The Changing Faces of the Pro-Choice Movement


This article is the fourth and final in a series published in conjunction with Choice USA in an effort to highlight the importance of intergenerational dialogue within the reproductive justice movement and to uncover ways to work together across generations in order to sustain and thrive. Read the first three in the series by Kierra JohnsonAndrew Jenkins and Eleanor Hinton Hoytt.

What was it like to be part of the baby boomer generation that won the right for women to have full control of their bodies and their futures? Exhilarating. And damn hard. We challenged social norms and refused to stay quiet. We didn’t organize just to win the right for women to choose abortion, we organized to change the status quo of the world.

Women of my generation fought the good fight – we won some, we lost some. We never gave up. Yes, we had dreams for ourselves but we also had dreams for our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and their futures.

Unfortunately, during these last two years we have fought some of the same battles that we thought we won decades ago. To quote baseball great Yogi Bera, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” Politicians who told voters in 2010 they would focus on the economy then launched a War on Women once in office. Now they are trying to deny women birth-control coverage, de-fund Planned Parenthood and require a woman to undergo a forced ultrasound before accessing abortion services. Enough already!

The public is fed up with extremism and political posturing.  In this time of severe economic challenges, Americans want their leaders to focus on solutions and to get something done. Instead, we see politicians like Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) making outrageous and heartless claims about women who have been raped. All of this adds up to turning back the clock on women’s freedom.

The lesson we can learn from all of this is that the personal is political. Elected officials across this country make decisions that impact us. Therefore, when we vote – or don’t vote – it has a direct impact on our everyday lives. By the year 2020, the Millennial generation will make up 40 percent of eligible voters. Some will become the next generation of congresswomen, school board members, mayors, governors and attorneys general.

They will lead. Their values and experience will inform the world they envision for their sons, daughters, granddaughters, nieces and nephews. They will tell their own stories for their times.

Baby boomers may not have everything in common with the Millennial generation. We didn’t grow up with texting or twitter hash tags. And, Millennials have never known what it’s like to live in a country in which abortion is illegal.

What our generations share, though, is the core belief that women – not politicians – should make personal and private decisions about their health care. We believe abortion should remain safe and legal. We also believe that with medically accurate sex education and better access to birth control we can prevent unintended pregnancies. And we can all agree that women should have as much information as possible when seeking out health-care options.

Roe v. Wade turns 40 in January, 2013. It’s time for women of my generation to embrace and support the leaders of a new generation who have and will protect reproductive choice for the next 40 years. Our silver lining in the face of all these anti-choice attacks is that young people have said “enough is enough,” and we’re going to see them flock to the polls and vote their pro-choice values. I couldn’t feel more confident and excited to support the new generation of leaders to drive the pro-choice movement into the future.

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  • northeast-elizabeth

    Ms. Keenan, neither NARAL nor Planned Parenthood are interested in helping women with difficult pregnancies, other than offering them abortions. So many women terminate due to debilitating pregnancy-related diseases, but these so-called “women’s health” organizations aren’t involved in providing or improving treatment or finding a cure. Nor do you offer help to women who wish to keep their babies but are struggling financially or being pressured into abortion by their partners or families.

    Say what you will at the Democratic National Convention. It’s a shame that they won’t give the floor to someone who is more concerned with helping women achieve motherhood than taking their money for abortions.

  • jennifer-starr

    No, what we’re interested in is helping women to make the best choice for themselves, whether that choice is abortion, adoption or motherhood.  You, on the other hand are only interested in harassing and browbeating women into ‘achieving motherhood’, which is the choice that makes YOU the most comfortable. Because apparently another woman’s pregnancy is ‘all about Elizabeth’, right?  

  • northeast-elizabeth

    Jennifer, we really don’t disagree on the facts. Perhaps you didn’t read what I said, or didn’t do so carefully. I said that neither NARAL nor Planned Parenthood helps women with difficult pregnancies, unless it’s to offer abortion.

    So, that’s not really offering a “choice.” It’s offering the option YOU favor, abortion. Those organizations do not meaningfully support women who wish to adopt or to continue difficult pregnancies.

  • northeast-elizabeth

    It’s also highly disturbing that Ms. Keenan would share a podium with Bill Clinton. He has been accused of multiple sexual attacks on women, including a rape by Juanita Broaddrick. Or you believe that Ms. Broaddrick is just a “lying slut”? That would be an odd position to take, give the outrage over the criticism of Ms. Fluke.

    Akin’s comments were indeed stupid. But they were mere comments — not conduct like Mr. Clinton’s rape. And If you believe that his rape was NPR a “legitimate rape” (or “rape rape” as Whoopi Goldberg said) you’re at least as bad as Akin.

