Activism and Your Writing Voice

When heads are down, concentrating on the creative process or diligently revising/editing, say, to meet a deadline to a publisher, how much mind space do you have for social issues? I hope it’s some.

No matter where you live, you have probably heard the news that the U.S. Supreme Court rolled back 50 years of nationwide abortion access. Before and after the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision protecting a woman’s right to privacy and to make her own autonomous reproductive health decisions, the U.S. was taking measures to improve equality in other areas as well. Women in the U.S. are furious about the reversal of Roe vs. Wade and it happened in a world where most countries are doing much better. It’s made me think about how I should use my voice as a writer to respond to this dangerous prevention of access to essential reproductive health.

Cartoon of a uterus giving the finger

After the decision was announced last week, a physician friend of mine posted on social media:

“… people now want to give personhood to a fetus. Perhaps if they were to encounter an actual fetus they might realize how ridiculous this notion is. A fetus is simply human shaped tissue. I can say with complete conviction after performing or assisting with hundreds of abortions, a fetus is not alive, it does not behave like a human being, but it does leach energy and nutrients from its mother, while at the same time creating changes in her body that cause increasing risks to her health and well-being.”

Well said, thank you doctor.

I applaud him for using his knowledge to educate and object.

Photo of crowd of women on the Women's March Washington 2016
I was in the audience somewhere

This photo is from the Women’s March in Washington D.C. the weekend that Donald Trump was inaugurated. It was prompted following multiple statements by him that were considered by many as anti-women and otherwise offensive.

When you see or experience injustice, do you use your writing voice to push for change? Pen a letter to the editor a news organization? Write a short statement on a piece of cardboard and march with it?


  1. Thanks for writing about the latest issue in the US – and it’s a big one! As writers, I believe it’s our responsibility to exercise our writing skills in aid of important causes, as I did during the reign of terror in the States. Also sharing articles we read online on social media is an important and easy way of spreading the word about controversial issues. It can be far too comfortable to hide our heads in our current projects and ignore reality. And that is a missed opportunity.

  2. I agree with Debbie, that we must use our writing to highlight issues. I’ve been very engaged in Ukrainian events, and hope that our guests when they arrive will consider a project I mentioned to them today. The middle generation lady is already very good with words in English (probably with the help of a translation programme) but she definitely has a way with words, so I am hoping we will write it in English and in Russian (her first language) and Ukrainian in which she is also fluent.
    It is an issue which needs to be told, and together we should be able to make a good fist of it. Some day the general Russian population will realise that this “military exercise to de-Nazify Ukraine” was the vision of a power-hungry failing man who would be Peter the Great but is more like Stalin or Ivan the Terrible.

    • Gill, thank you so much for sharing what you’re doing with your Ukraine writing project. I truly respect your effort. It turns my stomach watching news from Ukraine. I have ancestors from Lviv. Good luck with it and keep us updated.

      A women’s writing group I’m attached with is working on a writing project to tell the stories of Afghan women in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal last year. It meant basically the end of women’s lives – their education, work, income earning, etc. – since the Taliban took power. Women in their 20s grew up with totally different beliefs about what they could accomplish and it’s disappeared overnight.

      So much need to expose these tragedies through writing!

  3. You are so right, all of you. It’s good to hear, and good that we can band together to push for
    a better, fairer, kinder world.

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