Friday, December 08, 2006

D.C. = Damn Cold!

We saw snowflakes last night outside the pizzeria, did you? Probably not if you're one of our loyal California correspondents, but Betty is in Washington D.C. to attend a meeting on Reproductive Health and Justice convened by Choice USA, and to visit her adorable little family.

Washington is a fun, open and walkable city to visit, and the holiday spirit is tangible in the streets downtown, where rushing couples cuddle for practical purposes and strings of light ring big window frames. Today the most frigid air of the season forced Betty into a hat that made her look like Jim Thorpe.

The meeting, though tiring, was productive and enlightening. Choice USA and its Reproductive Justice Coalition partners from around the country seek to integrate reproductive issues into the larger social justice movement that is already addressing frontline issues like immigration, economic and environmental justice, universal health coverage, and community development.

It was fascinating to discuss the way anti-choice forces deny race and history when they compare abortions to the Holocaust and slavery, and the way they ignore contemporary history by condemning pregnant women as society's most dangerous "killers". Betty also learned about 1970s fights for basic reproductive rights, including the efforts of women in marginalized communities to resist government-issued sterilization.

By the end of the meeting, Betty and her collegues were engrossed in planning and strategizing before the 2008 elections. We discussed forming a positive, progressive, pro-active reproductive justice platform that could link up with and support grassroots organizations working on other issues that (like this issue) affect all people, and that may hold particular urgency and poignancy in low-income communities.

Maybe Betty should become a social studies teacher.

1 comment:

Little Hun said...

My fab RISD prof, Ann Fessler, has a book called "The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade," for which she conducted over one hundred interviews with women who, because of shame, coercion, or a simple lack of other conceivable options, had to surrender their babies for adoption (Ann was actually one of those babies). I heard recordings of them at one of her presentations and they add a really fascinating (and heartbreaking) dynamic to the whole issue.