A Reproductive Shabbat
On a Saturday afternoon many months ago, I leaned across the center console of my car and pushed open my passenger side door to welcome in a stranger. I only knew her first name and cell phone number, and that she was having an abortion later in pregnancy.
This was my Shabbat, bringing her back and forth between one of the five clinics that would perform the procedure she needed and the modest hotel a mile away.
I was a freshman in college when I attended my first protest, invited along by older members of a feminist student organization. At that point, I didn’t know what the March for Life was, having grown up in a liberal bubble in a Boston suburb. To say I was alarmed at the sight of 16,000 anti-abortion opponents didn’t cover it. Our little counterprotest faced the largest gathering of Christians I had ever seen, the largest gathering of people openly demanding an end to abortion I’d ever seen. Until that point, I hadn’t really considered that anyone was actually anti-abortion. I hadn’t needed to.
Just a few weeks later, I was asked to volunteer at the Supreme Court at a rally in support of Whole Women’s Health v. Texas. I jumped at the chance because the March for Life lit a fire in me. I didn’t know how exactly, but I knew that there was a way for me to counter the hate and lies I witnessed. So, I dragged myself out of bed before dawn and threw on as many layers as I could. Then, from 5:00 am until noon, I collected signatures of those attending the rally and listening to speaker after speaker declare their support for—nay, demand— reproductive justice. In front of me were senators, CEOs of nonprofits, people sharing their own abortion stories, and faith leaders. I had no idea how big the movement was but I knew I would be a part of it.