In May of 2016, I took a position on the Board of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, the state’s leading reproductive rights political advocacy organization. A whole lot has changed from that date until now. Under the new Administration, many (or most) of our reproductive rights have been placed under fire. I never thought I would live in a world where I did not have a say in what happens to my own body. Growing up, I was always taught to give back and speak up. That lesson is important now more than ever.

At the federal, state, and local levels we have seen attack after attack on our reproductive freedom. Since November of 2016, many of us, including myself, have realized that we are not as safe as we once thought in Connecticut. Last year in our state, we saw multiple anti-choice bills filed, an anti-choice amendment filed to kill a bill that protects birth control access, and a proliferation of anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers and sidewalk protesters outside abortion clinics. These attacks have reminded us never to take our rights for granted and how important it is that we stay vigilant and active.

I do this work so that no matter where you are from, what you look like, or where you live you are free to make decisions about your own body. To me, full reproductive freedom looks like a level playing field. I envision thousands of people from all walks of life continuing to work together to speak openly about abortion access and their healthcare needs. I envision a state with pro-choice elected officials, speaking openly about abortion and reproductive freedom, working on proactive legislation and protecting against threats at the federal level. I envision a deeply rooted, connected, and powerful grassroots base of people in our state who demand control over their own bodies and reject stigma and shame.

At NARAL, we believe it is every person’s right to decide if, how, and when to have a family. Moving into 2018 I am so proud to be part of an organization like NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut working to make this vision our reality. I am in this fight because I have to be. Please join me.

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