I Am a Product of the Awesome Power of Choice

The essays in “Why I am Prochoice” resonated strongly with me. They reminded me how access to a full range of reproductive health services has helped make me the healthy, successful woman that I am today.

I was able to avoid pregnancy throughout my teenage years because of access to confidential, youth-friendly contraceptive services from the Planned Parenthood affiliate in the San Francisco Bay Area. My first year of college, I got pregnant by accident. Like many women and girls, I decided that I was not ready to start my family. Fortunately, I was able to safely terminate the pregnancy and continue my education without worrying about providing for a child. As a student without income, I was thankful that Medi-Cal, California’s public health insurance program, could pay for the abortion.

Three years later I graduated from college with honors and went on to earn a Master’s Degree from Columbia University. A successful career in international development led me to Population Action International. Four years into our marriage and well established in my career, my partner and I decided to start a family. Now we have two amazing children that I have the time, energy and resources to care for.

I have learned to appreciate that my personal and professional lives are deeply connected, particularly when it comes to reproductive health matters. The highlight was being eight months pregnant while giving a presentation on funding levels for international family planning at the 2010 Women Deliver conference. You can imagine the jokes about “delivering at Women Deliver”!

I wound up an advocate for reproductive health and rights by chance. But I am a product of the right to choose.

SUZANNA DENNIS
Population Action International
Washington, DC

Let us know what you think.

Email your letter to the editor to conscience@CatholicsforChoice.org