On standing up for Roe
Working at EMILY's List is pretty fantastic.
I'm fortunate to have the opportunity, in my own way, to help pro-choice, Democratic women running for office all over the country. And every now and then, I get the chance to do something like what I did last night -- attend NARAL Pro-Choice America's Roe v. Wade 39th Anniversary Dinner.
And I walked away from it with an emotion I didn't expect -- a sort of warm-bodied fuzziness, coupled with a stand-up-and-fight style of motivation. Because the stories shared in that room, of women unable to obtain basic health services, either because of cost, draconian legislation, or simply the region of the country where they live -- I couldn't help but be as committed as ever to the goal of protecting a woman's right to choose. But that's not even close to the whole story of the people in that room.
One that stuck out was the story of the low-income abortion-access charity, right here in Washington, DC, whose local government funding was completely eliminated in the scope of a day, used as a pawn in a Congressional budget fight. Gut-wrenching as that is, they refused to be victims of the Congressional gamesmanship, and by the next morning had collected the funds necessary to pay for the over two dozen women they had scheduled for the next day, women who would have had no access to care otherwise.
There were plenty more stories, of women and their partners overcoming the barriers to safe women's health care dropped in front of them by anti-choice legislation, but that one stood out. It stood out because it is a shining example of the dedication of the pro-choice community -- standing up for the rights of women, no matter the senseless and discriminatory behavior of the opposition.
Toward the end of the evening, the several hundred dinner attendants were asked to put down their forks and drop their napkins on the table, and to stand up if they had personally been affected by a woman's right to choose. As nearly every chair in the room emptied, there was a sort of hush that fell over the crowd. We looked around and looked at everyone who was, quite literally, standing up for women's rights.
And that's why I walked away both with a warmed heart and a heated desire to fight -- because people are standing up. And they're continuing to stand up. Through the 2012 elections. Through efforts on the state level to roll back women's rights. Through the ongoing War on Women at all levels.
People are standing up. And standing together -- to protect Roe v. Wade and protect basic women's freedoms. And that's thrilling and inspiring.