WrapWomen LA Blog: Women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred opens up about her “back alley” abortion and why you should care about the new laws in Texas
Leiva (left) and Allred (right) at the Los Angeles Women’s March on October 9, 2021
I woke up filled with adrenaline. It was the Women’s March. I’ve participated every year and always am joined by the warrior women of my family. We get there, we meet other women, we read signs, we are one with our community. It’s pure magic.
This year wasn’t specifically about Trump. This year was about the Texas abortion ban and the influence religion and politics has over a woman’s body. This fight was won in 1973, but apparently we are pushed back in time and once again, women need to fight for their reproductive rights. My sign said, “Ruth Sent Me,” and I felt the late Supreme Court justice’s presence there, inspiring us to fight the fight she did her whole life.
When I got backstage, I was introduced to Gloria Allred, legendary women’s rights attorney and activist. I tried to keep my cool, but my heart was beating so fast that I could barely speak. She is a hero to me, to many women, and I felt a huge obligation to ask the perfect question.
My concern before the March was why so many young women are barely bothered by this ban in Texas. Most are solely concerned with their Instagram accounts and where they are going to brunch on Sunday.
So I asked Gloria, “Why should the younger generation care about this march and what is happening in Texas?” Here is her response:
“Because they’re directly affected. In Texas there are millions of young women who are pregnant. Whether it’s because of rape, whether it’s because of incest, whether it’s because it’s an unwanted pregnancy. Now, they are not going to effectivley get an abortion in Texas. Now, they have to travel hundreds of miles to other states.
Those most affected by this are the young women, poor women, women of color and rural women, many of whom don’t have the funds to go to another state. So essentially, they are going to get a back alley abortion, which many of them can’t afford to pay for, because they don’t even have money for bus fare to go to another state.
But in addition to that, many of them are going to be forced to take the pregnancy to term and deliver, whether they are not in the position to do so, or don’t want to do so. This is dangerous to young women and that’s why I am working with Paxton Smith, because we want to inspire young women to understand the stake that they have in this.
This is really a life and death issue. This Texas law is dangerous and not only for the women who are pregnant but it’s dangerous for the women who might get pregnant. And also, it’s being copied in many other states across the country. It’s an attempt to undercut, undermine, reverse and get around Roe v. Wade and I don’t want other women or girls to have to go through what I did to get a back alley abortion.
After I was raped, and this is in the 60’s in California, and a doctor could not provide an abortion or assist in what was called a miscarriage then. So, like many other women, I didn’t have a choice. I tried to find somebody who would do it, for the pay. I did find someone and then he left me in the back, covered in my own blood. When I called him, I was hemorrhaging. He said that he couldn’t help me. He told me to tear up his phone number. He said he only performs the abortion, he doesn’t deal with what happens after.
This can happen in our own state, fortunately now we have elected officials who don’t want it to happen, but it could. We never thought that Trump could win, and he did win, and he was dedicated to and did appoint three justices to the United States Supreme Court, all who are anti choice, and that’s what he was looking for, people who were anti-choice.
And so we are very concerned about what can happen to Roe v. Wade. This is an even greater concern than it ever was before. And that’s why we need everybody involved. Young women, middle aged women, older women, women of every race, every ethnic origin, men, we all have a stake in this. We have to fight hard because it’s not over with, we have to not only be vigilant, but take action.”
While she was speaking, I was welling up with tears. Hearing her personal story and how that can become a reality was heartbreaking. We can’t go back there. We can’t sit idle and ignore what’s happening. We need safe abortions. We need to have a choice. And the only way to do this? Together and now.
Thank you Gloria for your strength and honesty. Those five minutes with you were truly inspirational.
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