In her own words: Young people taking up space

June 14, 2022

Bailey is a member of Plan’s Youth Advisory Board.

I care about sexual and reproductive health because I am the only person who should be making informed decisions about my body. My friends and my mom and my sister should be the only people making choices about their bodies.

I feel constantly worried about my friends in Texas and Oklahoma, whose lives will be different because of this Supreme Court ruling. When we overturn a Supreme Court ruling as big as Roe v. Wade, it can be daunting to think about what rights we could be stripped of next. If we are devaluing the constitutionality of one ruling, what is to say that the Supreme Court will not try to infringe on more of the rights that liberate women and those identifying as female?

As a young person, I feel helpless knowing that I gave my vote, in the first election I’ve ever been able to vote in, to a government that isn’t actively fighting for my rights.

After the draft of the Supreme Court ruling came out, I felt more hopeless than ever. Luckily, through a college group chat that I was in, I found a group of people to attend a march with in downtown Los Angeles. As we drove downtown, we all talked about groups on campus that we could reach out to in order to organize a small protest at school. We were shocked to find out that there were no groups that explicitly stated they were pro-choice or a group in favor of legal abortions. Plenty of women’s empowerment groups exist, which are important, but none of them would outright use the word “abortion.”

So, we decided to take things into our own hands, and work with political groups on campus that already had a big reach to organize an on-campus rally. We made flyers and posted them in group chats, on Instagram, even in bathrooms on campus. We found speakers, all students, to talk during the rally. It was nerve-wracking for your peers to see you in a political lens. But, if my friends and I weren’t going to take a stand and organize, then who would?

About 50 people showed up to our rally, which was honestly more than I originally thought. Since it’s the end of the school year, my group of friends and I plan to make an official club when we get back from summer break in the fall. We want to create a space that is not afraid to use words like “abortion,” be outwardly pro-choice and welcome all who are looking to organize in the fight for our rights.

It’s up to us, young people, to change the course of our future. We need to be vocal about the issues we care about. We need to vote when we are of age. And we need to get involved in spaces we once couldn’t occupy. As someone who lives in California, where abortion is legal, it’s my duty to use my platform to be outspoken without worry of repercussions. I think it’s important we redirect our energy towards raising money for abortion funds in states where it’s vital, as well as educating people around the country about the future of accessing abortion in those same states. Now is not the time to be quiet. Rather, we must organize and collectively take a stand for the future of our rights.