Today marks the forty-fifth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which provided the legal right for women to access abortion. For most of us, this day will pass largely unnoticed, because we don’t think about abortion in the context of judges and court decisions. We think about how it impacts our lives, how it connects to our values, and what is means for a woman’s future.
It’s deeply personal.
For me, I think about how this decision changed the future for my mom’s generation who until that day had turned to risky illegal procedures out of desperation. I think about how that even though Roe created a legal right, the decision to end a pregnancy is still out of reach for many women in our country and state because of a lack of providers, a lack of resources and a lack of control over our own lives. Nearly a half century later, we still have a lot of work to do.
Part of my job is to talk about why legal and safe access to abortion is important, often with people who fundamentally disagree with me. It can be hard and intimidating, but I see the difference it makes when I go beyond the talking points and make it personal.
I often share why on days that we provide abortion services, I make a point of walking along the sidewalk through the line of protesters. I explain that it’s important for me to experience the same thing as our patients and their partners, friends, and family. I put myself in their shoes, many who have traveled for hours to get care, and now have to face a group of strangers who aren’t interested in their lives or their decisions, but only want to judge and shame them. I share how that walk makes me feel-- proud of our greeters, frustrated at the invasion of someone’s privacy, committed to ending the stigma attached to abortion.
Sharing my story helps me make a connection and today, I am asking you to do the same.
Legislators tell us over and over again that hearing from their constituents is one of the most important factors in their understanding.
The power of your stories and their impact is undeniable. It is the most effective tool we have to change people’s views and I hear from elected leaders over and over again what a difference they make.