Faith should not impede others freedom to choose.

18 April 2023

While everybody is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, I strongly believe acting in a way that negatively affects other people’s health is not a Christian value.

I grew up as a Catholic and have been a volunteer for NARAL Pro-Choice America, an advocacy group fighting for reproductive freedom, since I was 16 years old. Right now, I am making my voice heard by supporting an amendment in Nevada that seeks to codify reproductive freedom into the state Constitution (SRJ7).

I have personally seen how anti-choice groups vilify people for their reproductive choices, as well as those who are advocating and legislating in support of reproductive freedom. During the recent Reproductive Justice Lobby Day in Carson City, one lawmaker told me she has been receiving hate emails from anti-abortion groups, the equivalent of yelling violent rhetoric at her.

I honestly don’t think a lot of these groups understand the essence of what we are trying to push here, because they haven’t taken the time to read the entire bill.

SJR7 covers all aspects of a person’s reproductive health, because we know that having a constitutionally protected right to control all aspects of our reproductive futures is more important than ever. It specifically ensures a person’s privacy and right to obtain abortion care, birth control, prenatal care, birthing care, postpartum care, tubal ligation, vasectomy, miscarriage management and infertility care.

What anti-abortion groups don’t realize is that this constitutional amendment is something that could be life-saving. Already in states across the country we are seeing how criminalizing abortion care is resulting in worse health outcomes overall, not to mention making the path to access safe, legal reproductive care legally and cruelly complex.

Support for this resolution comes from a broad spectrum of people, including mothers like me. I have a child, a 4-year-old son, who I love and would absolutely give my life for. That is what reproductive justice entails — the right to have children, the right to not have children and, most importantly, the right to raise children in a safe environment by the people who want to raise them. These are some salient points that are so often completely overlooked.

Growing up in a Catholic home, I have heard horror stories of parents making their children who were victims of sexual assault go through with a pregnancy and becoming parents themselves while they were still children. Parents put their own child through all of this just because they didn’t support access to abortion.

And now, in states that have bans in place, the decision is made for you no matter your personal opinion on abortion. Anti-abortion lawmakers will deny anyone who needs access, sometimes no matter the reason.

Not only is this a health issue, it’s also an economic issue. People working to make ends meet have never had the same options when it comes to health care as wealthier people. Reproductive justice and economic justice are tied together. This is an important driving force of my advocacy, because our community cannot prosper if people aren’t able to access family planning and determine their reproductive futures.

The reality is that the abortion access landscape has changed since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Nevadans deserve the chance to make the decision for themselves if reproductive freedom should be a protected right in our state constitution.

The impacts of this constitutional amendment won’t only benefit Nevadans, but will have a positive impact throughout the country. Voting in support of this amendment will show the country and world that Nevada is a battle-born state.

We should never judge or chastise those who seek and access abortion care. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.” (Lucas 6:37-38)

Health care decisions should always be between the patient and a health care provider. That’s why I support SRJ7. Let’s make sure that this resolution is passed so in 2026, Nevada voters can vote to ensure true reproductive freedom for generations to come.

Liliana Trejo Vanegas is a photographer born and raised in Mexico who has dedicated her time as a Las Vegas resident to advocating for the well-being of her community. Since becoming a mom in 2018 her fight for equity has grown to include all the principles of reproductive justice; the right to not have children, the right to have children, and the right to raise them in a safe environment.

The post Faith should not impede others freedom to choose. appeared first on The Nevada Independent.

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