Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A message from the Feminist Women's Health Centers

The Feminist Women’s Health Centers of California Pioneered Women-controlled Abortion Services. We need your help to continue. Make a donation today:

What is the meaning of the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision which legalized abortion across the country thirty-five years ago? Feminists working with Carol Downer started the first women-run clinic offering abortion. Across the country other feminists opened health centers responding to the needs of women to get abortion care with dignity. Women here in Northern California and across the country have benefited from this court decision, but the right of women to choose abortion is an uphill battle. In South Dakota, Georgia, Colorado and Montana there are proposed ballot measures that could outlaw abortion. If any one of these passes and goes to the Supreme Court, the Roe decision could be overturned outright.

In 2007, the Supreme Court decided (Gonzalez v. Carhardt) to criminalize a medical technique used for abortion services in a frontal challenge to women’s dignity and physician’s judgment. In a political move, they overturned their own precedent and significantly curbed women’s right to privacy.

The world changed for women when Dido Hasper and the founders of the Chico Feminist Women’s Health Center made abortion services available by opening a women-run clinic. Until then, the 1973 decision did not change women’s access to abortion locally. Modeled on a woman-centered, participatory, self-help approach, the goal has been offering respect, dignity and self-determination for all who came through the door.

This is the guiding vision of Women’s Health Specialists, the Feminist Women’s Health Centers of California. We continue to offer all options to all women and listen to each woman’s needs. Here in Northern California we serve 50,000 women and men a year in the eight sites that grew from the first one in Chico in 1975. Birth control, pregnancy testing, sex education, abortion services, adoption, sexually transmitted infection services, and pap smears offered with client-centered support. The attacks on women by politicizing health care are held at bay within our four walls. Thanks to the community, we make change together.

Regardless of the Supreme Court’s new direction, we need your help right now. Even with the existing legal structure, there is no freedom of choice without services. What makes us all stronger? Expose anti-woman stigma by sharing your stories with other women. Join us in organizing against the California ballot measure seeking mandatory parental notification. Give time, talent and resources to support rural women’s health care and make women’s lives better right now. Support our Young Women’s Health Institute to promote leadership and self-power for teenage girls. Only with dignity and freedom of choice can women achieve their true potential. We are a non-profit 501 © (3) organization. Donations are tax exempt. Tax ID #94-2259357

Women's Health Specialists,
the Feminist Women's Health Centers of California

Celebrating Women's Health in Women's Hands since 1975
Chico . Redding . Sacramento . Santa Rosa . Petaluma . Grass Valley .
Rancho Cordova

Celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade!!

January 22, 2008--Thirty-five years of legal abortion! Roe v. Wade has always been a particularly special anniversary to me as I was born the year that the decision was won. And while Roe did not accomplish all our goals for accessible, affordable, politic-free abortion it is a significant statement respecting women to make the choices that are right for them. So today we take a moment to recognize the tireless work that has gone into winning this decision, protecting this decision, and providing the essential service of abortion. Blog for Choice is happening all over the country today. Check out the many who blogged today.

I have been a pro-choice activist for many years. And I have worked for, and now proudly sit on the board of, a feminist women's health center. I have done outreach, I have run education programs, I have talked to many women about abortion...from this and from the examples of countless women in the U.S. and around the globe, one thing that I know for certain is that women who want abortions will find a way to have them. Legality, and even safety, are neither a deterrent nor a motivator of abortion. Abortion is a truth in our lives as women. Indeed, not all women will choose abortion but many do. Each of these choices must be respected if women are ever to experience true self-determination. I believe we must not just advocate for the right to abortion, but the right to make that choice unapologetically, unashamedly.

In addition to celebrating this landmark decision, today (and every day) it is also important that we support our local, community, feminist health centers that provide our services. Their history is incredible and their daily work even more so. If you don't know already find out who your local & feminist provider is and thank them! Better yet, write them a check if you can afford to or volunteer your services if you have the time. Don't lose sight of the fight that continues every day to protect a woman's right to choose. It is a fight I certainly will continue so that my daughter, and the daughters of us all, grow up respected with options.

In choice!
Megan Seely