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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Virginia women are mobilizing

Happily, the women of Virginia and their allies are mobilizing. Having posted the horror story about new legislation, I thought I would also post this story about action being taken against it.

In 2004, I went down to Washington for the March for Women's Lives. That's where I took many of the pictures on this website. There were over a million women marching, although media often reported less. A few of us from Alberta who were associated with Planned Parenthood went to support our sisters to the south. It was an incredible experience. I've never felt safer in a crowd. The women were true allies, sisters in spirit. I think this is when I first thought of writing the play, The Abortion Monologues, although I hadn't given it a title yet. Young women were wearing t-shirts that read, "I had an abortion." I thought they were incredibly brave. There were senior women with canes and walkers and in wheelchairs with their daughters and grand daughters, women carrying babies and pushing strollers, women laughing, women crying, women protecting their right to control their own bodies. Everyone helped each other, held each other's babies, shared food and supplies and bandaids. I remember hearing a woman sneeze behind me and I reached into my purse to hand her a kleenex and when I turend around, five other women were already holding one out.

Solidarity is important. If you are in the Virginia area and can participate in actions against these new laws, I urge you to do so. I have no doubt you will find yourself inspired, enlighted, frustrated and empowered when you join forces with other pro-choice allies and reproductive justice groups. If you're American, go to the NARAL and Planned Parenthood websites and surf around. Find out what's going on. If you're Canadian, go to Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC-CDAC) and keep informed on what's happening here, or "like" the ARCC facebook page to keep updates coming. Pay attention to those awful anti-choice MPs that are trying to take your rights away.

Sometimes I'm afraid that young women in Canada take their right to choice for granted.  At the same time, it has always been my goal that young women can live in a world where their rights are so secure that losing them is unthinkable. But we're not there yet. What these men (and they are mostly men) want to do to you is serious. Keep an eye on them. They are not just a punch line, although I dearly wish they were. They mean you harm.

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