Several weekends ago, I went to a Choice USA Midwest Reproductive Rights Conference and it was... amazing. I love organizations that get it. While most of the conference was focused on organizing for reproductive justice on college campuses, I was pleasantly surprised by their bringing in of other topics that intersect with reproductive rights*.
The other young women and men there were amazing and a well needed reminder of the privilege and resources inherent in organizing in a major urban city. Sometimes I get so frustrated with the lack of support available to organizers and leaders- then I have to remind myself with how much less much of the rest of the midwest (and world) have to go on.
One of the workshops I think I got the most out of was the "Understanding the Opposition". Not just for the amazing break down of the presenter's well-researched book, but for the beginning of a formulation of a response as to why we at CAF do the leadership group. As a young biracial woman who grew up poor, I know that having the right to an abortion is just one of the many rights needed- and hard to access- for the population we serve. This is the feminist movement's ultimate flaw: it is being organized, by and large, by middle aged, middle to upper class, white and/or assimilated women. I am proud and in awe of the women that have come before me in the feminist movement, and those that are organizing now, but there is a need for leadership change.
The problem is, the opposition, the anti-choice movement, understood this almost from the get-go and exploited this weakness. They have been rallying people that mainstream feminists have been ignoring: young women, women of color, women with disabilities, poor women, single mothers... And when there's no else who seems to try to be helping, the anti-choice's lies and justifications seem comforting, right and sensible. After all, everything is easier in black and white, especially when one side is offering you diapers and the other side is theorizing about rights.
There are some amazing organizations out there trying to correct this, including us. Empowering women in all their needs only furthers strengthening our movement. As important as it is to focus on abortion rights what is really necessary is a more holistic view of changing the world/women- reproductive justice. Adjusting all of a woman's needs, not just her immediate need/want of an abortion.
* *cough*despite the fact that they had coca cola products, an anti-union (allegedly murdering union organizers in columbia) company whose list of other reasons to boycott are as long as my arm*cough* (But I think this may have been there because of the campus we were on, not them)