In case you haven't noticed, there's a Republican War on Women:
"If a woman has [the right to an abortion], why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't [usually] result in anyone's death." -- Republican Lawrence Lockman
"The problem that I have with Planned Parenthood is the abortion situation. It is like an abortion factory, frankly." -- Republican Donald Trump
"Obviously rape is awful. What is beautiful is the child that could come from this." -- Republican Brian Kurcaba
"I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues." -- Republican Jeb Bush
I became sexually active at 16. There were times when my teen boyfriend and I didn't use contraception and I could have gotten pregnant. In fact, I could have gotten pregnant even when I did use birth control. If that happened, I would've chosen abortion. Fortunately, I never had to make that choice, but I was always grateful to have that choice.
Many women across the United States no longer have the choice to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, even though it is still their legal right. It simply isn't available because right-wing extremists have used TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) to successfully shut down abortion clinics.
We are now facing an unthinkable reality: Donald Trump will be America's next president with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has promised to overturn Roe v. Wade. This has been the anti-abortion crowd's wet dream ever since abortion became legal in 1973.
Since 2011, those of us who've been paying attention have witnessed the GOP effort to remove reproductive choice -- whether it's by defunding Planned Parenthood, using bogus TRAP laws to shut down clinics, or the Supreme Court ruling that allows employers to deny employee access to certain forms of birth control on third-party insurance policies based on the false claim they are abortifacients. (Obamacare only covers contraception that prevents fertilization, not implantation. Hence none of the morning-after drugs covered under the law are abortion-inducing.)
War has been declared on reproductive freedom and we're all paying the price -- not just women. This is an issue that affects the well-being of entire families.
I'm very concerned for young women who are growing up in a world where the president can boast about grabbing women by the genitals and still get elected. I wrote Peyton's Choice before Trump was even on the presidential radar and I believed I would be releasing it during a Democratic administration -- no such luck.
I remember what it was like to be a sexually active teen. I was curious and most of the information I got was from my friends who thought they knew more than they did. I remember seeking out movies and literature which covered topics like sex, drugs and abortion. Whether or not I was engaging in any of those activities wasn't the point. Like many teens, I wanted to fall in love and I wanted to be prepared for the inevitable sexual experiences I'd have. I firmly believe teens shouldn't be shielded from reality because when they are, they are vulnerable to myths and misinformation. Abstinence-only education alone is not enough. When teens explore their sexuality and they don't have a realistic understanding of what can happen, they open themselves up to a world of possible trauma. Whether it's about contracting STIs or believing the pull-out method is all one needs to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, an uniformed teen is at great risk for all kinds of personal disasters.
The lead character in my book, 17-year-old Peyton, chooses abortion, but that isn't the whole story. In fact, the pregnancy doesn't happen right away. I wanted to craft a tale of a smart, capable young woman who finally found the love she's been waiting for. And when she did, she realized that the romantic fairytale we're so often sold isn't always realistic. She finds out that a good guy can behave like a jerk or even a sexist. Peyton's journey in a new sexual relationship is as important to the storyline as her choice to abort. And while it seems I'm spoiling the plot, I'm not. I'm not divulging if she chooses to include her boyfriend in her decision. Does he even know about it? Should she tell him? Does she confide in her parents and friends? Is the decision to abort a difficult one and who, if anyone, can she turn to for advice? And last, does she have any regrets after she makes her choice to have an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic?
As a feminist and a blogger who's been covering and following women's issues for several years, I utilized what I've experienced in my life in addition to what I've learned from other women on social media so that I could write a realistic story. I see what people are saying in the real world and I incorporated what I've learned with the hope that the book will have an authentic feel for women who've been through a similar experience -- or for girls who are curious about love, sex and who crave entertaining stories about the sexual issues and battles we're facing today.
My ultimate goal was to write a book with a strong emphasis on female empowerment. Like so many, I'm tired of watching our rights being taken away, and now that we have a Republican majority in Congress, plus 23 states completely controlled by anti-choice Republicans, and with Donald Trump ready to take over the White House, it's more important than ever for girls and young women to understand what's a stake and what they are at risk of losing. It's imperative for them to know they have the power to fight back - and win, even if the victory takes time.
You can read the book description as well as sample chapters HERE.
Like Kimberley A. Johnson on Facebook HERE or follow her HERE. Books: /www.amazon.com/Peytons-Choice-Kimberley-Johnson-ebook/dp/B01M3NZXQK"}}">Peyton's Choice, American Woman The Poll Dance, The Virgin Diaries. Twitter: @AuthorKimberley