  • jennifer-starr

    Akin’s comments are a bit more than ‘stupid’–they were offensive and just plain factually wrong. And perhaps people who are so ignorant of reproduction should stop trying to legislate it and get back to jobs–that is what they pretended to be elected for, isn’t it? 

  • jennifer-starr

    Well NARAL is a political action group and not actually a place that offers medical services or does medical research, so that’s kind of a given. And actually Planned Parenthood does discuss all of the options on its website http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/pregnancy/pregnant-now-what-4253.htm  And many Planned Parenthoods also offer prenatal care, like this one here: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/rocky-mountains/prenatal-plus-program-33099.htm

     

    Google is a wonderful thing indeed. 

  • jennifer-starr

    And furthermore, I don’t favor any option other than the one the woman wishes to make, whatever that may be.  I’m not the one who’s pregnant and I have no stake in the matter. 

  • northeast-elizabeth

    Jennifer, every woman already KNOWS what all the options are. They aren’t that stupid, okay? They don’t need a useless link to tell them they can continue the pregnancy, abort or place the child for adoption.

    Once again, you’re just trolling rather than reading carefully. As I said, neither NARAL nor Planned Parenthood are interested in helping women with difficult pregnancies, other than offer them abortion. NARAL doesn’t advocate for the improved treatment or care of women with debilitating pregnancy-related conditions. The “pre-natal” care link you provided doesn’t address medically difficult pregnancies — and is a joke because all it offers is “referrals” to some other organization. A phone book does as much!

    Beyond this, 98.5% of pregnant women who go to Planned Parenthood get abortions — not their useless referrals. They are NOT interested in all options. All they really offer is abortion, for a fee, and every woman who wants something else is turned away with a “we can’t help you with that.”

    Rather quiet on Clinton’s rape, Jennifer. Google is a wonderful thing, isn’t it!

  • crowepps

    What do you mean by “work with”?  What do you mean by “meaninfully support”?

    Do you mean that Planned Parenthood, which dedicates the greatest portion of its budget to preventing unwanted pregnancies by providing birth control, and improving women’s health through STD and cancer screenings, should *duplicate* the services currently provided by obstetricians, disability organizations, adoption agencies and social services?  Why duplicate instead of refer?  Aren’t those services doing a good job?

  • jennifer-starr

    Yes, a pregnant woman is not stupid. She knows her options, knows what pregnancy means and knows what ending a pregnancy means. And if she knows she wants an abortion, that is her choice –who am I to try and dissuade or talk her out of it?  It’s her business and her pregnancy–not mine. 

     

    And as for Clinton, that’s old news and it was hashed and rehashed in the media in the ’90s. Done and gone. And he’s no longer the President, nor is he a legislator. What you’re doing is called deflection– the fact that Clinton allegedly did ‘A’ ( I say allegedly because to my knowledge charges weren’t filed) doesn’t make what Akin said any better. And we could sit here and swap old stories back and forth all day about which side has the worst politicians but frankly, I’d be bored before we even started. 

  • northeast-elizabeth

    I mean that if Planned Parenthood were truly interested in helping pregnant women with ALL of their choices, it would do something to help women in difficult pregnancies do something other than abort. As I said, 98.5% of pregnant women who go to Planned Parenthood get abortions. If a hospital or OB/gyn performed abortions on 98.5% of the pregnant women who visited and turned away the others, you’d be justified in concluding that they weren’t interested in promoting any choice except abortion.

    No, what YOU are doing is deflection. You haven’t squarely addressed any of my points, instead making irrelevant points about OTHER things Planned Parenthood and other organizations allegedly do. Your point about Akin/Clinton is absolutely absurd. Akin is an obscure congressman who the GOP has denounced and rejected. Clinton is the most prominent spokesman for the Democratic Party, a former President, and husband of the Secretary of State and the keynote speaker at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Nobody disputes that he’s a serial sexual abuser, and he was disbarred for lying about his conduct in the Paula Jones case. And why you would argue that “bygones should be bygones” with respect to the Broaddrick rape is beyond me. Are you calling Juanita Broaddrick a liar and saying hers was not a “legitimate rape”?

    Shame on Ms. Broaddrick for sharing a stage with such a man.

  • jennifer-starr

    I mean that if Planned Parenthood were truly interested in helping pregnant women with ALL of their choices, it would do something to help women in difficult pregnancies do something other than abort. As I said, 98.5% of pregnant women who go to Planned Parenthood get abortions. If a hospital or OB/gyn performed abortions on 98.5% of the pregnant women who visited and turned away the others, you’d be justified in concluding that they weren’t interested in promoting any choice except abortion.

