The following guest post comes to us from Sophia Mayberry, one of the communications and marketing interns for Planned Parenthood Arizona. She is a junior in college studying public relations and event planning.
It seems like every Thanksgiving I am thankful for the same things: my family, my friends, my health, and the opportunities I have had the over past year. There is nothing wrong with being thankful for those things, but since I have started my internship with Planned Parenthood Arizona my eyes have been opened to a whole new set of things for which I am very thankful.
We must fight for women’s health care so our daughters can be even more thankful on future Thanksgivings.
As a young woman in 2013, I have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to women’s health care rights. I have health care and access to adequate health services. Abortion is legal. Emergency contraception is available over the counter and birth control is available without co-pay. This hasn’t always been the case. Many women who came before me had to fight for every one of those things I just listed. They rallied, they marched, brought issues to court, and did whatever they had to do to fight for better health care rights for American women.
Women like Margaret Sanger, who pioneered birth control for women. Sanger led the birth control movement in the United States and fought to educate women about their bodies. She opened multiple clinics and started multiple organizations in the name of women’s health and education. She is the founder of Planned Parenthood and an amazing example of a woman who dedicated her life to fighting for the reproductive rights of all women.
Women like Katharine McCormick, who gave incredible amounts of money to fund contraceptive research. McCormick was determined to see a pill form of contraception created in her lifetime and she succeeded. She believed in Sanger’s mission and she was dedicated to women being able to decide when and whether to have children.
On a more local level, women like Mary Peace Douglas, who was involved with the Tucson health center during the time when Roe v. Wade had been decided. Douglas was also a successful fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. She kept meticulous records for the Tucson center even before computerized systems. Douglas did not compromise on matters of “real principle,” and she is an example of a woman who dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of women, especially in Arizona.
I am very thankful for all three of these women, who put so much of themselves into fighting for the reproductive rights of women like me. I am very grateful this Thanksgiving for all the people who fight and have fought for the rights of all women.
But I don’t think it’s enough to be thankful for these rights. I think I, and many other people in my generation, also need to engage in this fight. Every day our health care rights are challenged, and we need to rise up and say we won’t stand for it.
As women, we should have the right to make our own decisions about our bodies and protect those bodies in the ways we see fit.
What should we do now to protect and further the rights those before us fought for?
There are many ways for us to continue to fight for and protect our rights. Volunteer, give money to organizations that support women’s access to health care, support and vote for certain candidates — it is all about staying informed and looking for opportunities to stand up and offer help. It is our responsibility to know what is happening at the government level and know what different organizations are doing in terms of women’s health care, because the actions of the government and some of these organizations directly affect us and the rights we are so thankful for.
We need to fight for, and protect, women’s health care rights so that our daughters can be even more thankful on future Thanksgivings than we may be on this one.