This summer has been one to remember. As I began to write this, the extraordinary news from Kansas came in. Despite dire predictions, people throughout that Republican state voted by a large margin to keep a state law that guarantees the right to abortion under most circumstances. This is in sharp contrast to many other states where legislatures immediately passed horribly restrictive laws right after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe on June 24.
I thought of the faces of many thousands of (mostly) young women I’d marched alongside of earlier this year in New York City streets, calling for millions to join us and force the Supreme Court to back off, chanting “An End to Roe? Hell NO!” We hadn’t succeeded in doing that, but the energy and determination of those who came out week after week in greater and greater numbers was inspiring and motivating. And now the battle to force Federal action to guarantee abortion access for everyone must be waged under the banner of LEGAL ABORTION NATIONWIDE.
As I have said many times, If one woman is not free, none of us are free. And that can be applied, as well, to abortion providers across the country who have poured their hearts and their energies into abortion care over these past 49 years. As I discussed in a recent interview on BBC Ch. 4 UK, “this will define who we are, as a country, as a people, as each individual woman,” for a long time to come.
We are fortunate to live in New York State where abortion rights and access are guaranteed, but we can never forget those who are not as privileged. And legal abortion should never be considered a “privilege” in this country. I am however proud, that Choices has been able to assist women who have come to us since January of this year from at least 20 other states for abortions that are now unavailable where they live. In the first weeks of August alone we have seen patients from Ohio, Texas and Georgia, as well as upstate New York. I look forward to the day when I will not have to provide that service, and people will be able to access legal safe abortions in their own states.
I also want to salute Kansas residents who voted in no uncertain terms that they wanted abortion to remain legal. I consider their votes to be a tribute to a great abortion provider (and friend). Dr. George Tiller was known for compassionate and safe abortion services for patients who traveled to his Wichita clinic from across the country when they needed late-term procedures unavailable elsewhere. I will never forget the tragic day when he was murdered in cold blood in the vestibule of his Wichita church by an anti-abortion fanatic in 2009. And I also will never forget that he always said, “TRUST WOMEN.”
As we struggle politically for Legal Abortion Nationwide and rise to the challenge of servicing those who come to us from other States, we never stand still.
Some of the many positive things happening at Choices this summer included having three young interns who have spent weeks with us learning about the services at Choices. The interns have been involved in Health Fairs, giving presentations at schools, and participating in other events in the Queens community. You can read interviews with all of them in this newsletter. You can also learn about a “First” for Choices – a “Moms’ Fair” for our prenatal patients at our facility, as well as information about a new service we will be introducing soon.
If you are thinking about how to help in these efforts, we welcome all types of giving, particularly the greatest gift of all—your time. Please consider being a volunteer at Choices. If that is not possible, there are many ways you can assist our work, so please click the attached links below and let us hear from you.
Thank you for reading and considering acting.
Choices Women’s Medical Center