    Why use the word ‘promotion’?  You just said that women already knew what all the options were and that they didn’t need to be told what they were. If they’ve already made up their minds as to what they want, why is it Planned Parenthood’s job to  talk them out of it?  Why is it anybody’s job?  It’s not their body and it’s not their pregnancy–it’s hers and she alone should decide. 


    You haven’t squarely addressed any of my points, instead making irrelevant points about OTHER things Planned Parenthood and other organizations allegedly do.

    Organizations which you referenced in your original post, in case you’ve forgotten.

    And again this tactic of deflecting what someone said or did with “Well someone else did this and you’re not attacking THEM.” is just lame. But you could take it to Stanek’s board if you want–I’m sure you’ll find lots of that there.  

     

  • colleen

    Akin is an obscure congressman who the GOP has denounced and rejected.

     Rep Akin’s beliefs are shared by most federally elected Republicans. Indeed the nasty piece of work you folks have as a VP candidate co-sponsored legislation echoing the trash your ‘obscure’ congressman  was supposedly rejected and denounced for.

    Hey, I’m sure we all understand why Republicans are lying about this and so much more.  The Republican record when it comes to the basic civil rights of women is disgusting and indefensible. There is nothing you could say or do that would make any informed woman with a modicum of intelligence,  self respect and dignity vote Republican.

  • crowepps

    The only sworn testimony Ms. Broaddrick has given concerning this matter is an affidavit which says there wasn’t any rape 25 years ago.  She has also said that the rape did happen when she wasn’t under oath.

    I have no idea which of her statements is a lie, but since they directly contradict each other, one of them must be, so yes, she is a liar.

  • crowepps

    “I mean that if Planned Parenthood were truly interested in helping pregnant women with ALL of their choices –“

    What a silly argument.  It’s equivalent to saying “I mean that if obstetricians were truly interested in helping pregnant women with ALL of their choices, they would encourage all their patients to consider aborting before it was too late.”

  • forced-birth-rape

     

    What republicans, conservatives, christians, catholics, and pro-lifers think of women and little girls.

    ~~ The GOP has refused to renew the Violence Against Women Act.

    ~~ Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST The Equal Pay for Women Act.

    ~~ Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Al Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment.

    ~~ Every GOP member voted FOR Anti-Safe Abortion Legislation.

    ~~ Every GOP member voted FOR the Blunt/Rubio Anti-Women’s Equal Health Coverage Amendment. While the Blunt/Rubio Amendment does not allow employers to deny male employees health coverage for a Vasectomy, the Blunt/Rubio Amendment allows an employer to deny female employees & female dependents: contraception, tubal ligations, and hysterectomies.

    ~~ GOP wants to Redefine Rape to “forceable” rape.

    ~~ GOP wrote legislation to probe metal prongs up a woman’s vagina.

    ~~ GOP changed the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser”.

    ~~ GOP wrote legislation that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (South Dakota GOP)

    ~~ GOP wrote legislation to cut nearly a billion dollars of aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

    ~~ GOP wrote legislation that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

    ~~ GOP wrote a law cutting ALL funding for low-income kids saying “Women should really be home with the kids, not out working (Maryland).

    ~~ GOP Cut Funding for Head Start, by $1 Billion.

    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to CUT funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens. (Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women)

    ~~ GOP Candidates for President vow and pledge to Cut Funding for Planned Parenthood.

    ~~ GOP voted for an Amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers.

    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to eliminate all funds for Federal Family Planning Program.

    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to Provide Contraception for wild horses but ENDS all Federal Funding for Family Planning, including contraception coverage. (Dan Burton (R-Indiana).

    ~~ GOP has also written “Personhood” laws that force women and girls to bear their rapist’s progeny.

    ~~ GOP has passed laws that allow doctors to lie to a woman about the health of the fetus if the doctor thinks she might have an abortion.

    ~~ GOP Jan Brewer (R- AZ) recently signed one of the most controversial and restrictive abortion bans in the country, which experts say effectively bans abortions after 18 weeks and declares that a woman could be pregnant 2 weeks before she even had sex.

     

    I was sexually abused for the first ten years of my life and the pro-forced birthers, christians, and republicans are the most hurtful, hateful people. I have cried many times from the things the pro-forced-birth creeps say. They back up everything vile ever said to me by my rapist, he would love them. 

     

    I did not make this list, I got it from a woman’s post named Sandy off of raw story.