In honor of World Contraception Day 2017, Elizabeth Futrell, one of the founders of Family Planning Voices, writes in a Baltimore Sun op-ed today about “the privilege of listening to good people from all walks of life who are bound by their passion for expanding access to contraception for people who want it” and about what drew her to the field. Family Planning Voices was created by CCP’s Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project and FP2020:
“When my great-grandmother Genevieve was a little girl, her mother died. Her father, a recent immigrant, did his best to care for her, but he was working so much that he had little time to spend with her. No one taught her about her body or other things girls should know — so when she started menstruating as a young teen, she had no idea what was happening. She nervously hid the evidence under her mattress until she could burn it.
Genevieve left school after seventh grade to work and take care of her family. By 17, she was pregnant. On a December day in 1928, she gave birth to my grandma Dolly. Six months later, she was pregnant again. She spent years in an abusive marriage, struggling to care for her daughters while working long hours to make ends meet. Her husband drank and gambled most of her earnings away, compounding the hardships of raising a family during the Great Depression.
It’s hard to imagine someone so young facing such daunting struggles with so little support. But nearly a century later, all over the world, millions of girls and young women face the same challenges my great-grandmother did. How do I know this? Because it’s my job, and my honor, to tell their stories.
Working in international family planning, my colleagues and I hear stories of life and death, of people overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges, of professionals and volunteers working passionately to improve the lives of women and their children. Two years ago, we launched the global storytelling initiative Family Planning Voices to shed light on the ways access to contraception changes lives. …”
Read more in the Baltimore Sun.