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Why I'm taking my 9-year-old to help raise money for abortion access

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, maternal health, gender, and reproductive rights. Her work has been featured in Bitch magazine, Cosmopolitan.com,...

My 9-year-old & I are raising money for abortion access by playing video games

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a case that can have a crucial outcome for anyone with a uterus. The case, which started in Texas and has the ability to shut down abortion clinics in the state, is a critical one that can have a national impact. Now, more than ever, we need to be vocal in our support for abortion access.

More: A Texas mom's problem with state abortion law: What about my daughter?

I've made no secret of my support for Reproductive Justice over the years. When I became a mother, that support not only remained, it flourished. I strapped my then infant son in a carrier and took him with me as I volunteered for Planned Parenthood. When he got older, I took him with me to the annual Bowl-a-thon event organized by the National Network of Abortion Funds, an organization that works hard to ensure that any person who needs help procuring an abortion gets it.

In the past, when my son was still young, he didn't quite know what was going on. He'd bowl and have fun and enjoy the folks who would come in team costumes. As he got older, I explained to him in age-appropriate terms what we were doing. Now, at 9, he understands that we're raising money to help folks who need to be seen by a doctor, but can't do it on their own. And yes, he understands that not every pregnancy results in a baby.

This year, instead of bowling, our local chapter has decided to "game for abortion access." We're taking over a local arcade and raising funds while playing a little Ms. Pac Man and Burger Time. My son — a video game enthusiast — is stoked. He's super excited that not only does he get to play video games, but he will raise money for a worthy cause at the same time.

More: The Mamafesto: I am a mom, and I support legal abortion

Over the years, I've written a bunch about my pro-choice views and how I've included my son in various activities. And — no big shocker — I've received some pretty hate-filled responses. One of my "favorite" ones was an anonymous commenter who said that they were glad I was in a good mood the day I found out I was pregnant, or my son might not even be here (insinuating that people get abortions because they wake up cranky?).

This may disappoint some people, but here's the reality. My son was very much wanted. In fact, my husband and I tried for a year to get pregnant. It was that hard work that made me realize just how important choice is surrounding pregnancy. These last nine years as a parent (that I 100 percent signed up for) have made me double down even further that nobody should be forced into carrying a pregnancy or becoming a parent against their will.

Mistakes happen. Absolutely horrific circumstances happen. Abortions are medical procedures that are much safer than delivering a baby. It's safer than liposuction for goodness sake. But politicians, who don't even understand how the female reproductive system works most of the time, are hell bent on legislating uteri all over the country. So, I have no problem explaining this to my son (again, in age-appropriate terms).

More: I wanted help with postpartum depression, but there was none to be found

And you'd better believe I will have a fantastic time spending time with my son (his father would be there for all of you about to wonder how a man would let his son do this — trust me, I've heard it all, but he has to work this particular evening), playing video games and raising money to help those in need have control over their bodies and their families.

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