Reproductive Rights in Texas: Here I am.
I am a Jewish-Texan who is supportive of women's reproductive freedom. That's quite a description and it's not easy to be all three in this state. In a state where both the Senate and the House of Representatives are led by the conservative majority, being a Jewish-Texan supporter of women's reproductive rights is like being an endangered species living on a blue island in an ocean of red.
Tonight I wore that designation with pride. I was witness to the power of passionate citizens voicing their opposition to a Texas Senate that, through legislation, continues eroding the right for a woman to easily and safely access abortion.
On Monday, I received a request through social media from Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and NARAL Pro-Choice that people who stood with Texas women were needed at the state capitol. We were needed to represent ourselves and the women who could not be there, and show that we were prepared to fight against those who would deny Texas women's right to their own personal medical decisions.
As the daughter of a second wave feminist, I have never not been on the side of securing women's rights. I've supported women's rights with letter campaigns, Tweets and Facebook posts, but today was different. Today when the call came, I answered back in my favorite way. I answered, “Hineini!” Here I am. Here I am to be counted. Here I am to do the work.
My deepening concern and passion for supporting reproductive rights for women began when I became a mother. I have two beautiful children, a son who is five and a half and a daughter who is two and a half. My children are my heart. They have been desired and cherished from the moment my husband and I even discussed the possibility of children. They were conceived easily, but each of my pregnancies were very difficult and high risk. I thank the heavens that both my children were born well and healthy and that I am here to tell you about them. This is not always the case for women who are pregnant by choice or by chance. The Texas legislature sought to make sure that removing the choice of being pregnant, regardless of the reason, was made even more impossible. It is cruel.
I tucked both of my children in to bed tonight and told them what I was doing while they were sleeping. I was headed down to the capitol building to take my place among the hundreds who support reproductive choice. I told my children that I had been called to stand up for what I believe is right. I explained that I, that we as Jews and as humans, had a responsibility to do everything we could to influence the path of justice.
Our children speak the words we speak to them. Our children watch our behaviors and do as they see us do. I want them to see that when the call to pursue justice, peace, and acts of loving kindness rings in our ears, our answer will be “Hineini!” Here I am.
Tonight we showed the senators of Texas that we are here and our children are watching. I pray that when our time has passed, our children will take up the path of righteousness, pursuing justice not just for the women of this state, but for all people.