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A message from our Executive Director
I am writing today as I sit with the decision from June 24 that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dobbs v. Jackson. Women’s Health Organization, which will end federal protections for abortion access. I'm sending this after taking time to understand the impacts of this devastating news through conversations with our board of directors, other leaders in our community and those close to me. As a leader in the recovery community, I acknowledge that often my voice is amplified based on my identity as a white, cis-gendered male. For too, long the recovery community has remained silent on gender related issues and specifically women’s rights issues, including reproductive rights. ​We know that women's recovery, queer recovery, BIPOC recovery, all look different. As such, they should be supported differently and considered just as valid, worthy, and important. Women and gender expansive individuals are left out of conversations, leadership roles and decision making, ​especially when it relates to recovery issues and needs. Services are often designed to be reflective of the barriers one specific type of client faces, clients that look like me.
 
For the last few years, I have seen men in recovery step into leadership roles or into the political spotlight, myself included, on issues related to access to treatment, how to spend tax revenue, and what the recovery community needs. Men in the recovery community, specifically white men, take up the most space, are often viewed as experts on vast recovery needs, and dominate the voice/representation of what success in recovery looks like. I want to challenge and support men to step into action around reproductive rights and access to healthcare. I want to challenge us to demonstrate the same vigor and outrage around this issue as we have been over the last two years in our community. As a man in recovery, a parent, a partner, an advocate, and a citizen, I'm afraid for our community and those most impacted. I must take accountability for how I can support action. I must understand when to step up and when to step aside. I challenge you to do the same. 
 
At Bridges to Change, we believe access to healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, is a human right. The impact of this ruling on our communities across the country is unimaginable. Restricting access to reproductive services disproportionately impacts people of color, people who are experiencing poverty and homelessness, and people with many other intersecting identities. According to the Turnaway Study, people who are forced to give birth experience increases in poverty, lack of basic needs, lowered credit scores and higher financial instability, greater health consequences, higher likelihood of continued domestic violence and higher instances of being a single parent. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rates compared to any other developed nation. There are half a million children in foster care across the country, and between 50-60% of people in prison have children. Parenting should always be a choice. The community and government struggles to support children and families in a meaningful way now, imagine the impact of not having choice in the parenting process. Healthcare, choice, well-being, and human rights are foundational to recovery. This is a recovery issue.  This is an equity issue.
 
While we are fortunate to live in states that continue to support human rights and access to reproductive care, the message this ruling sends is painful for so many on our teams and touches our loved ones living across state lines. The message is clear - some people have the right to choice and human rights, and some do not.

Today, I am using my privilege and position to urge the men and people in power in our community to take action. It is not enough to say you support reproductive rights, it is not enough to say you are a feminist, it is not enough to be addressing this individually. It is a collective effort. We know how to build community, we know how to take action. We have done it repeatedly on issues that involve our recovery. Let’s do it now, for this issue, that impacts recovery for women and gender expansive individuals, as well as men.
 
What can you do?
  • Talk to other people about what is happening.
  • Ask women and people impacted by these rulings how you can help and what they need for support
  • Donate to abortion funds (Northwest Abortion Action Fund, Black Phoenix Organizing Collection, National Network of Abortion Funds, Mountain Access Brigade)
  • Educate yourself:
    • Watch: “The Janes” on HBO
    • Read: “Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty”
    • Listen: Intercepted Podcast – Overturning Roe v. Wade
 
 Sincerely,

Monta
 
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