Welcome to “The Gravy” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Thanksgiving tipsheet featuring what we’re grateful for this year. The Quickie is taking a holiday break and will return Monday, November 28.
We’ll all remember 2022 as a devastating year for abortion access. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, lawmakers have banned or severely restricted abortion in 17 states, creating a public health emergency nationwide. In the face of this crisis, communities are fighting for their reproductive freedom — as they have for years. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who push us forward. Here are just a few of the people to whom we are grateful.
STORYTELLERS SHARING THEIR EXPERIENCES WITH BRAVERY AND HONESTY: We’re eternally thankful to storytellers. Our culture reinforces stigma and shame about bodies, sex, and sexuality. That stigma leads to policies that create barriers to safe, legal, compassionate abortion care. Stigma and bias thrive in silence. Storytelling presents an opportunity for people to break that silence to challenge social norms and injustices — and inspire others to do the same.
From abortion storytellers to artists and creators, we’re thankful for the many ways people came forward to speak out against the devastating attacks on essential health care. Whether they are telling their stories to media outlets or using their own platforms to advocate for safe and legal abortion, storytellers bring us into their lived experiences, educate us on historical truths, and inspire us to believe a better world is possible.
Storytelling is a tool of expression, resistance, and movement building. It can bring voices that have gone unheard to the forefront of the movement, and bring education, catharsis, and joy to a variety of audiences.
We commend storytellers for their honesty, bravery, and generosity. We will need them even more as we continue to navigate a post-Roe world.
STORYTELLERS AND PROVIDERS TESTIFYING BEFORE CONGRESS: We are thankful to the many storytellers and providers who testified before House and Senate committees about the devastating consequences of abortion bans after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, including several Planned Parenthood patients and providers.
Just weeks after the Dobbs decision, Dr. Colleen P. McNicholas, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri in St. Louis, MO, testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing about the consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the federal constitutional right to abortion. Samie Detzer, a Planned Parenthood patient advocate, testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about barriers, challenges, and threats to sexual and reproductive health care — and why everyone should have the ability to make decisions for themselves. This fall, Dr. Bhavik Kumar, medical director for primary and trans care at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and Kelsey Leigh, a Pennsylvania-based patient advocate, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, sharing their firsthand experiences of sexual and reproductive health care and why they continue to fight for abortion access.
AN ABORTION MOBILE CLINIC CLOSING GAPS IN ABORTION ACCESS: We’re also thankful for mobile clinics! Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLR) launched Planned Parenthood’s first mobile abortion clinic to meet patients where they are. The unit is meant to decrease travel time for out-of-state patients seeking abortion care. After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, PPSLR patients were waiting on average two to three weeks for an appointment; before the decision it was two to three days.
With more mobile health centers slated to open across the country, we are exceptionally grateful for the incredible work our affiliates are doing to ensure patients can continue to access abortion care.
PATIENT NAVIGATORS HELPING PEOPLE GET ABORTIONS: We’re grateful to patient navigators who work tirelessly to ensure pregnant people across the country get access to the abortion care they need. As the laws around abortion change state by state and day by day, the barriers patients face are daunting. Patient navigators are committed to helping them find care and ways to cover travel, lodging, and child care expenses.
We’re thankful for the guidance they provide patients in states where access has been severely limited. We hope to continue lifting up their work by making sure they’re seen in national outlets like The Guardian, CNN, Refinery29, Reuters, and NBC News.
LATINO VOTERS WHO ARE SHOWING UP AND SUPPORTING ABORTION RIGHTS: We are thankful to all voters who showed up to the polls or voted by mail to overwhelmingly support reproductive rights and reject abortion bans and politicians who want to control our bodies and futures. Latino voters, specifically, debunked the misconception that they are opposed to abortion rights. Young Latinas not only want access to reproductive health care — they also want their families to understand the importance of abortion access. During this election cycle, for the first time, abortion was among the top five issues for Latino voters.
We are also thankful to every organizer who knocked on doors, made calls, and held countless conversations with voters in key states helping to drive Latino voters to the polls.
VOTERS DEFENDING ABORTION RIGHTS THROUGH BALLOT INITIATIVES: With a record number of abortion-related measures on the ballot this year, voters in state after state showed up for reproductive freedom, demanding once again the fundamental right to control their own lives, bodies, and futures. With Roe v. Wade overturned, voters have a greater understanding of how their bodily autonomy and personal freedoms are at risk. We’re thankful to the millions of people of all ages, political affiliations, backgrounds, and beliefs who came out in full force.
In California, Vermont, and Michigan, voters overwhelmingly approved measures to enshrine the right to abortion and other reproductive health care in their state constitutions. In Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana, they rejected anti-abortion measures that would have put politicians in charge of their personal medical decisions. We are also thankful to our partners across the country who banded together to protect their communities, and mobilize, motivate, and educate voters throughout these months-long campaigns.
This is just the beginning. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is prepared for a decades-long fight to rebuild access and restore abortion rights nationwide, and we will do whatever we can to fight back. Now more than ever, everyone — from lawmakers to activists to individual citizens — has a role to play in protecting access to abortion.