Today I woke up with gratitude and a headache. I have gratitude for my family and my peers, abortion providers, medicine people, my tradition. I woke up with a headache because of the anxiety of once again facing an entity that has tried for generations to wipe out my people and destroy my land. That entity is the United States Supreme Court.
For centuries, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the federal government to not enforce treaties, to murder Indigenous people, and to be the sole arbiter for how we live our lives, if we are fortunate to live at all.
As an Apache femme, I look to my ancestor, Lozen, who was an Apache warrior who fought for her people against the federal government alongside her brother, Victorio. She was a medicine woman and a midwife. She helped a woman give birth silently in the mountains while the federal government literally hunted my people like they were animals.
While the federal government isn’t hunting us with guns in the mountains, they are still using their might to extract from our sacred lands, polluting our sacred water, limiting our access to health care and basic needs, and taking away our children. Every resource we value is a necessary aspect of reproductive justice.
Our reproductive health, including abortion care, is sacred. Our ancestors knew what plants and other resources around us were safe for abortion, lactation, fertility, anxiety, arthritis, or any other ailment or health condition we faced. We have always known best how and when to start a family, space our children, how to raise them, and talk to them.
Yes, our children in this realm are sacred. They are sacred because they are the entities into which we pour our time and love because we want to, not because we are forced to. No one should be forced to stay pregnant if they don’t want to. I am here because of abortion—someone down the line of ancestors knew when it was and wasn’t time for expanding their family. My own children are here because of abortion.
Just as my children and yours are sacred, so is our decision to have an abortion.
Rae Guerra-Lorenzo (Mescalero Apache/Laguna Pueblo/Xicana) is a queer parent of two and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were born in Las Cruces, New Mexico to young parents and were raised on their father's ancestral land in Laguna, New Mexico. Rae is the co-founder of Indigenous Women Rising.
Guerra-Lorenzo graduated with a B.A. in political science and a Masters in Public Administration, focusing on public health; both degrees are from the University of New Mexico. They studied political campaigns, participated in policy analyses, and has been consulted for their expertise in public health policies that could impact Indigenous communities. In 2012, they were selected as a fellow for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, Obama For America (OFA). They were also a part of a cohort of brilliant change-makers in the Western States Center's Western Institute for Leadership Development (WILD).