Via Bustle, By Jennifer Gerson
When Terrelene Massey watched New Mexico’s bill to repeal the state’s abortion ban die in the state House in 2019, she was struck by what she calls a “convenient argument” made by some legislators: that they couldn’t vote in favor of the bill because their Native and Indigenous constituents were opposed to it. These legislators — by and large non-native — said their constituents’ cultural practices and spiritual beliefs were at odds with the pro-abortion measure.
Massey, the executive director of the Southwest Women’s Law Center, knew this couldn’t be true. From her own lived experience as a Navajo woman, and her professional experiences as an advocate for Indigenous women in the Southwest,she’d seen firsthand how her peers value body sovereignty as part of their spiritual traditions, and how Indigenous people throughout the region had longstanding, ancestral practices for delivering abortion care.
“Maybe it’s because I am Native American, I am more attuned to seeing what’s missing when we’re not at the table and people trying to fill in our voices for us — and filling that space with inaccuracies and myths,” Massey, who had advocated for the 2019 bill’s passage, tells Bustle.Jennifer Gerson, Author, Bustle.com