Protecting Our Body Sovereignty and Reproductive Rights
By Jessica Lujan
TWU Indigenous Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice Program Manager
All over the country we are seeing states slowly stripping away reproductive freedoms.
Alabama recently passed one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion laws since Roe v. Wade was decided. House Bill 314 criminalizes abortion in almost all cases and ensures that doctors who perform the procedure face prison time, from 10 years to life. The only exceptions to this law are when the pregnancy threatens the pregnant person’s life or in the case of lethal fetal anomaly (cases where the child would be stillborn or would die shortly after birth). Although some lawmakers proposed an amendment to the bill for victims of rape and incest, the measure was rejected in the Senate. This means that people who become pregnant from acts of violence will have to carry the pregnancy to term, regardless of the age of the victim.
Here in New Mexico, we worked with many of our families, colleagues, and lawmakers towards passing House Bill 51 during the 2019 Legislative Session. HB 51, also known as the “Decriminalizing Abortion” bill, would have ensured that abortion access would remain legal in the state of New Mexico and that our doctors and families would be protected in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned. Despite the best efforts of many, the bill did not pass. However, as long as Roe v. Wade remains, abortion will continue to be safe and legal in New Mexico.
Tewa Women United has always trusted our families to make the decisions needed around their own reproductive experiences.
Through our work in our V.O.I.C.E.S. Program, we know that one in three Indigenous women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. We also know through our work in our Indigenous Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice Program that every pregnancy is different and so are the circumstances that surround them.
As an organization who works with our rural and Indigenous families who are currently pregnant and parenting, we can say that these decisions are personal and as varied as the families who make them. We continue to stand with 77% of our rural New Mexico families who believe, regardless of their faith, that the decision to have or not have a child rests with a woman and her family. We know the importance of protecting body sovereignty and personal decision making and will continue to use our voices and power to protect our inherent reproductive rights.
Now more than ever, it is important to come together in solidarity to strongly oppose restrictive abortion laws locally, and in states all around the country. We will not back down and we will not remain quiet.
We ask our communities near and far to take a stance with us, to trust our families to make their own reproductive decisions, and to fight any restrictions on our inherent freedoms.
What You Can Do
Please join us in these actions (which come from Sen. Elizabeth Warren):
- ORGANIZE:If you are ready to organize and take action in your community, you can stay up-to-date on the latest news here: http://www.stopabortionbans.org.
- DONATE:If you want to help fund local groups on the frontlines of providing reproductive care, consider making a donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds.
- RUN:If you’re ready to kick anti-choice lawmakers out of office, learn more about running for office yourself here: dlcc.org, emilyslist.org, emergeamerica.org, runforsomething.net.