“You’ll never know how many of the one in three women who’ve had abortions are in your family or circle of friends unless you open the space for conversation and show that you can Stop, Drop, and Listen. You’ll be surprised at what you hear. One story isn’t every story. And we all deserve to be heard in our own words. Take a moment to truly listen.”
On Sunday, September 29, 2013, I was awarded the Justice Award for Practical Support by ACCESS Women’s Health Justice in Oakland, California, for my service providing housing, rides, and meals to clients and their families traveling 4-5 hours to the San Francisco Bay Area for an abortion appointment. I am deeply honored to have received this award and, more importantly, had the opportunity to serve the ACCESS community and make a difference in someone’s life. Below is video of the award ceremony.
In partnership with the ACLU of California, the California Family Health Council, and the National Center for Youth Law, we created a CREDO Mobilize petition asking California Governor Brown to sign the Confidentiality of Medical Information Bill (SB 138) which gives patients to have additional privacy protections when using insurance. After receiving the over 1,000 signatures on Monday, September 30, 2013, Governor Brown signed SB 138 on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
“If SB 138 is signed into law, it will allow Californians to access health care like birth control and abortion, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment without parents or partners finding out from insurance companies. It will also allow anybody who feels that disclosure of their health information could put them in danger to opt in to additional privacy protections. And because they will be able to use their own insurance without fear, fewer patients will need to rely on state-funded healthcare programs or their own wallet to pay for care, saving Californians and the state money. These protections introduced by SB 138 will especially help young people and those experiencing domestic violence.”
“In the United States, 6 in 10 people having an abortion are already parenting a child, while 3 in 10 have two or more children. In the evening, I often hear clients making phone calls, putting their children to bed, telling them how much they love them. “Don’t worry,” they say, “I’ll be home to put you to bed tomorrow.” Wouldn’t it be nice if they could get the care that they need and be home in time to kiss their children goodnight? Instead of having to leave their families and travel five hours for a simple medical procedure, imagine if care were provided in their own hometown.”
In her Ebony.com article, What Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta Can Teach Us About Repro Rights, fellow Echoing Ida writer Cynthia Greenlee-Donnell explores the decision to have an abortion by a main character and what it means to discuss abortion on television and in the Black community. She included a quote from my piece Why I Am Not Pro-Voice about my need as a Black woman to share my abortion story to ensure ongoing access and break the stigma. An excerpt below…
“Women, such as MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and reproductive justice activist Renee Bracey Sherman, are sharing their abortion experiences. Bracey Sherman didn’t want to be just “another black teen who got pregnant” and waited six years to tell anyone about her abortion. But she broke her silence because she believes that she is “standing up for myself in a society that deems my voice unnecessary. I am sharing an experience and how it changed my life. And if my friends or I need access to a safe abortion, I want to speak out to ensure that it is available next week and next year.”