By Ana Eusse, NARAL Pro-Choice NC Campus Representative at UNCW
When I think about celebrating women, I relate it to celebrating the good in the world. Women represent the full journey of life. We bear the responsibility, joy, and pain of bringing life into this world. Wisely, the decision to bring a new life into this world is a power that has been given solely to women. And the choice over that decision must be left to women.
Deciding who to write about in this blog was difficult, only because I am lucky enough to know so many powerful women fighting for choice and ultimately reproductive justice. From my mom, to teachers, co-workers, mentors, I have been gifted with many women from a myriad of backgrounds who made sure I knew the importance of choice. These women emphasized the importance of reproductive justice and guaranteeing that women be treated with dignity and equality when making decisions about their lives and futures.
As I think about reproductive justice as a movement to guarantee that women making decisions about their lives are treated with kindness, respect, and dignity, nobody better represents this to me than Suzanne Wertman. Suzanne has dedicated her career to making sure that women, no matter their class, race, or circumstance have access to compassionate reproductive health care.
Suzanne is a certified nurse-midwife, home clinician at the Planned Parenthood Health Services in Wilmington, NC, and the president of the North Carolina Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (NCACNM). In Suzanne, I have found not only a role model, but also a champion who leads by example. Her assertive attitude mixed with her deep knowledge for everything related to women’s health demonstrates to all those willing to pay attention that being a thorough practitioner comes with the responsibility to be an advocate. Suzanne’s advocacy for both women and medical practitioners dedicated to reproductive health is unparalleled. The need for such advocacy highlights the error of allowing politicians to act as doctors, doctors with no qualifications. Were it not for the advocacy of women like Suzanne the draconian politics of North Carolina would have already had a more dire impact on women seeking their basic human rights.
I admire Suzanne for honoring her education, but also for not being apologetic. When I see Suzanne, I think of those who have dedicated their lives to women’s health and those who have dedicated their lives to ensuring women can keep their dignity by assuming responsibility and control over their own lives.
When I thank my medical practitioner, I’m lucky to count Suzanne as my local midwife.