapters. Become involved in these organizations and work with others to make a difference.

3. Donate: Give what you can to organizations that support abortion rights. Organizations like the Feminist Majority, Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation do amazing things. Giving just a little to these organizations can make a big difference.

4. Expose Fake Clinics and other anti-choice organizations: Many people are unaware that Crisis Pregnancy Centers do not refer for or perform abortions. It’s important to educate people on campus and in the community about this, so that people are aware and can make educated choices on where to go for reproductive health care.

5. Come Out: Come out as being pro-choice, discuss the issue with your friends and family, put a pro-choice bumper sticker on your car, wear a pro-choice shirt or button and be proud that you support a woman’s right to choose.

6. Volunteer: Many abortion providers need volunteers and there are many different ways one can. Clinic escorting is just one way to volunteer; this is where people walk patients and their support people through anti-choice protesters into the clinic. To find out how to help, call your local abortion provider and ask how you can help out.

7. VOTE: Becoming politically involved is one of the most important things we can do. Why not join a campaign, sign a petition or run for office. Being politically involved will ensure that future generations will still have the right to choose.

8. Educate Others: Organize an event on campus or do a presentation for a class on a woman’s right to choose. This is a great way to help others become more aware of important issues and to help more people get involved.

9. Advocate for others: Not everyone feels comfortable standing up for their own rights so it’s important for those of us who feel comfortable to speak up. Find out where your campus health center refers students who face an unintended pregnancy. If they don’t give students all of their options, speak up and fight for change.

10. Support All Choices: Last but not least, we need to remember that being pro-choice isn’t just about abortion, it’s about supporting self-determination. Over the last several decades the social safety net in our country has been eroded and it has become harder and harder for women who choose to become parents and adoption is a complicated process. We as feminist need to support women who choose to become parents and women who choose adoption as well.

Photo credit: KU FMLA

Thanks for weighing in, Jesse! If you would like to showcase your feminist group's activism around Roe v. Wade and abortion rights, send your 350 word post to campusteam (at) feminist (dot) org :D

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