The DA Toronto Women's Caucus brings members together on a key issue
A group of about 20 Democrats Abroad Toronto members, all women except for one, gathered over a June 9 potluck dinner to discuss strategies for resistance to the anti-choice laws that have been recently enacted in Alabama and elsewhere. The Alabama law, which is the most restrictive in the nation, would outlaw nearly all abortions and make performing an abortion a felony. Legislators in a number of other states, including Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Ohio have also recently passed bills limiting women’s right to terminate a pregnancy. It has become evident that the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is not an adequate protection of American women’s ability to control their own bodies.
The pro-choice potluck dinner was graciously hosted by Toronto Board Secretary Mari Rutka at her home. The comfortable atmosphere enabled people to talk about their own lives. Toronto Women’s Caucus Chair Karin Lippert noted that “bringing women together, especially at a potluck in someone’s home, just like a quilting bee or a consciousness-raising group, gives women an opportunity to talk about their personal experiences. The story telling builds solidarity. It leads to unity, determination, and action.”
Jennie Toby, one of the participants in the dinner and discussion, talked about her stance on women’s right to choose this way: “I believe it is incredibly important that women have the right to choose what is best for them. The nuances and considerations that get factored in when making such an important decision, such as to continue or terminate a pregnancy, rest solely within the realm of the woman and her day to day life. No one can possibly know what that woman’s life is like, what her situation is, or what she should do. I do not and cannot support any laws that remove that choice from a woman. To do so is to remove any faith and trust in a woman’s capacity to make an informed choice about her life and future.”
Much of the discussion at the potluck focused on ways to make the case for women’s right to choose. We know that we have made the case many times before, but laws related to choice never seem to get finally settled. Therefore, it is vital to keep showing why protection of the freedom to choose is the only fair and just way to proceed. We agreed that we might be able to change people’s minds about choice, not by making theoretical arguments, but by telling stories and asking questions. We can ask: what would you do in this impossibly difficult situation? We can tell stories about why women make the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. We concluded our discussion by writing postcards to our Congressional representatives, urging them to uphold the right to choice.
*Thanks to Toronto Board Member Virginia Smith for writing this post.