Everyone knows October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, thanks to the pink ribbons that have become de rigueur all fall long. While it's fantastic that we buy pink cosmetics and T-shirts and wristbands to get the word out about the prevalent disease, it's not like there is a sector of society that disagrees with finding a cure for breast cancer. We're ALL fighting for it, together.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for other health-related battles American women fight every day—specifically, the battle to maintain the right to a legal and safe abortion.
That's why it's particularly heartening that we now have Trust Women Month, which began on January 22, the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The campaign calls for women to stand up for our reproductive rights (like access to safe, legal abortions and free birth control) by wearing a silver ribbon.
Just a couple of days into the campaign, lots of ladies who have had abortions are "coming out of the closet," telling the kinds of stories we rarely hear as part of the national debate. Stories in which women say—prepare yourself!—they don't regret their choice. On OurSilverRibbon.org, one woman says she opted for abortion after being informed that there was a 50/50 chance she would develop a condition called septicemia, likely resulting in her death and the death of her fetus. In another instance, a victim of date rape shares how she came to her choice and how she wishes we, as a community, could "support women better."
But even in the face of stories like these, there are those who would like to turn the calendar back to the days of Dirty Dancing, an era in which then-illegal abortions were happening, but were far less safe for women. For that reason, Trust Women Month also aims to gather support against the newly introduced and misleadingly named "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," which would end insurance coverage for pretty much all abortions, including private insurance coverage that we pay for with our own money, even in cases involving the most severe dangers to a woman's health.
It comes down to this: This recently proposed legislation and similar aims on the national and state levels to limit reproductive rights are based on two assumptions: 1. That women are stupid and incapable of making decisions about our own health, and 2. That religious ideology should trump science. I don't know about you, but it makes my blood boil to think of living under laws based on these beliefs. Thankfully, at least now there's a ribbon I can wear for the next month to band together with a majority of like-minded Americans and fight back.
Will you wear a silver ribbon to participate in Trust Women Month?
Image via Tim Pierce/Flickr