One of the most consistent experiences for me in parenting is having the sense of being “on alert”.
For sixteen years I’ve been on alert for threats and danger. For signs of sickness. For hints about emotional health. For clues about relationships. For indications of academic progress and needs. For important identity markers. For good deals on stuff!
What began as “Are they getting enough nutrition from my breastmilk?!” has evolved just this week into “Will they make sound decisions and come home intact from prom?!”
Perhaps the alertness is because I’m their gestational parent. Perhaps it’s merely my personality. Perhaps it’s practice and discipline.
Whatever the reason, though, these parenting years have sharpened my attention to certain stimuli. They have also helped hone my ability—still imperfect though it is—to discern what is truly important and what is not.
Perhaps I’ve chosen, one way or another, to remain on alert. After all, some parents are far less concerned with the things that capture my attention. Others are much more attentive to many more things. But I do know that, parent or not, choosing to care for others increases one’s sensitivity and motivates one to be more on alert—especially for potential harm and for opportunity to defend against harm.
So, as a parent of children with uteruses, this week’s leak of Supreme Court Justice Alito’s draft opinion—suggesting a likely end to federal protection of legal abortion—has me on high alert for threat to the liberty, agency, and health of these children and of all humans in the U.S.
And in this moment—as in all moments of parenting—it helps to know I’m not alone, and that there are actions I can take to mitigate the threat and the fear.
Many thanks to Robin Slaw (who shares resources in the UUCC Family Support Group) and Valerie Hsu and others for keeping us posted about how we can contribute and connect. Here are just a few resources that you might appreciate, as I do:
Donate to your local abortion fund to shore up access to abortions in areas where rights are protected:
- Baltimore Abortion Fund
- The DC Abortion Fund
- National Network of Abortion Funds, where you can learn about abortion funds in every state
- View lists of Black-led and Latinx-led reproductive justice organizations
- Indigenous Women Rising (serves indigenous abortion-seekers in the US and Canada)
Follow these organizations for ongoing action, advocacy, demonstrations, and more:
- Side With Love—The Fight for Abortion Access Isn’t Over (May 3, 2022)
- SACReD—the Spiritual Alliance of Communities for Reproductive Dignity
- Harriet’s Wildest Dreams
- Women’s March
- Planned Parenthood Actions
Read these resources to become better equipped to talk with children about these issues:
- How to Talk About Reproductive Rights in Terms Simple Enough for a Child to Understand
- Please, Talk to Your Kids About Abortion
I welcome you to add resources to this list.
And I thank you for your faithfulness as we challenge each other to live our values and act together for justice in the world.
Faithfully on alert,