Can I Have Bodily Autonomy for My Birthday, Please?

I can’t believe I have to ask for it

Maria Shimizu Christensen
3 min readJun 27, 2022


Photo by Rebeca G. Sendroiu on Unsplash

It’s my birthday today. I’m now 58 years old. Yay me! I don’t feel old, but some days I sure do feel tired. Now, more than ever. It’s not a physical thing. It’s mental and emotional. Like, how are we still dealing with this bullshit in this day and age.

I was nine years old when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. That was the world I grew up in. It’s gone now and I’m pissed.

Here’s the thing, if you’ve done the math: I’ve already come out the other side of menopause. I’m not ever going to face an unwanted pregnancy again. Been there, had the abortion, moved on. This isn’t about me.

It’s about my daughter, and my niece, and my future daughter-in-law, and my maybe someday grandchildren. It’s about every person capable of giving birth.

It’s about children who are raped and will be forced to have babies in places like Oklahoma.

It’s about other people’s ideas of religion being forced on us.

It’s about a good friend of mine who was refused tubal ligation in the 1990s when she was in her twenties and a single mother. The doctors and hospital said that she might want more babies later and she might get remarried and her hypothetical future husband should have a say in the matter. They deemed her too young and incapable of making the decision and made one for her, against her wishes. That issue plays out a little differently these days, but if you think we can’t and won’t go back to that, you aren’t paying attention to the Supreme Court.

Because bodily autonomy goes beyond the issue of abortion.

It’s about maternal mortality and the United States having the highest rate in the industrialized world and the zero interest shown on this issue.

It’s about pain and health issues being dismissed and ignored. There are many, many stories about this.

Bodily autonomy is more than just being able to make our own decisions about our own bodies. It should include respect, and access to appropriate health care when we make those decisions.

So for my birthday this year, I’m asking for every person capable of giving birth to have their bodily autonomy given back. I’m asking for people to demand this of our politicians. I’m asking for whatever activism you feel capable of, and then I’m asking you to do a little more than that. I’m asking you to donate to groups fighting this issue and groups who are ready to help the women who are going to need it, like Elevated Access.

And look at it this way. You aren’t just fighting this one fight. You’re training for all the other fights to come. Because they’re coming after the rights of non-heterosexual people next. They’ve already told us they will. Believe them.



Maria Shimizu Christensen

Writer. Maker. Featured in Medium’s 2021 list of Stories That Started Conversations. I write about life.