Volunteer Highlight Series: Linda
At the Abortion Fund of Arizona, we are passionate about what we do, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without our dedicated volunteers! We are starting a series to highlight the people who keep our organization running.
How long have you been volunteering for the Fund? What kind of work do you do for the Fund?
I have been working with NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona for about 6 years and with the Abortion Fund of AZ since we started it a year ago. I helped to get it going and work as a hotline volunteer.
How long have you been an activist for reproductive rights?
I have been an activist for women's rights since I was in college. I graduated in 1972. Obviously, this was before Roe V Wade. At this time, we were working for open access to birth control, abortion and issues like women being able to secure a credit card in their own name, get their own insurance, buy property and access the many jobs that were closed to women. We fought against being called broads and chicks and being whistled at and ogled by any man who felt like it. Sexual harassment and date rape weren't even terms, and women had no recourse against these actions.
How is the movement and activism surrounding it different than when you started? Would you say things are better or worse than when you first got involved?
Some things are better, but it is unbelievable to me that so many of these issues are current. Some [battles] we won we are now in danger of losing. Some things like access to jobs and [equal pay] have definitely improved, but we saw the institutional sexism that still exists through this last presidential campaign – and sexism is what the backlash against reproductive rights is all about. It is an issue of control.
Once women had access to birth control and abortion, options opened up for our lives; these allowed them to pursue higher education, employment and politics. No longer did women find themselves pregnant against their wishes with no options. The old, white, male establishment has not been welcoming. They are angry and resentful, and have blocked our avenues to success in many ways. Limiting financial support for families, weakening laws to protect women from domestic violence and denying access to abortion are just some of the ways they try to prevent women from having an equal share in this country.
Abortion rights are about control, for us, control over our bodies and our destiny. For those who oppose it, it's about trying to control us and keep us down.
What’s something you would like to tell young people looking to get involved?
For young women, I say, take nothing for granted. The rights you have are the result of years of action and hard work from those before you. These rights are currently being chipped away at and can be lost. Do not be complacent. Stand up and fight. The time is now!