I have seen the well of reproductive health care drawn damn near empty through continuous legislative efforts to restrict access to everything from birth control to comprehensive sex education to abortion services.
And I am concerned.
When Missouri state legislators draft legislation to protect pharmacists who refuse to fill legal prescriptions…I am concerned.
When abortion restriction bills designed to create hurdles between women and health care become law…I am concerned.
When race-baiting billboards declaring that the most dangerous place for a black baby is in a black woman’s womb are placed in American cities…I am concerned.
When health care reform passes by a slim margin and with unacceptable reproductive health care compromises…I am concerned.
When anti-choice groups distort the history of black people in their quest to rustle up fear and shame women of color…I am concerned.
That is what we have experienced and are experiencing…before the 2010 elections…before anti-choice gains in government.
And so, I have been…I am concerned.
But I am also encouraged.
When young feminists emerge online and in the field to advocate for their rights and demand respect from within the movement and from their government…
I am encouraged.
When women of color gather together to defend our rights and declare, once again, that this nation Trust Black Women…
I am encouraged.
When health care reform, though flawed, finally presents the possibility of access to millions of Americans…I am encouraged.
When I see the youth of my community gather together and demand comprehensive sex education in their schools...
Oh hell yes, I am encouraged!
For all of the assaults on reproductive justice, the response…the amazing empowerment of the people in defense of our rights…encourages the hell out of me.
We will meet all of these challenges together…answer the insult of their lies and misrepresentations with the clarity of truth and the power of justice…and we will march on.
The safest place…the best place…the only place for a woman’s reproductive health care rights and decisions is in her own hands.