Annabel Yu is Helping Raise Funds for Reproductive Rights in Texas
Youth activist Annabel Yu is fighting for reproductive rights through her org Change 4 Choice.
What inspired you to create Change 4 Choice?
Even though I have always been engaged in activism – specifically women's reproductive and abortion rights - the event that caused me to create Change 4 Choice was the passing of the SB8 Bill in Texas. The act bans abortions after six weeks.
When this happened, it hit me just how easily the government could take away what I believe is a fundamental human right. And I thought back to the many struggling, single mothers I had met during my time volunteering at a local homeless shelter. There was this one single mother of three who told me about how her husband had left her. She had no job and no financial support. She said that, if she had known how she would have ended up, she would’ve considered not having her third child in order to provide a better life for her first two.
I strongly stand by my belief that the government shouldn’t be allowed to determine whether someone should become a mother. I knew I needed to do something to help support reproductive rights, and so I created Change 4 Choice – as a means of showing support for people who need abortions but might not have easy access to them.
For those who don’t know — or have only a passing knowledge — what is the current state of reproductive health looking like in the U.S.?
Currently, in the United States, an increasing number of states – including Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Maryland, Missouri and Tennessee - are following in Texas's footsteps and considering passing acts like SB8, which would severely limit – or in some cases, completely outlaw – abortions within state lines.
Just a couple of weeks ago, for example, Oklahoma's governor signed into law a near total abortion ban (the strictest in the country) which prohibits abortion only in cases of rape, incest or risk to the physical health of a woman.
On the federal side, abortion rights are also in jeopardy. The recent leaking of the Supreme Court's draft opinion, which outlined their intention to overturn Roe v. Wade (the landmark case from 1973 that granted American women the right to abortion) demonstrates just how precarious the situation is. Essentially, both the federal and state governments are moving to limit the rights of women, and in effect making it more difficult and costly for women to receive the medical care they need. Right now is the time to start fighting and standing up for our rights and lives.
A recent University of Texas at Austin poll found that just under 80% of Texan voters believe abortion should be allowed in some form, with around 42% of Republicans surveyed saying they believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape, threat to health or incest. Why do you think it is, then, that Republican lawmakers have taken it upon themselves to fight so vigorously against choice, when their own voter base stands to support it in some form?
Even though many Republicans believe that abortion should not be completely outlawed, most of them believe that some restrictions should still be placed on abortion. Many Republican lawmakers also seem to view the legality of abortion as an issue of states' rights and are working to overturn Roe v. Wade in order to leave the power and decision up to state governments. Additionally, Republican lawmakers have been working to pass abortion bans to maintain the vote from their more fervent supporters who strongly believe that abortion should be outlawed in the U.S. Especially with the conservative majority in the Supreme Court, Republican lawmakers believe they can gain control not only of state governments but also over the federal government. It is honestly so disheartening to me to think that the primary goal of these elected officials is to gain political power and dominance rather than genuine concern for the health and wellbeing of their citizens.
For those outside the U.S., what are the best ways we can fight for reproductive justice?
For those living outside the US, the best way to support the fight for reproductive justice is to support reproductive justice movements in your own countries. The more countries that support and grant abortion rights, the more models American citizens have to look to for inspiration. Supporters outside of the US can also donate to organizations inside the U.S. that are dedicated to fighting for and providing safe abortions.
Finally, how can those interested support your work?
There are so many ways to help support Change 4 Choice’s mission!
You can visit our website where we post informational blogs that serve to keep our supporters educated on issues concerning abortion rights. Staying educated is key to supporting our mission!
You can also make a donation via our website. All funds we collect are sent to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Texas who are doing vital work. So far, we have collected over $1,000 in donations and are working towards collecting $2,000.
You can also support us by purchasing Change 4 Choice's merchandise, such as our t-shirts and tote bags. Again, all profits are sent to Planned Parenthood.
Finally, you can follow us on Instagram.
Annabel Yu is a rising high school senior from Southlake, Texas and the founder of Change 4 Choice, a nonprofit organization that fundraises for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Texas through donations and selling merchandise. She is also a member of Advocates for Youth's Youth Abortion Support Collective. Through her work, she hopes to contribute to the legal fight against abortion bans and offer support to individuals living in Texas and other states who are in need of abortion care. During her free time, she likes to read, listen to music, and drink boba.