On December 1, 2021, Maya Ward, WREN’s Communications and Development Associate spoke at a rally in Washington, DC in support of abortion justice. She joined hundreds of other advocates from all around the country in front of the Supreme Court as the justices heard oral arguments for the Mississippi Abortion Ban.
Read her remarks below:
My name is Maya Ward, I’m a 25 year old cis-gender woman from South Carolina.
I am lucky enough to be speaking to you all today representing not only myself, but also the incredible organization that I work for, the South Carolina Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network. WREN is a statewide non-profit with a mission to build a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of South Carolina’s women, girls, gender-expansive people, and their families.
As I mentioned, I am from South Carolina a state that’s not too friendly to reproductive rights. Earlier this year in February 2021 South Carolina passed it’s own 6 week abortion ban. And as part of WREN’s work, we organized people across the state in opposition to that ban. A big part of what we do is getting people involved in the legislative process, so at every stage as the bill made it through the legislature we were sharing status updates and asking people to call, to email, to tweet at their elected officials and most importantly we were asking people to use their voice. We needed people to come testify at committee hearings for the bill. So often these hearings are dominated by preachers and pastors and anti-choice activists, and we wanted to bring people in who would actually be impacted by the bill. Those are the voices legislators need to be hearing.
As I was posting and sharing and asking people to come testify I realized that I am one of those people who would be impacted by the bill, but I had yet to use my voice. And I thought, if these legislators were going to listen to a bunch of old men who would never be impacted by a ban like this, then they were going to have to listen to me too.
So I signed up to testify and I was absolutely terrified. But the time came and I spoke from my experience, and I said: “To me, abortion is a good thing. Access to abortion is opportunity, and choice, and the ability to become who I want to be and to eventually become the parent I want to be.”
And that choice is key. Obviously, we’re out here defending our right to abortion, but we are also here defending our right to make choices about our futures. Because that’s ultimately what ends up being taken away with bans like this.
So no matter what happens with this Mississippi case I’m asking you to use your voice. There is no doubt, across the nation there will be countless attacks launched on reproductive rights, and it’s up to us to use our voices to stop them.
Not only by calling and emailing, but also by showing up and using our voices. At committee hearings, at public forums, at any chance you have to make the people who pass laws actually listen to the people who would be impacted by them. We have to use our voices because no one else is coming to stop this, no one else is coming to save us, it’s up to us.
I pledge that I will do my best to use my voice whenever possible, and I’m challenging you to do the same. Thank you! If you would like to learn more about WREN and the work we do visit our website at scWREN.org or follow us on social media @WRENetwork.