When I tell people what I do for work, and what my family situation is like, a 6 year old and twin toddlers, I often meet their wide eyes with the quip, “I truly live my art.”
Sometimes it would be nice if my work and life didn’t intersect so much.
I’ve been thinking a lot about reproductive justice and what it means since I attended one of the nationwide marches for reproductive freedom back in October. I’ve been thinking about what true reproductive freedom means after hearing a voice memo in today’s episode from listener Jessica, who sent us a searing message a few days before her scheduled abortion. She already has a two year-old, and she reflects on the reality of how difficult it is to parent small children in this country and how it translates into a loss of her reproductive choices. She can’t face having another child, not under these circumstances, not under the realities pandemic America has laid bare.
I’ve been thinking about my conversation with activist Kenya Martin, who’s a former abortion clinic worker in Texas, a mom, and person who’s had several abortions herself. She still has a hard time believing that the waiting room full of patients at the clinic she worked at in Houston now have nowhere they can go to get an abortion without traveling out of state. Reproductive freedom is not just access to abortion. It is the ability to be able to provide economically for the children you want to have. It is confidence that you will get excellent, appropriate medical care and don’t run the risk of dying in childbirth because you are Black. It is a society that supports families rather than looking at our realities with a shrug of “not my problem.”
I’m writing this as an old, dear friend of mine is rushing to see specialists after some very ominous discoveries at her 20 week sonogram. There can be so much pain and joy in the realities of having a reproductive system on its own -- It just feels patently absurd to me that anyone else should be involved, to “have a say” in someone else’s healthcare and medical choices.
I’ve also been thinking about something Angela says in today’s episode. How come men don’t talk openly about how THEY have benefited from abortion? Maybe things would start to change if MEN started to #shouttheirabortion. True reproductive freedom means that men stand alongside of us, and stand up for us too, so we don’t have to solely shoulder political instructions on our own.
Listen to Pro-Mother, Pro-Abortion.