Dear Rep. Speier
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for sharing your story Friday (2/18/11) and in doing so, standing up for women every where who make the decision to terminate a pregnancy for a wide array of personal reasons. Sometimes sharing our most personal stories are the scariest but most powerful. I tell my students to speak up even when their voices shake. Thank you for giving them a role model to look up to. And thank you for taking on a battle that impacts women lives in the most profound ways.
With the embattled culture we have surrounding reproductive rights in this country it is no wonder that there are rampant mis-conceptions about abortion and the women who have them. I believe that the mystery around abortion and politics that have ensued are the result of a targeted campaign by anti-choice extremists and politicians who wish to convolute the issues and remove women from the debate. We so often talk about abortion in this nation with a failing to recognize that behind every abortion is a woman making the best decision she believes she can at the time. When we remove her from the discussion we create an debate that is impersonal and hypothetical. We lose any compassion or recognition of women themselves at the very heart of the issue. Abortion is neither something one believes in or not, it is a reality in the nature of who we are. Women have had abortions since the beginning of human time, and will continue to have them until the end of human time. We have abortions for as diverse of reasons as we ourselves are diverse. Not all women choose abortion and not all women find that they have a choice. To deny women accessible and safe abortion, is to deny women dignity and self-determination. A fact, given your story, I am sure you are aware.
Often those who represent us hear only from us when we complain. I wanted to take a moment publicly to thank you. So thank you...thank you for standing up and speaking out and for doing so even though it may put you into a firestorm of anti-choice harassment. Know that many support you.
P.S. Readers...Often we are motivated to contact representatives when something is wrong, when we want to protest. I encourage this! But I also think that it is important to let representatives know when we like something that they have done. Especially, when their actions have likely made them the target of harassment. So on this note, I encourage you to thank Rep. Speier and recognize the incredibly brave act she did in speaking out. To contact Rep. Jackie Speier, click here.