It’s the first Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice! And our prompt is:
What’s your contraception story?
My family is Catholic, but I wouldn’t say that I was raised Catholic since we didn’t go to church on a regular basis. Now when I was in second grade I noticed that a lot of my friends were starting CCD classes, so I asked my parents if I could too. Well it was too late to start, so I had to wait until the next year. The priest lost his chance because the next year I was in third grade sitting in a class on Saturday mornings with second graders *rolling the eyes* and learning about Jesus. I dropped out. I tell this story to set up the next part.
When I was about 11 or 12, I asked my mom out right, “Why don’t we go to church?” Her reply? “Because they say I can’t use these,” as she held up her birth control pills. We then had a short chat about how the Church was trying to control her and other women’s lives. How she wanted to be the one to decide when and if she would have another baby (by this time, she had been pregnant 4 times and given birth 3 times with one miscarriage). And I think she ended it by saying that all women should be making this decision, not the church.
And as they say, the rest is history.
From that moment on I was firmly a pro-choice woman-child.
My mom and I had similar talks about abortion and how she chose to have me as a partnered-yet-single-19-year-old-woman. While we didn’t agree on everything when I was growing up, I did look to her to lead the way in terms of reproductive health issues. My mom worked in labor and delivery for many years, first as an administrative assistant and then as a nurse. She saw many things, good and bad, and shared many stories with me. When she died, she was working at a county clinic because she felt that she could do the most good there, caring for women who needed health services, but couldn’t afford a private doctor. She worked with women who barely knew how their bodies worked and helped them understand the power they could have in their lives. Power that she didn’t always have, but came to realize was possible.
But as my mom said, all women should be able to make their own decisions about when and if they become pregnant. One part of this equation is access to affordable birth control:
All women need affordable access to birth control services, supplies and visits. However, barriers to low-cost or no-cost contraception are still an unjust reality. This results in many Latinas having to struggle to afford birth control or expensive insurance copayments for birth control.
Urge your representative to ask the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support comprehensive family planning services that include contraception as a key women’s health service under the Women’s Health Amendment.
This post is modified from the original at Viva la Feminista
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