Dear Sir or Madam:
I am part of the post-Roe generation. I grew up under the protective umbrella the dedicated women who came before me secured through their tireless advocacy. They fought on behalf of the 5,000 women who lost their lives each year because of lack of access to safe abortion care. They fought to enshrine contraception as a basic right thus empowering an entire culture by not tethering women to their homes and men to countless hours of overtime in a failing effort to support oversized families.
And so, as I became politically aware, I educated myself in the issues I thought would be the responsibility of GenX – the environment, universal healthcare, reducing poverty, improving access to education. I never saw myself standing outside a women’s health clinic shielding patients from your abusive voices, signs and pamphlets. But you’ve put me here alongside thousands of women and men nationwide who protect those not expecting to see you on one of the most emotional days of their lives.
Yesterday, a young woman at the clinic where I used to escort was accosted by protesters. She was in visible physical pain. The city has a “bubble law” which protects patients and escorts within 50 feet of a clinic entrance, but antis reached her before that zone took effect. The amazing escorts eventually managed to coax the patient away from protesters who were berating her and telling her that the doctor was going to kill her.
I’m done listening to protesters claim that they’re “pro-life” and here “to speak for the unborn.” The young woman you surrounded in an attempt to prevent her from receiving clearly needed medical attention has a life. She is already born. And she’s right there in front of you. She needed comfort and care and compassion. Instead, you greet her with a 14 foot Jesus and placards that say she’s a sinner. You lie to her about the doctors who risk so much to help her – no matter what choice she decides to make. You are there for selfish reasons, for piety and sometimes for pay.
Enough. As dozens of signs I’ve seen over the past 18 months proclaim: “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit!” Roe is about to turn 40. Perhaps you weren’t alive for or simply can’t remember what it was like before. Go to any pro-choice rally; the women there holding those signs can tell you first hand.
After hearing their stories – the stories of real women who lost sisters, aunts, friends and companions, I implore you to return home. Reassess your commitments. Consider spending time at a soup kitchen, volunteering for children born into poverty, spending time with your own family or advocating for access to contraception. Work for the living, breathing human beings you walk past every day.
If you could do that, if you could redirect your passion and energy and time, I could get to work on other things. My generation has a lot of ground to cover. The longer you hold us back fighting to defend rights we’ve already won, the longer our to-do list grows. I don’t want to pass the buck – or my protest signs – on to the next generation. I want them to be free and empowered and healthy.
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Categories: Finding My Voice