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In Honor of the 39th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade: Doubling Down on Our Investment in Young People

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February 1, 2012

As we commemorate the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and honor the legacy of the reproductive rights advocates that came before us, we must remain vigilant in our struggle for social justice. While Roe v. Wade played an important role in shaping reproductive health and rights in this country, the battle is far from over.

Young people know this very well. We understand that in order for us to truly win reproductive justice for all, we have to look at the entire picture. The legal right to an abortion loses its value when state and local barriers prevent young people, communities of color, LGBT people, and low-income families from accessing basic health care services. Age-restrictions on emergency contraception. Parental notification and consent laws. Mandatory waiting periods. Personhood initiatives.

This is the political climate that our generation has inherited. It isn’t the same back-alley climate we experienced before Roe v. Wade, but it is reproductive oppression and it’s manifesting in new ways.

So while we continue to celebrate Roe and the powerful symbolism it carries with it, we must also recommit ourselves to the challenge ahead. A big part of that means engaging more young people.

If we don’t, our opposition certainly will.

Young people are an essential part of our movement and we must continue to empower emerging generations and new leaders to lead the way in the struggle for reproductive and sexual self-determination. When we invest in us, we get the job done!

Young people are standing up for abortion rights across the country and they aren’t apologizing for it. They’ve sent thank-you cards to local abortion providers; contacted their elected officials and expressed their concern for anti-choice ballot measures; volunteered as clinic escorts; and donated tampons and pads to local shelters.

Choice USA understands the organizing power of young people.

That’s why in 2012, we plan on doubling down on our investment in their work. Choice USA will make the strategic investment, but it is young people who will determine the future of this country. We’ll be the ones who elect pro-choice candidates and defeat anti-choice legislation at the state and local level. We’ll be the ones who will witness a movement that is more inclusive than we ever dreamed. We will hold Administrations accountable by showing up in the halls of congress and on the front steps of the White House. Together, with the spirit of our ancestors, the pride of our elders and the hope of our peers we will WIN and we will win BIG!

Andrew Jenkins

Choice USA Field Associate

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