February, 2016. Bowdoin’s NARAL group hosts GRR and women share stories across generations. Women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s help college students understand what life was like when contraceptives and safe, legal abortion were simply not available. A short video tells the story of one GRR member who was a “girl who went away.” As a young, pregnant, unmarried woman she was sent to a group home in another state until her baby was born and put into foster care, then adoption. The shaming and ostracism stayed with her for decades.
Some young women may take their reproductive rights for granted, but the Bowdoin group is aware of current efforts to turn back the clock and deny women access to the healthcare they need. They are also concerned about “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” that advertise services for pregnant women while concealing a religious or political agenda. The centers use misinformation to scare women away from safe, simple abortion procedures in fully licensed facilities with supportive, caring staff.
“I love old ladies,” one of the Bowdoin students wrote after the event. “Amazing, powerful stories….We need to keep up vigilance or else we will go back to shaming and silence.”