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Reproductive Rights

Hi Amy,

First let me say that I have read Manifesta twice and think it is a great book. As a self-proclaimed feminist, I have found it to be a great source of inspiration and encouragment. Thanks.

The reason I am writing is because I am getting really freaked out about this whole Bush vs. Roe stuff. I am scared for what is to come. It is really looking grim isn't it? HOW CAN HE GET AWAY WITH THIS!! How is this happening? How can the government take women so many steps backward like we have been getting away with something terrible in having the freedom to make decisions about our own lives? I am very worried for the future and I have just got to do something.I need your help. I want to make an impact on keeping abortion legal. What should I do?

I have a volunteer information packet coming from Chicagoland's Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, but is doing some filing in a clinic the extent of what one person can do? I need some realistic ideas.
You said in your book that you felt like the only women that get any attention for action in the women's movement are from the Second Wave, but from someone familiar with your work, that is not completely true.

Leah from Chicago



Dear Leah,

I actually do believe that older women are the ones who get the majority of the credit for furthering women's rights -- but that certainly doesn't mean that they are ones doing the work. However, if you ask most "second wavers" -- not all -- about young women -- they will say something to the effect of "they take their rights for granted, they don't realize that choice is in jeapordy."

This has never been my experience, since I interact with younger women daily who are doing this work, so when I hear this accusation, I immediately point to these examples and I get some version of "they are the exception," but they aren't. As for the real threat -- I do think that there are some serious threats when it comes to the Supreme Court, however, I also think that more people see this as a basic human right than don't -- so the justices might never overturn it.

However, the question, I always ask is not "what will we do when Roe is overturned," but instead asking "is abortion legal and for whom?" I actually think that those who are suffering today -- poor women, younger women, rural women -- are the ones who will suffer if abortion is illegalized, but it's almost irrelevant if it's illegal since it is so out of reach for these women as is and those who can easily access it -- middle class women, white women, urban women -- will continue to be able to access it. Certain states will never illegalize it and certain doctors will see it as a necessary medical procedure and will thus leave it available to their patients, however, that will be within private offices and thus available to those who can afford it. This is all to say that I don't think that worrying should be saved for "what's next" but for what is happening now."

I think that filing does help out, but what probably could have a great impact is to take the women currently lacking access and reaching out to them -- perhaps starting a hosting service like women have done with HAVEN in New York City or starting a fund, like the National Network of Abortion Funds or creating a car pool of sorts or creating male responsibility around the issue -- a male speakout for those who have impregnanted women, thus taking the responsibilty off of women or at least sharing it. I hope that gets you thinking.




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