May 23, 2024 3:58 am
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Opinion

Forget the flowers. This Mother’s Day, pledge to support the right to abortion

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by Nicole Hensel, Colorado Newsline
May 12, 2024

The matriarchy runs deep in my family. My mother — one of five daughters raised by a single mother — came of age during the second wave of the women’s liberation movement and raised me to be an activist, feminist, and proud supporter of reproductive rights.

This Mother’s Day, as I think about my mother’s impact on my life, it dawns on me that I have fewer rights today than my mom did when she decided to start a family in 1987.

When my mom first got pregnant, the right to choose your own future was safeguarded through Roe v. Wade. My mother could start a family on her own timeline after getting through college by waiting tables, like many other women who joined the workforce and gained economic security as they chose what they wanted their family to look like and when they wanted to start it. No less than 35 years later, and just 6 months after my first son was born, the Dobbs decision flipped our world upside down. Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the freedoms that seemed guaranteed to previous generations were stripped away from me.

In Colorado, we passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act in anticipation of the Dobbs decision to protect abortion rights in state statute. But we know laws and lawmakers change and that our reproductive rights are not protected in perpetuity. That’s why the Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom coalition has come together as Initiative 89 heads to the November ballot. We know that a right without access is a right in name only, and the measure would enshrine the right to obtain an abortion into our state Constitution for everyone, regardless of insurance coverage.

While anti-abortion activists would like to think they speak on behalf of all mothers, it’s actually quite the opposite: Most people who have abortions are already mothers themselves. Becoming a mother only further solidified my support for reproductive justice, or the framework developed by Black women rooted in the belief that we should have the autonomy to parent, or not parent, in a safe and healthy environment.

Parenting is no small feat. It’s not just the long sleepless nights or the humility required when my 2-year-old throws oatmeal in my face — it’s the unmanageable cost of child care and health care on top of managing our existing student debt payments and decisions like whether or not to move to a less polluted neighborhood that’s farther from friends and family. It’s a tough job, and one that’s made tougher by a country that refuses to invest in social infrastructure to help parents and children thrive.

Plain and simple: whether or not to have a child isn’t a choice that should be made for you. My husband and I deliberated on the decision to have a child for over a year and weighed our finances, careers, and the impact it would have on our lives. When we decided to start a family, it was fully our decision to make (something I often remind myself when I’m getting served a level of sass that I didn’t know was possible in such a small body).

The same goes for our decision to expand our family. With my second child coming any day now — and who might actually be born by the time this is published — my greatest wish this Mother’s Day is that my children have more rights than I or my mother had when they decide to start (or not start) their own families.

My mother still lives where I grew up in Florida, and it’s both heartening, saddening, and maddening that we will both spend this year knocking on doors and calling voters to restore or protect reproductive rights we should already have secured. But this is our current reality in a post-Roe world. The best way to ensure future generations have a better future is by supporting the right to abortion. Give a gift to your mother and pledge to support abortion care for everyone.

This story is republished from CO Newsline under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.