I am Kristina Andrews, and I was a fellow in the 2017 cohort of Patients to Advocates.

I joined this program because I believe it is my right to seek and obtain appropriate health care. I wanted the platform to develop and voice my opinions because I believe my voice should be heard. I also joined because I am passionate about reproductive health, rights, and justice, and I share the knowledge I acquire within my community.

While being a member of Patients Advocates I have had so many new experiences, such as canvassing in the neighborhood surrounding Preterm and speaking as a panelist to policymakers and medical students.

Today is a day that I can share my thoughts and feelings with others. Today is the day that someone may take heed to the struggle that women have been fighting for generations. Today I can talk with my head held high, and my voice can be heard. I share my story in hopes that one day everyone who has had an abortion may do the same.

I am no longer silenced by stigma, and I can proudly say I am a strong woman that believes everyone has the right to choose what is best for their reproductive health. I feel we can all agree that this fight that we are in, to decide for ourselves what is best for us, should not exist. But it does, and I am so grateful that we are in this fight together. Together we will continue to amplify our voices so that we are heard loud and clear. I know that programs like Patients to Advocates are one of the many ways that we can be heard.

I am happy to share my story today as a piece to the reproductive justice puzzle. I will continue to share and be a voice for the women who cannot be heard but are fighting the same fight. I hope you read my words and feel my passion. I hope my story lights a spark in you.

By sharing my story and working with my fellow advocates I have gotten to know some of the most caring and genuinely sincere women thus far in my life. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone because you never know who you may inspire to join us in this battle or the many ways you may inspire yourself.

In closing — my body, my choice. Our voices, our fight.

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