Time Magazine recently said, abortion-rights activists won a victory 40 years ago with the Roe v. Wade decision, and have been losing ever since. What they didn’t say is that 2012 is the year we TOOK A STAND, organized via social media, and used it to STOP this madness! We are not finished, we will use social media and grassroots networking to organize in the future to obliterate restrictive legislation.
Here are some realities about abortion and abortion providers that Time failed to notice:
- Roe v Wade was a victory for ALL WOMEN and their families not just a few pro-choice activists.
- We, independent abortion providers, are still here providing compassionate abortion care, because there is a continued need for this service.
- We still provide abortion health care at prices that women can afford—and those prices are well below any other medical costs. The cost of the most frequently used abortion procedure has increased by less than $10.50 per year over the last 40 years.
- We have made abortion the safest surgical procedure in this country and we treat women with compassion, dignity, and respect, unlike ways that women are often treated in this society.
- We have pioneered REAL informed consent, based on actual medical evidence, science and experience.
- We live with harassment and terrorism in many forms every day while we raise our families; try to be the best parents we can be; go to church; be a part of our community; AND continue to provide abortion care for women who choose abortion.
- We have learned to calm our children, our parents, and our spouses when they are afraid for our safety and our lives.
- We have had to figure out how to be:
- Security Experts to protect our patients and staff.
- Public Relations and Media Experts to address vital issues as they happen.
- Public Speakers to give voice to women and their reproductive freedom.
- Lobbyists to keep our politicians accountable.
- Legal Experts to read and assess legislation, so we can explain to our attorneys how it will affect our practices and they can understand how these laws will affect the women we see.
- Medical Experts, even if that is not our background, to continue to give quality care.
- Research Advocates to understand valuable research in women’s health care and look for opportunities to be a part of those studies.
- Marketing and Promotion Experts to deal with competition that may not have the highest quality of care as a priority. Independent Providers are often competing with a giant corporation that may charge more than we do, but that can afford giant media campaigns and can do national fundraising.
- Financial Counselors and Fundraisers for our patients, constantly helping women that do not have money, and are desperate to have an abortion.
What Time Magazine did not notice is that in 2012, Michigan had a tipping point. We took a stand.We stopped many pieces of legislation that the “Right to Lie” movement had made a priority for the year. With a huge majority in both houses, an anti-choice Governor and many Tea Party politicians, this should have been a banner year for anti-choice legislation. IT WAS NOT. Michigan still got a bad bill BUT because of our grassroots efforts and the women and men who used all of the social media avenues available, writing on Facebook pages of anti-choice Representatives and the state Republican party, Twitter bombs, petitions, emails, the worst provisions of the omnibus bill were changed. Women said, “Enough! Stop the War on Women!” and when the bill was ultimately voted into law, it was markedly different from the original version.
We did not stop there. Each time we asked women to come to the capital in Michigan, we made sure they knew they made a difference. We thanked them in person, on Facebook, in emails, and phone calls. We asked them to come back and they did! This is how we create social change!
Our fight in Michigan is not over but we feel positive and powerful! Among other things, we will continue to fight for health department regulations that actually pertain to the type of surgery we offer; NOT regulations for surgeries performed in hospitals. We will fight and win over regulations and legislation meant to harm women and their families. We will protect women’s healthcare and keep abortion safe, by not allowing laws that limit access and close clinics.
Now is the time to raise your voice. Yes, YOUR voice! Reproductive healthcare is not up for grabs anymore; women are not up for grabs anymore. RTL has lost its power and credibility and we need to shout loud and clear that we will not stand for the intimidation of anti choice legislators any longer! Let’s demand that abortion be taken out of the political arena. You can be the messenger of social change. For one thing, remind everyone that President Obama discussed abortion rights as a reason to vote for him- and he won! And those elected officials who spoke so openly and disrespectfully of reproductive healthcare—well, most of them lost, and many more will lose. The 2012 election is the first election where prochoice politicians did not apologize for abortion by calling it a tragedy or some other such name. We are not going back. The young women who voted for our president are the future of this movement. Let’s encourage them to speak out, and have their voices heard.
If the media loves conflict, great! Let’s BE the conflict for any politicians or elected official who dare to try to take us one step back. TIMES have changed. If enough of us can affect the message in our states and BELIEVE it and say it enough in enough places, it will spread. WE can all become the tipping points all across the country. Oh, and Time Magazine? You WILL notice this time!