Last night I paid $50 for a stranger’s emergency contraception.
She was having trouble with the chip on her debit card, and after trying it a few times she said, “I’ll have to come back another time.”
While chatting it up with the cashier, I casually glanced over and saw what it was that she was purchasing.
I didn’t ask her why she needed it. I didn’t assume anything about or judge her. I didn’t factor in my own beliefs or personalize it in any way.
I didn’t prod her with intrusive questions about her past or whether or not the sex she had was consensual.
None of that mattered.
She did not have to justify the purchase to anyone, because she’s lucky enough to live in a progressive state.
In this state she has the right to pick a box off the shelf and bring it up to the register without pause.
She didn’t have to sit in a stuffy waiting area full of pregnant women, to later explain to someone in a white coat why or how she was in this “predicament.”
In this state it’s none of anyone’s business why she’s making this decision, because it’s HER decision.
Women in my state have 72 hours to make these choices for themselves and their bodies where the matter of conception is concerned.
After these last few months, I wonder and worry about how long we will have this right. I worry it won’t be long before we have to make secret choices in dingy basements with rusty instruments instead of walking with our box and dignity to the friendly cashier.
So, when I saw this stranger about to leave the store without that box — that box she may not have the right to tomorrow, I stopped her. I handed her the box, I rubbed her shoulder and told her not to worry. I would take care of it.
She thanked me and she left the store. I got into my car and drove home SO grateful I got to be the person behind that woman tonight. So lucky it was me and not someone who wouldn’t have understood exactly what it was like to make such a decision; or the importance of that 72 hour window.
I do not know how long we will have the right to make these important choices about our bodies, in my state or in this country, but I do know this.
THIS is how we persist. This is how we push forward and hold each other up. THIS is how we hold space for each other.
$50 at a time, supporting one stranger at a time, empowering each other all the time, wherever we are and however we can.
This is how we do it.
This is how we love and respect each other. This is how we protect each other’s rights even if/when others may not agree with or understand their importance.
This is how we resist.
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