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Celebrate the essential power of choice this Mother's Day

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This Mother's Day, we reflect on our great privilege as mothers, and the essential power of choice in becoming one. Our children are our worlds, our reasons why. They humble us, challenge us, and make us grateful every day. And we could not be the mothers we are today if it were not for our abortions yesterday.

At the time, we lacked the financial and emotional resources to bear and raise children. We weren't ready, we were young, we were not prepared. And we had the privilege to make that choice independently, and with the warmth and support of our deeply loving and involved families.

Sadly, survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence do not share that privilege. One in three women in the United States have had or will have an abortion. Chances are, your mother, your sister, or your daughter had one too, and chances are, they used Mifepristone and Misoprostole—medications used in half of all abortions nationwide.

And up to 22 percent of those who terminate their pregnancies do so because they are in an abusive relationship. Reproductive coercion is a tactic used by abusers to maintain power. This means controlling the outcomes of pregnancy, coercing a partner to have unprotected sex, and interfering with birth control. Those experiencing abuse also experience increased rates of unwanted pregnancy with poorer maternal and child health outcomes.

Access to safe, confidential reproductive health care is a lifeline for survivors. If the Supreme Court suspends Mifepristone's FDA approval, the lives of survivors who can bear children will be catastrophically impacted. Denying a survivor's right to their own body impacts their physical, emotional, and financial health, leading to suicidal ideation, chronic disease, and job loss, and gives abusers one more tool to control their victims.

Lumina Alliance empowers survivors to make decisions for themselves and respects them as experts in their own lives. It is essential to preserve safe, confidential, and comprehensive access to reproductive health care for everyone. Join us and mothers across the state by:

• Donating to independent abortion providers. Visit abortionfunds.org to support abortion seekers and keepourclinics.org to support clinics nationwide. Visit plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-california-central-coast to support our local clinic.

• Voting for candidates who will protect our right to choose.

• Running for office to represent mothers and survivors in San Luis Obispo County.

• Volunteering to be an escort at your local reproductive health clinic.

• Getting loud. Tell your abortion stories; visit shoutyourabortion.com and wetestify.org. Take to the streets—organize, protest, rally.

At Lumina Alliance, we stand by survivors and continue to advocate for freedom of choice and a community free from sexual and intimate partner violence. Δ

Jennifer Adams is the chief executive officer and Jane Pomeroy is the chief communications officer of Lumina Alliance in San Luis Obispo County. Write a response for publication by emailing [email protected].

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