A long-time soldier and sometime general in the battle for reproductive freedom, I have marched, organized rallies, served on boards, testified before legislators, sent letters, signed petitions and founded organizations. Yet, when I look at this field, I’m neither bolstered by our victories nor galvanized by our vision.
According to Gallup, over the last three decades there has been a modest increase in public support for abortion and, paradoxically a decline in number of people who identify as “pro-choice.” But the proof of a movement is in the social conditions it creates and cements: we’re barely keeping our heads up in the wave of anti-abortion legislation proposed and passed in many states. Continue reading
The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was ahead of its time with its affirmation that women can legally choose to have an abortion, but it was also a product of its time. In 1973, the United States was riding the wave of optimism known as the social justice movement, which was in the ascendancy during the 1960s as it sought to right the many wrongs American society had accepted until then. People were speaking out against war, convinced that we as a society could do better for one another. The Civil Rights movement affirmed the common humanity of all Americans with its call for racial equality and justice. Likewise, women were asserting the right to define themselves, their strengths, their voices and desires. Age-old restrictions were giving way: contraception, only recently legal, was finally made available to unmarried women in 1972. Continue reading