January 22nd marked the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruled to legalize abortion.
In celebration, I attended a panel hosted by the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) commemorating Roe v. Wade with FMF National Campus Organizers. The seminar featured feminist leaders including Meghan Doran Macaluso of NARAL, Gabriela Valle of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Joyce Schorr, Founder of WRRAP, and Serena Josel of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.
The panel brought home the historic battle leading up to Roe, it’s importance, and how the fight for reproductive rights continues 39 years later
Women, our rights are in jeopardy. Some of the astonishing facts I learned are the following:
- The Personhood USA is a national initiative attempting to radically expand the definition of “person” to include a fertilized egg. Not only would this outlaw abortion, it would also effectively obliterate a women’s right to make decisions regarding her reproductive health.
- A new Texas law now requires abortion providers to present a sonogram image, the fetal heartbeat and medical descriptions to pregnant woman seeking abortion, discrediting women’s ability to make informed decisions independently and without coercion.
- Appallingly, I also discovered that the women serving our country in the military are denied access to abortion even in cases of rape.
As a young woman and college student, I was shocked to discover such attacks on women’s rights and felt called to action in this increasingly important election year. In honor of Roe v. Wade, we cannot allow these injustices to occur.
One of my goals for my on-campus feminist organization is to join with the Feminist Majority Foundation in their Adopt-A-Clinic Program. While creating change on a national level seems daunting, giving of ourselves locally to the cause is more than doable. By aiding the courageous men and women who operate such clinics and provide critical services to the women in our country, I know my group can make a difference and publicly declare our stance for women’s rights.
Additionally, I believe the women of our generation must create a culture where women’s reproductive rights are openly discussed. As a student at a Jesuit, Catholic-affiliated University, institutional leaders often hush controversial discussions and prevent certain activism on my campus. However, I hope to bring what I have learned back to my feminist organization and create a discussion on the importance of women’s reproductive rights. A dialogue about our experiences and our lives helps to establish coalition and remove stigma.
Finally, there is no better time than today to become active and informed! Educate yourself, talk to others, and vote as if your life depends on it!
You can commemorate Roe today by joining the virtual march for the Silver Ribbon Trust Women Week and join the rally among the pro-choice community to support reproductive health and rights!
To stay informed on women’s reproductive rights and receive updates on how you can stay active, sign up for FMF Action Alerts.