Improving Abortion Access and Moving Towards Reproductive Justice
January 12, 2023
By Arianna Morales, Policy Manager
The Brazen Project started as a leadership development program across Colorado college campuses to facilitate student-to-student conversations about abortion. Through talking about abortion care boldly and without shame, students channeled their passion for bodily autonomy into cultural change. Time and time again, I saw people break through their discomfort to find their voice around a topic that was once taboo and turn into advocates. Looking back, I, too, turned into a different type of advocate. My comfort was challenged right away by the brazen way the organizers used the word abortion; it was the opposite of how I was taught to shy away from the subject raised in a traditional, Latinx Catholic family.
As I continued to work with The Brazen Project, I I heard a lot about anti-abortion centers (also known as “anti-abortion counseling centers,” “fake clinics,” and “crisis pregnancy centers”). Presenting as licensed family planning or reproductive health care clinics, anti-abortion centers exist to dissuade those looking for reproductive health services from seeking an abortion. Students shared stories of how they were lured into these centers by advertisements on campus for free services, assuming they were legit clinics, and instead were met with misleading anti-abortion messaging. Student safety and essential health care were clearly endangered. So, in 2019, we decided to educate students on campuses across the state about anti-abortion centers to help them make informed decisions for their health. By 2021, we partnered with student governments at CSU Fort Collins, CU Boulder, and Metropolitan State University to pass resolutions condemning the actions of anti-abortion centers (nbd).
When I was a student, I thought I knew everything, from what I wanted out of life to the best way and time to have a family—I was doing things the “right” way. When I found myself living with and loving an abusive partner, it rattled my understanding of what was right and wrong. It was the first time I began seriously considering what having a child would mean to me and what responsibility I had in making the decision to bring life into the world. As I figured out an exit route, I did something that is not uncommon for birthing people my age: I created a specific savings account to save for a potential abortion.
I turn 30 this year and now I get why Jenna Rink was in such a hurry. Both The Brazen Project and I are growing up and with that comes undeniable change. For The Brazen Project, that means it will become a part of New Era Colorado’s multi-issue leadership development program that trains young people to advocate for the issues that we care about (peep our Youth Agenda and 2022 Annual Report). However, The Brazen Project remains New Era’s leading voice in the fight for a world where abortion is universally acceptable and accessible.
For me? The past four years advocating for bodily autonomy with The Brazen Project revealed the answer to the question I carried for years: When is the right time to have a child? Truthfully, there is no singular, universal right time to have a child; the right time is each person’s own decision. When someone is making the choice to parent, they deserve to get accurate information about all of their options and to access the health care resources they need.
Anti-abortion centers still lurk near college campuses, misleading and coercing people away from essential health care and undermining a person’s right to personal bodily autonomy. That’s why The Brazen Project and New Era Colorado, in collaboration with Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) and the Colorado Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Coalition, are picking this fight up where we left off during the 2023 legislative session. Make sure you’re signed up for our email list and are following us on social media to hear all about the legislation we’re introducing this session to regulate anti-abortion centers’ deceptive practices.
If you have a personal experience with an anti-abortion center, fill out this form to share your story. All people have the right to truth in advertising and no one else should have to worry about being misled or deceived when seeking healthcare.