Jenny is a long-time patient and now activist for Planned Parenthood. She sits on the steering committee of Born After Roe, a reproductive health advocacy group that welcomes new and ardent supporters of Planned Parenthood into a safe space for education and conversation. Its free advocacy salons are specifically aimed at supporters in their 20s and 30s.
Millennials often think that access to reproductive health is getting easier as time progresses. It's not at all. It's the opposite. This means it is especially important to have conversations with people who never had to live without abortion rights, those of us born after the passage of the monumental decision Roe v. Wade. I love Born After Roe because it is a place to learn. It's political, but not necessarily about raising money – it's about raising awareness and making a difference. It's a place to sit down and talk to people your own age.
A friend of mine who I hadn't seen for ten years walked into my second Born After Roe salon. We hadn't talked about politics, period, let alone feelings about abortion. When I sat down with her I learned she was studying to be a nurse and had a unique perspective on reproductive health from her education. I had never thought of it the way she had. Reproductive health is taken for granted and it's something we don't talk about. It is amazing to have a space to do that.
When I think of Born After Roe, the first word that comes to mind is "fun." I had always been activist-leaning, but going to my first advocacy salon was a reawakening. I feel an urgency. A need to act and educate. The pessimist in me believes that Hobby Lobby is leading down the road to overturning Roe. When I heard the news I wanted to cry. It was dumbfounding and it was overwhelmingly sad. But it also energizes me to do more. Regardless of your feelings about abortion for your individual life, the government has no right to tell you what to do with your body. The more restrictions there are, the more the government is telling you that. It is a big-picture problem.
My biggest hope is that people will start thinking of preventive care as a normal part of everyday life. Fifty-one percent of the population menstruates, so birth control is not just a women's issue; it is a part of life as a human being. There's a need for women to share their stories. The more people can be honest about their needs and experiences, the more it becomes real and tangible. Ninety-nine percent of sexually active women have used birth control at some point in their lives. But what does that mean? Where are those women speaking up? Born After Roe is an easy and fun way to get involved.
Does this sound like something you want to give a try? Check out our next event, where we will be reaching out and speaking directly to young women about the importance of voting in the upcoming election. It will be a night of action, community, and (of course) food!