After much concern and some internal debate about the propriety of coming out as pro-choice using my business platform, I have decided that I no longer wish to further my role in contributing to the stigma of abortion by remaining silent. The causes of choice for Chicago Vintage Weddings have, up until now, been “safe” enough to avoid controversy. After all, I will not receive any complaints, lose my livelihood, or face harassment by supporting animal rescue or environmental protection.
However, recent events have caused me to reevaluate my position. I have been fortunate enough to benefit from affordable and accessible reproductive health care throughout my entire life. Without comprehensive reproductive health care, I have no doubt that I would not be as healthy and independent as I am today. There is a direct link between my access to health care and the success I have been able to achieve as a young, female business owner.
Many women—including women in our own Chicago community—are not afforded the same luxury as me. More and more, our basic rights are under attack. I was a volunteer with the Chicago Abortion Fund during my twenties. During that time, I was present when the small staff would, from the privacy of their hidden office, briefly open the phone line on a weekly basis to take funding requests from women in need of services. Every week, the calls would not stop coming in long after the allotted funds had run out. Hearing that phone ring still haunts me. Even in our own city, which on paper has adequate reproductive health care access, the need was never met.
Since that time ten years ago, women’s reproductive rights have continued to be chiseled away. More or less, I stuck my head in the sand because I did not want to be any kind of lightning rod for anti-choice activists or to turn away clientele who, frankly, find this type of discussion distasteful. The link between women’s rights and the wedding world isn’t crystal clear; in my daily work in the wedding industry, I serve women and families in a very different capacity. I see the joy that happens when couples are able to plan and take deliberate steps for their futures. I see families come together and grow. I see the strength and endurance of love. I see the luxury of being able to celebrate building a happy, healthy, joyous life. Having this kind of agency matters so very much.
My support of reproductive justice for all American women—women of color, poor women, rural women, working women, mothers, queer women, trans women, students, and so many more—IS part of my business model. I cannot claim to be a socially conscious business owner and ignore the elephant in the room. I cannot continue standing silent because I am afraid. My line of work affords me the ability to stand up for what I believe and to advocate for my community. To that end, I am coming out in support of unequivocal safe, affordable abortion access as part of a larger framework of reproductive justice. For the remainder of the month, I will be donating 10% of Chicago Vintage Weddings profits to health care advocacy: 5% will go to the Chicago Abortion Fund and 5% will go to the Center For Reproductive Rights. If you wish to learn more, please visit their websites to find out more about their invaluable services.
Hopefully I will see you at the Rally For Reproductive Justice this Thursday at 5:30 PM at Federal Plaza. You will find me proudly wearing my company shirt. After all, without the dedication of countless advocates and providers over the years, I might never have been able to build this life and this business at all.
Many thanks for your support,