THE REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM MONUMENT
“Honoring courageous women who died from illegal, unsafe abortions Because they had no choice.” Inscription on a monument in Washington, DC
In November 1989 feminist activists, including Eleanor Smeal and Kathy Spillar of The Feminist Majority, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, erected a memorial of women who died from illegal and unsafe abortions. To my knowledge, this memorial has no official name and thus I’ve dubbed it “The Reproductive Freedom Monument.” Feel free to write your own title into the comment section.
I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to notice this important memorial. The plight of ensuring that women have access to safe abortions and the constitutional sanctity of Roe V. Wade has been like another appendage: One that I added the day I took a part-time job as a women’s health care counselor/abortion advocate at the Parents’ Aid Society/ Bill Baird Institute (seriously people, google Mr. Baird). For the scope of this blog, I’ve shied away from overt political pieces but this memorial gave me the shivers and a haunting so vibrant it spurred me into action. Again. But it’s not just the memorial that captured my advocacy eye. There’s the Vivian Campbell Fund of Women’s Health services; the July 9, 2018 Ms. Magazine article, “Daring to remember: The Stories of Women Who Died from Illegal and Unsafe Abortions and then the People’s World online story; “In Remembrance: Women Who Died from Illegal and Unsafe Abortions.” Please check out these amazing resources so you can step into the word of these brave women who made an agonizing decision and then paid for that decision with their life.
Then there’s the photo of the memorial, tagged (Carolmooredc / Wikimedia). It’s a riveting reminder of back-alley days where women died, simply because they lacked the reproductive freedom or choice to continue a pregnancy. Keep in mind that pictures are short-term fixes whereas monuments are written in stone; chiseled into the foreseeable future; a tactile and visual warning that many more great women will perish if we don’t stop the current destructive movement of unpacking Roe V. Wade. Any more dismantling of the abortion bill will chain women into subserviency, maybe forever; voiceless, pregnant; stripped of their right to choose. It could be you-or someone you love. Women get pregnant. It’s a fact of life. Sometimes it’s wanted; sometimes it’s not. It should be up to the women to decide how she handles her body. Pure and simple.
Sculp it in bronze. Chisel it in stone. Etch it in silver. Carve it in wood. Reproductive freedom for all!
You can help. Start a campaign to erect this timeless memorial in your city or another one of you choosing. Gather influencers, entrepreneurs, Hollywood movers and shakers, fundraisers and agencies that heed the call of reproductive choice. Dot the landscape with the Reproductive Freedom Monument. Erect it in places where it’ll be seen by men, women, politicians. Do it now. Before it’s too late.
What’s unseen is often unheard!