When people ask what compelled me to work in development at Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, I reply “January 22, 1973.” Many recognize this date as the day Roe v. Wade was ratified and, consequently, abortion was made legal in the United States. However, this date holds even more significance for me because it is also my birthday. I have literally lived my entire life knowing that I have the right to choose when and whether to have children.
Growing up, I didn’t give much thought to abortion access until a close high school friend faced an unplanned pregnancy. Like many women, she had a hard time coming up with the money to pay for the procedure. But, in 1980s Tennessee she didn’t face the many barriers she would today. There was a clinic within a 30-minute drive. There was no mandatory waiting period. There was no parental consent. All she needed was an adult to say they would monitor her vitals to insure she didn’t develop an infection.
Today the story is very different. In Virginia, where I live now, women must listen to state mandated information, endure a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, be offered an ultrasound, and, if she is under 18 years old, she must have parental consent. What a stark difference from thirty years ago. While, in so many ways, women have moved forward since my high school years, when it comes to abortion access we continue to move backwards. There are just six clinics remaining in Tennessee, leaving more than 60% of women living in a county with no abortion provider. Likewise, in Virginians have been left with only nine clinics to serve the entire state.
Supporting independent providers like Whole Woman’s Health Alliance ensures that women have access to quality abortion care no matter where they live. Because the truth is some providers don’t want to deal with onerous state regulations or opening clinics in less densely populated areas. Having the right to abortion care doesn’t mean much when you must travel hundreds of miles to the closest clinic.
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance aims to transform the abortion care environment by eliminating the stigma surrounding abortion. We do this by educating people about abortion, facilitating honest conversations about abortion, and fighting onerous abortion regulations that have nothing to do with the health and safety of women and everything to do with shaming women for taking charge of their reproductive health.
As the mother of teenaged children, I want to ensure they enter adulthood with the reproductive freedoms afforded by Roe v Wade. That’s why I spend my days asking people to support Whole Woman’s Health Alliance by making a charitable contribution to support all women by providing safe, affordable abortion care. Can you help? We could really use your support.