It is an incredibly exciting and challenging time for the reproductive justice movement in Montana. With new leaders at both NARAL Pro-Choice Montana and at Planned Parenthood of Montana, we have an amazing opportunity to educate the public and legislators on what it means to be pro-choice and why it is so important to ensure that privacy and individual freedoms are secure in our state.
As a leader of the reproductive justice movement, I would like to clarify what it truly means to be pro-choice. First, being pro-choice means we believe that everyone should have access to all reproductive health options—this includes access to birth control, infertility treatments, sterilization, and, yes, abortion. However, being pro-choice also means advocating for preventative techniques that reduce the need for abortion. This means believing in access to affordable birth control and family planning resources, as well as honest and accurate sex education for young people. It is through these techniques, as well as advocating healthy relationships and reducing sexual violence against women, that we will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, making abortion rare. When faced with an unintended pregnancy, the decision to parent, adopt or terminate the pregnancy is an incredibly private and personal one—one that should be made only by a woman with council from her family, loved ones and physician—not politicians. This is what being pro-choice truly means.
As I begin my tenure here in Montana, I will work consistently to bring these pro-choice beliefs from the public to the legislature. We must ensure that reproductive rights and privacy for personal decisions are secure in our state. My goal is to grow our dynamic cadre of activists from all backgrounds and provide them with a direct line to the elected officials who represent them. I also strive to ensure that every young person has comprehensive, medically accurate sex education, which includes information on sexuality, gender identity and healthy relationships. In short, my goal is to ensure that every Montanan has access to affordable reproductive healthcare, is fully informed of their choices and has the freedom to plan their family how they see fit. Lofty goals, yes. But I am certainly not alone in the fight.
I would like to thank the Montana Reproductive Rights Coalition for their commitment to reproductive justice and support of NARAL Pro-Choice Montana in the past and into the future. Organizations like Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana, Blue Mountain Clinic, the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Montana Human Rights Network, and the ACLU of Montana bring important perspectives and enthusiasm for our goals. I am honored to be a part of such an amazing team.
I am committed to working alongside our allies throughout the state on issues of reproductive justice. There are many ways you can support NARAL Pro-Choice Montana. Go to prochoicemontana.org for more information. I welcome your conversations, ideas, and activism as we work hard every day to protect all Montanans’ civil rights.
NARAL Pro-Choice Montana