In the wake of the Stupak Amendment, which would ban coverage for abortion as part of health care reform, we are reminded of the fragile hold we have on our bodies and our lives. If Stupak is passed, young women in particular face immediate threats to their health and rights:
Young people, ages 19-29, are the largest group of uninsured in the country. Because they have access to so few resources, banning abortion coverage will greatly limit their ability to access abortion.
Young people are more likely than any other age group to access abortion later in their pregnancies. The later the procedure, the more it costs, and without coverage, the less likely young women would be able to get the care they need.
Banning abortion coverage will not solve any problems for women and their families. It will only contribute to hardship and make the experience of abortion for women who can access it more isolating and stigmatizing.
At the Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP), we understand that young people are leading the fight for reproductive justice - but we can't do it without your support. Now more than ever, organizations like PEP rely on donors like you to carry out our mission. Please click here to donate.
While Stupak is the biggest assault on women's health in decades, it is not the first time that young women's voices, needs, and rights have gone unnoticed. For young people, Stupak is more of the same. From women under 18 being denied the right to access Emergency Contraception over the counter to parental consent laws that deny a young woman the right to her own reproductive choices, the time for young people to have a powerful voice over their health and rights is NOW.
While thousands of young people are lobbying, organizing, blogging, and shouting at the top of their voices to be heard, many of our allies are not listening. In fact, they continue to be overlooked and undermined.
At the recent 'Day of Action Against Stupak' in Washington DC, young people came out in full force, and yet, as our Young Women's Leadership Council member Shelby Knox points out, "every speaker fell all over herself to thank young women for simply showing up. The stage behind the podium was carefully dotted with young faces sporting bright pink t-shirts and signs. Yet only one speaker was under the age of thirty - a white woman from a private college whose only role was to list the universities from which student activists had traveled."
PEP works to ensure that young people are not only present when decisions about their reproductive health and rights are being made, but that they have real leadership roles. By meeting young people where they are on issues that they care about, we help pave the way for young people to be an even more powerful force in 2010. But we can't do it without your help.
The Young Women's Leadership Council, staff, and Board of Directors of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project ask you to help us raise the voices of young women, transgender and gender non-conforming young people by making a donation to our organization this holiday season. With your support, young people will be one step closer to having control over their health, their rights, and their futures.