In writing and shaping this column over the last eight months, I’ve tried to strike a balance between U.S. and non-U.S. news. This week, I felt compelled to write about the state of reproductive rights in America. Political policies all around the world shape girls’ lives on a daily basis, but none more so than ones dealing with reproductive rights. More than any other topic, reproductive rights are where the personal becomes political. Political policies enacted today, often by an older, male majority, will directly affect girls and women of tomorrow.

In the current political climate, the fight for reproductive rights in the United States is very much driven by women. It also is a fight that concerns girls of all ages, of all backgrounds, of all races and all ethnicities. Their futures are tangibly linked to the struggle for reproductive rights.

Last week, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Representative Ben Ray Luj√°n of New Mexico, pledged DCCC support for anti-choice House candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. To be fair, the Democrats hope to pick up seats in the House of Representatives and Senate. To do so, they believe they need to cast a wider net in order to appeal to more voters.

As of late, the Democratic Party has been focusing more on economic inequality. What people often fail to realize is that reproductive rights are linked to economic inequality. Both issues have a tremendous impact on the lives of girls, from childhood well into adulthood.

People seem to be split on if the statement/potential strategy is a politically savvy move or a disaster waiting to happen. But let me be clear: reproductive rights cannot and should not be a bargaining chip in a political poker game. The Democrats do need a game plan to win more seats in Congress, but not at the expense of the health care and personal health choices of millions of girls and women across the United States.

I would encourage young people to educate themselves on important issues that impact them and those they love. For more information on this issue, I would recommend the following reads:

1. The Dems Want Women To Vote For Their Candidates ‚Äî But They Don’t Want To Protect Our Rights, by Lily Herman.
2. Democrats Abandon Women by Saying They Will Fund Anti-Abortion Candidates, by Hannah Cranston.
3. Dear Democrats, Equality is Impossible Without Reproductive Rights, by Lauren Duca.

As New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says, if half of Congress were made up of women, we would not be discussing access to birth control and other reproductive health care needs in the United States. The decisions made today about reproductive rights will impact thousands of girls and women for generations to come. If you live in the United States, I would encourage you to become politically involved, if you aren’t already. Actually, I encourage everyone to become politically active, wherever you are‚Äìcomplacency breeds failure, or in this case, the loss of hard-fought for rights. ¬†Contact your representatives in Congress and make your voice heard. If you can, donate to organizations close to your heart that help girls and women. Together, we can make a difference and help create the kind of world we want to leave for the next generation.

-Sage Daugherty
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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