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My Child Deserves the Right to Choose

by Willo RadgensPEP Young Women's Leadership Council

I have recently taken on an unexpected role. As a teenager, it was something I vowed I would never do. As I attended college and began to develop a new sense of identity, it was something I thought I would wait for. Never did I believe it to be a role I would embrace as much as I have.

Nine months ago, I became a mother. I am so grateful for my right to choose to become a mother when I did. I know that without those rights and the knowledge I possessed about gaining access to and using the correct contraceptive methods, my life would not be what it is today - a life I am proud to be living. I also know that every day thousands of women have to make choices about when they are ready to become mothers. I hope and wish for them to have the knowledge and access I did.

However, hoping and  wishing are not always enough, especially not lately. There is a growing movement in this country to limit reproductive rights and health care and, unfortunately, it has been far too successful. Now more than ever, it is essential for people who feel strongly about this issue to make their voices heard and protect those rights for themselves and others.

One of the most frustrating things to experience as an activist is what I think of as the “somebody else syndrome.” This is something I hear from so many people I talk to. Many people feel that reproductive choice and freedom are important, but don’t take action to ensure they remain ours. What they tell me is that “somebody else will take care of that…because I am too busy.” It seems everyone is too busy until those rights, freedoms, and choices they once took for granted are gone. When they or someone they love cannot get their birth control prescription filled or can no longer have a safe and legal abortion should they need it, that is when they want to speak up,when they want to make a difference. Often when it is too late.

I don’t want it to be too late when it comes to my kids. The generations of tomorrow deserve the same or more rights than we have now. They are too young to fight for it, so we need to fight for them. They may never need or choose to use it, but shouldn’t that be their choice to make? I may be a mother, but I know I will spend many more years of my life preventing pregnancy than being pregnant. I may have chosen to give birth, but there are many women for whom that choice is not the right one.

There may be the right to choose in this country now, but I want to ensure that I raise my children in a world where they too will have that choice.

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