This post is part of our “What Does Choice Mean to You?” series commemorating the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
For me, a daughter of immigrants, working-class, US citizen,
radical, fat, able-bodied (right now) woman of Color, choice to me means
survival and self-determination. Each year, as the US remembers and “celebrates”
Roe v. Wade, I write something about Rosie Jimenez. I may be too young to remember when she
died, but I’m old enough to know better than to forget her.
A young working-class student and single Chicana mother of
one daughter living in the US, Rosie was the first victim of the Hyde Amendment, which disallowed Medicaid to cover abortion procedures to people needing them
and receiving Medicaid. Rosie died of an illegal abortion when she realized she
was pregnant again and could not afford to cover the cost of an abortion.
Rosie’s death demonstrates the institutional classism, racism and –isms’ in
general that still exists today for many people seeking reproductive health
care in the US and all over the world.
Rosie died on October 3, 1977.
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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As a daughter of immigrants from Puerto Rico, the country
where forced sterilization and birth control testing by the US has a deep history, choice
means having control and power with my body, not just over
my body. A body that is not valued as other bodies are in this country.
mere ability to love this brown bushy-haired big body in a country that still
has colonial rule over my homeland is an act of rebellion and love. Because of
Roe v. Wade, and because of Rosie’s death, I am able to sit here and write
this. I am able to accomplish what Rosie had planned for herself and have
become a teacher. Because of Rosie, I can dream bigger, travel farther, educate
others, and help people experiencing an abortion as their abortion doula.
Because of Rosie I’m a survivor. I exist.
I don’t know where Rosie’s daughter is today or if she knows
her mother’s legacy. She is six years older than me; she is my peer. Today,
this week, for as long as I am alive, I will remember her and her mother and
all they have both sacrificed for me; for us. Yo recuerdo a Rosie Jimenez.