I’m pro-choice, and I’m fighting Trump with a kayak paddle

When staff writer Robin Dalmas isn’t helping keep The Shinbone Star afloat, she’s paddling up support for other causes.

Donald Trump: When it comes to abortion, “there has to be some form of punishment.”

Mike Pence: “I believe we will see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.” 

Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s conservative nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court: He has said in the past that he respects Roe v. Wade. But in 2017, he voted to delay an abortion for a teenage immigrant who was in government custody.

What’s a pro-choice person to do? Take a firm paddle to all three of them, that’s what!

While the Trump administration is determined to destroy my right to control what goes on inside my own uterus, my Seattle friends and I are busy creating a new charity event, Swim For Choice. On August 8, participants will swim 2.5 miles across Lake Washington near Seattle to raise money for the Northwest Abortion Access Fund (NWAAF). Its mission is to fund abortion and break down barriers to abortion access for people in the Northwest.

During our event, each team of 1-4 swimmers will be escorted by a kayaker to ensure their safety while crossing from Medina to Madison Park. In addition to helping to organize this event, I will also lift my kayak paddle and escort a team of two swimmers on a Northwest course across the lake. I’ll think of every stroke as a kind of smackdown against this administration’s antiquated views on reproductive rights.

During Swim For Choice on Aug. 8, teams of 1-4 swimmers will be escorted by a kayaker across Lake Washington. Distance for the event is 2.5 miles.

Many years ago, I chose to settle in the Seattle area for several reasons, including the breathtaking beauty of snow-capped Mt. Rainier, the sparkling Cerulean blue waters of Lake Washington, and a seemingly endless number of rivers and lakes where I can toss in my kayak and go for a paddle. Equally important, I settled here because it is a blue state full of progressive thinkers. Washington is one of eight states whose laws explicitly protect abortion rights. We have no laws restricting abortion access (such as parental consent, informed consent, or waiting periods). We have no laws that limit how late in the pregnancy abortions can be performed.

The Northwest Abortion Access Fund (NWAAF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is a deserving charity and a great resource for people across the country. Let’s say you live in a state that demands pre-abortion counseling, waiting periods, parental involvement, or puts limits on third-trimester abortions. You can call NWAAF, talk to a compassionate volunteer, and arrange to have your abortion in Washington State. The fund will help pay for your transportation to the state and the procedure itself. A volunteer will pick you up from the airport, escort you to the clinic, and take you to your accommodations, which are in yet another volunteer’s home.

NWAAF can also direct you to abortion clinics in Alaska, Oregon, and Idaho.

Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court has raised the possibility that a conservative court majority could weaken or overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which created a nationwide right to abortion. That would leave it to individual states to decide what should and should not be legal.

If Kavanaugh helps overturn Roe v. Wade, Washington State can continue to be a port in a storm. Northwest Abortion Access Fund will persist, especially if you get involved.

You can support this event whether you live in Seattle or not.  

Swim For Choice provides a rare opportunity to cross busy Lake Washington under the watchful eye of volunteer safety kayakers and powerboaters. Most other days of the year, boat traffic is harrowing for a tiny swimmer in a big lake. And swimming alone across Lake Washington could land you a $1,500 fine from the U.S. Coast Guard.

I look forward to climbing into my 10-foot kayak on August 8, hoisting my bright yellow paddle, and navigating a course toward clinic access and reproductive justice. 

Let the paddle smackdown begin!

6 thoughts on “I’m pro-choice, and I’m fighting Trump with a kayak paddle

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