We've learned a lot this past year.
We learned it is not enough to appoint and elect smart, progressive women and pro-choice men to government. They and we need to mobilize visibly and vocally to advocate for reproductive rights and justice.
As we celebrate the anniversary of Roe v, Wade on Jan. 22, we and our partners are launching the Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women.
Since the beginning of time, women and men have found ways to control when and whether to undertake the joys and responsibilities of becoming parents. Most adults use or have used birth control. However, even the best birth control fails one time in a hundred. Half of all pregnancies are unplanned. At least a third of U.S. women have an abortion during their lives. Most adults believe that abortion care, a legal procedure. should be covered by health insurance as part of reproductive health services. 86% of employer-based health plans currently cover abortion. In these hard economic times, it is crucial that families have the choice whether to bring a child into the world.
But abortion has been stigmatized by a well-organized, well-funded minority movement, including extremists who provoke violent acts. Our reproductive health is used as a wedge issue, seizing on voters' anxieties about the economy and social issues to claim support for the regressive, anti-woman, anti-self-determination ideology of the right.
We saw a pro-choice president sign laws restricting access to abortion in at least three different ways: In the health care reform law, an executive order, and a regulation on state health plans. Despite the obvious fact that contraception is prevention, the Administration felt compelled to convene a panel to determine if contraceptives count as preventive care.
87% of counties now have no abortion providers. The burden falls hardest on the most vulnerable. 1 in 4 Medicaid recipients could not afford an abortion because it is not covered by their state. Medicaid funding restrictions also delay abortions by 2-3 weeks because of the hardship of raising funds to pay for the procedure. Delaying abortion results in higher risk for the health of the women and higher health care costs.
For too long, abortion providers have suffered from domestic terrorism by a violent, tightly-organized fringe. Virtually every clinic in the U.S. that provides abortions has experienced systematic harassment. Doctors who perform abortions have been targeted and murdered. Most recently, in 2009, an anti-reproductive rights zealot shot Dr. George Tiller point blank while Dr. Tiller was serving as a church usher. Each time a doctor murderer was apprehended, the media claimed that the perpetrator was a "lone wolf," a fable unmasked in Ms. Magazine's article by Amanda Robb.
It's up to us, the majority, to demand our rights. We have the right to make decisions about our reproductive health. We have the right to decide whether and when to have children. We have the right to use birth control as prevention. But if we do not stand up and be counted and seen, these rights will be chipped away -- or taken away.
On Jan. 22, on the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal, we join with men and women around the U.S. to launch a month in which we wear silver ribbons: the Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women.
It's time to express the true voices of America.
It's time to come together and show our strength and numbers.
We need to stand by each other and claim our rights to the legal health care to which we're entitled.
Join the Silver Ribbon campaign to Trust Women, for Reproductive Rights and Justice.
1. Wear a Trust Women Silver Ribbon, representing science over ideology
2. Spread the word.
- Follow us on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/hmKaES
- Follow us on Twitter: @oursilverribbon
- Get your Twibbon: http://twb.ly/hp1HEG
Tweet and Facebook about the campaign the following lines:
Trust Women! Show your support for reproductive health care and women's rights by @Twibbon http://twb.ly/hp1HEG via @oursilverribbon
3. Take action!
Check out our webpage of events and share your story about reproductive rights and healthcare.
We who proudly wear the silver ribbon:
• Support reproductive rights
• Support free access to birth control
• Support keeping abortion legal and accessible
We Trust Women to make to their own reproductive health decisions and ask you to join us in showing that you Trust Women, too! Please wear a Silver Ribbon on 1/22-2/22 to show that you Trust Women and we (who Trust Women) are the majority.
Get involved! Go to: www.oursilverribbon.org
Co-authored by with Sophia Yen MD, MPH: pediatrician, adolescent medicine specialist, mother, woman, wife.
Follow Ellen R. Shaffer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ershaffer