Reproductive rights: the new activists

From The Rochester City Newspaper:

By Jeremy Moule
July 27, 2011

The generations born after Roe v. Wade have never known a country without legal abortion. The Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark decision declared the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment covers “a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy.”

The decision didn’t end the controversy, of course. Abortion and reproductive rights as a whole have always been among the most polarizing topics the nation faces. And citizens and elected officials have sought to impose restrictions, whether on abortion itself or access to it, right from the beginning.

The abortion battle has intensified over the past year and is spilling over into other areas of reproductive health. That’s put new generations – some Gen-Xers and Millennials – in the position where it’s up to them to fight for their reproductive rights if they want to keep them.

“The fact that abortion has been legal throughout most young people’s lives makes it more common to them,” says Tara Sweeney, a spokesperson for NARAL Pro-Choice New York.

But do they take that right for granted? Does a generation that grew up post-Roe v. Wade, that didn’t live through a time of unsafe, illegal abortions, realize what’s at stake? And are they prepared to push back when legislators attack reproductive rights?

The short answer is yes, young people are engaged and in significant numbers, says Angela Clark-Taylor, a reproductive rights activist and former chair of Planned Parenthood of the Rochester-Syracuse Region’s young professionals group. The group hosts events, does advocacy work, and helps with Planned Parenthood events.

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