For Many Young People, Choice is a Celebration of Life
Sarah La Due is the assistant director of public affairs at NARAL Pro-Choice America.
"If we had asked 40 pro-choice photographers in 1973 to take photographs that represented 'choice,' what kinds of images do you think they would have given us?"
It's a question that I asked students at Stanford University and Mills College just a few weeks ago.
"Women marching in the streets," they said. "Coat hangers."
"Blood. Women dying."
Those are the images that have been handed down to my generation by our mothers and grandmothers. Those images are a reflection of their very real experiences before 1972, a time when Roe v. Wade didn't exist, where women died because they couldn't get safe, legal abortion.
I asked the students to keep our conversation in mind as we watched our new Choice Out Loud "40" film, a stop-motion compilation of the photos we received from 40 pro-choice photographers who were eager to show us what choice means to them today. What came back to us was not an assortment of images that warned of women dying, but rather a celebration of women living.
One student said to me that she liked the way that several photographers chose to use women's hair as a metaphor for the different choices that we make in our everyday lives.
Another said the images reminded her of her own friends, that it made her think about how being pro-choice is just a normal part of life for many people today.
I was born in 1984, 11 years after Roe v. Wade. But even so, the right to legal abortion has shaped my life and the lives of my peers in ways we often don't think about - it has given us the freedom to make decisions about our own lives, for ourselves.
For many women in my generation, choice is a celebration of our lives. I've never had to make the difficult decision about whether or not to have an abortion, but I was able to make decisions confidentially about what to do with my life because I knew that if I ever did have to make that decision, the choice would be mine - not the government's, not anyone else's.
I can't wait to visit more campuses and talk to more people about Choice Out Loud! To learn more or to join in the conversation, be sure to go like us on Facebook or give us a follow and a shout-out on Twitter!