wrote this 2 years ago today at RH Reality Check
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.
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 justover my body. A body that is not valued as other bodies are in this country.
The 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.